Analytical GrammarMy eighth grader has been working through Analytical Grammar this year. We have tried several grammar programs over the years, but none of them actually seemed to teach only grammar. The list is long so I won't bore you with all of them, but I will say that I'm happy we decided to use Analytical Grammar (AG). It teaches strictly grammar and the students truly become masters of grammar. Gone are the days where students work on a chapter about nouns every. single. year. After they learn about nouns (again) they complete hundreds of sentences about nouns. every. single. year. All of that repetition gets monotonous (not to mention BORING!)
AG is not by any means a walk in the park. It does require brain work.
However the difference with AG is that the student learns one concept in unit 1 and then reviews it in unit 2. Each unit builds on the previous units. Once a student has passed all of the units in each season they have mastered the material. They don't need to keep doing a grammar worksheet every day for the rest of their school career about the already learned topics. Instead they do a review and reinforcement sheet once every 2 weeks to keep their skills fresh.
The AG student book is HUGE! Don't let that scare you. When my daughter saw the size of the student workbook, she was a little nervous. Then I told her she didn't have to compete the entire book in just 1 year. There are 3 seasons to AG. You can choose to work through 1 season each year, which is the recommended pace for middle school. Or you can choose to work through 2 seasons the first year and then the 3rd season the next year. If you have a high school student you can choose to work through all 3 seasons in 1 school year. For my daughter it was HUGE motivation to complete season 1 this year and then the next 2 seasons in the next 2 school years. She is now on unit 10 of season 1. She is very motivated to finish this season because after this season is complete she will move onto the Review and Reinforcement book which means completing one exercise every 2 weeks. Each review exercise is 2 pages long. I told her she can choose to do 1 page one week and the next page the next week, or she can do both pages in the same day. So she will just do review to keep those skills fresh. If you don't practice your knowledge periodically, you will forget.
I have been so impressed with how well this program is written. It is extremely thorough. It seems like every grammar topic is taught. Students learn how to parse sentences (label all nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, conjuctions, etc.) They also learn how to diagram the sentences. Each unit ends with a test. The tests are easy to grade and there are very specific helpful hints for grading and scoring the tests. The best part about this grammar program is that students are allowed to use their notes for the tests.
The absolutely most impressive part about this grammar program is the notebook that the students have at the end of the program. All of the worksheet and test pages can be discarded after they are completed leaving the students with an extremely comprehensive grammar reference book. These notes are very clear and well-written and include several helpful hints. I don't think they leave a single stone unturned about the grammar of the English language!
So far my daughter has been able to complete most of the work independently. Sometimes I sit by her just to be sure that she is understanding, but she usually completes the lesson without any additional help. The notes to the student are so thorough and make sense. Hints and processes are explained. The author of Analytical Grammar also has DVDs available for purchase if you are unsure of teaching the material on your own. So far I have felt that the student book and teacher manual have been help enough for us and we haven't used the DVDs.