Shurley English

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  • Reviewed on Friday, February 5, 2016
  • Grades Used: 2
  • Dates used: 2015-2016
I have a love/hate relationship with this curriculum. My daughter used this last year at her Christian school in 1st grade. After having lots of practice, she amazed me at how she could classify predictable sentences, yet I wondered why they pushed so hard so fast. When we decided to homeschool because of her dyslexia, I decided to continue with Shurley just in case she returned to the school. You do NOT want to miss a year of this would be like throwing her into the deep end if she returned after missing a year.

What I love: 1. Lots of practice with classifying sentences 2. The TM is completely scripted. I was an elementary teacher, so I do not use the script, but it's nice that it's there if I want help explaining something 3. Practice building a sentence using specific parts of speech in a certain order is good practice reversing classifying.

What I hate: 1. The homeschool version is awkward and cumbersome--flipping all over the place in the student book. The school version had nice practice pages with all the practice on the same page. The supposed reason (teaching research skills) is ineffective on a second grade level. 2. The vocabulary is well beyond a second grade level. I ditched that part of the program and now use Wordly Wise. I also do not believe the method of teaching the vocabulary (writing out the definition, etc) is very effective at a second grade level. 3. They tend to teach something, then not touch it for weeks. Eg: types of sentences were introduced weeks ago, and they have not reviewed/practiced them since. 4. We are half-way through and they still have not brought back all they learned in 1st grade. 5. The test section of the student book should be separate. It is ridiculous to have a student take a test on the right hand page of the book with the last test staring at them from the left hand page of the book. 6. In the beginning of the year, my daughter had meltdowns each time we pulled out Shurley. She is better about it now, but still hates it. 7. Memorizing rule numbers is a ridiculous time waster. Knowing the rule is super important, but having the added requirement of memorizing the Shurley-specific number they give that rule is crazy.

If there wasn't the possibility of her returning to the traditional school, I would not be using it. The cons, in my opinion, outweigh the pros.


  • Reviewed on Thursday, April 16, 2015
  • Grades Used: 5th
  • Dates used: 2012-2013
It took me a bit of time to work out how best to use Shurley English for my 10yo dd. Not all of the activities suited her, and I began to screen the lessons ahead of time and write down what I think we could use on a sheet of paper. That has been our best strategy for Shurley--we choose activities and practices that we really need, and if we need more reinforcement of a concept, the rest are there.

My dd knows the Shurley jingles well, and remembers the parts of speech well. Because there is a lot of practice involved, concepts are well memorized by the time testing happens. I occasionally expand on certain things [like the other day, when we explored how many different forms prepositional phrases can take, especially when you add all sorts of adjectives to them--fun!] but overall it gives us a very good jumping-off point.

Not sure how "fun" grammar can get. Shurley can be a little dry but we have no problem spicing it up. And from what I can see it is comprehensive and there are no gaps that I know of. Includes a bit of writing in the early levels, so we supplement that with creative writing and go from there.

A good program, I do recommend it.


  • Reviewed on Friday, February 27, 2015
  • Grades Used: 2nd
  • Dates used: 2014-2015
My 6 year old student and I made our way through level 2 of Shurley English this year. While I will admit I ordered a level higher than I should have, I am still impressed.

I can't diagram a sentence to save my life, but my son is actually quite good at it. He knows all the parts of speech taught in level two, and very quickly breaks down the practice sentences with little to no error. He's learned homonyms, sentence fragments, contractions, how to make words possessive, capitalization and punctuation rules, and has started to take a crack at writing.

We have had to edit the program just a bit due to my over-estimation of his skills, but he's preformed very well despite this.

However, the program is dry and time consuming. It's everything you remember grammar and composition being in school. However, it is effective. My son usually doesn't do well with dry and time-consuming work, but he does with Shurley.

I don't think this program would work with a large homeschool family - it would simply take too much time. For a smaller family though, it's worth a try. I plan on doing level three once my son has had a chance to catch up to the skill level a bit.


  • Reviewed on Thursday, June 19, 2014
  • Grades Used: 3-8th Grades
  • Dates used: 1994-97, 2006-08
I've used Shurley English for years. I began using it when it was initially called, The Shurley Method. I find this program to structured, engaging, and fun! The students were so proud of themselves at the end of the year, when they could identify every word in a lengthy sentence and understand each word's function in the sentence. Shurley English is a comprehensive program for teaching mechanics and usage. My daughter, who is currently in grad school, was taught Shurley English in elementary school, and to this day, attributes her wonderful essays and research papers to Shurley English. Love it!!