Bridgeway Academy: Focus on Grammar and Writing {TOS review}

Bridgeway Academy is a recognized and accredited homeschool academy located in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania. It is “unashamedly Christian,” which gives you insight into the foundation of the school. Bridgeway Academy provides homeschoolers full curriculum opportunities for students in kindergarten through the twelfth grades with instruction in the form of online classes and print material. They even offer some college-level courses.

We had the opportunity to review the Bridgeway English Book 1 Focus on Grammar; Bridgeway English Book 2 Focus on Writing; and the Bridgeway English Teacher Answer Key. The two books, grammar and writing, make up the two-part series that is for students who struggle in those areas. It takes a mastery approach in presentation and prepares students for their current level of English as well as more advanced high school level work.

The content covered in Bridgeway English Book 1 Focus on Grammar is the following:

adjectives, adverbs, compound sentences, conjunctions, four types of sentences , grammar review, interjections, noun functions, prepositions and prepositional phrases, pronouns, run-on sentences, sentence fragments and subject and predicate.

The content covered in Bridgeway English Book 2 Focus on Writing is the following:

business writing, clauses, critical thinking and reasoning, editing, grammar and mechanics, learning about fact versus fiction, letter writing, proofreading, rules of capitalization, rules of punctuation, sentence variety, study skills, subject/verb agreement and writing skills.

The two-part series is targeted to children in the seventh through twelfth grades, who may be having difficulty at their grade level with both grammar and writing. The series is actually termed remedial English.

The word remedial is not one that I am used to hearing as a homeschooler. As teachers, many parents usually adapt curriculum to accommodate their child’s level of competency or purchase material, regardless of the grade level for teaching their children.

I actually prefer not to use the word remedial when describing a child’s ability or teaching material. On the other hand, I do understand that for a parent whose child may be struggling in the areas of grammar and writing, then promoting the material in that manner may be the key-word they are looking for as an answer to bringing their child “up to speed” academically.

My reasoning for desiring to review the curriculum was a little different. Since River is only in the sixth grade, I thought that he using the curriculum would be a good eye opener as to what would be expected of him to know next year. With the material being written for easier comprehension, I figured that he would be able to move at a manageable pace through the lessons.

There are 12 PAKs (units) in the series, each about 35 pages long. The objectives for each PAK are presented to the student, so he knows what to expect. Each PAK is very well laid out, which makes it very easy for the student to read through and pay attention to the detail of the lesson.

The material is written so that the student is able to complete the work independently. If you consider the target student for the material, then he would already be doing much of his work independently by that age. I also think that with the material being written in that manner, then the student who may be having some difficulty in both areas will not be intimidated or feel less capable of doing the work if he is able to complete it without teacher assistance. The independent learning presentation may give the student a sense of empowerment in his education.

As the student moves from book 1 to the writing portion, he is able to apply what has been previously taught.

Students also self-test themselves at the end of each PAK. Even though independence is promoted, the parent/teacher is still very much involved in ensuring that the student comprehends the material. Throughout the PAK, the student is encouraged to check and correct his answers and recheck the ones he has corrected.

The teacher is to follow-up and ensure that he is completing the work accordingly. With the test, there is an area for the teacher to sign-off.

We used the material slowly. I assigned River one to two pages a day to complete. For an older student, that pace may not be necessary, but I saw no need to rush through the PAK with him. There was also no need for me to sit with him or even walk him through the lessons before he started. All directions and examples are clearly marked (shaded) and thorough with explanation.

I like the independence that the series promotes. Although River does complete some of his work independently now, it has not been full subjects. He enjoyed being responsible for working through his lessons without me handing daily assignments to him and having me to explain everything to him before beginning. If he had any questions, which he never did, then I was available to answer them.

One thing that I saw as an issue, but is not monumental is the page numbering in the books. Each PAK begins its page numbering with one (1) and that could be confusing. The teacher key does the same thing. I could even deal with PAK1 – page whatever number better, which the student workbooks sort of do. The teacher key not only numbers in the same confusing manner, but also has numbers on the pages that are shown (like screen shots) on the pages in the teacher key. I just like ease and simplicity.

Overall, I believe that this series is a good program for a struggling student. It can also be a good choice for a student who may be more advanced and ready to move on to the next level of grammar and writing.

Each book may be purchased separately. Bridgeway English Book 1 Focus on Grammar $23.33; Bridgeway English Book 2 Focus on Writing $23.33; and the Bridgeway English Teacher Answer Key $23.33.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

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