The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Grammar Songs DVD Review by April Elstrom and Karen Waide

Larry and Kathy Troxel
Audio Memory Publishing
(800) 365-7464
892 Peace Place
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

I have to confess, grammar isn't my strongest subject. Although I have an innate sense of what sounds right, I somehow missed a large amount of grammar instruction in my itinerant life as a military child. This became very apparent in tenth grade when I was the only student in my English class who had never diagrammed a sentence and wasn't sure what a preposition or participle was, or how to diagram them. I felt like I had been thrown into the ocean and I couldn't swim.

In my homeschool, I start teaching grammar formally when my children are reading chapter books with confidence – usually in fourth grade. Although our chosen curriculum builds slowly upon lessons already learned, my children are always confused when a new part of speech is introduced. They need help understanding how a direct object differs from an indirect object. I have to refresh my own memory every time we meet direct objects, indirect objects, irregular verbs, and helping verbs again.

Maybe it's just my kids, but they have a mental block when they're confused. They say that I open my mouth to help them understand, but all they hear is gibberish. It can be math, grammar, or science – but they only hear more confusing gibberish. If I can find another “voice” to help them, a second book, a different adult, an online video, it helps to break through their mental block.

The Grammar Songs DVD can help with that. The DVD contains short songs that explain the different parts of speech. As the song plays, the words appear on a solid-colored screen. There isn't any animation or illustrations to distract from the words. These tunes do stick in your mind. I've heard my ten year-old singing along, my five year-old humming along, and my 3 year-old loves to dance along. When I was listening to one song, my seven year-old asked me to play them all again.

The Grammar Songs vary in style, all with music recorded from an electric piano. Some of the songs are sung by adults, and some of the songs use children's vocals. As you move from one song to the next on the DVD, it almost always has a different singer or group of singers. This really helps with maintaining interest and separating the songs mentally as you listen and sing along.

Although we have listened to the entire DVD several times, that isn't the way we will typically use this DVD. Instead, we'll seek out the individual songs that explain the part of speech one of the kids is struggling with, or that is being introduced to younger students. The menu allows you to select individual songs, or choose to play all of them.

Now if you have a twelve year-old boy like mine, I can promise you that he will mock some of these songs. My solution for that is to introduce the songs well before they reach that stage. Hopefully, by the time your child is twelve, you'll simply have to sing a snippet of the song to re-activate his memory. Confusion solved, grammar lesson back on track, and pre-teen annoyed with Mom. Triple points for Mom, courtesy of Grammar Songs!

-Product review by April Elstrom, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2016

Another Review:

My girls are getting to the age where I would like to teach them grammar. This isn't something they have formally studied yet, and when the opportunity came up to review the Grammar Songs DVD, I thought it sounded like a great opportunity.

The Grammar Songs DVD is available from Audio Memory, which is the family business of homeschool mom, Kathy Troxel. They carry DVDs and CDs in many different subjects. The DVD we received is available for $20. You could also purchase the CD/workbook set, which we did not receive.

The DVD contains 19 catchy songs that teach the different parts of speech, plus punctuation. The DVD ends with a song about Greek and Latin prefixes and suffixes. All of these songs play along with lyrics that appear on screen in sync with the music. Children will learn about verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, apostrophes, capitals, and so much more. The songs range in length from around one minute, 14 seconds to three minutes, 40 seconds long, with the majority being close to two minutes long.

The majority of the songs will explain the part of speech/punctuation as a part of the song, along with sharing examples of what is being learned. For example, from the “Verb Song,”

“I'm running, jumping, singing- that's because I am a verb

I'm hopping, dancing, ringing- that's because I am a verb…

I'm a verb, verb, verb- I'm an action word.

So put me where the action is 'cause I'm an action word.”

One of the biggest exceptions are the Irregular Verb Drills, of which there are three. Each of these songs is just over three minutes long, and when played on the “Play all Songs” option, it sounds like a nine minute song of the four different tenses of irregular verbs. To tell you the truth, these are songs we will be skipping, because they are just too repetitive. I will say, most of the other songs have very catchy tunes.

Unfortunately, these DVDs haven't been able to keep the children's attention very well. They have gotten bored just reading along with the words on the screen. I think they would prefer to be able to listen to songs like this in the car with a CD. Don't get me wrong, I can see the benefits of having the words to the songs right on the screen so the children can be certain of what is being sung, especially if the child is a visual learner. My children just find it to be weird to have it as a DVD. On the other hand, I've caught my four year old singing the songs out of the blue, so they are definitely getting into their heads. Perhaps the mistake was mine, in having them “watching” the DVD all in one sitting. This is a DVD that may be better listened to in parts. I think we will be trying that in the future. 

- Product review by Karen Waide, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2016