I have been wanting to write this BJU English review for a long time, Homeschool Mama.
We have slogged through several disappointing language arts programs, so when we found something that really worked for us – I was ecstatic!
It is incredibly affirming as a homeschool mom when you find something that just clicks – especially for your core curriculum (reading, writing, and math).
You can tell that your kid is learning and retaining information.
You are no longer worried about what kind of education you are providing.
You know it’s solid because you have confidence in the curriculum you bought!
In this BJU English review, you will find out how the curriculum is laid out, what a normal lesson looks like, what you need to buy (and where to buy it!), what we love about BJU English, what we don’t love, and even what my kid has to say after a solid year of the curriculum!
BJU English Review: Exactly How the Curriculum Works
Each level of BJU English requires two things – a teacher’s manual (CD included) and the student workbook.
I have BJU English 2, 4, and 5 and they all contain 16 chapters/units. Each chapter takes 2 weeks to complete, so it should take you a minimum of 32 weeks to complete the entire curriculum.
There are 8 grammar chapters and 8 writing chapters that alternate.
The curriculum keeps skills fresh though with assigned grammar review worksheets during the writing weeks and “Apply and Write” assignments during the grammar weeks.
Each chapter also ends with a chapter review and then a cumulative review.
What a Typical BJU English Grammar Lesson Looks Like
We are near the end of BJU English 4, and we are learning about clauses this week. I’m going to show you exactly what my daughter’s lesson will look like tomorrow.
She will first complete a review sheet (printed off the CD in the teacher’s manual) on independent clauses. This is a review of yesterday’s lesson.
I think of it as a warm-up before a new lesson and a way to make sure that the concept is solid before moving on to something else.
Once she is done with the warm-up, I will teach the new lesson on dependent clauses.
Here is what my teacher’s manual looks like when I open it to the day’s lesson:
I know it looks overwhelming, but once you get used to it – it’s really not.
The inset pages are the workbook pages your student will complete in their own book. You can follow along with them while you look at this copy and the answers are conveniently provided for grading.
The margins are where you will find suggestions, questions, and games for teaching the new concept.
Once I have taught the lesson, my daughter and I go through the “Guided Practice” together. This is a low-stress time for her to ask questions and for us to work together with the new concept.
When she has completed the “Guided Practice” and I feel confident that she understands, I then have her complete the “Independent Practice” on the next page.
She does that on her own and then I grade it. We discuss anything that she may have missed and then she corrects any mistakes.
What a Typical BJU English Writing Lesson Looks Like
Each writing unit starts with a piece of literature that is an example of the writing genre. This helps the student to understand what their finished work should look like.
The child then goes through more lessons about the genre of writing and then the writing stages of planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.
BJU English provides wonderful checklists for the student to go through and check their own work and make sure it is done correctly.
Below is a picture of the teacher’s manual for the revising day of a tall tale writing assingment.
As you can see, the student learns how to revise their work by seeing the changes that were made to another student’s tall tale.
The student is then tasked with going through their own paper six times in order to check off all the boxes in the provided checklist.
That is a typical writing lesson.
What We Love About BJU English
1. Provides Writing and Grammar in One Book
Several of the other Language Arts curricula we have tried had separate books for writing and grammar. I really like that BJU has both in one book!
I also like that the manual lays the year out with alternating grammar and writing units.
That saves me a lot of time since we are not doing both writing AND grammar each day.
2. Loads of Review to Keep Things Fresh
This is probably my favorite thing about BJU English.
Each unit provides a daily (short) review worksheet that is simple to complete but keeps things fresh while you’re learning a new concept.
There is also a chapter review and cumulative review every two weeks.
I feel like this review is so important when dealing with grammar and writing concepts that can be easy to forget.
3. Focused Grammar Units
Each grammar unit is 2 weeks long and focuses on one aspect of grammar. For example, we have spent 2 weeks learning about just nouns, adjectives, or adverbs.
The student knows it inside and out by the time the 2 weeks are over.
