Review of Shurley English Homeschool Level 1 & 2

Introductory Note:  I purchased all of these on my own.  I did not receive a free copy to review.  Hence, these are my honest opinions and assessments on the curriculum.

Review of Level 1:

I bought the Teacher’s Manual and the Student Workbook as a package.  The Teacher’s Manual has most of the teaching.  The Student Workbook has all the activities.

I bought this for my first-grader and almost returned it before we even started and I’ll tell you why:

The first five chapters are devoted to classifying.  I thought it lame.  A typical first-grader should know how to sort.  So I called and was ready to return it but in the end decided to try it.

So I skipped the first 5 chapters and started on Chapter 6.  From there on out, it’s been great and what I’ve expected.  It comes with a CD of jingles that the kids love and recite the rules of grammar to.  Sometimes I thought it progressed slowly so I would do 2 lessons in 1 day, especially in the beginning.

When they introduce writing, I think Shurley goes too fast.  It expects a paragraph a day.  For me, this was too much so we only did a paragraph a week.  We have a separate writing program though that we do that has writing every day.  See review HERE.

But I also had my first-grader do Level 2 alongside my second-grader so they could be on the same grammar level next year so she had already done much of the writing.

Also, because we skipped the first 5 chapters, we will be done incredibly early (not something I like) so I feel this was a waste.  But I will have her do Level 2 along with her sister but this is my case.  If you just bought Level 1, you will be without grammar for a bit at the end.

Review of Level 2:

I bought the Teacher’s Manual and the Student Workbook as a package.  The Teacher’s Manual has most of the teaching.  The Student Workbook has all the activities.

What I expected for a Second-grader.  The writing portion is a bit redundant but we are also doing IEW so I think I am skewed because of that.

It comes with a jingle CD as well.  Every chapter has a vocabulary section where the kids look up words which I love so they get to know a dictionary.  Level 2 is exactly like Level 1 just a bit more advanced (not much though) and introduced sooner.  Same format.  Same material.

There is also no place to write out the sentences or contractions in the books so be prepared to  use your own paper.  We used the whiteboard for this which worked well.  But at least for the contraction section, it would have been a time saver to have it written out for the students.

I wish they would have spent the extra money as well to put a reference section in the back of the Teacher’s Manual with definitions printed out.  Instead, I fold the pages down so I can find where in the book they talk about a subject pronoun for example so we can refer back to it.  I wouldn’t waste my time even looking in the Student Book.  It’s confusing enough as it is.

What I absolutely cannot STAND about these books:

I’m assuming in an effort to save paper and keep costs down the company has arranged the Student Book in very confusing sections.  You have to constantly flip to different parts of the activity book to do activities and sometimes multiple sections within the same lesson.

For me, I’d rather pay the extra $2 or whatever to have it all laid out in an easy-to-follow format that was easy on the eyes with the chapter sections all together instead of split up.  These books have no pictures or color.  Anywhere.  Great for teachers.  Not so great for the kiddos!

Conclusions:  My old charter school does Shurley English so I thought it would be easy on my oldest since she already knew the format.  I am glad we did Shurley English this year but I am not for sure we will use Shurley English next year.  I am looking into Thompson Grammar to be honest right now and will make my final decision in the spring.  My kids have mastered the material and I’d like to try something new.  Plus, I just don’t know if I can do another whole year of the Student Book.  And I would like some color.

I think there is a balance between saving costs and making the material enjoyable for the kids in a fun, easy-to-follow format.  I think Shurley Grammar has not found that combination.

4 thoughts on “Review of Shurley English Homeschool Level 1 & 2

  1. I taught English I Remedial, English I, English II, and Business English in high school for 8 years. Feeder schools used the Shurley method in Reading and Language Arts. As a teacher, I found my students lacking in many of the skills which they SHOULD have learned in grade school. Really, a noun is a noun and there are only certain uses for it. I should not have had to spend the first 9 weeks of school on the 8 parts of speech. Evidently, the teachers using Shurley method of sounding out words for READING did not explain it cannot be used for spelling. Students spelled words the way the words SOUNDED and were quite perplexed when I marked misspelled words wrong. I have no love for the Shurley method. Just my humble opinion.

    1. Hey Iris,

      Shurley English is not a phonics program. It is strictly grammar. I think the problem you are referring to is the fact most kids these days are not taught spelling rules.

      Shurley English I believe is a great grammar program. But it does not teach Spelling. For that you need another curriculum.

      Thanks for your input!

  2. Thank you for reviewing these 2 books. I was trying to decide which to go with for my second grader and think Level 2 should be fine. So what do you use now and how does it compare?

    1. I use Michael Clay Thompson. It’s more classically based, which is the method I use and more rigorous. Shirley English is very methodical.

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