As someone who loves to read and write, language arts are very important to me. I want my children to have an understanding and more importantly, an appreciation for these things. At the same time I know that there are some topics that no matter how much we love them, we just cannot teach them. This is how I feel about language arts and so I was quite pleased to have the opportunity to review the Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 set from Hake Publishing. We received a softcover physical copy of the Grammar and Writing 3 Textbook with Daily Review, a Writing Workbook, and a Teacher Guide with answer keys and tests.
This was designed with the same methods in place as Saxon Math. Now we had never used Saxon math ourselves; after hearing so many good things about their math program though, we were eager to explore their methods for writing and grammar (that’s what we really need right now too!) If you want to see in more detail what is covered you can see the Scope and Sequence for Grade 3 here.
I was so pleased to see, when these books arrived, that everything is laid out. exactly how it is meant to be. There is a wonderful list of recommendations found on the first pages of the teacher’s guide. Everything you need to know, in order to be able to complete this successfully. Can I be honest though and say, my struggle with this came when I read “set a daily routine”. We have kind of been unschooling for awhile now and so while we do require some form of reading, writing and math each day – I wasn’t completely sure how to introduce this or if my kids would even really participate. Let’s be totally transparent here: how hard is it to teach and show a love of learning with stubborn and angry faces glaring at you from across the table? It does happen!
We have quite a bit going on this summer; some free programming and coding, photography and drumming….I admit it. I worry about having to fit one more thing into our days. but I also feel so strongly about language arts. These are things that are of such value to our children, especially as they get older. My oldest son has taken part in speech and debate groups with a local homeschool program; my younger son though loves to read and write but only sporadically. So there are just a lot of things that I can see him needing, that I was sure he could get out of this if we could just get him to give it a try. Thankfully this is something that clearly has a beginning and an end so he was open to doing one lesson with me each day.
What do I love most? There is a script for me to read as we work together on each lesson. It is all laid out so completely, there is no struggle in teaching any of the 100+ lessons within this book. My younger really liked learning bits and pieces of latin as we went along. In the first lesson there was information on the word “vocabulary.” The latin root, anim, meaning breath; animal = living thing that breathes. Animation = makes drawings look like they are alive, moving. Since this very first, simple little lesson, in the very beginning, he has been ever more curious about what this word means, why this word is assigned to that thing. What a fun learning experience we are both having with this!
I have to back up for a second here. So each lesson consists of: speaking & listening and vocabulary. Following these two pieces of the lesson, we take a moment to write some sentences of our own using the vocabulary words that we learned.
From there, we move on to a lesson in grammar completing some examples, some practice questions and then a review set. There is also an element of journalling to this program (I love it) to encourage our kiddos to do some writing about a specific topic after they complete the day’s lesson. One day it was writing about an animal with fur; another day it was about an instrument they play or would like to play.
The fact that the lessons were short, and simple,was definitely something that made my younger son willing to engage in something new, at the table, when we are in the midst of summertime. Even though he isn’t really a fan of workbooks and textbooks, he was quite a good sport when it came to doing daily lessons this way. He especially enjoyed the writing exercises. Having a chance to write freely (this really surprised me) about specific things; Both creating and identifying things within sentences he felt was a very fun way to learn how to identify the pieces that are needed to have a complete sentence. And while he really appreciated the fun ways that his work was laid out each day, I really appreciated the simplicity and ease of it all for mysself because if I am honest here, the more I have to do to prepare for a lesson each day, the less likely I really am to give myself to it completely. Not fair to my kids I know but with so many things going on; with a focus on doing and being, especially when we have great weather (here in Wisconsin that can be a real rarity) we want to enjoy our days as much as we can. Active and intentional. That is our goal this summer. A material like this makes that all the more possible. So I can still encourage and engage with my children in those things that are academically important without giving up too much of the free time we have right now. We are definitely going to continue using this; I may even need to get an additional workbook and use this with my older son to help fill in some of those gaps which I know he also has, in this area. One thing is certain though, since we have begun using this my younger son has begun to enjoy and desire to write much more than before. Anything which has that sort of effect on a child of mine is a winner in my book!