I am very excited to write this review on Analytical Grammar! When my boys first entered 3rd grade and were introduced to Essentials in Classical Conversations, I was lost. I couldn’t remember ever diagraming a sentence and I was stumped. The curriculum and the way it was written just did not make sense to me. Since we did Classical Conversations at home and were not part of a community group, I seriously failed at teaching Essentials the first year. After expressing my deep desperation of how I was just not smart enough to teach Essentials to a good friend she told me about Analytical Grammar. It was the missing link for us, I put away the Essentials books and only taught Analytical Grammar from the moment it arrived.
I didn’t always research curriculum in depth, but this one I did. I watched every video and read through every example on their web site. My aha moment happened when Robin was revealing how in her middle school class, she was told not to teach grammar and diagramming any more. I knew that I had fallen into that era of school where it was removed and that is why I could just not remember it!
There are two sets of curriculum for Junior Analytical Grammar; Grammar, a Systematic Approach to Language Mastery, and Mechanics. It is geared towards 4th and 5th grades. With each set of curriculum you have the option of buying the Student Workbook/Teacher Book, and DVD. The Teacher Book and Student book is sold together with the option to buy additional Student Books. The DVD is completely optional. I purchased the DVD for the Grammar set but not Mechanics. The instructional pages that introduce each new unit is almost word for word what they say on the DVD, so you could get away with not buying the DVD’s.
Junior Analytical Grammar, a Systematic Approach to Language Mastery introduces the building blocks of diagraming. It is 11 units long, we did a unit a week so we were done with it at our 1/2 year mark. It begins with identifying the parts of speech and slowly works up to diagramming. By the 11th week, students will be diagramming simple sentences. Each unit has three pages of exercises, a playing with words assignment, and a test. The Teachers Book is a mirror of the Student Workbook with all of the answers added. I cannot say enough good things about this curriculum. It is well written, goes at a great pace, and does an excellent job teaching the material in a way that is easy to understand. I love having the video that goes with this curriculum, after all a lot of this I am learning too. My boys laugh because they say it looks “old”, in other words its not in HD, is this generation spoiled or what? I think the video is great, Robin and her Daughter Erin take turns teaching the lessons. They quickly go through introducing the unit and do several practice problems on the video.
Junior Analytical Grammar: Mechanics teaches punctuation, capitalization, and usage. It starts with comma usages and builds up to transitive and intransitive verbs. It is 15 units long, we again did a unit per week, and it has three pages of exercises and a test. It is very similar in style as the Grammar curriculum and again I cannot say enough great things about it. The Teacher Book is a mirror of the Student Workbook with the addition of the answers. We did this book in the second half of our year, but in hindsight, I think I would prefer it in the first half.
Overall I highly recommend this curriculum set as an excellent grammar foundation. It is well written and easy to understand and quick to complete.