Monday, October 28, 2013

Bridgeway English 1 and 2 (Grammar and Writing for Review/Remedial High School work)

As my daughter is heading towards her last year of high school next year, and my Middlest is starting next year, I have been wondering how we have done with our eclectic schooling when it comes to English skills. Because of this, I was pleased to be able to review Bridgeway Academy's English 1 (with a focus on grammar) with my 13 year old, and English 2 (focus on writing) with my Junior. 


I had my 8th grader use English 1, to see how his grammar understanding is at this point. There were some "Technicalities" that we discovered were "holes," and were able to "Patch them up."

This is a consumable book, so I went through the first few units and assigned dates to the pages, so that he could see exactly what needed to be done on what day. This way if he slacked off a day or two (Which happens occasionally, especially if mom has a sick day or two), he knew precisely how far he had to go to "catch up." :)

The book is intended to be self-instructional, with very little input required from mom or dad, which *is* part of the desired outcome for my kids~ independent learners are what I'm aiming for. 

What is covered: subject and predicate, fours types of sentences, sentence fragments, run-on sentences, compound sentences, noun functions, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and prepositional phrases, conjunctions, interjections, and grammar review.
My Middlest said that he like the way that it was laid out, that he was learning things, without running into things that were *too* challenging. I like that it is a good solid review of basic grammar for him *before* he hits high school. 

General Comments
I have to say that these courses are meant to be review or remedial for High School. They are out in a very methodical mastery manner, with each skill building on the next.

The book is divided into “Section” and Paks. Each Section has skill/topic boxes with instruction, followed by some activities (Workbook-style). At the end of the section there is a review, which the student should complete (without looking back). If there are any trouble spots, the student is prompted to check the instruction for that skill, correct their mistakes, and then recheck their answers, before continue to the next section.  After 3 Sections, there is a Self-Test, and then a final test for that PAK. 

The timing for our review worked out really well for my 11th grader, as she was preparing for the PSAT. While there is no actual "Writing" on the PSAT, there *are* questions pertaining to understanding writing. Using English 2 gave us a start in seeing exactly where she is in her writing skills/understanding the technicalities of grammatical composition. She isn't in need of remedial learning, but we have found this useful as a review/tool to assess where we are.
What is covered: clauses, sentence variety, subject/verb agreement, grammar and mechanics, writing skills, rules of capitalization, rules of punctuation, proofreading, editing, letter writing, business writing, study skills, critical thinking and reasoning, and learning about fact versus fiction. 

Eldest is appreciating this exercise, and she discovered a few little holes in her learning that have now been patched up. Again, I like the fact that this is mostly a self-paced, independent approach, which works well for her.

The Teacher answer key has the answers for *both* English 1 and 2. The pages are printed 2-up so that you open the book horizontally, rather than vertically. It is handy to have this to use as the teacher, saves a boatload of time. It is also suggested that the student might use the answer key on their own to find their mistakes in the Section Activities. At the same time, it is recommended that the teacher be the one to grade the tests. 

My only negative comment has to do with the correcting/scoring of the reviews and tests. The point system seemed to be rather haphazard, and somewhat more complicated than necessary. I am used to working from a total of 100 possible points. In this program, each section review and test seemed to have a random number of total possible points, with 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 points being assigned to "each answer." This in and of itself was confusing~ sometimes it said __ points for each blank, other times __ points for each answer, but sometimes there were multiple answers (a.b.c.d.) for each question... so I wasn't always entirely sure how to assign the points.  Clearly not a deal-breaker, but I would like to see this made more intuitive. 

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
In general I feel that both books give a fairly thorough review of foundational English grammar and writing basics. The exercises don't take an inordinate amount of time, and are self-learner driven. I would suggest using it in 8th grade, if possible, in order to help your students prepare for the PSAT/SAT/ACT tests in the high school years. A strong foundation in grammar and writing skills will certainly help your students in their quest for a higher test score. 

  • Ages: 7th-12th (Review or Remedial) 
  • Price: $23.33 for each book
Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say about these materials as well as online courses that Bridgeway Academy offers. I understand that they were a hit with my fellow crew members.  As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.


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