Learning Grammar the Right Way – Fix It! Grammar Review

Fix It! Grammar Review
The Institute for Excellence in Writing, or IEW, is a name that just about every homeschooler has heard. And their products? Well, most homeschoolers have at least tried them. Most homeschoolers hear the word “Grammar” and run the other way.  Is it a point on contention in your school? It has been in ours for some time. We find something that works and is interesting but it quickly loses its luster and we are back to — “ugg grammar.” We have been fans of the products from the Institute of Excellence in Writing for some time so I was happy to have the opportunity to review this great grammar product from IEW, Fix it! Grammar Book 1.

The Institute for Excellence in Writing has been a staple in many homeshcools for years. I was delighted to learn that they had developed a comprehensive grammar program and was eager to see how it would work for my 4th grader.  We did the easy placement test online and found that the best place to start was at the beginning of the program with their first book, Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree. Though I felt we might be repeating some lessons per se, knowing the quality of IEW products made me feel confident that repetition would be the best in this case to ensure we were able to take advantage of the entire program if it worked out for us — and it certainly is working out for us!Fix It! Grammar Review

What We Received

We received Fix it! Grammar: The Nose Tree as our product to review. It is Book 1 in the Fix it! Grammar series.  We received the Teachers Manual and Student Book to review. When we received it. The first order of business was to read through the Teacher’s Manual and get a feel for the purpose and the setup of the lessons. After reading through Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree Teacher’s Manual Book 1 I was ready to get started with my daughter.

The Lessons

The lessons are set up to be done several days a week in small increments. Each lessons lasts only about 15 minutes, depending upon your student, and build upon each other. The lessons are laid out in sections.
Day 1 – LEARN IT/FIX IT – This day the student learns the grammar lesson, reading over the explanation and learning a new grammar rule. Then the student can find the correlating grammar card in the back of the book. You can cut these out to review. My daughter wanted them in the book so she just found them in the back and then referred to it in the back of the book. But if you have a grammar folder you could keep them in there. Then student works through the sentence provided (one sentence each day) and marks things that they are asked to mark such as nouns, homophones, punctuation, etc. that are learned in the lessons. The student looks up any bolded vocabulary words. Then the teacher and student go over the sentence together and ensure everything is marked correctly. Then the student copies the CORRECT sentence into his or her notebook. DONE. Pretty easy, huh?
Day 2 - The student reads the sentence with you and marks it as described. He or she looks up any bolded words. After the sentence is gone over and determined to be correctly marked, the student copies the sentence correctly into their grammar notebook. DONE.
Day 3 – Repeat day 1 and 2. Don’t worry teachers, the definitions of the vocabulary words and the grammar rules to be mentioned and reviewed with the student are in the Teacher’s Guide. Done.
Day 4 – Repeat one more sentence, one more vocabulary word, one more rewrite. The completed paragraph is available in the teachers manual. You child has started their story.
Each week is a 4 day week and the lessons are short and sweet. And you even get handwriting and copywork practice – BONUS!
The Teacher’s Manual also has a glossary in the back to help you with grammar rules you need to refer to throughout the lessons. This is helpful if you are having trouble remembering how to explain a particular rule, which may not be a huge deal for you when you are going over nouns but in later books I’m better it will be great when you are going over present past participles and things like that.
We really enjoyed the lessons. The set up is easy to understand and, once your student figures out what the daily process is and how to go through the lessons, its very easy for them to do on their own, either you checking and going over rules and things that are missed. My daughter didn’t feel it was so daunting since she was able to complete the lessons in a minimal time slot and didn’t mind doing grammar. She LOVED that she was writing a story and sometimes wanted to move forward to see what was next, which I thought was nice motivation.  Overall, I thought the product was of the high caliber that I have come to know from IEW and look forward to continuing to use it in our homeschool. I would recommend this program to anyone wanting to include grammar lessons in their school day, as the lessons were easy to use, not time consuming, and interesting as well as chalk full of important grammar rules.
The Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Fix It! Grammar program is recommended for approximately 3rd grade and up. There is an excellent placement test online to help you determine where you need to begin in the series if you have older students who have studies grammar.  There are 6 books in the Fix it! Grammar series at this time.  Fix it! Grammar is available for purchase on the IEW website:
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Word of the Week – V is for Vivid

Word_of_the_Week button

As I continue with Blogging Through the Alphabet with some of our homeschool friends, we come to the letter V.

