We were recently given the opportunity to try Fix It! grammar curriculum in exchange for an honest review. As a fan of Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Structure and Style program, I was anxious to see how my kids responded to a grammar curriculum by the same company. They LOVE it. You never know with kids and curriculum, but they actually love it and look forward to doing their daily lesson. So this curriculum review will be from my children as well as me.
This post contains affiliate links. I’m really proud to be an IEW affiliate, because I love the company and the curriculum so much. I have a dedicated page on their website, where you can check out all of my favorite IEW products!
I am a second-generation homeschool mom, currently teaching my three youngest children. My two oldest daughters graduated from a lifetime of home education. I was first introduced to IEW writing curriculum when my oldest was about twelve. She took a Structure and Style class at the local library and loved it. I loved how excited she was to learn the writing process, and how it reinforced strong grammar skills. That was over a decade ago. We still use and recommend IEW curriculum products as often as possible.
We school year round, and are a blend of classical and Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. We usually start writing and grammar with older kids, around age 10-12. I have found in over twenty years of homeschooling, that a delayed start in some subjects is a good idea.
Fix It! Grammar by Institute for Excellence in Writing is a comprehensive grammar curriculum that teaches parts of speech, vocabulary, and sentence structure through short, daily lessons and plenty of review. There are … books per grade level, and incudes a consumable student workbook and a teacher guide with answer keys. Each book is a complete grammar program woven through a story (like Robin Hood).
Listen to this episode of the IEW podcast for an in-depth look at this new edition. (Actually, I recommend all of the podcast episodes! They are so encouraging and informative, and there is truly something for every type of homeschooler there.)
Previous to using Fix It!, my children have used a mix of Easy Grammar workbooks and copywork that I assigned. I am a strong believer in reading and copywork to reinforce English grammar, spelling, and vocabulary usage (as is Andrew Pudewa).
My 11-year-old, Catie, is using Level 2, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. She has already completed about half of IEW’s Structure and Style course, and she was excited to see familiar usage of parts of speech in her grammar lessons. (As you can see in the photo above, Catie met Mr. Pudewa at the Great Homeschool Convention. She said, “There’s my writing teacher!” He is super friendly, so if you see him at a convention, go and talk to him!)
My 14-year-old, Nathan, is using Level 3, Robin Hood. He has completed a regular Structure and Style writing course, as well as the Ancient History themed writing lessons. (Download a sample from the Robin Hood student book here.)
I chose these particular editions because both students are studying Medieval history, and I love it when most of their school subjects follow a similar theme. I consider both of them to be middle school students, roughly fifth grade and eighth grade. They are both using Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons, as well.
How it Works
My favorite part of Fix It! Grammar is that each book is based on a piece of literature. Within this story, students learn or review parts of speech, capitalization, homophones/usage, stylistic techniques, and other concepts. There are four lessons per week, for a total of 30 weeks.
At the beginning of each week, there is an introduction to a new concept (or two or three). This is the “Learn It!” section. Sometimes the concept is new to my kids, and sometimes it’s not. Grammar instruction is all about repetition and review, so even if my kids have already learned about conjunctions, for example, they get a refresher at the beginning of certain lessons. At the beginning of the new “week,” I will go over the concepts covered, and then observe and help with the first lesson of the week. (I put “week” in quotes, because we may not necessarily follow the weeks on a calendar; we just keep progressing.)
The student is taught to memorize the concept and how to mark it in the exercises.
Next, the student begins “Day 1” of that week’s exercise. One or two short sentences from the literature selection are included, but with some errors. This is why it’s called Fix It! Instructions include:
- Read it! The student will read the included sentence(s). Each daily exercise includes bold words, which are for vocabulary practice.
- Mark it! The student identifies the parts of speech already covered, and marks them with the specified marks (n for noun, ar for article, etc.).
- Fix it! The sentence errors will now be corrected, such as missing punctuation or capitals.
