Fix It! Grammar Review

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Grammar isn’t always everyone’s favorite homeschooling subject.

With its straightforward and interactive lessons, fun literature-based approach, short lessons, practical exercises and ample review, Fix It! Grammar can be an effective way of honing grammar skills in a more approachable and tear-free way.

What We Like

Affordable and compact grammar curriculum
Open and go teaching
Supports independent learning
Thorough grammar instruction and practice
Practical, editing-based exercises can help
students hone grammar and get used to editing
Short lessons
Interesting, story-based approach
Lessons go step-by-step, making learning gentle

But watch out for

Not the most scripted
Not the most multisensory

What Is Fix It! Grammar?

Created by author and educator Pamela White and published by the Institute for Excellence in Writing (or IEW), Fix It! Grammar is a complete grammar curriculum for students in elementary through high school.

Fix It aims to systematically teach grammar skills and mechanics by exploring the English language in context using a combination of daily short story-based passages, direct instruction, editing exercises and dedicated review activities. 

While often incorporated as part of the broader IEW Structure and Style writing program, Fix It! Grammar can be used as a stand-alone curriculum, as well. 

What Ages Or Grades Is Intended For?

Broadly speaking, Fix It! Grammar is intended for students in grades 3-12 and covers the essential concepts and skills expected of students in these grades.

To do so, the program is divided into six year-long levels, each of which is aimed at a general range of grades (rather than any one in particular) and is based around a particular story, which we will discuss a little later on.

These levels are:  

LevelRecommended GradeStory
14-5The Nose Tree
24-5The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse
36-8Robin Hood
46-8Mowgli and Shere Khan
58-12The Frog Prince
68-12The Little Mermaid

It is important to note that while Fix It’s levels are aimed at certain grades, it is not really a hard and fast rule by any means. 

Based on levels (and the specific skills they teach), rather than grade, we feel that the program can also be a good resource for students studying outside of these recommended age ranges who are looking to improve their formal knowledge of grammar rules and conventions, such as precocious students learning at an accelerated rate or those who are a bit behind in their ELA studies. 

This is helped along by the fact that, with no obvious grade indicators on any of the course material, Fix It can be a lot less embarrassing for students working at a lower level. 

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the books do build on one another progressively, becoming more challenging and introducing new skills and concepts as they go along. 

As a result, they can be a little tricky for parents of older students who are trying to figure out where to start. 

Generally speaking, IEW recommends that all students start at level 3 or below to ensure that no significant gaps in knowledge or skill develop.

Those looking to jump into the program at a later level, and who don’t find the above recommendation to be all that practical, will therefore need to do a little legwork and take a close look at each level’s table of contents, which can be found inside the samples that are available on the company website

What’s Required to Teach With This Program?

Fix It! Grammar is a pretty compact and easy to manage grammar program.

Each level only really requires the use of a teacher’s manual and student book and, while the program does incorporate some story-based elements, these are reproduced in the student book.

In other words, there isn’t a lot of materials for parents to buy, store or keep track of throughout the year, which is always nice when it comes to a literature-based approach. 

There are also some stock printed cards that parents can pick up and that contain all the rules and style conventions that students will learn over the course of the year, which can be used for optional drill and revision exercises.

Teacher’s Manual

The teacher’s manual for Fix It! Grammar is a pretty conventional, being a spiral bound, black and white non-consumable book that’s about 225-250 pages long, depending on the level.

picture of fix it grammar's teacher's manual cover

The manual contains most everything that a parent will need to help guide student through each year, including pacing and scheduling ideas, grammar instruction for each week, vocabulary list, answers to the student’s editing work, notes on concepts covered in each lesson, as well as a host of tips, suggestions, explanations and definition on each page’s margins to help with teaching.

picture of a teacher's manual page in fix it grammar showing instructional content and tips

On the whole, the teacher’s manuals are pretty clearly laid out and give parents a fair amount of information in terms of learning expectations, teaching direction, examples and troubleshooting.

One thing to note is that, while they do provide a lot of in-depth guidance, they aren’t extensively scripted.

They don’t provide exact scripts for parents to follow, relying on a parent’s skill to convey information to and discuss things with students in a way that works for them.

