This summer our family had the opportunity to review GrammarPlanet. The words fast, fun and free piqued my interest. Students of varying levels can use this online grammar curriculum. My tenth-grade daughter, who struggles with grammar, can move at her own pace. My eighth-grade twins can progress as slowly or as quickly as necessary.
Setting up an account on GrammarPlanet is easy and free. First, I created a parent account. Then I created an account for each student. I also added a practice account for myself.
When beginning each lesson, GrammarPlanet reminds my daughter to print a page or two of notes. Each handout contains the key elements taught in that unit.
Next, students watch a video which teaches a grammar concept. The first unit focuses on identifying common nouns. Subsequent lessons introduce additional parts of speech.
The video pauses periodically to ask a question about the content. This pop quiz helps ensure my daughter is paying attention. If her answer is correct, the video continues. If she gets the question wrong, the relevant part of the video replays.
After watching the lesson, the real fun begins. It is time to identify parts of speech in actual sentences. Immediate feedback helps my daughters learn from her mistakes. Usually, they advance quickly through these exercises.
GrammarPlanet will not allow students to move on if they do not understand the material. One week my tenth-grade daughter made mistakes on several practice sentences in a row. GrammarPlanet locked her account and sent me an email to let me know she was struggling.
I logged into my teacher account and looked at what she missed. We discussed her errors to be sure she understood the lesson. Since she did, I unlocked her account so she could move forward. If I find she needs extra practice in the future, I can reset an entire lesson so she can restart it from the beginning.
At the end of each unit, there is a test with about five sentences to parse. GrammarPlanet does not provide immediate feedback for the sentences on the test. My daughters see their results only after completing all five sentences. Then the screen displays a percent score.
GrammarPlanet emails my daughter’s test score to me. When I log into my parent account, I can see exactly what she missed. I record her test score in our homeschool tracking software. So far, the girls have earned all A’s.
My tenth-grade daughter has a tough time with grammar. In addition, she tends to shy away from computer-based learning.
As you can see from the chart she made, she is not a fan. Her lack of enthusiasm about GrammarPlanet does not surprise me. She has struggled to complete three lessons.
One of my twelve-year-old twins excelled in grammar this summer, completing eight lessons.
She likes how straightforward the curriculum is. Yet she thinks she has to work too hard to reach the end of each lesson.
The younger twin loves the clear instructions on each lesson. It is refreshing for her to practice grammar without having to write on paper.
The challenging vocabulary in some of the sentences surprised her. She is concerned that younger students may have difficulty completing the work. Even though some lessons are hard for her to understand, she has completed five units already.
GrammarPlanet is mastery-based, allowing students to work independently at their own pace. Even moms can use the site to brush up on grammar.
Automated email updates help me keep tabs on my kids. GrammarPlanet notifies me each time one of my students completes a test. I also receive an email if one child is struggling with a lesson. If a student neglects to log in for ten days, GrammarPlanet lets me know.
I appreciate being able to monitor my students’ progress from my parent account. I can tell at a glance how my children are progressing.
It is easy to see exactly what mistakes each student made in any given sentence.
Since GrammarPlanet was in beta this summer, we expected a few hiccups. Tech support was very responsive to issues and bugs we encountered. Whenever I emailed them with a question, they were quick to address my concern and fix the issue.
GrammarPlanet encouraged me to create a separate student account for myself. Using it, I could get a better idea of what my students were learning and review basic grammar myself. It was a great idea, but it would have been nice to try it out without creating another student account. Why should I have two separate usernames and passwords for the same website?
As I progressed through the first six lessons, the number of parts of speech to identify kept growing. It frustrated me that they were not in the same order on different lessons. My older eyes had a hard time searching through to distinguish between ADJ and ART and PP and PN.
While I appreciate the video instruction included with GrammarPlanet, I suspect my girls are skipping over the videos. The twins complain that watching the videos takes too much time. My older daughter thinks they are boring. Shorter videos, perhaps interspersed with practice exercises, might be more helpful.
As each girl progresses through GrammarPlanet, I struggle to explain why some answers are incorrect. Even though I understand the correct answer, it is hard to explain in a way that makes sense to her. I wish GrammarPlanet offered explanations for incorrect answers.
GrammarPlanet does not tell me what my students accomplish each day. This summer I asked my girls to spend fifteen minutes a day three times a week using GrammarPlanet. It is not practical for me to stand over each girl’s shoulder as she practices grammar. One girl completes her fifteen minutes in the morning. Another prefers to practice grammar right after lunch. What if the third girl forgets to do it? GrammarPlanet does not alert me unless she neglects to log in for ten days.
Is one child moving through the lessons more slowly because it is harder for her? Or is she not putting in the time and effort she should be? I have been spoiled by other apps that tell me what exercises my kids complete each day. I hope GrammarPlanet will add a similar feature in the future.
I expected my daughters to be able to use GrammarPlanet independently over the summer. In retrospect, I probably should have watched the unit videos with the girls. This simple solution may have eliminated some of the issues we encountered.
At the time of this review, GrammarPlanet is still being developed. Thirteen units are currently available. I expect the finished product to be a complete grammar solution that rivals many paid resources.
Middle and high school students who need to study grammar should explore GrammarPlanet. They can use it as a complete grammar curriculum. For advanced students it provides a quick review. Novices can complete the units at a slower pace.
The free version of GrammarPlanet is supported by family-friendly ads. You can also purchase a lifetime, ad-free account for $39 per student.