Most helpful positive review
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A Good Introduction
on February 15, 2013
Although the book was intended for fourth and fifth grades, I am using it with my third grade homeschooled student. I had been teaching him grammar by integrating it into his writing and spelling work, but I was a little concerned that I might be leaving something out. I had wanted a simple book that I could use to fill in the gaps. This little book helps keep me on track. It is a little high for him, so we work through it together. The lessons are short, and sometimes we just talk about them. I am only going through Part I and Part III with him--the concepts presented in the section on syntax are a little high for third grade.
The book is divided into three sections. Part I is an introduction to sentence-making and parts of speech. It also includes things like abbreviations, contractions, and how to use quotation marks. The sections are short, and they include definitions and exercises. It includes a bit of composition, occasionally asking students to write paragraphs and stories from pictures. Some of the information is new and challenging, and much of it is a nice review from second grade.
Part II is different. It is written more like a traditional grammar, such as what you would see in a Latin Grammar of the same period. For example, the Noun section covers these topics: Gender, Person, Number, Case, Declension, and Parsing. The section on Verbs covers things like Mood, Tense, Voice, Person, and Number. So in this way, Harvey's Grammar is a real "Grammar", not just a workbook with a few punctuation and usage exercises.
Part III is a rather short chapter on punctuation. It has definitions, but very few exercises.
A few thoughts on Part II: I love Harvey's traditional layout of grammar and would probably teach it to my student if he were in fourth grade. That being said, if you do not have a strong background in English grammar, this may be challenging to teach. I do not believe most English teachers have any idea how to parse a noun or what the mood of a verb is. The only reason I am familiar with these terms is that I studied Latin and Greek a bit. I had never seen a language organized in this way until I met my first Greek declension. I suspect that most people are the same way. Some argue that it is not necessary to teach grammar in this way; others say that it is the only way to truly teach grammar. Harvey's does a wonderful job of presenting the English language in an organized and complete way...but it is certainly not the "only" way to teach elementary students. You will have to make your own judgment about this.
Because it is a 19th-century book, there have been a few things I have had to adjust. The diagramming of sentences looks slightly different from the way it is taught today. Since he will be back in regular school next year, I taught him the modern way to diagram. Also, there is a section on addressing letters near the back. Because this reprint was published in the 1980s, the examples show the states' names written out longhand instead of the modern abbreviations that are standard now (IL, CA, ME, NY, etc.). I also make sure he is familiar with some modern terms (question mark for interrogation mark, linking verb for copulative verb).
Overall, this book has been a delight to use for our purposes, and the style will be attractive to some teachers and parents. It really does contain everything an upper elementary student needs to know, and is inexpensive compared to many programs.