While most homeschooling parents shouldn’t have a problem with this, and while it can very much suit those parents who like to put their own spin on lessons and engage naturally with their children, it can make things slightly more challenging for those totally new homeschool teaching.

Student Books

Fix It! Grammar’s student books are where students will be spending most of their time with the program and are spiral bound, consumable 120-page long books.

They contain the weekly lessons and practice exercises that students will work on throughout the year, and include copies of the weekly instructional content (without all the teaching information, of course), notes for students, vocabulary lists, editing exercises, review sheets and more. 

Towards the end, they also contain areas for keeping notes on particular grammar skills, as well as a complete copy of each lesson’s story in full that students can read through later on.

By and large we found the student books to be extremely straightforward and easy to use, which means we believe that most students (who are secure enough in their reading and comprehension skills) should be able to guide themselves through lesson work on their own without getting lost. 

They aren’t, however, the most interesting for students to look at. 

They contain no real pictures, color or illustrations and are mainly focused on instruction and practice. 

That said, as the program’s lessons are quite short (15 minutes or so per day), the likelihood of students getting too bothered (or bored) by this is fairly low in our opinion.

Approach To Teaching Grammar

Explicit grammar instruction

As an explicit grammar program, Fix It! Grammar specifically and directly teaches English language rules, mechanics, conventions and syntax, formally introducing and elaborating on concepts during dedication learning sessions at the start of each week.

Students then practice these concepts and skills through editing work and, optionally, card-based drill.

This is as opposed to programs with more implicit instructional methods, which tend to present grammar in context and have students figure out rules and conventions therefrom. 

Fix It’s explicit approach to grammar is a bit more traditional and can have some distinct advantages. 

Having a dedicated and formal grammar learning component can allow families to really dive into the intricacies of English grammar, presenting the mechanics and conventions of proper writing in a very clear manner and tending to highlight and explain the many exceptions that make up the language. 

It can also go a long way in answering the why of English, satisfying curious students in a way that inductive reasoning may not. 

Interestingly, because Fix It! Grammar uses editing as part of its practice, it addresses one of the main concerns that educators have about explicit grammar lessons, namely empty memorization or learning rules for rules’ sake.

Throughout Fix It, students get an opportunity to put their learning into very realistic practice based on written works.

On the downside, explicitly learning about verbs, nouns and adverbs may not be the most interesting subject for students to spend time on, and formal lessons in grammar tends not to offer a lot in the way of language fluency-building as it doesn’t always give a complete sense of real world dialogue and typical language use.

Spiral learning

Fix It! Grammar also follows a spiral learning format.

This means that Fix it will introduce a concept formally, teach it to a certain depth and reviewing and reinforce it later on throughout the year and in greater depth and complexity during subsequent levels. 

picture of fix it grammar's scope and sequence page showing spiral approach to learning

The tightness of Fix It’s spiral really depends on the particular concept being taught. 

In grade 3, for example, students might be introduced to the subject pronoun in week 2, which will be specifically reinforced only in lesson 14.

In contrast, the concept of an action verb is also introduced in week 2 but will be reinforced in weeks 4, 7, 11 and 29. 

This spiral method of learning can serve to keep things novel as new topics are introduced frequently.

In this way students may not feel quite as bogged down by spending weeks learning a single topic as they might with a mastery approach. 

Similarly, by reviewing and revisiting concepts over the course of the year, this spiral approach can be very beneficial to students who tend to forget things without a lot of practice. 

On the flipside, of course, it can end up feeling a bit repetitive at times for students who tend to “get” concepts quickly and without the need for a lot of revision and practice.


One way in which Fix It! Grammar stands out a bit among other grammar programs is in its incorporation of short stories into its practice. 

Each year’s work in the program focuses on a well-known story (Robin Hood, Mowgli, etc), which forms the basis of that year’s exercises, vocabulary word lists and review sessions. 

The stories themselves are based on classic works but are rewritten in a simple and abridged manner, which can make them a lot more approachable for the average student (and lessen the daily workload for students). 

picture of complete story in fix it grammar student edition

In this way, Fix It’s learning tends to be a little more natural, interesting and meaningful compared to typical workbook exercises, and it can be a good fit for homeschools interested in literature-based approaches to learning. 

