Are you looking for a grammar curriculum that isn’t boring? Would you like an inclusive language arts program that is literature-based? Just ready for something new? That’s where my girls were a couple of months ago when I contacted Dr. Melanie Wilson, the author of Grammar Galaxy.
At the time, the girls were really struggling with their grammar lessons. In fact, they told me that grammar had become their least favorite subject. I knew we needed a change. That’s when I heard about a new grammar curriculum called Grammar Galaxy. It sounded fun and almost game-like. I knew the girls would like it, but wondered if it would be meaty enough down the road.
Inquisitive about what I would find, I contacted Dr. Melanie Wilson, to learn about the curriculum and it’s long-term goals. Here is the transcript of the interview that transpired.
Hey Melanie. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me about your new Language Arts Curriculum, Grammar Galaxy. I’ve heard great reports from users and have even tried a few samples with my girls, who gave rave reviews. Tell me a little bit about the background behind Grammar Galaxy and why you created it.
I have always loved writing and literature and was frustrated that in all of the years that I have been homeschooling my own kids and my friends’ kids I had not found a curriculum to help students become as passionate about language arts as I am. In fact, my kids really despised English and grammar studies.
One day I decided I was going to create my own curriculum. Honestly, I began going about it in a fairly traditional way when, all of a sudden, it occurred to me that it was silly that of all subjects, we don’t teach language arts in the context of story. Instead, we give kids sentences that have nothing to do with anything and expect them to dissect them and remember how to construct them.
I started to ask myself, “What if there were a galaxy far, far away where a royal family lived? This royal English family would have 3 children who would be guardians of the galaxy. It would be their job to use information about language arts gained from the Grammar Galaxy Guide Book to defeat the Gremlin. The Gremlin would always be trying to destroy the English language and keep kids from reading, writing, and speaking well.” It expanded from there.
So are you saying I don’t need any other spelling, grammar, vocabulary, writing, or reading curriculum?
Before kids start Grammar Galaxy they need to have completed a solid phonics program and some type of handwriting curriculum. Second graders who begin Grammar Galaxy should continue their phonics instruction although there is a bit of phonics review in Grammar Galaxy Nebula (the first book).
Other than that, everything is included. It takes so little time that you can use it with another curriculum if there is a particular piece of language arts you want your child to cover in depth. Or, you can use the extra time to read more books, have your child read more books, and do more writing.
Personally, I love the idea of using writing prompts. I have created writing prompts that are funny for kids to use. There are all kinds of seasonal writing and reading activities that can go along with this curriculum too.
Here is another issue. Kids do a lot of reading and writing in their other subjects so they don’t need hours of language arts, especially at this early age. That is what will kill your child’s enthusiasm for English.
This sounds great. I’m all about consolidating subjects. Besides time, it’s a huge money-saver. How many lessons are included in a book, and how long does it take to complete a Grammar Galaxy lesson?
Grammar Galaxy takes about 10-15 minutes to complete a step. There are 3 steps to every Grammar Galaxy lesson in addition to the story.
Most families like to read the story and complete step 1 on Monday. On Wednesday, they complete step 2, which always includes some kind of activity that is not seat work and is usually a game. Then, on Friday, they complete Step 3, which includes an advanced guardian mission for older students who are used to completing a lot more writing. However, this mission can also be completed by a younger student dictating their answers. Following this pattern, you can do grammar 3 days per week.
That said, I do have some families who complete an entire lesson once a week in a 45 minute session on a Friday, for example.
There are 36 lessons in Grammar Galaxy to cover a complete school year. Your family should expect to complete one volume in a school year unless you have a very motivated student who wants to go at a faster pace, which is not uncommon.
I currently have two volumes available for purchase. The first, Nebula, is for 1st and 2nd graders who are beginning readers. But this curriculum, even the first volume, is appropriate for students all the way through 6th grade and even into 7th a bit, who are reluctant readers or reluctant English students. Then, there is the second volume, called Protostar, which is for 3rd grade through 6th grade or those who have finished Nebula. If you are on the line between choosing Nebula and Protostar, the people who are in the Grammar Guardians group on Facebook invariably recommend starting with Nebula because it provides a great foundation, and is just a lot of fun.
Fantastic. I know you are in the works of creating a new book. When is the expected release date and how many more volumes do you plan on creating long-term?
I am currently working on Yellow Star, which is Volume 3, for 4th graders or those who have completed Protostar. The expected to release in 2018.
There will be two more volumes after Yellow Star–a 5th grade level and a 6th grade level. I have had people ask me to create Grammar Galaxy for older students as well. Thus, I do have a whole new series that I am planning for middle school/junior high but that will be a while.
As a homeschool mom, which version of Grammar Galaxy would you find most helpful and why–the digital version or the print version?
That is a great question because originally I would have said print for sure. I do still really like print because I can hand it to my students and say here you go. However, since taking a second look at digital resources (I recently wrote a post on my blog about how to make the most of digital curriculum), I realized that I could complete many lessons with multiple students by displaying the story up on the screen for my kids. I could have my kids take turns reading the story if I wanted to, and we could have our mission manual up on the screen as well to do our lessons together.
However, there is still a need for some printing so I would say if you would want to save some money, digital is the way to go because you can purchase one digital copy and use it for your entire family. If you need to save time more than money, then I would go with the print.
Any last thoughts before we close the interview?
Grammar Galaxy is such a fun curriculum. It can make grammar and English your child’s favorite subject. The most common response that I get from parents is that their children beg to do it every day. That is crazy to me, but it is wonderful. I could not be more thrilled because I know that children who love to read are going to do well in school and are going to do well in life. I am thrilled to be a part of equipping kids for the future.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions for me. Now I’m convinced we need to take the Grammar Galaxy plunge. Where can we find more info about Grammar Galaxy and/or order our copy to get started?
You can go to Grammar Galaxy Books to learn more or to order. There is also the Grammar Guardians Facebook Group which is a great place to connect with other Grammar Galaxy families and ask questions.
I also have monthly missions for Grammar Guardians, even for people who are not using the curriculum. They are short little missions that kids can do to learn and have fun at the same time. You can sign up for to have these missions emailed to you by subscribing to Grammar Galaxy.
Thanks again and blessings as you continue your writing endeavors through the next galaxy. We can’t wait to see what’s in store!
So what did we decide to do after this interview with Melanie? We ordered Grammar Galaxy and the girls LOVE it! I no longer hear complaints when it comes to grammar time. In fact, they almost beg to do it first!
And what do I think of it as a homeschool mom? It’s actually quite a thorough curriculum. I probably won’t use it exclusively as it only lightly touches on spelling and vocabulary, but it definitely is enough at this age.
What would you find most engaging in a grammar curriculum? Let me know in the comments!