Easy Grammar: Making Grammar Easy (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Kris of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Children’s ages: 15, 11, and 9
Educational Philosophy Influences: Classical, Charlotte Mason, Eclectic

One of the biggest struggles that my family has had, curriculum-wise, is putting together a language arts program that works well for us. It’s also the area that contains the one piece of curriculum that we’ve used the longest.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked what I use for language arts, nor how many times I’ve answered that we’ve never found one all-encompassing language arts program that we enjoy. This is definitely the most eclectic area of our homeschool.

The most enduring piece of language arts curriculum in our home is the Easy Grammar/Daily Grams duo. We’ve used this grammar program since my oldest was in 3rd grade. When she completed the last Easy Grammar book two years ago, she was actually sad to be finished.

Easy Grammar teaches grammar in a cyclical style with one of the key components being identification of prepositional phrases. Classical-style homeschoolers will love that each level of Easy Grammar focuses on memorizing increasingly longer lists of prepositions, making it easy for students to find and cross out the phrases so that the subjects and verbs are more easily identifiable.

All Easy Grammar books, from 3rd grade through Easy Grammar Plus (middle/high school), teach essentially the same concepts, but in increasing complexity. This approach cements the concepts in students’ minds, while also allowing new students to jump in at almost any level.

Daily Grams are an optional, but worthwhile, component of the Easy Grammar program. These short, daily lessons take only 5 to 10 minutes and serve to reinforce grammar concepts being taught in the Easy Grammar book.

Each Daily Grams lesson covers five concepts. Capitalization and punctuation are always covered, followed by topics such as:

  • subject/verb agreement
  • homonyms, synonyms, and antonyms
  • alphabetizing
  • parts of speech
  • reference tools
  • analogies

The final skill practice is always sentence combining, in which students learn to combine information from two or more sentences into one more complex sentence. At first this may be as simple as:

Tom threw the ball.

Jack caught the ball.

Combined: Tom threw the ball and Jack caught it.

Later it could be something like:

The vase is blue.

The vase contains flowers.

The vase belongs to Grandma.

Combined: Grandma’s blue vase contains flowers.

I don’t know exactly what it is about Easy Grammar and Daily Grams, but all three of my kids have loved it. They will even admit this fact! To me, there isn’t a much higher endorsement for a grammar program than that.

Have you ever tried Easy Grammar? Do you have that one piece of homeschool curriculum that all your kids love?

About Kris

Kris, who blogs at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, is a homeschooling mom to three amazing kids and wife to her unbelievably supportive husband. She enjoys photography, running, and drinking sweet tea. You can connect with Kris on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Comments

  1. I’m looking at Easy Grammar for next year! My little one just loves Math U See and Prima Latina :)
    Angela @ Homegrown Mom’s latest post: How to Sew a Button

  2. I used Easy Grammar/Daily Grams with my now 19-year-old son exclusively. He loved it because it was short, sweet and to the point. I loved it because of the cyclical style which helped him remember the rules and concepts. When my third grader needed a program this year, my daughter reminded me of Easy Grammar and how well it worked for Jacob. I jumped back on the bandwagon and haven’t regretted it at all.

    I have a question for you. What do you use with your oldest now that she’s completed the series? I went with BJU because we were doing some satellite school back then, but Jacob hated it. I have a way to go before Ethan finishes it, but would like to have an opinion on what works. Thanks!
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  3. We love the daily Grams as well. My kids had both done the Jr/Sr book a few years back. Did you know they now have the Ultimate Series for grades 8-12? I just recently found out myself, so my son will be using grade 11 for next year. :) http://www.easygrammar.com/index2.html

    • Michele says:

      Wonderful to know that!! Thanks for the information. I’m going to the link now. We’ve used Easy Grammar & Daily Grams for our 7 children (oldest now 27) and have loved it. My youngest (12 yrs.) has finished all of them as well, so I’m really excited to check out the next levels that I didn’t even know existed.

  4. I literally bumped into Easy Grammar at this year’s curriculum fair. Actually, it was the Daily Grams and my first thought was, “He’s going to LOVE this! Instead of writing, he gets to do the correcting!” I looked at it and the Easy Grammar for a little while longer and bought both of them on the spot! So excited to see how it goes next year!
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  5. I agree. I absolutely love Easy Grammar, and my kids do too!
    Sarah at SmallWorld’s latest post: Field Trip- Museum of Appalachia

  6. Funny, I was thinking about doing this with my kids next year and I found the exact level book I needed at a book sale for 1.00. I snapped it up and the decision was made. Glad to know I’m in good company!
    Lora Lynn’s latest post: I’ve Got To Either Laugh or Cry

  7. Is this program only for 3rd grade and up? I’m looking for Kindergarten/1st grade level.

    • I just finished teaching Kindergarten and 1st grade this year. For Kindergarten we didn’t really do anything except teach that Capitals begin sentences and periods are at the end of a sentence. They should cover the appropriate material for grammar in their phonics program.
      For 1st grade we learned about capitalization, punctuation (period, comma, exclamation point, and question mark), subjects and predicates. I used the material included in my curriculum guide “Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory” and didn’t have to purchase anything else.
      Next year my second grader will be using Rod and Staff for English/Grammar.
      Suanna’s latest post: Steps