On the downside, parents should be aware that not every student will become super excited by these more traditional stories and some may become bored by spending a year learning with a single source (rather than a variety of different texts).

Contextual practice

While it does include vocabulary work, optional flashcard-style drill and a few workbook-style exercises as part of its review, the core of Fix It! Grammar’s practice is in its editing work where students:

  • Read a short passage (a couple of sentences at most )
  • Identify grammatical and style elements and mark them
  • Fix up and adjust the passage’s mechanics, adding punctuation, capitals, indentations and so on before rewriting it
picture example of fix it grammar's contextual or editing based practice

This contextual practice tends to be a more realistic application of the grammar skills that students learn during their direct instruction compared to the myriad of somewhat artificial workbook drills found in other programs. 

On the downside, it isn’t the most multisensory approach to grammar practice we’ve ever seen, being based mostly on reading and writing with no real tactical or kinesthetic activities to suit different learning preferences. 

Blended Self-study

Finally, while the direct instructional component of Fix It! Grammar does include a good deal of parent-student interaction, most of the practice, editing and even review can be done independently by students over the course of the week. 

This means that, while it may not necessarily be a completely self-study grammar program, Fix It! Grammar can lighten the burden of direct teaching significantly.

This can allow parents to shift into an oversight role and spend more time on the myriad of other tasks that homeschooling may require, something that we feel busier families will appreciate. 

How It Works

Each level in Fix It! Grammar is designed to provide a full year’s (30 weeks) worth of grammar instruction based on a recommended 4 day a week schedule. 

As we’ve mentioned previously, in addition to grade-level grammar skills and knowledge, each level is centered around a story, which is broken down into individual sentences that are then spread out over the course of the year’s lessons.

Much as in IEW’s Structure and Style courses, Fix It! Grammar’s lessons are quite systematic, step-by-step and highly consistent, being built around a five-step process that spreads the activities that parents and students engage in across the week.

These are:

  1. Learn It!
  2. Read It!
  3. Mark It!
  4. Fix It!
  5. Review It!

Learn It!

The first day of any week is dedicated to formal grammar instruction.

Fix It! Grammar offers a fairly broad coverage of concepts and skills, and teaches things like parts of speech, phrases, clauses, punctuation, homophones, common structure and style errors and a host of IEW style elements, such as openers, closers, dress ups and more. 

picture of learn it part of fix it grammar lessons

The instructional component generally involves the parent working from the teacher’s guide, introducing a concept, explaining it in some detail and providing examples or pointing out use cases. 

Fix It also includes a good deal of parent-student interaction in its instruction, with students frequently being asked to try their hand at identifying proper grammar rules, answer short questions located in the margins of their student book, and provide examples of their proper use and even do a few examples under the guidance of their parents.

 While perhaps a bit more time-consuming and involved than a simple presentation of facts, the interactive nature of Fix It! Grammar’s instructional component does help to prevent students from simply zoning out and helps make sure that grammar rules are clear in a student’s mind before they try their hand at independent practice, which is nice. 

Read It!

Following the instructional component, students then go on to read a daily passage from the level’s story.

These aren’t very long, usually one or a couple of sentences, but has certain vocabulary terms highlighted in bold.

Students are expected to look the terms up and create a little glossary, which is nice in that it adds a bit of integrated vocabulary work and dictionary skills practice to the program’s grammar instruction.

Mark It!

The week’s third activity, in Mark It! Students begin identifying and labeling (marking up) the various grammar concepts that they’ve been taught so far with a variety of standard editing abbreviations (e.g. n for noun, pr for pronoun, ar for article and so on).

At the top of the student page is a list of concepts that they’ll have to be on the lookout for, as well as how many of each they’ll need to find.

picture of student practice from fix it grammar showing what concepts need to be found and corrected

This is a marked improvement that the 4th edition of Fix It! Grammar has over previous editions (that simply offered a plain list of things to look for) as it gives students a clearer idea of what’s expected of them in a lesson, which in turn can make learning a lot less intimidating and stressful. 

Fix It!

The eponymous exercise of the program, after marking up their passage students are then expected to go about fixing it. 

They do so by identifying and correcting any grammatical errors they may find, such as missing punctuation, mechanical mistakes, syntax errors, pronoun/homophone errors and so on.

