Who likes grammar? I didn’t when I was in school! It’s still not my favorite subject, by any means, but at least I’m starting to understand it better now. However, trying to teach my boys the parts of speech? Difficult to say the least! So, when GrammarPlanet was offered for review, I tentatively asked for it even though it wasn’t developed enough yet to even be able to find out how it worked. I almost hoped we wouldn’t get chosen for this review team, but we were, so Mr. Intellectual and Mr. Diligence have been using it, and so have I, as I try to stay a lesson or two ahead of them.
Every lesson has a video, in which the part of speech taught in this lesson is introduced. These videos are crucial; if you don’t watch them, you will not understand what you need to.
There are also printable notes for each lesson. These are very important, as well; we often refer to them while working through the lesson. After watching the video, the student moves on to the practice sentences. At a minimum you will have ten sentences; each time you make a mistake the program will automatically add one more sentence for you. If you make five errors, you will be locked out of the program until your teacher unlocks it—that gives the teacher (me, in our case!) a chance to see what is going on. I have ended up sitting beside Mr. Diligence each time he works with this, because he takes more time and is more careful with supervision. I can help him figure out what he’s getting wrong that way. The set of sentences in each lesson tells a more or less interesting story. One story was about the steepest residential street in the world, which is in Dunedin—a friend of ours had told our boys about this street (he worked on a house on it once), so they could really relate to it while doing the lesson! Each sentence is to be parsed—you are to identify the part of speech of each word. For the first lesson, you only have to identify common nouns; the second lesson adds proper nouns. The third lesson introduces adjectives and articles, and then pronouns are introduced in Lesson 4. After that it gets more complicated, as possessive pronouns and the prepositions are introduced. Lesson 6 begins requiring students to diagram sentences—and there are answer keys for each one!
And here is an answer key for a random sentence:
When we started using GrammarPlanet, I told my boys that they had to use it until I wrote the review, and then they could quit. Well, as we worked through it and the bugs were worked out of this brand-new program, I saw how well it was working, and last week I informed them that I had changed my mind. I want them to continue using it. The recommendation is to only spend 10-15 minutes per day with this program, to give it time to really soak into a student’s mind, so we’re going to do that. It meshes quite well with the grammar Mr. Diligent is already doing, and reinforces it. I’ve ended up glad to have been put on the team!
I have never used or even looked at Analytical Grammar, but I’m told that GrammarPlanet is set up the same way, only online. It is free for anyone to use; if you want an ad-free version there is a one-time fee to remove the ads. When you set up an account, your student’s progress will be saved, and you can look back at their history any time. (This is very helpful sometimes, when you need to figure out why a word is marked as it is!)