Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review: Bridgeway English

Bridgway Academy is an accredited homeschool academy with many different options.  They can help you put together a full year's worth of studies complete with an advisor, or if you'd like, you can purchase individual items as well.  For this review, I received:

Bridgeway English is meant for students in grades 7-12.  It is described as a remedial English course, but I think it can be used with any student as a review and refresher course.

There are two books that make up the English course.  Book 1 Focus on Grammar and Book 2 Focus on Writing each focus on what the titles suggest.  The Answer Key contains reduced copies of the student worktexts with the answers filled in.

Book 1 Focus on Grammar covers:
  • Subjects & Predicates
  • Four Types of Sentences
  • Sentence Fragments
  • Run On Sentences
  • Compound Sentences
  • Noun Functions
  • Pronouns
  • Adjectives
  • Adverbs
  • Prepositions & Prepositional Phrases
  • Conjuctions
  • Interjections

Book 2 Focus on Writing covers:
  • Clauses
  • Sentence Variety
  • Subject/Verb Agreement
  • Grammar & Mechanics
  • Writing Skills
  • Rules of Capitalization
  • Rules of Punctuation
  • Proofreading
  • Editing
  • Letter Writing
  • Business Writing
  • Study Skills
  • Critical Thinking & Reasoning
  • Fact vs. Fiction 

Bridgeway English is a mastery program, and the worktexts are similar in format.  They're broken down into 12 units, or PAKs.  Book 1 contains PAKs 1-6, while PAKs 7-12 can be found in Book 2.  Each PAK is broken down further into sections,and each section has a review at the end.  Each PAK has a final test, and your student should get an 80% or greater on these tests to show mastery of the material.

All teaching is contained in each of the spiral bound worktexts.  The teaching is set apart in grey colored boxes, with exercises that reinforce what was taught coming immediately after the teaching.  The teaching is short and to the point, yet still thorough.  These teaching boxes are written directly to the student, and by keeping it simple it allows the student to follow along and understand the concepts without any direction from the teacher.  The student is also instructed to use the answer key to check their own work at regular intervals throughout the text (it is suggested that the student uses a pen and is supervised while checking their work).

The exercises vary in type.  Exercise types include underlining parts of speech and labeling.  Fill in the blank, short answer, and matching are really used to show that the student knows a definition and can apply it.  Students are instructed to finish sentences with specific parts of speech.  In addition to these exercise types, in Book 2 students will write letters, proofread and mark errors, and correct sentences and add correct punctuation.

I used Bridgeway English with Luke and Ezekiel.  We've done English grammar over the years, but I tend to think English grammar is one of those things that should be taught and re-taught until it's 100% automatic.  Luke & Ezekiel each had different skill levels coming into the program.  Instead of assigning a certain amount of pages or a certain amount of sections, I told each boy to work on Bridgeway for about 20 minutes a day.  I had them each check their own work as well.

The reinforcement of concepts they were already comfortable with was great.  However, there were concepts that they weren't as comfortable with, and they both told me that they felt more confident with these concepts after working on Bridgeway English.  This was especially nice to hear from the boy who tends to struggle with English grammar a bit more than his brother.

If you're looking for grammar for a struggling student, or if you're just looking for a straightforward review, I think you should check out Bridgeway English.

For more reviews of Bridgeway Academy, visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew.


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