We started out the year using Easy Grammar (2nd grade) and First Language Lessons, Level 3. FLL is designed to be used two or three times a week and the Easy Grammar 2nd grade book is set up more like the Daily Grams books for the other grades. I thought it would be a good fit using them together.
While we loved First Language Lessons, Vol. 1 & 2, the kids found the lessons in Vol. 3 to be rather long and tedious. When I pulled it out, I always got, “No! Not the green book!”
Easy Grammar, on the other hand, they actually enjoy. There are never any complaints and they both — even Josh — tell me that they like the sentence combining; it’s their favorite part. Brianna has said, since we began using Easy Grammar (four years ago, for her), that grammar is her favorite subject.
Did you read that? I have three kids who enjoy grammar. Seriously, is there any better endorsement for a grammar program?
My favorite part of Easy Grammar: Grade 2 is the systematic approach to grammar and the daily review of previously learned concepts. It starts out very basic and builds on what the students have learned. For example, when we first started, basically all that needed to be done to combine sentences was to add the word “and,” such as:
Ted likes to play ball.
Ted likes to watch TV.
Combined: Ted likes to play ball and watch TV.
Now the sentences require a little more thought:
Tim is holding a tennis racket.
His uncle and aunt gave it to him.
Combined: Tim is holding the tennis racket that his uncle and aunt gave him.
Well, I say that is my favorite part. Actually, my favorite thing about Easy Grammar: Grade 2 is probably that it’s designed to be a daily guided review. We do it together on the white board each day, which works out great because it gives me the opportunity to make sure that Josh and Megan are really grasping the concepts and to spend more time on those that they aren’t getting. It also allows me to go over those parts of speech definitions that we memorized with FLL, Level 1 & 2.
Brianna told me recently that she wished I had done that with her. I wish I had, too. I can see that using FLL, Level 1 & 2, followed by the daily, guided lessons in Easy Grammar 2 is giving my younger kids the foundation that they’ll need for the grammar concepts that they’ll learn going forward.
Once you get into Easy Grammar: Grade 3 and up, the focus shifts to more detailed grammar lessons, focusing on one topic per lesson. At that point, you’ll want to purchase Daily Grams for the same daily review found in the 2nd grade book. However, I still love the Easy Grammar approach to learning grammar. The first thing a student does in each of the books is memorize a list of prepositions. Once the prepositional phrases are eliminated, it is much easier for a student to find the subject, verb and other parts of speech.
While Easy Grammar: Grade 2 focuses on learning and applying basic grammar skills, First Language Lessons focuses on more complex memorization, diagramming sentences, dictation and copywork. Although time is spent on the concepts and application of grammar, there is a lot of written work and the lessons are rather long.
We may pick it back up in a year or two, because it does provide good, solid grammar instruction and covers some things that Easy Grammar doesn’t. However, for my 7 and 9 year-olds, First Language Lessons, Level 3 just proved to be too long and detailed at this stage in the game.
I will say, though, that First Language Lessons, Level 1 & 2 gave Josh and Megan a fantastic foundation on parts of speech. The memorization has served them well and has enhanced Easy Grammar: Grade 2. We frequently find ourselves reciting the definitions that the kids memorized last year, so, I highly recommend using FLL 1 & 2 for first grade. Although it’s designed for use in first and second grade, we were able to get through it in just over a year. I left out any reading and writing, since my kids weren’t strong in those areas yet. We did all the work orally and focused on the memorization and copywork.
Edited to add: If you’re just joining me, be sure to read the follow-up post.