Saturday, September 27, 2014

Review: IEW Fix-It! Grammar

Fix It! Grammar Review
Oh man, I was SO excited to see this up for review. I love all things Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), but had no idea they had a Grammar program. Wahooo! I was so pumped to be chosen to review Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Teacher Manual) - $19.00  and Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Student Book) - $15.00. 

My kids have been using IEW's writing program for the past 5 years and thriving with it. I love the way they break everything down and make it easy and fun to learn writing. Knowing how much I love their writing, I had high expectations for the Fix It! Grammar books, and they didn't let me down! 

There are 6 books in this series and they are geared for grades 3 through high school. I wanted to use this for Terrific T  (6th) and Princess P (4th) so did the placement test they provided here. I decided it would be best to just start at the beginning, with Book 1: The Nose Tree. I figured this way we would learn how the program works and not miss anything. I received the teacher's book and one student book. In the front of the teacher's guide, there is a page that has things you can download for free off the IEW site. One of those things is the student book if you are going to use it in your immediate family or classroom. Sweetness! I didn't have to order a second student book after all. I downloaded and printed the book, 3 hole punched it and put it in a binder for T to use and P used the spiral book we were sent. Now, depending on how much it costs you to print things, it might be cheaper to just order another student book, but I can print really cheaply on my printer so this was a great deal for our family.

In addition to the student and teacher books, each student needs a notebook. For T, since his book was in a binder, we just added two more sections to the back with loose leaf paper. P was using the spiral book so used a new spiral notebook for her two extra sections. You basically need the book, and then a section to rewrite the passages and a section for vocab.

After a quick and easy set up, we were ready to begin. Each lesson takes only 15 MINUTES A DAY. Love this! Our days are so full that I wasn't sure we could add in a long program but this fits in perfectly. each day, the kids edit a sentence using editing marks and label certain parts of speech. They look up one vocab word to add to their vocab section and copy the corrected sentence into their journal. Each sentence is in order and is writing out a longer story, which will be written in full by the end of the book. 

It's really that simple. There is no grading of the lessons as it is intended to be a teaching tool. We just worked through them together and corrected as we went. This it broken down into 4 days of assignments, which fits in great with our schedule too since we are out of the house one day a week. There is a handy Glossary in the back of the book that is wonderful. It explains everything they are learning about. This is great for teachers who aren't confident in grammar or familiar with IEW. There are also grammar cards in the student book. We cut these out and laminated and drilled on them just a few minutes a day. 

These short lessons are teaching the kids a variety of things, such as: capitalization, punctuation, homophones, grammar, parts of speech, vocab, copying and even giving them handwriting practice. So much in such a short time.  I like that it overlaps with the writing we are using from IEW too. The extra practice on who/which clauses and quality adjectives has been good reinforcement for the kids. We don't normally do a specific vocab time each day. This has been an easy way to add that in and get us talking about new words. They are looking them up in the dictionary and using context clues to decide the proper meaning. 

I like that both kids can do this together, even though they are different grades. They like that it doesn't take much time and the continuing story line is something they look forward to doing. I like the price - totally reasonable for what you are getting and especially love that you can download more for your other kiddos and not have to keep rebuying the workbooks.

Using this for the last month or so, I am extremely pleased with how well the kids are picking up the information in such a short chunk of time. It's easy to fit into our day and they have never complained about having to do it. We added it into our "Essentials" workbox and they never batted an eye. I think being familiar with IEW was helpful for them (they knew not to be scared of it) but I think anyone, even those who have never used their wonderful writing program, can jump right in and have great success with this. It is definitely a stand alone program and we are loving it. I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to add this into our schooling.

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