Review of GrammarPlaneti

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We are finally understanding sentence diagramming with this new online grammar program from GrammarPlanet.  Growing up, I was one of those unusal people who actually enjoyed sentence diagramming.  I was blessed to have teachers who demonstrated and explained sentence diagramming in a way that made sense.  So I wanted the same experience for our children.  I feel it is very important for them to have a good grasp on grammar.  This means they need to have an excellent understanding of the different parts of speech.  I felt GrammarPlanet fit the bill for our family’s needs.  It is an online product, which I find very convenient since it is self-grading for the most part.
GrammarPlanet’s creators are Erin Karl and Jerry Bailey.  GrammarPlanet is the realization of dream that has been years in the making.  It is designed to make grammar education affordable and available to anyone regardless of their background.  This program is meant for homeschoolers as well as public school students.  The program is designed for students ages 10 and up.  Even adults who wish to increase their grammar knowledge will benefit from this program.  Everyone benefits from having a strong grammar foundation.
The philosophy behind GrammarPlanet is  Erin Karl’s mother’s Analytical Grammar, which is a book-based program that has been available to homeschoolers for over two decades.  The love for grammar comes through each and every video.  While the videos are not fancy, it allows the message of the videos to take center stage.  There is little to serve as distractions for the students.
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There are two versions of GrammarPlanet available.  There is a free level that includes ads.  There is also a paid version which is ad-free.   For the purpose of this review, I decided to work through the units myself first before having our teenagers use the program.  Because it is a new program, I felt this was best.
I will say there was definitely a learning curve to using this program.  Each unit gives a list of process steps for completing the exercises.  If I went too fast or tried going out of order, I found I made more mistakes than if I took my time and worked in order.  While I was working through several of the units, my husband was in the room beside me.  He was very impressed by the program and I have a feeling he will wind up going through it at some point.  Several times, he stated he learned something he did  not know or heard terms he was not familiar with before that lesson.
I have to say I have been very satisfied with the order the parts of speech are taught.  I also love that a student can go as fast or slow as they or their parents want them to based on ability.  I also love that at the end of each practice section, the student has the option to continue or come back later.
The one thing I would caution about this program is that if a student misses too many ansywers in the practice exercises, the system will lock them out and a parent will have to unlock the lesson.  At the same time, I like that I have the ability as teacher/parent to reset progress when it is needed.  I also like how the grades display on the screen and are also emailed to me as the parent.  There is little parental involvement required. Upon reaching unit 6, sentence diagramming is introduced, initially with only prepositional phrases.  In the video, students and parents/teachers are advised students can do as little or as much diagramming as desired.  However, cautions are given that failing to do diagramming will cause problems later in the course.  I definitely agree with that caution.  So my children will be required to do sentence diagramming.
You can find GrammarPlanet on social media at:
All in all, I have to say I am really pleased with this program and am glad we had the opportunity to review it.  So if you are looking for an online grammar program, check out GrammarPlanet for yourself.  If you would like to read other reviews from members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.
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Review of Memoria Press’ Classical Composition I: Fable Set and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set

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When I think of Classical Christian Education I think of Memoria Press so I choose the Classical Composition I: Fable Set  and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set to review with my daughter. For many years our family has strived for a Christian Classical Education for our children and finding the right Christian Classical Curriculum for our family has been essential to us.  That is why I was thrilled for our family to have the opportunity to review these two products.  Our 15-year-old daughter expressed excitement upon receiving these products.  These courses are recommended for grades 4-12, and I think these recommendations are perfect. Of course, the older the student, the more in-depth they will go and the higher the expectations will be.

The one thing I love about Memoria Press is the variety and quality of products they offer.  This company has been a favorite of our family since we began homeschooling.  So it seemed a natural progression to try their Classical Composition courses.  Classical Composition I: Fable Set and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set and we have enjoyed them so far.  The sets we received included both Teachers guides, both student workbooks, both sets of DVDs and a lesson plan booklet that covers both courses in a 34-week layout.

I love how the lesson plan booklet lays out everything in detail for each day, plus includes a checkbox for each day so I could mark off things as we completed them.  The lesson plan book also means if something happened and I was not around, our daughter could grab the lesson books and know exactly what to do.

We were so excited upon receiving these materials we just jumped right without utilizing the DVDs.  With the assistance of the teacher guide, we were able to figure out exactly what needed to be done, especially with the help of the Lesson Plan booklet.  We started off by reading the Teaching Guidelines at the beginning of both the Teacher’s Guide and the Student Workbook.  These clearly lay out the requirements, expectations, and layout of the assignments.  From the fables themselves to variations, outlines, narrations, paraphrases and even writing a final draft is described in detail.

The Teacher’s Guide also includes an advanced rubric for grading the student’s work.  There are even optional grammar requirements.  I found this extremely useful since we could utilize those requirements to help cover grammar instead of needing additional material.  There is also an introduction to the Fable Stage that describes imitation and suggestions for starting the writing journey.

As we began the actual lessons, our daughter expressed some distaste for reading out loud, but she is my introverted child.   So I really was not surprised by this.  As we moved through the exercises together, she really seemed to enjoy the lessons.  From writing down synonyms to writing outlines, variations, and paraphrases, she enjoyed all the activities.  She even enjoyed writing the final drafts.

The lessons on the DVDs are very well done and enjoyable to watch.  The information is presented in a way that is easy to follow along with what is being taught.  When the videos should be paused for the students to complete assignments, they are told to do so. Brent Vaden, the instructor on the DVDs, has the perfect voice for these DVDs.  He speaks clearly and is easy to understand.  Although I decided to watch the DVDs with our daughter and participate with her in the lessons, I feel she definitely could have completed the assignments on her own – especially with the help of the DVDs.

The lessons in both sets are designed to be spread out over 5 days a week for a two-week period.  This ensures there is time for doing variations (where the student changes the words from the original fable),  does an outline,  does a narration, and writes a final draft using paraphrases which genuinely fit the original story.

In Classical Composition II: Narrative, the layout of the materials reflects similarities to the Fables course.  The student watches the DVDs, does a reading, variations, paraphrases, outlines, additional variations and then writes a final draft.  Again the final draft is created on a separate sheet of paper. Brett Vaden provides the instruction for the DVDs, and he does an excellent job of teaching. the

All the work is done by the student in the consumable workbooks except for writing the final drafts, so this is a grab-and-go curriculum other than having the ability to watch the DVDs.  My daughter and I both are glad we decided to review these products.  If you would like to read additional reviews of Classical Composition I: Fable Set and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set or of other products from Memoria Press, click here or on the graphic below.

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