Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
At the end of every year, I like to take a few minutes to evaluate our school year, my children’s academic progress, and test results. Then I try to make sure I have a plan to work on any areas of weakness. This year, I realized I needed to spend more time with my eighth-grade daughter on grammar. I had the opportunity to review The Language Mechanic from The Critical Thinking Co.™.
What is The Language Mechanic?
The Language Mechanic is a paperback grammar book with eleven different units. The theme of the book is “Tuning Up English with Logic.” The book is designed for fourth- seventh-grade students, but I felt it would be a good fit for my daughter. She knows how to write papers but often struggles with the grammar conventions, such as commas and other punctuation.
Each unit is divided into smaller lessons (ranging from two to ten lessons per unit) and a unit review. Each lesson has a short teaching component, including examples, logic, and rule. That is followed up with practice questions that can be done together, “your turn” questions for independent practice, and challenge questions.
Also included in the book are a glossary of important terms, an answer key, and a few pages of instruction for the parent/teacher.
What is Included?
- Run-Ons and Fragments
- Unnecessary Words
- Punctuation: ‘ ” ?!
- Punctuation: Commas
- Friendly Letter: Greeting and Closing
- Spelling and Vocabulary
How We Used The Language Mechanic
For younger students, the parent or teacher would spend a few minutes teaching each lesson, and then the student would independently work on the “your turn” questions. However, since my daughter is older and just needed extra help with grammar, she worked through the program independently.
She was able to read the lesson and then go through the practice problems before checking her answers. Each lesson took her about ten to fifteen minutes, and we worked through a few lessons each week. I chose not to make her work through the units where she had already shown proficiency. She will finish the other units throughout the summer to be more prepared for her high school writing courses.
What My Daughter Thought
“Even though everyone dislikes the word grammar, this curriculum is good. I understood it, and it was not too hard for me to work through. There were many problems for me to work through to help me fully understand and grasp what we were talking about, and it was easy to follow and figure out what it wanted me to do.” Elizabeth, Age 14
What I Thought
I loved the book’s layout because it was simple to understand and use. I appreciated that I could skip around and choose the areas of concern. Using it with an older child, I appreciated that she could do it independently, but even with a younger child, it would be easy for the parent. It is very open and go and would not require prep work.
I also really appreciated the logic portion of this book. Most grammar programs teach the rules but not the “why” or logic behind them, and I believe that it helps it make sense and stay with them better.
The Language Mechanic is a great way to help children work through standard grammar rules and improve their writing. I think that, in general, the fourth through seventh-grade recommendation is correct, but it could go up or down a little bit depending on the student’s readiness and understanding.
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