Language Arts/Grammar for 1st and 2nd Grade

I am already looking ahead to next school year for what will be my first grader. I also have a current third and fourth grader. I have tried many Language Arts/Grammar curriculums for my older two, Sonlight Language Arts, Growing with Grammar and Winning with Writing, Abeka Language, Language Arts that comes from the big workbooks with all the subjects from Costco, and most recently G.U.M. by Zaner-Bloser. I feel like I am forgetting another curriculum as well. We have yet to find something that we somewhat enjoy and there is retention in the subject. I have ordered Fix It! Grammar Nose Tree to start with my older two this year, hopefully we have better luck with that after stopping G.U.M. after the first month. I have looked at many different LA/Grammar curriculums and I feel that many are overly complicated. I want the kids to have a good grasp on basic grammar, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it every day.(And personally, I don’t feel diagramming sentences is an important life skill:grin:)We currently use AAR, AAS, Explode the Code and a Daily Writing workbook from Evan-Moor with the older two. I have started or will be starting these with my K’er as well. Assuming we continue to use Fix It! Grammar, does anybody have any ideas what I can use until my K’er reaches about 3rd grade and can start that. What have I not found yet that will teach a basic grasp of sentences, noun, verb, etc. for 1st and 2nd that doesn’t take a lot of time and money. I have looked at Shurley, Voyages in English, First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind, a lot of the popular ones. Is there any lesser known ones out there?

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Have you looked at Learning Literature Through Language Arts? I heard about it at a homeschool workshop. I haven’t used it, but it does look interesting!

Looks like on the website it is a complete Language Arts program, reading, phonics, etc. I am only looking for the grammar portion. I am probably looking for a magical unicorn that doesn’t exsist! This is the one subject that has frustrated me for the last 5 years.

Simple grammar workbook that really seems to get it across to my two sons is “Steck-Vaughn Core Skills Language Arts” published by Harcourt Achieve. ISBN 978-0-7398-7089-1 for the Grade 2 Volume.
The format is one topic per page with good, but not excessive practice of that topic. there is also a writing section in each book - how to construct sentences, paragraphs and book reports.
They have enjoyed it so far - and really retained the grammar skills they have studied. As a former English teacher, I am impressed at what hey have mastered so easily at their ages which are 8 and 9.
I bought the entire 8 book set three years ago, so I have no current prices or where to purchase, but if you type in the ISBN it should come up.

School House Rock grammar videos, my oldest is in 8th grade yet when sentence diagramming she still will hum the songs as she identifies parts of sentences.

I am currently using English Lessons Through Literature. I have the PDF version and it has been great so far. I am using it with a Grade 1 child. It has me currently reading Beatrix Potter books, then it will give a line of copywork from the book. You also read an Aesop fable (very short story) and a poem, or do a picture study for the day. We love it, it is simple. It teaches grammar using the copywork sentence for the day. I believe we have finished up to lesson 12 so far, and we have learned a bit about capitals, periods, quotations, exclamations and commas. It’s gentle and to the point. We also use AAR for reading.


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I was interested in this curriculum as well and found it on Rainbow Resource’s website for $7.45 per grade level.

The G.U.M. Drops on Rainbow Resource does not appear to be the same G.U.M. curriculum by Zaner-Bloser. We used the G.U.M. Drops by Melissa Schneider from RR for two years and loved it. It is Fix It Grammar style (editing passages) only a little gentler, so my daughter used it for 2nd and 3rd grade and moved into Fix It by IEW this year for 4th grade. From what I’ve read since starting to teach this subject in our homeschool, teaching grammar at a young age (early elementary) is difficult as kids’ brains are not wired up yet for the thinking skills required for learning grammar rules. This is why it many try it in the early years but don’t see any progress/fruition until the upper elementary/middle school grade levels. That said, another program you might be interested in considering is Treasured Conversations. :slight_smile:


Forchristandkids I have read some on the subject and agree, it is not necessarily needed at that age. But, it seems like if you wait until about 3rd grade, don’t the curriculums already assume there is previous knowledge of sentence structure, nouns, adverbs, etc. Is it possible to completely ignore the subject until then?

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@thecainhome Hi there! I think there are definitely ways to wait until 3rd or 4th grade to begin grammar instruction. Many curriculum companies offer ungraded curriculum (you can begin on the level that suits you) such as IEW’s Fix It Grammar (they suggest any student from elementary through high school begin with Level 1). I think you could do something similar with First Language Lessons (although there are levels 1, 2, 3, etc.) and begin where you feel your student would be comfortable. Even companies like Analytical Grammar have materials based largely for middle and high school students, but also offer a “Junior” level for 4th and 5th grade students to get their feet wet, so to speak.

Here’s my take: If you teach grammar at a very young age, the student is likely not to retain a great deal. If you wait until the student is older, when they are able to grasp the concepts more fully and to apply them, you might be introducing a lot of basic knowledge at the start, but being an older student, they will be able to pick up the basic concepts quickly and then move forward at their age-appropriate level.

I have seen this happen with a group of high school students I am teaching at our co-op this year. They are coming from a variety of backgrounds when it comes to grammar instruction. But we were able to skip Level 1 and begin in Level 2 (IEW’s Fix It Grammar) because they can pick up quickly what would have been taught in Level 1 and integrate that with the information being presented in Level 2.

It’s also important to keep in mind some of the ways students learn grammar best:

  1. By hearing it spoken well.
  2. By reading something written with good grammatical structure.
  3. By knowing when they hear/read a mistake that it doesn’t sound/look quite right.

Based on that, students who aren’t receiving any formal grammar instruction in the early grades are still “learning good grammar.” Also, we can’t underestimate how much copywork from a good source can impact their grasp of grammar as well. Even employing copywork only in the early elementary ages can prepare them for “formal” grammar training later on.

Sorry for so much wordiness! I am a total grammar nerd. :smile:


I know this was posted a bit ago, just seeing it now. We use First Language Lessons and LOVE IT!!! The lessons are short and to the point. Kiddo loves it and everything seems to stick with her! We are finishing up level 2 currently

I am using First Language Lessons for the well trained mind level 1 for my 1st grader. He Loves it. I know they have 3 or 4 levels. We really are enjoying it so far.

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Agreed! We are doing Fix It Nose Tree this year with my 4th and 6th graders. We did BJU last year and it was just MEH. But having said this, I don’t plan on starting any grammar with my 1st grader until he is at least 3rd grade. Possibly 4th. And I know he will pick it up just fine! I love that IEW starts at levels and not grades.