I love this word! I think its a great word and love to use it in a sentence. This will be an easy one for the kids because they hear me use it all the time.

My children are elementary age so these words are aimed at developing my elementary school aged kids vocabulary but are generally words that I think are interesting, unique or something kids should know.

This weeks Blogging Through the Alphabet – Word of the Week begins with V.

V is for Vivid

Definition: very clear, bright detailed; producing distinct mental image

Used in a sentence:

The painting had some very vivid colors used in the sunrise.

Charles told his mom the vivid details of his dream.

How we worked with the word:

  • Write the word and its definition in our vocabulary notebook.
  • Read the definition out loud.
  • Write two sentences using the word properly.
  • Use the word each day in some manner to try and make the use of the word part of our vocabulary.

The kids like to see who can remember to use the word of the week at breakfast each morning. We are now giving points each day for using it in a sentence properly each day. Whoever gets the most points gets to choose the weekend movie.

Do you use vocabulary words in your school? What do you like to do with developing vocabulary for your children?

Read more Blogging Through the Alphabet posts by clicking the below button.

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Getting Organized with a Student Planner – My Student Logbook Review

My Student Logbook Review
Organization! A word that seems to plague our house. Something I’m always working toward and never truly achieving – do you feel that way? I am ALWAYS looking for a better way to stay on task and organized. Enter My Student Logbook. We were given the opportunity to review the hard copy, spiral-bound dated My Student Logbook this month and I am excited to report that we may have found something that is working for us.

My Student Logbooks are simple to use and easy to set up student planners designed for 2nd graders and up.  They have a lovely assortment of covers when you purchase the spiral-bound planner – we chose Butterflies as our cover. But there are some great choices for boys too like dinosaurs and jets as well as some any gender ones like planetarium and jungle.  My daughter liked the butterfly cover and liked that she had her own planner from the minute we got it out to use.
20140919_091714It takes a little bit to set up for initial use but the directions are easy to understand and there is even a video on their website to assist if you are more of a visual learner (or just don’t like to read directions). You have the option to purchase a dated planner or a blank, undated planner. We chose the dated planner. There are several options available when purchasing the My Student Logbook: you can choose predated August 1 through July 31, seven days a week labeled Monday through Sunday, predated  January 1 through December 31 with seven dates a week labeled Monday through Sunday or you can choose undated with seven columns for you to customize any way you prefer.
After following the easy to understand directions we set up our planner and got to work.

My Student Logbook Review

I LOVE checklist. There are few things as satisfying as a list completed with all the items checked off as complete. That is one of the appeal of this planner to me. What I learned is that my daughter does not mind an unchecked box but….that being said, the planner was great for her to use. She felt independent and we didn’t have any misunderstanding on what needed to be completed each day. This is always something that has been an issue for us so having everything in one place made this simple.


Though My Student Logbook are intended for school use, really any task can be added to a students Logbook. Therefore, I chose to weekly chores to the bottom of our Logbook so that these things were checked off as well. That way, if the question of whether she could head out to play was asked, I could simply ask if everything was checked off in her planner. This helped us as well.

One of the cool features of the planner was that, in addition to the checklist on top where you could right the task or subject and the time, the flap easily lifts up for notes. How awesome to be able to write notes for each subject like how many chapters to read or which lesson to complete. This caused an issue at first because my daughter would forget to lift the flap but once she got in the habit, it was great.
20140919_101008In addition to the planning pages, there are pages for All About Me, Prayers and Goals, Bible Verses Memorized, Events, project, Field Trips, Presentation, Activities,  Test Records, and Books Read. There is even a section on how to create high school transcripts using the My Student Logbook
You can purchase My Student Logbook in hard copy of pdf file formats.  The hard copy My Student Logbooks are $15 and you have your choice of cover design and the dated or undated options previously mentioned; it comes with a clear plastic cover and backing making it fairly durable. You can purchase the pdf file for $10 for a single use license, or $20 for a family use license.
Overall we loved the My Student Logbook and plan to continue to organize our day with it. I look forward to continuing to keep us organized with this great student planner.
Be sure to check out the My Student Logbook website or visit them on Facebook or YouTube.
Click below to read how the other TOS Crew members used their My Student Logbook.

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