Sonlight's own language arts curriculum uses a more integrated approach rather than a traditional approach with grammar drill and exercises. However, recognizing that some students need more direct instruction and practice, Sonlight worked with Avyx to create this supplemental, intensive grammar program for students in grades 4 through 7. The Grammar Ace course has three components: the instructor's manual, a student workbook, and the Schoolhouse Rock! Special 30th Anniversary Edition. You are given permission to reproduce student workbook pages for your immediate family, so you need to purchase only one set and no extra workbooks.
It might be used over a few months or a few years—it's up to you. It does not try to cover all the nuances of grammar but instead narrows study to the essentials that students use in most of their writing and encounter on standardized tests. Unlike most intensive grammar programs, Grammar Ace includes multisensory learning experiences. These include the animated grammar songs on the Schoolhouse Rock! DVD, “I Spy” and other games, scavenger hunts, silly sentence activities, and much more that will help children enjoy learning grammar. While grammar is the main event, composition skills get some attention with one lesson each on paragraphs, expository paragraphs, persuasive paragraphs, descriptive paragraphs, and narrative paragraphs, plus another on similes and metaphors.
Each lesson begins with brief teaching instructions with the core information to be taught. This is presented from the instructor's manual by the parent with some discussion. Each lesson introduction concludes with an “In a nutshell” summary that identifies the key points at a glance. Following this is an “application” section with activities that are to be done over the course of the next week. These include activity pages in the student workbook along with the more entertaining activities I mentioned above. You are welcome to pick and choose from among the activities those best for each child. Answers to workbook activities are included in the instructor's manual. There's a lighthearted touch to some of the workbook activities as well as the application suggestions.
A six-page appendix in the instructor's manual provides information on advanced grammar concepts such as brackets, colons, hyphens, and the ellipsis.
Schoolhouse Rock! features a section of grammar songs along with math, science, and other content area learning. Schoolhouse Rock! is definitely silly with its cartoon illustrations and creative lyrics. It should prove especially helpful for children who learn best with the information set to musical tunes, but most children enjoy it whether or not it's their ideal learning style. Note that the DVD plays only on Region 1 DVD players—U.S. and Canada.