BJU Press's Writing and Grammar courses for grades 9 through 12 combine grammar with the development of writing and communication skills. The course for each level consists of a student worktext and a two-volume teacher edition. The homeschool kit for each level also includes tests and answer keys.
Teacher editions for each course have suggested schedules for completion in either one or two semesters. A literature course will take up the other semester's worth of time to satisfy the requirement for a full credit for an English course for your high school transcript.
Courses are designed to be taught, although students can complete most of their work independently. The first volume of the teacher edition is your primary teaching tool. It features reduced student pages with overprinted answers, and teaching information appears in the side and bottom margins. At the back are the suggested teaching schedules and a sentence diagramming key. Note that sentence diagramming is optional in these courses. Exercises with sentences appropriate for diagramming are marked with a symbol.
The second volume of each teacher edition has helpful extras: reproducible pretests, ESL helps, extra worksheets to reinforce particular topics, writing rubrics, and keys to the appropriate sheets. For the third edition of each course, all of this material is now on a Teacher's Toolkit CD-ROM that comes in the back of the single-volume teacher edition.
All four levels follow a similar format, although in the ninth grade course more time is spent on grammar and less on composition, with that balance gradually reversing up through twelfth grade. All courses have reference and study skills chapters that are not scheduled—it is up to you to determine if and when to use those chapters.
While all levels include composition work in every chapter, the ninth grade course puts composition skill lessons in the last chapter, chapter 15. These are unscheduled like the reference skills chapters, so you need to determine if and when to use them. The other three levels include chapters with composition lessons in the schedules. This does not mean that composition instruction is inadequate in ninth grade, but you will need to be aware that these lessons are unscheduled if you follow the plans in the teacher edition.
Each chapter other than the reference and study skills chapters begins with a literary excerpt that becomes the subject matter for grammar, usage, or composition instruction. Some exercises use biblical subject matter, and scriptural applications sometimes help students to apply biblical principles to ideas from the lessons.
All lessons other than those for study and reference skills either begin or conclude with a composition assignment. Chapter review quizzes are at the back of the student books, and their answer keys are in the teacher editions. You might find that the quizzes coupled with exercises and composition assignments provide you with adequate means to evaluate student progress without using the extra tests booklets.
Homeschoolers are likely to appreciate the additional notes in teacher editions that offer adaptations for lesson presentation for "one on one" situations. Those with ESL learners will also find lots of extra help in the teacher editions.
The courses incorporate inductive teaching strategies rather than simply presenting rules to be memorized and applied. But this is one aspect of the course that requires the presence of a teacher. If you have limited time for lesson presentation, you might be able to skip at least some of these presentations. However, you must then take extra care that students are really learning the material.
As with most language arts courses, grammar is reviewed over and over again at increasing levels of difficulty. If the pretest shows that your teen has already mastered some of the grammar and usage skills, you should skip through some of those exercises, using only those that are useful to sharpen or reinforce skills. If you do this, watch that you don't omit important composition lessons from the end of the chapters.
Composition instruction begins in ninth grade with paragraphs, then continues through various types of essays (including a research essay), poetry, responses to literature, and letter writing. Tenth grade adds writing assignments such as eyewitness reports, cause-and-effect essays, short stories, editorials, journaling, and a persuasive speech. Additional composition topics in eleventh grade include a research paper, folktales, letters to the editor, memoirs, interviews, narrative poetry, and hymns. Twelve grade focuses heavily upon essay writing and a research paper but also includes writing dramatic scenes, interior monologues, sonnets, and video reports.
These courses are all quite comprehensive with plenty of help for the teacher and a wide variety of interesting learning activities for students. The biggest problem might be finding time to use the wealth of material you'll want to use from each course and not overloading both student and teacher.
Note: Courses for grades 9, 10, and 11 are now in their third edition, while grade 12 remains the second edition. Changes between second and third editions thus far are so minor that you could still use teacher editions from the previous edition.