I had the pleasure of reviewing the Growing with Grammar, Grade 3 curriculum when it was first published, and I was contacted by the author, Tamela Davis, to review the Grade 4 set. She has this to say about her product: "I am a homeschooling mother of two. For several years I have been aware that homeschoolers around the world are in need of a thorough grammar program that can be used by all regardless of their background or beliefs. My husband and I began Growing with Grammar to fill that need in the homeschool community."
There are three parts to the set: a 285-page Student Manual, a Student Workbook, and an Answer Key. Honestly, I can't believe you get all of this for only $29.99 plus shipping. That is a bargain in my opinion. Again, like the Grade 3 kit, Grade 4 includes 105 lessons plus 32 review pages. This leaves some wiggle room for the parent to fit the study into a typical 180-day school year. Both the Student Workbook and Manual use spiral binding. This is a great feature because it allows the books to rest flat. The spiral binding is on the top of the Workbook, making it user-friendly for right- or left-handed children. I have a left-handed child, so I was very pleased to see the thoughtfulness of this design! The Student Manual is also spiral bound and is smaller for small hands!
The Grade 4 set covers new material not already presented in the Grade 3 curriculum. The eight sections in the Student Manual cover the following topics: Sentences, Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Adverbs, Prepositions, and Words & Punctuation. Diagramming begins in section one. I am very happy to see this again included in Growing with Grammar, because learning how to diagram a sentence is a very important technique that writers can use to be sure they are conveying their thoughts correctly. At the end of each section is a Review section that gives vocabulary and reviews the concepts that the child has been studying. Again, as in the Grade 3 curriculum, each of the Reviews covers four pages in the workbook. I recommend covering the Review during one week by having the child complete one page daily. Mom and child can celebrate finishing a section on Friday!
Other topics covered in the eight chapters include writing paragraphs, using the dictionary, using contractions, writing letters, and addressing envelopes. Numerous examples accompany each new concept. This is a very thorough program! There are a limited number of black and white pictures scattered throughout the lessons in the Manual. As the parent of a child with ADHD, I appreciated this aspect! My son is easily distracted if there is too much on the page, and we have had to avoid colorful, "exciting" books so that he can focus on the lesson at hand. However, if your child delights in the more colorful workbooks, he probably won't find this program as interesting.
Several things stand out to me when looking through the Workbook. In each exercise, there are notations referring to the lesson in the Manual so that the parent and/or child can review the material in the Manual if necessary. In addition, there is plenty of space for the child to write his answers. The exercises are not crammed together so that the child has to write the answers on another piece of paper (unless the parent wants to reuse the curriculum with another child, of course!). Finally, each Workbook exercise contains review of previous concepts that have been covered.
Growing with Grammar is very similar to Rod & Staff's curriculum but is free of the religious overview. Although I am a Christian, I do not like every single bit of my curriculum to have a religious tone to it. In addition, I think the price is more than reasonable and the product is composed of good quality materials. This is definitely another new product worth checking out!