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Straight Forward Advanced English Series Troublesome Grammar Review by Missica Pullen

Dr. Nan DeVicent-Hayes
Garlic Press
1 (800) 789-0554
899 South College Mall Road, Suite 381
Bloomington, IN 47401

Recently I was given the chance to review Straight Forward Advanced English Series workbook, “Troublesome Grammar.” “Troublesome Grammar” is a 118 page workbook that covers all things “grammar” in 13 chapters for $13.95. This workbook covers topics such as Agreement, regular and irregular verbs, modifiers, active and passive voice, articles, comparative forms, word usage, and more. There is an answer key and a cumulative exam at the end.

This book is really intended as a review only sort of workbook, and not a stand-alone curriculum. The sections average about 4 pages each. The topic is introduced with a thorough explanation, then there are drills that follow. In the margins there is a “General Rule” and “Rule Application” subtexts. My son is entering the 5th grade, and he found difficulty following along in the book on his own. This could be due to his age, or it could be due to Autism. I had to help him navigate the page, explain the material, and then focus on the drills. While much of the material of the book may be suitable for students in the 3rd-6th grade range, the style and writing of the book is much more advanced than that. I could easily see students in high school using this, especially to help with areas of grammar where they may have a weakness. As a result of the advanced style of this book, our mode of use will vary from an older student. I would go over the topic myself, then allow him to follow along as I explained it in a manner that is more on his level. We spend a few days, to even a week or longer, on each section so that I know he has it mastered.

This is not just a homeschool workbook. It could also be used in a public school classroom. Actually, it reminds me a great deal of some of the worksheets I did in upper middle school to high school as a public school student.

Even though I feel this is advanced enough for older students, that's not to say younger students like my son would not benefit from it. The front cover of the workbook does state, “For students and learners of all ages,” so the material itself is not too advanced for younger students. The margin text is really nice because it explains the rules of grammar at each step of the way. Allowing the student to learn and understand these rules at a younger age would benefit him or her in later years.

Overall, I personally like this workbook. It is a bit above my son's level, but I can tone it down for him. That may not be the case for everyone, so I would say this is best for the middle school and high school group, but not exclusively for that age range. This may not be a great fit for those on the Autism spectrum, like my son. The pages are really full of material, and this could be seen as overwhelming to students who are easily stressed when they see a lot of information in a small space. This is very much “school” like, so if you do not like that sort of thing, this may not be the workbook for you. There is a strict copyright, and I have found nothing in the book that indicates you may make copies. So that is something to think about if you have multiple students. I also wish there was a bit more color to break the monotony of the monochrome a bit. With that said, $13.95 is a pretty good price for such a thick workbook that is jam-packed with material. I probably would not buy this at this time for my son, but I definitely could see myself making this purchase in the future for him as it is written in such a way that I feel would be a nice challenge for him, while still providing ample explanations and rules to follow to help students of any age and ability to master the concepts of grammar.

—Product Review by Missica Pullen, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2015