Friday, October 29, 2010

Analytical Grammar: Curriculum Review

Whenever I hear about a new curriculum that sounds interesting, I go ahead and check it out. I was on a homeschool curriculum review yahoo group when I first heard about Analytical Grammar. I went ahead and visited their website. First of all I have to say that they have a terrific website and I encourage everyone to stop over there. It is comprehensive and informative. They have some excellent videos which explain their program extensively. Be sure to take the time to view those. The Analytical Grammar curriculum is meant for grades 6 and up.

The program was written by an experienced English teacher who created the curriculum while still teaching. She adjusted the course over the years as she experimented with her students. It is a well tested program, you can't deny that.

The idea of this program is that grammar is not a subject which needs to be taught every day and every week of the school year. It is knowledge that can be learned and then you can move on and use that information in your writing. They have broken down the grammar instruction into three seasons. It can be taught over three years, two years or even one year as necessary. Year One takes ten weeks, Year Two takes seven weeks and Year Three takes seventeen weeks. To learn more specifics of the program visit their website. It is on the pricey side as it cost nearly $100. That includes the teacher and student binders. The good news is that you can use it for the next three years.

As I learned more and more about this program, it looked like a perfect fit for my upcoming seventh grade student. He has always been a good grammar student, grasping grammatical concepts as early as 2nd grade that I wished many of my eighth grade students had so easily understood. In the 5th grade, we used EASY GRAMMAR and had an intensive year of grammar. He did terrific and it gave him a strong background in grammar. In the 6th grade, we focused a great deal on his special needs in math. Therefore, grammar took a backseat. I felt that we had covered so much the previous year that we should place our attention on the subject needing it.

Before purchasing the program, I contacted the company. I discovered that they were local to where I lived and I wondered if I could purchase the materials from them directly and avoid the shipping costs. They were great in responding to my question and even sent me to a local retailer where I could buy it.

The Fall came and I started my son in Analytical Grammar with much excitement, but after that very first day I felt disappointed . Not so much in the curriculum as in my son. He seemed to have forgotten so much of what we had previously learned and I couldn't understand why. After a week I decided maybe he just needed to review some things. I took out the 5th grade Easy Grammar book and reviewed prepositions. He did super! We went back to AG for another week. He did better but I still felt he was struggling with the material. And I realized why.

The material and the idea of the program is great. I don't doubt that when we come back to it that my son will thrive. AND WE WILL COME BACK TO IT. But at this time, it has just been a little confusing to him. The reason is because the sentences used from the very first lesson are very complicated. They use phrases, clauses, infinitives and so on. Usually when you begin a study in the parts of speech the sentences gradually become more and more complex as the student progresses. I know this because I taught 8th grade English in the traditional classroom.

If your student has a thorough grasp of grammar--parts of speech, phrases and clauses--then he or she will do well with the program. If, however, your student is shaky in grammar or needs a good review, it might be better to start with something simpler. I am currently using the 8th grade Abeka book with my 7th grader and he's doing terrific. I hope that at the semester or next year that we can switch back to the AG. I do belive it has merit in the idea behind it. I probably would have started with simplier sentences in the beginning myself, but I am sure they have their reasons behind why it was designed that way. Next year I hope to review this program again having gained more experience with it.

No comments: