The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

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Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

Designed by Marie Rackham, a retired English teacher, The Basic Cozy Grammar Course is a delightful and effective basic grammar program. The 27 English grammar tutorials cover all of the parts of speech and their uses. Rackham introduces the program with a rationale for learning grammar and concludes with an amusing but kindly lesson on common errors. The strength of this program lies in the clarity of its presentation and in its accessibility. The videos are filmed entirely on location in and around Rackham’s cottage on the beach in Campbell River, BC. Concepts and examples are found written in the sand and on the refrigerator door. (They are also superimposed on the screen throughout the videos to make note-taking easier.) Frequently sporting bedroom slippers, Rackham is eccentric and amusing enough to engage the viewer’s attention yet she is never condescending. The two videos are accompanied by a reproducible 110 page workbook that includes lesson outlines, exercises, tests, and an answer key. The workbook is of the same high caliber as the videos; the exercises are clear, well written, interesting, and effective. The Basic Cozy Grammar Course is clearly the result of years of classroom experience. This “living textbook” makes grammar painless and is suitable for ages nine to adult.

Highly recommended for middle and high school libraries, as well as public libraries (especially those serving homeschoolers).

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Reviewed by Michelle Visser

American Library Association Review

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Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

May 15, 2002 issue

Gr. 4-12. Marie Rackham is the polished teacher of this grammar course comprised of 27 short tutorial segments. Pictorially shot at Rackham’s Canadian seaside cottage, the program begins with the host discussing the importance of using proper grammar before distinguishing between casual and colloquial versus formal word usage. Instructions are both spoken and captioned on-screen, with lessons covering verb and subject agreement, sentence structure, predicates, phrases, verb conjugation, clauses, adjectives, and adverbs, among other topics. Incorporating footage of Rackham working in her garden or engaged in other activities as she offers grammar instruction, this excellent primer is suitable for both younger students and those enrolled in adult literacy programs. Includes a companion workbook, study guide, exercises, and tests.

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School Library Journal

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The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

Reviewed in the June 2002 Issue

Gr 4-7 — These 27 basic grammar lessons are designed to supplement classroom instruction. Each 2-17 minute lesson builds on the previous one. At the end of each lesson, Marie Rackham, the hostess, refers to the workbook. Each workbook lesson provides one page of review and one page of exercises. Rather than filming in a studio or classroom setting, the producers chose to film at a “cozy” cottage on the Campbell River in Canada—Rackham’s home. The lessons become a part of her daily routine. For example, viewers learn about pronouns when Marie has several friends over for dinner and she offers red or white wine. She uses their preferences to introduce pronouns. These videos will appeal to different learning styles. Visual learners can follow along on screen; auditory learners can listen to Marie; and kinesthetic learners have the reinforcement of workbook exercises. School libraries will benefit from these videos, and public libraries should consider purchasing them if they have large home-schooling or ESL populations. One caveat for American libraries: there are some Canadian pronunciations, which are more likely to cause giggles than confusion.

Reviewed by Sarah Prielipp

TheHomeSchoolMom.Com

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Review: Basic Cozy Grammar and Punctuation Courses

When Splashes from the River contacted me to review The Basic Cozy Grammar Course and The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course, my first thought was to wonder how grammar and punctuation could fall under the category of being cozy. After watching the first lesson (taught by Marie Rackham on location on the shores of the Campbell River in British Columbia), I understood exactly how grammar can be cozy. Marie’s warm style and the wonderful scenery at her cabin on the river combine to make the grammar and punctuation courses truly cozy. The course combines a daily video lesson with a worksheet to reinforce the lesson. It is a painless way for any parent to teach grammar, and the lessons are bite-sized to keep student frustration or boredom to a minimum. According to Marie, “Grammar does not make you creative; it is a technique that enhances your creativity. If you can’t speak well and write well your windows of opportunity are closed.” One challenging aspect to the program for me was the multi-cultural aspect to the location and Marie’s object lessons. The Pacific Northwest has much Asian influence, and eastern religious objects such as toriis and Buddhas periodically pop up in the lessons. For our family it has given an opportunity to discuss eastern religions compared to our own, but some families may wish to avoid such references.

