I had the pleasure of reviewing the Growing with Grammar Grade 3 curriculum when it was first published and 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. As in the Grade 3 kit, there are 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 both right- and 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.
This set covers new material not already presented in the Grade 3 curriculum. The eight sections in the Grade 4 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 included, because learning how to diagram a sentence is a very important technique that can help writers 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 the child has been studying. Again, as in the Grade 3 curriculum, each Review takes up 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 Grade 4 include writing paragraphs, using the dictionary, diagramming, writing letters, addressing envelopes, and using contractions and commas. 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 appreciate that! 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 or she probably won't find this program as interesting.
Several things stand out to me as I look through the Workbook. Each exercise has notations pointing back to the corresponding lesson in the Manual so that the parent and/or child can review the material if necessary. Also, 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 includes review of concepts previously covered.
Growing with Grammar is similar to Rod & Staff's curriculum but is free of the religious overtone. Although I am a Christian, I do not like every single bit of my curriculum to have a religious tone. In addition, I think the price is more than reasonable, and the product is composed of quality materials. This is definitely a product worth checking out!