Posted in #grammar, Homeschooling, IEW

Review of The Nose Tree (Book 1) of the Fix It! Grammar Program from IEW


I am so excited to share our review of The Nose Tree [Book 1] part of the  Fix It! Grammar program from the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW).  Throughout our years of homeschooling, Institute for Excellence in Writing has become one of our favorite companies.  IEW has a way of making subjects interesting for children, and especially our children.

For this review, we received the spiral bound Student Workbook and the spiral bound Teacher Manual.  This is the first book in a six book series.  Our 16-year-old daughter was the one completing the work.  I felt it would be a great grammar curriculum for our family to use.  The lessons in the book cumulatively tell a story by the end of the course.

The course is meant to be completed over thirty-three week, with about fifteen minutes a day for four days a week.  My daughter was happy to have the fifth day off.  Of course, what day of the week, we did not do IEW depended on our schedule for the week.  I loved having the extra flexibility that plan provided for us.  The Teacher Manual provides detailed instruction for completing the coursework, how to download the extra material needed for the course along with detailed instructions for completing the daily assignments.  My goal is to speed up and complete two lessons in a week by the time we reach the midpoint of the course.

My children started off hating writing and grammar, so finding IEW early in our homeschooling journey was a blessing.  We started with the writing programs, but with two children now in high school, grammar still needs to be covered.  Because our daughter had never really used Fix It! Grammar in the past, I decided to have her start with Book 1.  Although we started out at the traditional pace of one lesson a week, I expect as we move farther into the book that we will go at a faster pace.  I wanted to make sure she understood what she was supposed to be doing and what was required of her before speeding up.

The Teacher Manual provides detailed instructions for completing the coursework, how to download the extra material needed for the course.  The downloadable materials include Fix-It! Student Book 1 (ebook), Mastery Learning e-audio, and But, But…What about Grammar? e-audio.  The Teacher’s Manual provides clear and concise guidance about what the students are expected to know and do for each lesson.  I love how there are no distractions on the page, literally, everything is in “black and white”.  Here are some sample pages from the Teacher’s Manual.



The course covers everything from recognizing paragraphs, proper end markings (or punctuation), nouns, verbs, articles, homophones, adjectives, adverbs, and more.  Each lesson builds on the material presented in the previous lessons, so the students are getting constant reinforcement.  I really appreciated this connection and practice.  I allowed our daughter to use a word processing program to do the vocabulary, rather than having her write it all out.  But, when it came time to rewrite the paragraphs and mark the book, she did those activities by hand.  At the end of the Student Workbook is a glossary with all the important terms.  I feel this would be extremely useful for students who are younger or do not have a strong background in grammar.  Here are some pictures from the glossary.




For each lesson, the student reads the sentence and looks up a word in the dictionary and writes that definition down in their notebook using keywords and using the proper labels.  On the first day, my daughter and I read the instructions together and completed the necessary steps for the first paragraph.  Then, we discussed anything she might have missed, that way she could learn from her mistakes.  On days 2-4, she used the abbreviations at the top of the page along with the grammar cards to remind her about how to mark the paragraph.  Once again, I helped her with anything she missed.  Finally,  after making the corrections and discussing the section with me each day, she rewrote paragraph making sure to double space and not including any markings.

Since our daughter is 16, she had no difficulty with following the instructions or understanding what she was supposed to do.  However, I expect younger children may require more guidance and direction with completing the assignments.  I love how in the Teacher’s Manual, parents are told, “If your children start to groan when you say, ‘Time for Fix It!’ something is wrong.”  So far, my daughter is enjoying what she is doing.  Here are some sample pages of what she has been doing.


Overall, our daughter is very pleased with this grammar point.  It gets to the point, explains clearly what needs to be done and allows her to finish the assignments in a reasonable amount of time.  She loves being able to learn to mastery rather than just learning things for a test.  Of course, it helps knowing Grammar is something she will use for the rest of her life.

Our family has loved all the materials we have acquired from IEW, including their grammar program and their writing program, through the years.  Of course, we could be biased since my oldest son had the opportunity to ride in an elevator with Mr. Andrew Pudewa at a homeschool convention.  To this day, we still talk about the meeting.  Of course, I think almost everyone in our family has interacted with Mr. Pudewa in some way.  We absolutely love the writing and grammar products from IEW as it is called around our house.

You can find the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.

So if you are looking for a grammar curriculum that is relatively fast and easy to use, check out Fix It! Grammar program from the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) for yourself.  Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing this curriculum this week.  So if you want to read other reviews about this level or if you want to read reviews about other levels, click here or on the graphic below.



Posted in #Language Arts, Home School Review Crew Posts

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.
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.