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Fix-It! Grammar and Editing Made Easy With Classics Review by Charlotte Gochnauer

Pamela White
Institute for Excellence in Writing
8799 N. 387 Road
Locust Grove, OK 74352

We use grammar every day. When we speak, write, or read, grammar is used and even though it can be hard to grasp, it is such an important tool to understand. And the very title of this grammar curriculum is encouraging to homeschool moms: Fix-It! Grammar and Editing Made Easy with Classics.

This program offers a fun and simple way to teach grammar. Students are required to correct and edit sentences that, when put together, tell a classic story. There are five different stories to choose from; these include Tom Sawyer, Frog, Prince or Just Desserts, The Little Mermaid, The King and the Discommodious Pea, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Each story has a recommended grade level range; the program is meant for those in third through twelfth grades.  The one level that is unique from the others is the Tom Sawyer story, as each chapter focuses on different grammar challenges. Indentations, strong verbs, end marks, and commas are only a few of the areas covered.

Each story is meant to be done over 33 weeks, with students doing 4 sentences a week. The sentences are available to download on the website. Each day, your student will edit and correct one sentence. They will use proofing symbols to show the corrections and then re-write the sentence in a notebook. Each sentence also has a bolded word; this vocabulary word is to be looked up in a dictionary and the key words written in the provided space. Students who are familiar with IEW’s writing course may also underline the dress-ups in each sentence.

The teacher manual is organized by story and has all the sentences listed; conveniently with both the incorrect and the correct versions. The key words describing the vocabulary words are also listed, which makes correcting your child’s work an easy job. Another feature of the teacher manual is explanations of certain errors in each passage; I found that especially helpful in explaining the answers to my children!

I used this with my two older children who are in tenth grade and eighth grade. We chose to do the story The King and the Discommodious Pea, which is an adaptation of The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen. Four days a week they would independently edit a sentence, copy it into their notebooks, and look up and define the vocabulary word. At the end of the week we would all meet and go over the sentences. I liked that the teacher manual suggested reading aloud the sentences to catch mistakes; this is a great way to check the syntax. I would choose a few of the grammar skills to explain each week as well. And I will be honest and tell you that there were many times when I didn’t catch some of the mistakes, so I did appreciate the explanation in the manual.

I really appreciated this no-nonsense approach to grammar. Never once did I hear my children complain about doing this, and I was happy to see improvements in their editing within the first few weeks. I also love it that they are reading good quality literature, with strong sentences and deep language. This program does follow the Institute for Excellence in Writing format so dress-ups, “-ly” adverbs, and who/which clauses are taught. But don’t let that deter you if you are unfamiliar with their writing program; this book can be used either as a stand-alone grammar curriculum or as a complement to their writing system.

Overall, I am very excited to continue to use this great resource. Next year my younger daughter will be ready to start the first story, Tom Sawyer, and I am looking forward to teaching her grammar the fun way, made easy.

Product review by Charlotte Gochnauer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2013