My children and I so thoroughly enjoyed Basic Cozy Grammar that I knew it was a given that we'd continue on with this curriculum. The last TOS review of Basic Cozy was in 2001 and the Intermediate Levels became available a few years later. It is definitely time to bring this product back into the forefront for our TOS readers. This is an absolutely delightful product and one you will enjoy using in your home.
The keyword for describing this curriculum is COZY! The author, Marie Rackham, takes us into her cottage on the Campbell River in Canada and uses her surroundings to teach the child about all the different elements of grammar. The Intermediate Levels pick up where Basic Cozy Grammar left off - they provide a more in-depth study of the topics covered in the Basic program. In addition, the Intermediate program is broken down into 2 thorough components - you need BOTH Levels 1 and 2 for a complete grammar program for ages 12 and up.
The programs come in both Video and DVD, but the videos are being phased out. If you are on a tight budget, you'll want to grab the video programs while you can because they are less expensive than the DVDs. At the time of this review, the video programs are $39.95 and there are 2 versions of the DVDs - the Premium kit and the "no-frills" version. The Premium kit contains the DVD and a printed workbook and retails for $109.95, while the "no-frills" version contains the DVD and the workbook on CD (with reproducible rights) for $59.95. That is a HUGE difference in price! I received a Premium Level 1 kit and a "no-frills" Level 2 kit for this review. Initially, I liked having all of the printing done for me so that I could just open the notebook and go. However, in going through the lessons with my children, I found that we were reviewing them orally using the worksheets. So, when it comes time for Level 2, I'll probably just gather the kids around the computer and we'll review the worksheets together! If I decide to print pages out, I can choose which ones. I don't believe it would cost me $50 to print out the entire workbook anyway.
Sitting down with the kids to study grammar is the highlight of my week. There's a moment of anticipation as we want to watch the lesson - what funny thing is Marie going to do today? Is she going to be down at the beach? Is she going to be drinking some tea and eating cookies? Will she be riding her exercise bike again or maybe taking us outdoors as she splits wood or recycles her trash? Marie uses everyday objects and situations to give the child a visual for each lesson. This helps me because I can refer back to the lesson easily and the children have a point of reference that they remember. Marie is so personable and her infectious giggle helps the children relax. Studying grammar is NOT boring or tedious with Marie around!
Intermediate Level 1 contains 31 lessons and 4 tests and covers nouns, pronouns, verbs, direct and indirect objects, compound subjects and objects, and a few other topics. Intermediate Level 2 has 26 lessons on gerunds, infinitives, participles, various types of phrases, diagramming, conjunctions, clauses and a review of adjectives and adverbs. We usually finish one to two lessons weekly depending upon the material being covered. We watch the DVD and go through the worksheet in the workbook. The lesson on DVD is duplicated in the workbook in case you need to run through it again with your child. Each worksheet contains five brief set of exercises, so you can have the child complete one set daily each day of the week. However, if my child can complete two to three exercises perfectly, I just move on to the next lesson. I do not let my children write on the worksheets already printed out for Level 1, but copy them instead.
The only weakness of the program may be that the exercises may not be enough review for a child having difficulty with a topic. In that case, you are going to have to go online to find further review and/or worksheets. In addition, there is no further review of each topic later in the book. Once you cover a topic, you just move on to the next one. This is where it is important to have the child take the tests to make sure they have understood the material covered. If not, the great thing is that you can just watch the lesson again! The answer keys to all of the worksheets and tests are also included.
The Cozy Grammar products are of high quality - the video/DVDs are digitally shot and mastered using stereo sound. The workbook is printed on heavy paper and they use top quality disks, too. If your child is a visual learner, definitely consider this curriculum. If you dread teaching grammar and want to make it fun and exciting for your family, then let Marie come into your home and do the teaching for you. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a tutor to come into your home each week for the price of this curriculum!