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Saxon Grammar and Writing

Publisher: Saxon Publishers
Author: Christie Curtis and Mary Hake
Review last updated: July 2012

This is one of my 101 Top Picks!

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Saxon Grammar and Writing

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[Note: The complete review is in 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.]

Saxon Grammar and Writing uses the same educational methodology that has popularized the Saxon math books. Courses for grades five through eight are designed so that students can do much of their work independently. New concepts are taught in small increments. Also, continual review and building upon prior concepts in a spiral fashion helps students retain what they have learned.
There are three components for each level: student edition, student workbook, and teacher packet. Both the student edition and student workbook serve as worktexts with instruction, exercises, and assignments.
The student edition, the largest of the three books (with 107 to 112 lessons per volume) is the starting place. A brief introduction succinctly describes course content....At the top of the first page of each lesson is a box that says “Dictation or Journal Entry” followed by “Vocabulary”—a few words with definitions and sample sentences....They copy these on the first day they begin the next group of lessons and study them on remaining lesson days until they reach a test day. Then they write the passage out from oral dictation as part of testing. Spelling and punctuation are learned primarily through the dictation exercises.
Each student edition also has 100 journaling topics at the back....The bulk of the book is dedicated to instruction, examples, and exercises in grammar. Lessons follow a standard format of instruction accompanied by examples. This is followed by some practice exercises on the new concept and the vocabulary for that lesson. The review set is where students find the bulk of the exercises. These tackle previously-taught concepts....
This is a fairly comprehensive English program covering grammar, writing, spelling, punctuation, and vocabulary. Literature and reading are the only areas missing. Grammar instruction is very challenging and includes sentence diagramming. Students coming into this program in sixth through eighth grades may need to back up a level to keep from getting overwhelmed. The program does review and repeat through each level, so it is possible for a student to begin at sixth, seventh, or eighth grade level.
Saxon Grammar and Writing has a stronger composition component than many other comprehensive programs. In addition to the dictation and journal assignments, the student workbook focuses mostly upon composition skills....
Although the content is not Christian, it supports those with a Christian worldview.
Beginning after the first ten lessons in the student edition, there is a test after every five lessons....
All three components for each level are printed in black and white in soft cover books. There are no graphics other than those required for diagramming or other exercises. The weight and type of the paper in these books is close to newsprint quality, so these are definitely meant to be consumable books. Students can complete most of their exercises directly in the student edition, but occasionally they will need more space for such tasks as rewriting sentences or diagramming....
Saxon Grammar and Writing seems comparable to A Beka in the grammar department, but better on composition. It is both stronger and more challenging than Easy Grammar. And the inclusion of diagramming distinguishes it from many other options. The distinctive Saxon incremental teaching and review approach will also attract fans as well as put off those who prefer more concentrated coverage of each topic in each lesson. I suspect parents will like this program since students can complete most of their work on their own, and even with composition assignments, students learn to self-evaluate to a certain extent. The content appeals to a broad audience that might be either secular or religious.
Note: a fourth grade level is scheduled to be added to this series in 2013.

Pricing

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    Instant Key

    • Learning styles: especially good for Competent Carls and Perfect Paulas
      Suitable for:
      mostly independent work
      Audience:
      grades 5-8
      Need for parent/teacher instruction:
      generally low
      Prep time needed:
      none
      Teacher's manual:
      Teacher Packet is essential
      Educational philosophy:
      traditional, but uses a spiral approach with lots of practice and repetition
      Religious perspective:
      secular but "Christian friendly"

    Publisher's Info

    • Saxon Publishers

      HMH Supplemental Publishers
      181 Ballardvale St.
      P.O. Box 7050
      Wilmington, MA 01887
      800-289-4490
      email: greatservice@hmhpub.com
      www.saxonhomeschool.com