Grammar Made Easy: Writing a Step Above
by Connie Schenkelberg
For several years, I have been recommending Connie Schenkelberg’s Grammar Made Easy: Writing a Step Above grammar program as a homeschool grammar resource. I bought it years ago, and used it with my boys, and found it simple, intuitive, and streamlined. Grammar Made Easy is actually more than just a simple grammar book– it’s a strategy for improving a student’s reading, writing, and listening skills.
Why Do I Like Grammar Made Easy: Writing a Step Above?
What I liked about this resource was its practicality. I used it with all my boys at once (their ages span about 6 years). We’d sit around the dining room table and go through the scripted lesson, then practice the different sentence forms. I couldn’t believe that we were diagramming from the very first lesson! If your grammar education was as sketchy as mine was, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to start with Connie’s gentle linguistic approach. (If you want to know more about linguistic grammar, be sure to check out Connie’s explanation on the FAQ page.)
Busy home school moms will appreciate the fact that they can just pick up the book and start the lesson. There is no separate teacher’s manual that you’ll have to spend hours reading — the book starts with easy grammar exericises, including sentence diagramming. Skills build one on the other, so that you make steady progress without being overwhelmed with busywork. Answers to each exercise are found in the back of the book so that you can provide instant feedback on your student’s exercises.
Lessons are brief enough to be memorable (Charlotte Mason would definitely approve!), and my boys thought the cryptic chapter headings — things like “N/V” or “Aj N V” — were pretty cool. I liked the fact that we didn’t have to spend grueling hours at it, and by the time we worked through the book at a leisurely pace, the guys knew what they needed to know, and that was all the grammar study we ever had to do!
Cathy Duffy says:
“This ungraded manual can be used with student in junior and senior high (and perhaps even earlier)… It combines sentence patterns… and sentence combining to improve student composition skills… As students see the expanding, logical connections between words demonstrated in diagrams, they reinforce understanding of syntax…. Students who already know diagramming can still be challenged… these exercises will teach them to write in sentence patterns and combinations that they might never have tried before.”
From a review of the first edition in the Christian Home Educator’s Curriculum Manual; Junior/Senior High by Cathy Duffy (Grove Publishing, 2000).
When Should You Use Grammar Made Easy?
I think that middle school is the best time to use this book, but when we used it, I had one boy in elementary school, one in high school, and two in middle school (all homeschooled, of course). It worked just fine for all of them. We went through it together, and did one lesson per week.
Grammar Made Easy: Writing a Step Above was originally published in 1996 as Writing a Step Above: A Strategy for Improving Reading, Writing, and Listening Skills, because it provided such a strong, structural foundation for writing, but over the years, Connie discovered that many people didn’t realize that it was actually a grammar course. So when we published it as a “Made Easy Book” it made sense to add Grammar Made Easy to the title. We think the new title and subtitle say it all, and we hope you like it too!
Format: Which Will Work Best For Your Family?
Grammar Made Easy is available as either a print book (p-book) or an instantly downloadable e-book. The p-book version is spiral bound, and student exercise pages may be photocopied for use within your own immediate family. The e-book version is immediately downloadable, with student exercise pages that may be easily printed for each student in your family. To read more about how e-books work, CLICK HERE .
If you’d like to see a sample, I’ve posted the first lesson as PDF download (below). Take a look at it, and see for yourself how easy grammar can be!