4. High-Quality, Fun Writing Projects
I was very impressed with how BJU English taught writing!
The writing process is taught beautifully and my daughter wrote fun things like a tall tale, a research paper on Brazil, a book review of one of her favorite books, and she even wrote and mailed a business-style letter to a local animal hospital.
BJU English gave us a very positive year of writing that was interesting, but not overwhelming.
5. The Teacher’s Manual
The teacher’s manual for BJU English is very detailed and tells you EXACTLY what to say for each lesson. It is designed for use in a classroom, so I usually just adapted it for one kid.
I found it very helpful to teach the lessons, and I liked that the answers to the worksheets were right there for easy grading.
6. Partially Independent
I have three kids to homeschool, so anything that can be done independently is a plus.
Once we completed the “guided practice” together, I sent my daughter on her way to complete the “independent practice” on the next page.
I could then move on to another kid and grade her work later.
7. No Gimmicks
The language arts curriculum we have used in the past has always seemed to have some kind of gimmick.
Two of them were Charlotte Mason based and were too “fluffy.”
The last one we tried taught grammar by having the student copy sentences from famous literature while labeling parts of speech and correcting errors.
The gimmicks did not work.
I just wanted a straightforward language arts program so that I could teach my kids the way that I learned in school.
If that is you, then BJU English is for you!
What We Don’t Love About BJU English
1. The Workbook Binding is Flimsy
So right upfront, the student workbook binding is not great. The cover fell off early on, and about 5 other (unimportant) pages have fallen out too.
We have already bought next year’s curriculum and I can tell it’s probably going to be the same situation. I’m just going to put a strip of masking tape on the binding early on and I’m sure it will be fine.
2. Printing Off the CD
All the review sheets that I love so much are located on a CD that lives in the teacher’s manual. I find this to be a bit archaic since so many laptops these days do not even have places to insert a CD anymore.
I would really like for BJU to provide a download option off their website or a separate workbook you can buy with all the review worksheets in them.
What My Kid Thinks About BJU English
I always like to ask my kids what they think about a curriculum and pass it along to any homeschool mom who wants to know!
I wasn’t surprised to hear that she loved the writing assignments. She even told her friends when they came over about the tall tale she was writing!
She has also asked me for more creative writing assignments and curriculum to do over the summer!
I was surprised that she didn’t enjoy the grammar lessons. But then again, who actually enjoys learning grammar?
The reason I’m surprised is that the way BJU English is set up, it made learning the grammar very simple for her. I could tell she was usually confident and sure of herself when she handed me her work.
In years past with other Language Arts programs, that has not been the case.
BJU English FAQ
1. How long are the lessons?
This is highly variable based on your kid’s abilities, whether you include the review worksheets, and your teaching style.
As an estimate, I would say our lessons are about 15-20 minutes.
The longest lessons are when she drafts her writing assignments. That can take as long as an hour or more.
2. How much does it cost?
At the time that I am writing this, the workbooks are about $30 and the teacher’s manual is about $75. I was able to score a great deal on used teacher’s manuals on Amazon!
3. Do I need to buy the test booklet?
I personally did not buy the test booklets. I think the cumulative and chapter reviews at the end of each unit are more than enough.
4. Do I Really Need to Buy the Teacher’s Manual?
There are some subjects where the teacher’s manual is not really necessary.
This is not one of those.
Definitely buy the teacher’s manual. You will need it.
5. Does BJU English need to be supplemented?
Yes and No.
BJU English is a solid grammar and writing curriculum. It will get the job done for you!
It does not include spelling though. We use All About Spelling and love it!
It also does not include any reading or reading comprehension. That was important to us for end-of-year testing, so we used Reading Detective workbooks with great results.
Recap BJU English Review
We have kissed a lot of frogs, so to speak, when it comes to our language arts curriculum.
So that is why it felt so good to FINALLY find something that works for us. I have already bought next year’s curriculum for my girls and I am more than confident that we will have another solid year.
I hope this BJU English review answered all your questions and then some!
Are you already using BJU English? Drop your experience in the comments!
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