I have heard about Institute for Excellence in Writing from homeschooling friends for several years. IEW has gotten high marks from them, and with our newest TOS Review, Jackson and I learned why! Institute for Excellence in Writing provided Fix It! Grammar: Robin Hood (Book 2) for us to use and review. We received both the Teacher’s Manual Book 2 and the Student Book 2. IEW‘s Fix It! Grammar is designed to teach your children grammar painlessly, calmly and pleasantly, with a nice dose of literature on the side. We’ve now become IEW fans ourselves!
The philosophy behind Fix It! Grammar is simple. Give the student a story to read that includes errors in punctuation and grammar, a few sentences at a time. Then, as he reads the story, come alongside him and teach him, little by little, the foundations of grammar and punctuation usage. As he learns these, he corrects the errors in the story. Then, at the end of each week, the student rewrites the corrected sentences in his notebook. He is able to enjoy a great story and learn good grammar, all at the same time! We have used Fix It! Grammar for our grammar curriculum this fall; it has fit easily into our homeschool day and we’ve found it both effective and enjoyable. (How often can you say that about grammar?)
There are 6 books in the Fix It! Grammar collection, all of which utilize classic books or stories:
- Book 1, The Nose Tree (grades 3-12)
- Book 2, Robin Hood (grades 3-12)
- Book 3, Frog Prince, or Just Deserts (grades 6-12)
- Book 4, The Little Mermaid (grades 6-12)
- Book 5, Chanticleer (grades 9-12)
- Book 6, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
You can see that each of the Fix It! Grammar books covers a range of grades and ages. How do you discover which one is right for your child? IEW has provided a placement test, which will direct you to the book that’s appropriate for your child’s studies. The placement test revealed that Book 2, Robin Hood, was the place that Jackson (my 7th grader) should start. And according to our work in this book, it was exactly the right place for him!
The Robin Hood Teacher’s Manual Book 2 is a sturdy, spiral bound 8 1/2″ x 11″ book. Both the front and back covers are laminated, which is fantastic because you’ll be using the Teacher’s Manual every day as you teach. The book contains clear instructions to prepare you for teaching Fix It! Grammar as well as a 33-week lesson plan for the course.
In the Teacher’s Manual, the lessons are divided week by week. Each week’s lesson begins with a slightly minimized copy of the corresponding lesson in the Student Book, with teaching notes to the side of that. Then, there is a page for each lesson taught during that week; Day 1, Day 2, and so on. Each of these pages has the sentence to be corrected as well as the lessons and instructions the teacher is to give. There are 4 days of grammar “Fixes” each week, and on the fifth day, Student Rewrite day, the student rewrites the sentences he corrected that week into his notebook. The Teacher’s Manual provides everything you’ll need to teach, which makes the lessons extremely easy to present. The manual also includes the corrected versions of each day’s sentence, so that you can be sure that you don’t overlook anything as you check your student’s work.
In addition, the Teacher’s Manual includes the Fix It! Grammar Glossary at the manual’s end. This provides a very extensive grammar dictionary for the teacher’s use. It covers:
- Parts of speech
- Sentences, clauses and phrases
- Additional rules and concepts
- Stylistic techniques
The definitions and descriptions in this are more suited to the teacher than the student, but will help the teacher to understand each topic better and perhaps aid in her ability to teach each subject well.
Robin Hood Student Book 2
Like the Teacher’s Manual, the Student Book 2 is an 8 1/2″ x 11″ laminated spiral-bound book. It opens easily and can be placed flat on the table so that the student can see the entire lesson (each week’s lesson is printed on these facing pages).
Each week’s lesson starts with a section entitled “Learn It.” This section introduces the student to the parts of speech and punctuation that will be identified and learned throughout the week.
The students also have accompanying grammar cards (like flash cards) that are printed on card stock and included in the Student Book; students are instructed at the beginning of each week’s lesson to cut out the week’s cards and to keep them handy.
The grammar cards are printed on both sides, with the part of speech or punctuation marks on one side and full explanations of how they’re used on the flip side.Students can refer to these as they work on making the necessary corrections each day during their grammar “Fixes,” and can also review them from time to time to further their own understanding.
The next step, after reading the introduction to each week’s grammar work, is to complete each day’s grammar “Fixes.” The sentences for each work are divided up on the student’s page into Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4. The week’s possible corrections are listed at the top of that page in columns, so that the student remembers what to look for. Each day, he’ll read the sentence, refer to the corrections list at the top of the page, and make the necessary corrections, right there in his Student Book. As he does this, he’s also learning proofreading marks, since those are utilized to correct errors. There is also a vocabulary word printed in bold in each day’s sentence, for further vocabulary study. At the end of the Student Book, IEW has also included the same Fix It! Grammar Glossary that the Teacher’s Manual contains. Fix It! Grammar students create binders with a section for both Vocabulary (for the definitions of those daily bolded words) and Rewrites. As I mentioned earlier, at the end of each week, the student will rewrite the corrected sentences in his binder. This reinforces not only the corrections he’s made but what great writing looks like. And, at the end of the year he’ll also have a great story written in his binder!How did we use Fix It! Grammar?
The lessons are laid out for a 5-day week. On Monday, I introduced the grammar concepts for the week. On Monday through Thursday, Jackson corrected each sentence in his book and reviewed the grammar concepts with his grammar cards. We also reviewed the vocabulary words. However, we changed things up just a bit from the curriculum directions; rather than saving the rewrite for Friday Jackson just rewrote the corrected sentence immediately after correcting the sentence. That seemed to work best for us, flow-wise.
Would you believe that we completed each day’s work in 15 minutes….or less?
We have been very impressed with Fix It! Grammar. The curriculum simply and methodically teaches students what grammar and punctuation are and how they work by using great literature. The lessons progress at an excellent rate; the students work on several concepts each week and by the time the week’s lessons are concluded, there is real understanding and a great grasp of what has been taught. There is never any confusion because the grammar lessons are taught with real literature, so that grammar, which can sometimes be an abstract idea, becomes very real and tangible.
Here’s what Jackson says about his Fix It! Grammar experience:
“It is a very easy and fast-to-use grammar system that makes grammar easy for any age who uses this curriculum. I am happy about how it has been designed and it has been nice to use it.”
I recommend Fix It! Grammar to you if you are looking for a painless and enjoyable, yet highly effective way to teach grammar to your children. Visit Institute for Excellence in Writing, and browse their website and products. You can watch a free webinar that will give you more information on Fix It! Grammar. You can purchase Fix It! Grammar: Robin Hood (Book 2) directly from IEW. The Teacher’s Manual Book 2 is priced at $19 and the Student Book 2 costs $15.00. I really believe that you’ll find them wonderful resources for teaching grammar in your homeschool!