In addition to being a teacher Marie has many years of disciplined training and practice in music, and her classroom experience taught her the value of music as a calming influence on students. “The Cozy Classroom Collection CD is a selection of classical piano compositions that have been performed, arranged, edited, and recorded to facilitate learning.” Although we have not used the Cozy Classroom Collection in a learning setting yet, we have enjoyed listening to the classical music selections (performed by Marie) in the car on our trips to and from town.

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Reviewed by Mary Ann Kelley

The Link Newspaper

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Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

I cannot recommend this basic grammar course highly enough! I thoroughly enjoy watching a well-done video presenting material I care about and I love grammar as well as English in all its forms and all things “language”. (Of course that is my adult opinion!) I consider the skill of language, written and oral, to be among the greatest achievements Man has wrought – as mysterious as algebra, but far more useful! Marshall McLuhan, the great analyst of media, said that the content of the medium of speech and of writing, both, is thought. However, one who has not developed the ability to speak and write well, may have difficulty convincing anyone that he/she possesses any thought! Nothing aids in developing the dual skills of speaking and writing like grammar. Yes, that hated and feared topic that we all had to sweat through as part of our elementary English (or any other language) skills. Now, as homeschooling parents, we are once more confronted with this “toothed beast” of English and have to find a way to impart it to our children so that they can speak and write to the world, revealing the intellectual light we parents know shines within. Help is here!!

Conservative homeschooling parents will cheer mightily at Ms. Rackham’s approach and her assertion that discipline does not stifle creativity! I am among their number! I do not believe that discipline stifles creativity – one only need look to some of the greatest artists who ever lived to prove this truth: Bach, Beethoven, Michelangelo, DaVinci, Dali, Milton, Tolkien, Lewis, and many, many more, have been noted for their powerful discipline in the development of the technique of their art. The only element that seems to affect creativity is the presence or absence of creativity. You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Marie Rackham calls grammar “the technique of English” and she demonstrates that a skilled development of grammar will enable one to speak and write clearly, intelligently and comfortably enough to communicate one’s thoughts so that others wish to hear and/or read them. She mentions these uses for good grammatical writing and speaking skills: Resumes, job interviews, presentations, master’s theses, e-mail that may be read by any number of people beyond the writer’s knowledge and formal letters. In any of these cases, the writer/speaker has one ” shot” to make a favorable impression of his intellectual skill. Considering the stakes, such an impression had better be the best possible.

The setting for the videos is Marie’s home in British Columbia, a cozy, knotty pine sort of house on the ocean that looks the perfect refuge from a wintry rainstorm. Here, she illustrates and demonstrates each lesson with actions of varying sorts: Pouring tea, chopping wood, riding (or not riding) on an exercise bike, discussing the seagulls that populate the beach, etc. In this way, she has skillfully developed a way to teach grammar that satisfies any learning style a student may have. Watching Ms. Rackham move throughout her home and its grounds, creates an ever-changing atmosphere that makes for more interesting viewing than simply a “talking head” lecture approach in a static setting and her movements coinciding with the grammar material keeps the observer attentive and the information flowing! Ms. Rackham warns that this is an elementary course and that there are many excellent materials available to carry the study of grammar to the highest levels. However, because this set is so informative, clearly-written, comfortable to watch and remain attentive to, I wish she would consider quickly producing the necessary sequels to “Cozy Grammar” that she could recommend her own advanced courses, instead! I need a grammar review every so often!

