We decided to take a break from A Beka Language this year and tried Shurley English. Shirley English is an English language arts program for grades 1 through 7 that covers grammar and composition. It does NOT cover phonics, reading, spelling, or literature. Children memorize jingles to learn some grammar basics. They learn a “question and answer flow” whereby they learn to attack sentences by asking exact questions to determine subject, verb, direct object, etc. We are using Shurley English 6.
Most lessons begin with jingle time. CD’s present jingles and the question and answer flows for different types of sentences that you are suggested to practice daily in the order they are introduced. Each grade level kit includes a teacher’s manual, student workbook, and CD.
Lessons are taught with A LOT of teacher-student interaction. The Teacher’s Manual is five times the size of the Student Workbook but completely explains the way the program works and offers useful teaching tips and some creative ideas I learned after just a few lessons that Isaiah needed to take notes while I was teaching because the information is not duplicated in his book (like in A Beka). He then completes worksheets or writing assignments from the workbook.
I like that Shurley English is VERY clearly laid out and does a wonderful job explaining concepts. I also like that the chapters are set up in such a way that you will not be off schedule if you miss a day. There are also great activity time assignments that are fun and reinforce concepts learned.
What I do not like is there is no grading assistance for tests. I prefer a grading scale with a point system. I also do not like the fact that the student workbook sheets do not give a recap of the lesson to summarize the point of the practice. Lastly the vocabulary section gives 4 difficult words to define, write a sentence about, and find a synonym and antonym for. That is a lot of work to complete after a full lemon but you can divide the words between the days or assign it for homework.
It will take us a while to get used to the program as with anything new. I have until the end of the year to decide if we will move on to Shurley Method (7th grade) or try something else.