As with the Mark It! exercise, students are given a list of the type and quantity of errors they’ll need to find that is, again, quite helpful. 

When this is complete, students and parents are expected to discuss the work, checking it over and reviewing important concepts.

Rewrite It!

Once parents and students have gone over the editing work, students then rewrite the now-correct passage in the space provided (or in a notebook).

This activity can actually be very beneficial.

Much like copywork, it allows students to copy a model of professionally written work with correct grammar and style, which in turn can passively reinforce their grammar learning and writing skills.  

Review It!

Fix It! Grammar also includes an extra section towards the end of each book that revisits and specifically reviews a number of concepts learned over the preceding weeks. 

To do so, Review It! Sections make use of a variety of exercises, such as short editing work, fill in the blanks, vocabulary questions, short answer conceptual questions, puzzles and more. 

picture showing examples of review activities in fix it grammar lessons

The inclusion of a Review It! section gives students a dedicated, extra opportunity for concept and skill revision beyond that of the program’s spiral practice, which can be very beneficial for students who tend to forget things with time. 

How Easy Is Fix It! Grammar To Teach With?

Overall, we found Fix It! Grammar to be very easy to use, learn from and teach with. 

Its lessons are quite short and usually spread out over a week, which makes learning grammar a lot less intimidating and overwhelming for students. 

The learning itself is very systematic, consistent and straightforward, guiding students and parents through instruction, vocabulary, editing practice and review in a step-by-step manner. 

Fix It also provides ample review opportunities, both through its spiral curricular approach, which revisits and reinforces concepts as it goes along, and through its dedicated review sections. 

Additionally, although lessons do require some parental involvement, notably with the discussions and interactions that occur during Learn It!, this really only takes about one day and the rest of the work can be done by students independently over the course of the week.

As a result, Fix It! Grammar can be a good solution for busy homeschools and parents, 

As we’ve mentioned, however, the teacher’s manuals aren’t all that scripted and rely on parents being able to engage in a dialogue with their students and segue between topics in a natural manner, which can be a bit tricky at times for newer homeschooling families. 

Pros and Cons



A full year’s learning with Fix It! Grammar can often be picked up for under $35, which makes the program significantly less expensive than many other options and capable of fitting even fairly tight homeschool budgets. 

Easy To Use

With its detailed and guided teacher’s manuals,step-by-step approach and straightforward student books, Fix It! Grammar is fairly open-and-go and shouldn’t take a lot of prep work to teach. 

Supports Independent Learning

While it does include direct grammar instruction and parental interaction on the first day of a week’s lessons, the rest of Fix It!’s activities can largely be done by students on their own, which can make the program very useful for busier homeschools and those who want to encourage self-study. 

Strong, Explicit Grammar Instruction

Fix It! Grammar specifically teaches students critical grammar, mechanics and style rules and does so in a clear but in-depth manner.

As a result, students using the program get a good formal background in English rules, conventions and exceptions, which can help them become stronger in writing and language arts.

Lots Of Opportunities For Review

A spiral program, Fix It! Grammar provides students with a lot of opportunity to review and practice previously learned concepts, as well as dedicated review sections, all of which can help prevent students from developing knowledge and skill gaps as time goes on

Literature-Based Learning

Fix It! Grammar centers its lessons and practice exercises around classic stories, which in turn can make practice work more focused, relevant and engaging for students. 

Short Lessons

By and large, Fix It! lessons tend to only take about 15 minutes or so per day to get through, which can make them a lot less difficult for students to sit through.

A Step-by-step, Gentler Approach To Grammar

Lessons in Fix It! Grammar takes a very step-by-step approach to teaching and practice, having students first learn, read a passage, identify relevant grammar concepts, practice correcting it and then rewriting and reviewing their work.

By breaking things down into smaller and achievable daily goals, the program can make grammar learning a lot easier for everyone involved. 

Encourages Students To Hone Editing Skills

The core practice component of Fix It! Grammar is its editing activity (from which it derives its name). 

Not only is actively editing passages a lot more realistic and practical compared to random workbook-style exercises, but it does get students in the habit of reading and correcting written work – a skill that is quite important when it comes to their own writing. 


