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Beowulf’s Grammar Review by Ashley KoulakJennifer Guest
We have jumped around a bit in our homeschool trying to find a grammar program that fit well. While they all did the job, it seemed like things were redundant and a bit boring. I felt like grammar was the last thing on my list for the day and we were just muddling through. I started to worry that the concepts we were covering weren’t getting absorbed by my kids. I stumbled upon Beowulf’s Grammar by complete accident. I had never heard of it before and wasn’t convinced that the $40 download would have everything I’d need for a complete elementary grammar program. As I read more about the program, the highlights and overview looked to be what we needed. The author, Jennifer Guest, aimed to make Language Arts fun, colorful and hands on.
Downloading the program was a breeze. The downloads come in 4 parts plus the optional Teacher’s Manual. As soon as I started to look through the download I could tell this was going to be different than anything else we had tried, and fun! So, I sent the files off to be printed and bound at a local print shop.
All together there are about 430 pages that encompass the 8 parts of speech, broken into 4 parts. They are presented by the one and only Beowulf and his family. Beowulf is the family dog from Guest’s childhood, but now he takes on an adorable cartoon look as he discovers grammar with the three children in his family, who are also homeschooled.
As we worked through the book, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the design of it. It’s colorful and the graphics are beautiful! Each concept was introduced simply, and in a way my kids could understand. With all the pictures, comics, and hand on activities my kids stayed engaged through the whole lesson. One of my favorite activities from the first part of the book was the “Noun Treasure Hunt.” My kids cut out a paper treasure box, designed by Jennifer, and throughout the day, wrote nouns they had encountered on the back of the “noun cards” that were part of the game. So simple and so effective! Nouns became something in their environment now, and not just an explanation from a book. Grammar is kept personable and relatable throughout all four parts of Beowulf’s Grammar.
I truly believe that learning experience made a difference for my kids. Later in the book your child will diagram sentences, mend broken bones with apostrophes, and make a coordinating conjunction fan! Every concept has a wonderfully thought out activity for it, that is so refreshing for this not so crafty homeschooler! We still seem to be waiting until other subjects are finished before we start Language Arts, but now we look forward to it! All the cutting and gluing makes it feel like craft time.
The book moves on in a very gentle way, slowly building and adding on to the previously taught concepts. No one was overwhelmed or frustrated that they didn’t understand something. The optional Teacher’s Manual has a 31-week schedule, so I didn’t have to go through and map out our year, it was done for me. On top of that there are enrichment activities to do with your children, as well as very clear and simple directions laid out in an easy to follow manner. All the answers to the workbooks are in the manual as well, in easy-to-find red ink. Beowulf’s Grammar is written for children in second through sixth grade and has been a great curriculum to use with my dyslexic daughter. With it being so hands on and activity based, it took the struggle out of grammar for her. I feel like my kids have really begun to understand grammar concepts with Beowulf’s Grammar and I feel like nothing has been left out. In fact, I was surprised at what was included in the workbooks. Things I don’t even remember learning about in grade school! There’s even a lesson and activity devoted to using “may I” and “can I.” That was so refreshing for me, a homeschool goal of ours is to teach our kids to speak well and use appropriate words. Beowulf’s Grammar is meek but mighty, and just plain fun! I highly recommend this program to any homeschool that feels like their Language Arts time needs a bit more fun.
-Product review by Ashley Koulak, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2018