Saturday, September 27, 2014

Review of IEW Fix It!

Fix It! Grammar Review

Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) is one of those names that every homeschooler knows. What you may not know is that they do more than the straight-up writing courses for which they are justifiably famous. It was years before I knew that, to my detriment, because their other products are stellar. For example, Therese (13) has been using Fix It! Grammar: Robin Hood [Book 2] (Student Book) while I have been using the companion Fix It! Grammar: Robin Hood [Book 2] (Teacher Book), and this one is a real find. I'm sorry to say that she was not thrilled when I told her that I would be asking for this review, but she went along with it and she has been pleased ever since (Mother knows best!). Fix It! Grammar brings together everything that she has been learning over the past few years and allows her to use/test that knowledge in a few short minutes per day. Actually, although she took the placement test and ended up in Book 2, she should have started with Book 3. Book 2 is much too easy. Having said that, her time with Book 2 has not been at all wasted and she has really been enjoying using it.

As usual, though, I am getting ahead of myself! The Fix It Grammar: Robin Hood student book is 33 weeks of work, coming in at 69 pages of comb bound workbook pages, with three pages of removable card stock flashcards (grammar/usage helps), and a 45 page glossary. All told, then, the book is a slender 115 or so pages. The Teacher's Manual is 256 pages long and is JAM PACKED with information on how to teach the grammar concepts your student will be practicing in the student book. Naturally you have the mirror of the student book page, but you have so much more than that! You are told exactly how to convey each concept to the student. You are told how to discuss the corrections. You are even told how to adjust the pacing to your student's needs. If you don't know much about grammar yourself, this is absolutely the course for you! You will learn everything you need to about how to teach your student without worrying that you are not doing it right or not doing enough. You can see samples of the amazing Teacher's Manual here.

Essentially, what a student does each day is make editorial corrections to one sentence in an ongoing passage (in the case of this book - about Robin Hood). After making those editorial corrections, he rewrites the sentence correctly in a notebook so that at the end of the course he has the correct version of a story (again, in this case Robin Hood). The daily time investment in the course will definitely vary with how proficient your student already is in grammar, but it is not really much at all. For us, it amounted to about 10-15 minutes maximum.

Therese (13) and Fit It! Grammar: Robin Hood

In retrospect, I should have gone with my instincts and gotten Book 3 or even Book 4 for Therese. I have been very intensive with grammar with her from the time she was quite young. IEW recommends the Fix It! series for grades 3 and up and indicates that even older children can start with Book 1, but in Therese's case we definitely should have gone up a couple of levels. I was wary of starting at a level that was too high with a program format (IEW, that is) that was unfamiliar to her, therefore alienating her affections, so to speak. To that end, I am glad that she did Book 2. She does like the program, and I definitely think that we will be sticking around for the higher level books. It is an easy way to review concepts already learned and still be able to continue doing regular grammar work.

Therese's thoughts on Fix It! Grammar: Robin Hood: "The actual things I have to identify are kind of easy for me, but I really like the way it is segmented out, although I think it could be slightly longer - maybe two or three sentences at a time. I like that by the end of the book I will have a finished copy of the story. The idea of the flashcards is a good one, but for me the content is below my current grammar level."

Fix It! Grammar has six different levels. The level Therese and I reviewed (Level 2) costs $15 for the Student Book and $19 for the Teacher's Manual. Other Crew members reviewed levels both higher and younger, though, so be sure to click on the banner below to read about their experiences.

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