I am sharing today a review of The Nose Tree [Book 1] – a part of the Fix It! Grammar program from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). I am always impressed with the simple yet thorough resources their company offers. As a member of the Homeschool Crew Review I received a copy of the sprial bound Student Book 1 and the Teacher’s Manual.
What is it?
With Fix It! Grammar, IEW teaches grammar at the point of need rather than asking students to memorize the rules and then memorize more rules. They do not always transition the information used in traditional grammar worksheets to their own writing, and that’s where this program is different. With limited instruction, students learn to think about their writing and apply the grammar rules as they work.
The approach in Fix It! Grammar is simple. In each lesson you will:
- Discuss the rules as presented
- Model how to label the sentences
- Correct mistakes, which are actually opportunities to learn
- Show your student what they’ve missed
- Revisit the grammar rule(s) used
- Encourage, encourage, encourage!
This book provides 33 weeks of grammar lessons, including practice. Intended to be used 15 minutes per day, 4 days per week, it can be added to most any schedule or writing curriculum. Each week the student follows the same pattern and routine for their lessons.
At the beginning of the week, teacher and student take a look at the Learn It section. New concepts and grammar rules are introduced and discussed. The lessons are actually a story you follow through the year, one sentence at a time. On each of the 4 days the student uses a new sentence and apply these steps:
Day 1 – Read sentence, define vocabulary word. Cut out grammar cards for the week (included at back of book.) Fix and mark the sentence as directed. Make grammar notations as directed. Rewrite the sentence correctly.
Days 2 – 4 you repeat tasks from Day one with new sentences.
The student book is consumable, so your child can write directly in the book, but a spiral notebook, composition notebook or folder is a recommended for the copy work and for building a dictionary of their own using the vocabulary words.
Grammar Cards are included at the back of the Student Book for practice and reminders. It’s recommended the student store these in a pocket folder or tape them to a piece of cardstock to create a sort of flip page. (Instructions included)
The Teacher’s Manual includes not only the student pages with answers, but also helpful tips on teaching the lessons and grammar rules. I was also happy to see a Glossary of terms, rules, etc at the back of the book.
Scope and Sequence page are included as well. The teacher can clearly see the timeline for how things will be introduced and in what order.
How do we use it?
We have followed a 4-day school week for many years now, so working the lessons for Fix It! Grammar into our routine was easy. It’s set up for short lessons 4 days per week and that’s how we’ll continue using it.
It’s working best for my 12 year old daughter to work with me on the first day. We talk through the concepts, she reads the sentence, I give feedback as she marks the grammar notations.
To be honest, Day 1 takes us a bit longer than 15 minutes, but less than a half hour, so still it’s a short lesson. Days 2 – 3 are definitely shorter because it’s a bit of review, using what she learned on Day 1. Plus, you kind of build up a momentum and it’s easy to jump in and tackle things.
Older students or students who already have a firm grasp of grammar rules will easily be able to work through this program independently, with only a little guidance from the parent/teacher. Everything is laid out clearly. Working one lesson per week, she would be on schedule to fit in a whole year of Grammar work.
Here’s an idea we found helpful. In our family we have a habit of misplacing things like flashcards so we came up with our own solution for storing the Grammar Cards my daughter cut out for the lessons. We taped a zip-top back to the inside cover of the student book so that it would be secure but still accessible when needed. We positioned it in such a way that the she can close the plastic bag and then close the book, with everything lying flat.
What did we think?
We have a good sense of how the program works now, and will set it aside for the rest of this year. She really likes having short lessons and she finds it helpful to know what’s coming and what’s expected. I plan to pick it up again and have her finish the entire Book 1 next year, at a pace of a lesson and a half or two lessons per week. then move on to Book 2.
It took me only a few minutes to become familiar with the program and both Bekah and I were able to pick up and run with it. My original plan was to have my 2 high school students give this program a try as well. Their grammar skills could use some review. With Fix It! Grammar books, IEW gives you access to digital downloads of the student book for your personal use. This makes is super easy and very economical since I do not have to purchase additional books to use with my two boys. Love this!
Because of their end-of-year projects and the extra work that comes with wrapping up another school year my high school boys did not get time to sit down and give this program a try. BUT, we are all set for the coming year. It never hurts to have a bit of review, and I think it’ll be a great thing for them to do over summer or to start the new school year.
See how others are using Fix It! Grammar – just click on the image below to visit my fellow crew mates: