As I mentioned in my review of The Grammar Ace (also offered by Sonlight), Sonlight’s own language arts curriculum uses a more integrated approach to grammar rather than a traditional approach with grammar drill and exercises. However, some students need more focused grammar instruction and review. The Grammar Ace provides a fairly comprehensive program that can be used for grades 4 through 7. But Sonlight also publishes Grammar 5 and Grammar 6, supplementary courses for those two grade levels that might be used after or in conjunction with The Grammar Ace. Grammar 5 and Grammar 6 work well with the Sonlight Core F and Core G packages (which include the Sonlight Language Arts) but are not dependent upon them. Those using other curricula than Sonlight can also use these Grammar courses. Options for scheduling are explained at the front of each Answer Guide, but all options suggest using two Grammar lessons per week.
Each course has 72 lessons or “activity sheets.” Activity sheets are either one or two pages in length. They each begin with a brief excerpt from a novel. The novels from which excerpts are drawn are not required reading within Sonlight’s program, but they are on recommended reading lists. Many of them have Christian subject matter. Each excerpt is used throughout the lesson as students identify (and mark up) grammatical elements such as subjects, predicates, prepositional phrases, compound words, verb tenses, and coordinating conjunctions. Lessons assume that students have already been introduced to the basics of grammar. While parents can use the grammar guide (included in each Answer Guide) to review concepts and terms, lessons move too quickly and combine too many concepts for students who do not already have foundational knowledge. Lessons cover grammar quite thoroughly and at a challenging level.
While these are not intended to be composition courses, students are required to write sentences and paragraphs in many of the lessons. For example, one lesson has a written activity that says, “The author wrote this paragraph [the literary excerpt] in the passive voice. Please rewrite the entire paragraph in an active voice” (Grammar 5, Sheet 65).
There are two books for each course: Activity Sheets and Answer Guide. The Answer Guide is much more than just an answer key. It also has essential information for instruction that parents need to provide to students, a grammar guide that is used to explain unfamiliar concepts, scheduling information, and a skills matrix showing what is taught when.
Courses occasionally require parents to review a concept or introduce new ones. Some students will require more instruction and review than others, so the amount of teaching required will vary. Other than that, students should be able to work through most lessons on their own. Time required will vary depending upon each student’s mastery of grammar. I can see where some students might find these lessons extremely challenging since they require a great deal of analysis and attention to detail. Other students will likely find them a much more interesting method for studying grammar than traditional workbooks.