Wednesday, April 14, 2010

5th Grade Grammar Plans - woo hoo!

Warning #1: This might be the most boring blog post ever.

Warning #2: This post contains way too many abbreviations.

How's that for an intro?

Boring or not, I spent a few precious hours putting together next year's grammar plans for Ryne, and you just never know who might find this information useful. This post does have a limited target audience, however. If you have a child transitioning from
First Language Lessons 4 to Rod & Staff English 5, read on! Otherwise, you have permission to skip this post. : )

Ryne has done amazingly well with the First Language Lessons series. He enjoys it and has really mastered the material. Sometimes when we read for history or another subject, he will point out prepositional phrases or other things he's learned from his grammar studies. And he loves sentence diagramming almost as much as his mother!

I would love for him to continue with the series, but this is the end of the road for FLL. Apparently Jessie Wise is ignoring pleas from homeschool moms everywhere to continue the series past 4th grade. Therefore, a frequent topic on
The Well-Trained Mind forums is what to do after FLL 4. Rod and Staff is a common choice since that was the series recommended by TWTM before FLL came out. Anna never used FLL because there was only FLL 1 & 2 when she started homeschooling in 3rd grade. She did very well with R & S, and has commented often this year that she misses R & S (her school uses A Beka 7 for 6th grade). I always loved R & S too, so I'm happy to be returning to it.

But what if we could have the best of both worlds? I set out to do just that. Well, first I searched in vain all over the internet to see if someone else had already done it. Since that didn't work out, and writing grammar plans seemed a lot more fun than finishing our tax return, I did it myself.

FLL's approach is four-fold: 1) Memorization (poetry and rules/definitions), 2) Copywork and Dictation, 3) Summary Exercises (Narration), 4) Grammar. For us, copywork, narration and dictation are covered in Writing With Ease (which we just started this year). But I knew if I didn't come up with a plan for poetry, it would never get done. So I came up with a grammar schedule that includes memorizing and reviewing six poems. My poetry selections come from the books The Harp and Laurel Wreath or A Family of Poems. I tried to find poems that would appeal to Ryne, yet offer him enough challenge. I scheduled the poems to be introduced at the end of each chapter, with the intention that it would take an entire chapter to fully memorize each poem. There are a few chapters that are devoted to poem review -- just pick one poem to review each day.

Probably the biggest strength of FLL is that the student memorizes several definitions, chants, and songs (if you have the CD) that become the building blocks of English grammar. It would be such a waste to forget it all, so in my schedule I made notes of when to review certain definitions. The child who has finished FLL 3 or 4 should have these definitions and chants down pat, so it should just take a few lessons of review to keep it fresh. The memory work can be found at the back of FLL 4 (make a copy before you sell your TM!).

Since I use WWE for writing, I've omitted the R & S writing lessons from my plans. For outlining I use Beginning Outlining and Outlining by Remedia Publications. I also omitted the lessons on poetry (even Anna found them difficult last year and I think it can wait until later grades -- I'm eyeing The Art of Poetry by Classical Academic Press). Oh, and I omitted some of the R & S lessons on telephone and conversation skills because I think there are more natural ways of teaching a child those skills. Any of these lessons could easily be added back into the plans. What I did include, that could easily be dropped, are tests. I happen to like the tests, but they are not necessary. The worksheets are also unnecessary, but I think my son will find them easier than having to write out all his answers for every lesson. The whole goal of creating these plans was to give him a nice transition between programs. FLL 3 and 4 had easy-to-use worksheets, so using some worksheets in R & S will hopefully make the transition easier. The lessons that have accompanying worksheets are marked with an asterisk.

My plan has 111 lessons, which comes out to a little more than three days a week for a 36 week school year. Very doable. If anyone is still reading this, please feel free to download a copy and tweak it to fit your needs.

5th Grade Grammar Plans

Happy grammar planning!


  1. Thank you for posting this. I have been in a trying to figure out what to do next. Thanks for doing all the hard work for me!
    Peace, Amy in Indiana

  2. I did not find it boring at all. I am trying to figure out what to do with Wil next year and this has been helpful. I will have to come back later and look at the plans when I have more time.
    I would love to hear your thoughts about Writing with Ease. I want to start IEW next year but have heard good things about Writing w/Ease and wondering if it would be a better fit.

  3. thanks...keeping this...just in case! ~Melanie

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  5. I bought Shurley English after we finished FFL 4 and so far I am not liking it. I'm wondering if I should bag it and go with Rod and Staff.

    1. This post is pretty old now, so I have a few more thoughts on grammar programs. : ) My youngest is currently at a classical Christian school and they are using Shurley. It's okay, but I can see how it would be a tough transition from FLL. Too many differences in labeling and no diagramming. I haven't used the teacher manual, but I've heard it's not user-friendly.

      Personally, I would still either go with Rod and Staff or I would give Analytical Grammar a try. My son who has autism struggled with R&S, although my oldest daughter did well with it and received a very solid background in grammar. For my son we switched to AG after spreading the R&S 5 book out over 2 years, and AG has been a huge answer to prayer for us. He just clicked with it. It has sentence diagramming, so that's a huge plus. If you're starting in 5th you might look at AG Jr. (I can't recall what grades it is for).

      Another program I recommend is Michael Clay Thompson's Grammar series, but I tend to think of it more as a very expensive supplement. Others would disagree with me, but I don't like MCT enough to have it be our primary grammar program, but I thought it was excellent for filling in some gaps and offering a new way of looking at sentences. We bought all the books for the Island level (and loved them all), but only Grammar Town and the workbook the second year to keep costs down. This year my son is only using AG.

      I also don't think it's bad to stick with Shurley for the rest of the year. Modify it until it feels more comfortable and add in some diagramming. My daughter's teacher occasionally has them some of the sentences on the back of the page.

      Hope that helps!