View Full Version : Urgent input needed: Grammar for an 8th grader

03-28-2010, 10:36 PM
Hi all, once again I need your help. My p.s. 8th grader son was in tears tonight because of his frustration with his English teacher who "isn't teaching them anything!" Apparently that lady just lets them read during her period and never teaches a lesson. I caught him in the middle of sending an anonymous email to his principal complaining about the teacher and had to explain why this wasn't a good idea.

Tomorrow he and I will sit down to map out a strategy. His preferred option would be to be switched to another class but I'm thinking this might not happen so he has agreed to do grammar work at home if that is indeed not an option.

I told him that I would research what workbooks are available for this grade level. Any recommendations? When I homeschooled him in 5th grade, we used "Easy Grammar" by Wanda Phillips but he is very sensitive to his grade level and sees this as his 5th grade workbook and does not want to use it again. He also does NOT want to do anything online or computer-based.


03-28-2010, 11:04 PM
What about using MCT (http://www.rfwp.com/series3.htm)? I've heard nothing but good things about this program. We are going to try it out next year. Based on the sample pages, the island level may seem little kiddish to your son because of the font, but the town and voyage levels look all right. I've read that you don't need to student book, just the teacher book and the practice books (http://www.rfwp.com/series82.htm#684). Based on the pictures on the website, they don't appear to have any grade level printed on the cover.

03-29-2010, 12:09 AM
Thanks! I looked at the website and it looks like the Town and Voyage Levels are 4-6 grade level. The Magic Lens would be for middle schoolers. I know what you're saying about not having a grade level on the cover though :) I like the sample pages that I saw or Magic Lens, but I think he probably needs a big refresher on parts of speech, sentence type and structure and agreement before he dwelves into classical literature examples. I might just go over those concepts with him and show him those sample pages for him to decide if that's something he would like. I like the explanations and notes that I saw.

03-29-2010, 12:27 AM
Oh, I got the impression from your original post that you wanted something at about the fifth grade level, but didn't want him to know that it was meant for a fifth grader. Anyway, if you end up using Magic Lens I'd be interested in your opinion on it even though that level of work is a ways off for us.

03-29-2010, 06:42 AM
Sure, crstarlette :)

03-29-2010, 10:31 AM
I started with Magic Lens for my 8th grader, plus Word within Word. He is pretty strong on grammar, but he got overwhelmed by the stuff. His writing was so awful, that I picked up the Paragraph Town book, which we've almost finished. Even tho it used cartoon ducks to make the point, and he already knew all of the words defined in the foot notes, it was not babyish at all, and the grammar portion (yes, they sneak in grammar reveiw in the writing book) was challenging but not beyond him. I expect to do a bunch of the voyage books next. Realize that the grade levels recommended for these books are for gifted students who have had a rigorous education. PLEASE read the sample pages on the website - these books are very advanced. My son IS gifted, but he'd been in specail ed classes for so long (and does panic when something isnt easy).

oh, also, aside from the practice book, the teacher manuals contain the entire student book, full size - so you can buy just the teacher manual and be fine.

03-29-2010, 12:09 PM
Thanks Cara, I did this this was for gifted students but didn't think of making a 'grade adjustment". If you asked my son if he is gifted, he'd swagger that he is, but he's not ;) I appreciate the feedback on Paragraph Town too because he was told by his teacher that he is a great writer but he hates writing. Consequently, he doesn't make any effort to practice because he thinks that whatever he writes will be "great"! I have told him that a great way to practice his grammar is to write but he is very opposed to that idea. Sigh. He's so defiant, I want to bang my head against the wall sometimes. See why our 5th grade homeschooling year was bad? He resisted every single thing that I put in front of him just because he was upset that he was being homeschooled.

Anyway, maybe if he and I look at those resources together, he will realize how writing and grammar go hand in hand and it doesn't have to be something bad or boring or terribly involved. I'm meeting with his teacher tomorrow morning to get to the bottom of the issue. I printed the syllabus for 8th grade Language Arts for our county and it looks like they would have done some grammar during the 1st nine weeks of the year and then concentrated on reading and writing, although he tells me that there is NO writing going on in the class either. If this is true, no wonder they graduate kids who are barely reading. Just read in the news today that Florida was passed over for the Race to the Top education grant too.

Cara, a question: I thought that I saw that they only sold teacher manuals to school addresses... did you experience any problems in buying the teacher manual?