  8. I wanted to offer another perspective, simply because it’s a great passion of mine.

    A different way to think about grammar is to allow kids to learn it as it comes up in their writing. I admit that I’m incredibly biased when it comes to kids and writing, but one way to approach language arts is to focus on reading good books together, and finding ways for kids to enjoy writing. For younger kids, that might mean writing for them for a few years. Once kids are hooked into writing, grammar becomes a fascinating tool that helps them say what they want to say, in the way the want to say it.

    I wrote about this in more depth on my blog:
    http://patriciazaballos.com/2010/09/20/grammar-as-terror-grammar-as-tool/

    There’s a lot of research that shows that kids don’t necessarily apply grammar rules that they’ve learned in an isolated way. Same for spelling. So I’m a big fan of trying to engage them in writing, and using language arts time that way. When kids don’t have a lot of separate language arts programs to work on, they have more time to write. And once kids find a reason to write, they tend to pick up the mechanics slowly, organically and painlessly.

    Of course, kids who are avid writers may choose to dabble in a grammar program because they find it interesting!

    Just another perspective. We all have to choose what works best for our own kids–for some kids that might mean grammar texts; for others it might be something different. That’s the beauty of homeschooling!
    patricia’s latest post: still talking literature

  9. I heard Susan Wise Bauer speak about teaching K-4 writing recently and was completely inspired (and comforted) by what she had to say. I promptly bought her book Writing With Ease which deals with the topic but haven’t cracked the cover yet! She talked about what’s important to teach at this stage, and what isn’t, and how–and when–all the language arts pieces are supposed to come together in our children’s minds.
    We’re doing Rod and Staff for grammar and it’s working well so far. I was totally intimidated about teaching grammar when we started homeschooling, but it breaks it down into bite-size pieces, which both the student and teacher in my house can handle!
    Anne’s latest post: Introducing- The Definitive Guide to Pride and Prejudice on Film

    • Hi Anne,
      We have cracked our Writing with Ease, and for the most part have been pleased. We try to incorporate the principles while reading our “Story of the World” or “Aesop’s Fables”. We are also trying “Rod and Staff” grade 3 right now. My son is enjoying this more than the others we have tried (First Language Lessons 1&2 and Shurley).

  10. Patricia says:

    We too have used the Easy Grammer series of books and have loved them! My granddaughter is in school but her grammer program is so weak that her parents are having her do a few Easy Grammer worksheets everyday. My oldest son just finished the last book so I’ll have to check out the website and see what we can do next.

  11. We use Winston Grammar, and have for years. It seems to really work with my kids. You asked the question: “Do you have one piece of homeschooling curriculum that all your kids love?” I’m translating this to not be limited to grammar. If that is the case, I would say that our hands-down favorite, across the board is Character Sketches. It takes a character quality and explains four different aspects of that quality with examples from the world of nature and a specific character from the Bible. It is WONDERFUL! And the kids want it everyday. Here’s a link: http://store.iblp.org/products/C1/ It is so well done and the illustrations are gorgeous.
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  12. The variety of curriculum available and the number of moms willing to talk about their experiences with a particular curriculum, both positive and negative, is one of the things I LOVE about homeschooling. We tried Easy Grammar for a year before deciding it just wasn’t working for us. The boys loved the exercises – they were quick – but they weren’t retaining much at all, so we switched to another program that we found we just love… but that’s the truly wonderful thing, there was another program out there to switch to. Just as no two children learn exactly alike, no one curriculum can meet everyone’s needs, and there are so many quality options to choose from that a child doesn’t need to work through a program that isn’t clicking for them! I love homeschooling!

  13. I haven’t used it yet, but I’m planning to. I’m not sure when I will start it with my kids. I learned from Easy Grammar when I was in middle school and I remember really liking it. The way it was set up was easy to learn and fun to do.
    Suanna’s latest post: Steps

  14. Right now my two oldest are using Writing with Ease, which is pretty much the only structured thing my 7 y.o. is doing. I’ll be interested to look into Easy Grammar (have just visited the website) to see whether it would replace what we’re doing for next year. I think they may be ready for a change, even though WWE has generally been a positive experience for us …
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  15. I have used Daily Grams and LOVE it! My daughter enjoyed it too. I am glad to hear the you also like Easy Grammar. That is something I am planning to try right away.

    I love programs that are not difficult to implement. This is one of them.

    We have used a spelling program, which I like, but it is just so much work to actually do. It gets left by the wayside more often than not! But Daily Grams gets completed because its simple. I like that.
    Stacy @ Delighting in the Days’s latest post: When small things are BIG things

  16. I was planning on starting this, this year with my daughter who will be in third grade! We love Phonics Pathways and Explode the Code!

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