A very unique English program that teaches grammar, language skills and writing using consistent, formulated techniques. If you like oral recitation, you'll love this program! And, at levels 1-8 the program is totally interactive. If you're a little uncertain of your English teaching skills or tend to be disorganized - fear no more. Nothing is left to chance. The teaching is totally scripted and lessons are very systematic. There aren't even any teacher preparation pages. Author Brenda Shurley suggests you stay one lesson ahead of your students and study it thoroughly before presenting. This is a good idea because, occasionally, you will need to plan ahead for materials for some of the activities.
Lessons are grouped 5 per chapter to be taught at the rate of one chapter per week. The course will take about 26 weeks to complete if you hold to this schedule. Lessons vary in length and will take from 20-50 minutes each day. There is some variety in lesson format, but each lesson has one or more of the following components: Jingle Time, Grammar Time, Skill Time, Study Time, Writing Time, Activity/Assignment Time, Practice Time, Vocabulary Time, Test Time, Check Time.
Jingle Time begins many of the lessons and has students recite all of the previously-taught jingles. All of these are printed in the first section of the student workbook for easy reference. In the Teacher's Manual, they appear only as introduced. You are supposed to lead the recitation, so it would be helpful to put a post-it note on these pages (you are not allowed to xerox any part of the student workbook). The Instructional CD contains an audio version of the jingles which you can also use as an accompaniment. The narrator has a very pleasant voice. Some of the jingles are actually sung, but most are recited. Some rhyme and have a definite beat, others are just recitations. Jingles are used to define the various parts of speech. When committed to memory, they will help your student remember each part of speech, how it functions, and how to identify it. The Preposition Jingle has you memorize 49 prepositions (though I must say it's not as catchy as our homeschool version which has 53 prepositions sung to the tune of "Joy to the World").
Grammar Time is spent analyzing sentence construction, identifying each part of speech in the sentence. New parts of speech are introduced and an Oral Question and Answer Flow orally picks apart sentences, identifying each part of speech. All of the script appears in the Teacher's Manual so you can lead the recitation. Sentences are classified as Introductory Sentences (sentences which will be used in the lesson to introduce new parts of speech) or Practice Sentences (which classify sentences using previously-learned parts of speech). These sentences must be written on the board or on notebook paper for your student. Optionally, you may purchase a Practice Booklet which contains them all. Students who have previously used the method can classify these Practice Sentences independently, then check their answers using the Practice CD.
Skill Time teaches a wide assortment of language and word skills like subject-verb agreement, homonyms, personal pronoun-antecedent agreement, regular vs. irregular verbs, similes and metaphors, editing, and so on.
Writing Time is sometimes an assignment to make a journal entry, while in other lessons, it is the entire lesson, teaching students to use specific forms in writing. Some of the writing forms introduced in Level 4, for example, are the three-point paragraph, point of view, time-ordering, persuasive essay, writing with dialogue, narrative writing, and descriptive writing. These are all done by strict formula with models and sometimes templates included.
Activity/Assignment Time gives instruction for an interesting Activity or Assignment that puts some of this learning into practice. It might be a writing assignment, Sentence Hopscotch, planting a Parts of Speech Garden, or a challenge - like going the rest of the day without using a personal pronoun in any of your conversation! In Level 4, students may write poems.
Practice Time refers students to an exercise to complete in the Practice Section of their workbook. Answers are in the Teacher's Manual. Two Vocabulary Times are included per chapter. These introduce four words - two antonyms, two synonyms - for students to define in their Vocabulary notebooks (aided by a dictionary or thesaurus) and use each in a written sentence.
Lesson 4 of almost every chapter has a Study Time, Test Time and Check Time. Students will study all of their vocabulary words in their Vocabulary Notebooks as well as any skills in the Practice Section they need to review. After taking the Chapter Test, you will go over it with them and discuss it (Check Time). Answers are found in the Teacher's Manual.
This program is a very easy English program to teach and will particularly appeal to parents wanting to use a classical approach of instruction. Every step is planned, every lesson scripted, every writing assignment taught and modeled with very specific instruction. There is virtually zero preparation time and all the audio and visual teaching aids are provided. Children will learn parts of speech and many grammar and usage skills thoroughly - largely through oral recitation. They will learn how to use a dictionary and thesaurus and increase their vocabularies. They will continually review and practice material until it is mastered.
Homeschool kits contain a voluminous Teacher's Manual, a student workbook and an Instructional CD. The Student Workbook consists of a Jingle section (with lyrics to all of the Jingles), Reference section (vocabulary words, charts, rules, checklists and any material that would be in a handbook for the course), Practice Section (exercises), and Test Section (Chapter Test forms). You will need one for each student, so they are sold separately, also.
Practice sets contain the Practice Booklet and Practice CDs (Level 8 does not include a Practice Booklet). The Practice CDs contain audio files of the sentences in the Practice booklet. [The Practice Booklet and CD are not necessary in order to complete the course but they do make it easier on the teacher relieving her of daily sentence-writing and allowing the student to work somewhat independently with the CD to classify and then check the sentences. The Practice Booklet can be used without the CD.]
Level 7 and 8 are