Not the most multisensory

Discussions and lesson interactions aside, Fix It! Grammar usually makes use of reading and writing based practice. 

Although highly effective, it isn’t the most multisensory and may not have the kind of activities that really speak to kinesthetic and tactile learners. 

Teacher’s manuals could be more scripted

Although they offer a good deal of guidance and are clearly laid out, the teacher’s manuals in Fix It! don’t offer parents a word-for-word script to use, which can be an issue for those who have a hard time coming up with ways to move lessons along on their own.

Who Is Fix It! Grammar Ideal For?

Those interested in a literature- or story-based approach to learning grammar

Every level in Fix It! Grammar is based around classic stories, from which the practice exercises, vocabulary and review are derived. 

This can make the work more relevant and engaging for students and can make the program ideally suited for fans of literature-based learning.

Those looking for a straightforward, open and go grammar program

Fix It! Grammar is pretty easy to use, compact and guides parents and students through its lessons without requiring a lot of prep work or deep knowledge of ELA concepts. 

This can make it ideally suited to those looking for an open and go grammar curriculum.

Those who want to have a more realistic application of grammar practice

Fix It! Grammar has students immediately put their newfound knowledge and skill to use by having them identify concepts and errors in passages and then correct and rewrite them. 

This activity is far more realistic and practical than typical workbook grammar exercises as it mimics what students would be explicitly using their knowledge for in academic and real world settings. 

Students who have a hard time sitting through longer lessons

Typically taking less than 20 minutes to go through per day, Fix It! Grammar lessons are short and to the point. 

They can be a great option for students who tend to zone out or become frustrated by long learning and practice sessions.

Students who have had a hard time learning grammar in the past

Fix It! Grammar’s approach is fairly gentle, offering clear, explicit instruction and breaking up a week’s learning and practice into smaller, achievable tasks that are spread out over several days. 

Consequently, it can make grammar lessons a lot less intimidating for students.  

Who is Fix It! Grammar Not Ideal For?

Families looking for a multisensory program

Fix It! Grammar is largely a reading and writing-based program that offers little in the way of multisensory exercises, such as visual, kinesthetic or tactile activities.

Students who don’t need or want a ton of review

Fix It! Grammar’s spiral approach and dedicated review components can be very helpful for students who need a good deal of practice and review, but can feel a bit repetitive to more advanced ELA students who are quick to grasp and master concepts. 


Note: Prices correct as of writing. All prices in USD. 

As we’ve noted, Fix It! Grammar is a pretty compact program that only requires a teacher’s manual, student book and, optionally, some practice cards.

The teacher’s manual and student books cost around $19 each (per level), and can often be purchased together as a combo pack for around $29.

The practice cards, meanwhile, cost around $15 per pack.

As always, parents should check the latest prices for Fix It! Grammar, as well as look for any discounts or offers that may apply. 


Is Fix It! Grammar Worth It?

Although not particularly expensive as a program, we feel that Fix It! Grammar can still offer homeschool families a lot of value for money.

It is a very easy to use literature-based grammar program that capably guides both parents and students through its lessons and doesn’t require a lot of materials or prep to teach. 

It is also very straightforward and gentle when it comes to student learning, with short lessons, explicit and clear instruction and a step-by-step approach that really breaks down the sometimes challenging nature of grammar learning into more manageable and spread out tasks.

Additionally, Fix It! Grammar’s editing-based methodology offers families practical and realistic grammar practice that can also encourage the development of stronger self-editing skills. 

Finally, as much of the work can be done independently by students, Fix It! Is also largely a self-study program, which can be very valuable for busier homeschooling families. 

Bottom Line

Grammar isn’t always everyone’s favorite homeschooling subject.

With its straightforward and interactive lessons, fun literature-based approach, short lessons, practical exercises and ample review, Fix It! Grammar can be an effective way of honing grammar skills in a more approachable and tear-free way.

Picture of our author and editor Anne Miller

About the Author

Anne Miller is the editor of The Smarter Learning Guide and is a passionate advocate for education and educational technology. A mom of two, she majored in English Language and Literature and worked as a substitute teacher and tutor for several years. When not writing she continues to root for the Yankees and the Giants.