- Rewrite it! Now that the child has read, marked, and fixed the sentence(s), they are instructed to copy it down in its correct form. (I consider the writing portion to be copy work, and it can be done in print or in cursive, depending on the needs of the student. I have also allowed one of my children to type this as another form of practice.)
This lesson typically takes 10-15 minutes per day.
This is the basic program. In addition, we enjoy the Fix It! Grammar cards (an optional purchase). Each card in the set contains key concepts from all of the Fix It! Grammar levels. They are so helpful for a quick review when the student is doing the Mark It! portion of the lesson. There are games that can be played (instructions are on the IEW website), but we have not attempted games yet. Both of my kids like these cards, and if I forget to get them out, they will remind me. By the way, each book has a handy chart in the front to show exactly which cards are used in that level.
Finally, there are some helpful resources in the back of the book.
- The complete story is available to read, in case your child wants to know up front which piece of literature he or she will be learning from.
- Collection pages are so useful! They allow your child to brainstorm things like -ly adverbs, strong verbs, and quality adjectives in a handy list. (If your child has taken a Structure and Style course from IEW, they will definitely recognize these!)
- Reference lists that include pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, etc. are easy to flip to for reminders.
Students get their own consumable workbooks. The Teacher’s Guide has everything in the student workbook, plus teaching notes on every page, and an answer key. And don’t panic if you don’t remember all the parts of speech and their uses, because there is a complete Grammar Glossary included at the back. Use this as a refresher for yourself or a quick reminder during a lesson.
Why We Love This Grammar Curriculum
Let’s face it: grammar is close to the bottom of “favorite subjects” for most children, but the concepts are important for effective written communication. Grammar study and writing skills are necessary for everyone, no matter what their future holds. Fix It! Grammar is an excellent way to get basic grammar instruction and usage through daily practice exercises.
I really like the short lessons and the repetition, plus I like the overlap with the Structure and Style program and other IEW programs. My kids are both already familiar with such things as strong verbs, -ly adverbs, and other important parts of speech in writing, and this gave them confidence when working through Fix It! Grammar lessons.
As for my kids, they both told me how much they liked this program from day one! Nathan said he thinks it’s a very efficient way to teach and review many different concepts. Catie likes the lessons because they are quick and easy. And as I mentioned above, they both appreciate the grammar cards. They both told me they wanted to stick with Fix It! Grammar.
There are several reasons I love IEW products. First, as a Christian homeschooler, I seek out curriculum that is created by Christians with a solid worldview. I want to financially support these companies, and I like knowing that there will never be any questionable content in the lessons. I’ve listened to many speeches and podcasts by Andrew Pudewa and the staff at IEW, and I appreciate the approach to language arts as a means to spread the gospel and bring beauty to a hurting world.
Second, my experience with other IEW products has been that they work. My children have learned effective writing skills, creative word usage, clear communication, and practical application of grammar concepts. The systematic approach has proven to be valuable for us. Communicating well is so necessary in a society that consumes so much online content. I want my children to have the ability to write and speak well, and IEW gives them a strong foundation.
I have two grown daughters who did use Structure and Style for Students, and I only wish I had tried Fix It! Grammar when they were high school students.
How to order
You can get this new edition of Fix It! Grammar by clicking here. There are six levels to choose from, and include stories like the Nose Tree, The Frog Prince, and The Little Mermaid. This grammar curriculum works well alongside your favorite math, history, and science curriculum. Paired with Structure and Style for Students, it makes a complete language arts program. I recommend SSS all the time to my readers and friends, and now I will add Fix It! Grammar to that recommendation.
There is a great package deal available that includes Structure and Style for Students, Fix It! Grammar, A Word Write Now, and Teaching Writing: Structure and Style. This is perfect for those who are new to Institute for Excellence in Writing!
Everything IEW produces is top-notch. Trust me when I say that you will be very pleased with the different approach they take to language arts, and your children will have a solid foundation in English grammar and writing.
I’ve written other reviews of Institute for Excellence in Writing and their products. Check them out: