Grammar is one of those areas many homeschooling moms find intimidating. I’m a self-proclaimed word-nerd so it grammar doesn’t intimidate me personally, but teaching it can get a little more complicated. We haven’t had very many bumps along the way as my girls love words too, but I always love reviewing new-to-us grammar products! GrammarPlanet is the brain-child of the same family who gave us Analytical Grammar, a much loved product among homeschoolers everywhere! The author dreamed of having an online resource available for everyone regardless of economic background or school setting. She has sadly passed away, but her family has worked to make this dream a reality. We eagerly jumped in with gusto to check out this new resource!
The interface of the program is easy to use and follow. Students are first instructed in a portion of grammar. They learn what a noun, pronoun, very, etc. is and how it functions in the setting of the sentence. Then students are given example sentences and must assign labels to the words. They are only asked to assign those labels which they have already learned. After a student finished the lesson they may move on if they succeed in completing a certain percentage correct. If not, they should redo the lesson and master the concept before moving forward.
I love that as the parent/teacher I can see exactly what mistakes my daughters made. This helps me be able to re-instruct or further explain areas which may have been confusing. One of the more confusing areas for my daughters was learning the same word can be two different parts of speech depending on how it is used in a sentence. For instance, house is usually assigned as a noun, but when used in the phrase house arrest, house is then an adjective. In the same way arrest is most often thought of as a verb, but in this same example it is a noun. This was a harder concept for my Grace, who is eight, to fully grasp. One of the things I did not like as much was in a noun phrase, specifically with proper nouns, if one did not choose the correct direction for the dashes to indicate the beginning or end of the phrase, it was counted incorrect. In my thinking this does not exactly show incorrectness, just a misunderstanding of how the program works.
This is usually my complaint with most online or computer-based programs. It is impossible for there to be fully fluid dynamic learning because computers cannot be intuitive enough to know what the intent of the student is. A computer can only assess right or wrong based on a specific answer. With my girls, they felt a little discouraged to see something was marked incorrect for this reason.
|This is a portion of Rose’s practice in progress.|
My children have had deep grammar instruction from 2nd grade and moving forward. My oldest daughter has placed at a college writing level based on her assessment testing last year. She struggled quite a bit, but the struggle was very good for her because she learned how words can be used differently and really analyzed the sentences more accurately as she progressed. My younger two just felt discouraged. They did not want to use it very much.
Based on this and my own use of the program, I think it would be excellent for high schoolers who have not had any grammar instruction (not uncommon in the homeschooling community) or middle schoolers who have had deeper instruction and this can work as a solid review. I also think it would be excellent for adults who may be going back to school or just want to improve their writing skills and need a refresher course. The complexity is a little much for elementary students in my opinion, even word nerds like us! Check out what my Crewmates had to say!