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Michael Leppert, Editor

Homeschooling Today

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Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

Reviewed in the July/August 2002 issue

It’s always a pleasure to review an excellent product. This video grammar course is creative, clear, well-organized, and above all, entertaining. Retired English teacher Marie Rackham is the star of this show. She knows her stuff and explains each point clearly and carefully, but she’s quirky enough, too, that she’s a hoot to watch. The lessons are filmed in and around her beautiful home on the beach on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Some settings are “cozy” (tea by the fireside) and others are grand (bald eagles aloft), and they’re perfect for homeschooled children who are much more at home in those places than in a classroom. Ms. Rackham–a classically trained pianist–even provides the soundtrack. The course contains 27 lessons, from the basics of identifying subjects and predicates through subordinate clauses and compound sentences. The accompanying workbook restates the basics of each lesson and gives three or four sets of exercises, plus four tests at the end. As we write this, our three oldest children are glued to the TV, laughing and learning with Ms. Rackham.

Enthusiastically recommended.

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Craig and Cindy Young, Curriculum Corner

KIDS FIRST! Coalition For Quality Children’s Media

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Endorsement: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

Whimsical approach to basic English grammar as retired teacher presents light-hearted tutorials in and around her cozy cottage on the seashore. Includes video lessons and workbook with exercises, tests and answer key.

Adult Juror Comments: Educational. Interesting, well organized, in-depth study of grammar. Cheery host in a lovely seaside setting made the lessons less intimidating. Best for late elementary to junior high students, or basic adult learners.

Kid Juror Comments: High-schoolers found the content suitable for themselves but the presentation geared for younger students. “The appeal is for a younger audience and would catch their interest.” “It starts out simple and gradually becomes more in depth.” “Good examples.” Age: 10-14.

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Outstanding! In our twenty-six years of evaluating family/children’s entertainment and educational products, we have never seen a program quite like ‘THE BASIC COZY GRAMMAR COURSE’!

Marie Rackham, with 34 years of experience as an English teacher is a delightful instructor – and the beautiful surroundings of Campbell River in British Columbia makes for a relaxing and unique learning environment one never wants to leave!

This course is great for kids nine and up and adults alike who wish to improve their speaking and writing skills.  We would also recommend this course to those who speak English as a second language who wish to improve their skills!  This course is ideal for home schooling and should be in every home library!  Kids from nine to 100 will love ‘THE BASIC COZY GRAMMAR COURSE‘!  I can’t say enough wonderful things about it!

Film Advisory Board Elayne Blythe

Reviewed by Elayne Blythe, President and Founder

Eclectic Homeschool Review

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Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

The Basic Cozy Grammar Course was digitally shot on location on Vancouver Island in and around a beach cottage in Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada. The setting is serene and peaceful, leading the viewer to relax. The videos were conceived as a ‘living textbook’ and use the graphics of the surrounding area and the inside of the beach house to clarify examples. A soundtrack features classical piano music that helps break up the usual unnerving silence found in teaching videos.

Marie Rackham, a retired English teacher, teaches the English lessons. She walks around, sips a cup of tea, and wanders along the waters edge. At first this casualness seemed foreign, but as I continued watching I enjoyed the lessons more and more. The home setting was better than a sterile classroom setting and Ms. Rackham was able to use ‘live’ examples to illustrate what she was teaching.

As Ms. Rackham taught a lesson, sentences appeared on the screen, clarifying what she was teaching. For example, in a lesson on subject and predicates, the subject was shown in yellow and the predicate was shown in pink. When teaching the parts of speech, the subject was underlined in yellow and the predicate was underlined in pink. This is great for those who learn visually as well as for auditory learners. The accompanying workbook would be the key for those who are tactile learners, giving the student a chance to practice what he or she has just been taught.

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Kelly Crespin, BS in Elementary Education, MS in Gifted and Talented Education

British Columbia Homeschool Association

BC Homeschool Association (Now Provincial Association of Home Schoolers of BC)

Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

The Basic Cozy Grammar Course is an award-winning video and workbook program that teaches grammar in a fun way — and teaches it well. This grammar course is well-named; it really is very pleasant to watch. The cheery instructor-hostess takes us through her lovely cottage and along her Vancouver Island beach property as she demonstrates for us the meaning and proper usage of grammar.

From Nouns and Verbs to Subordinate Conjunctions, the two videos use voice, text, and action to reinforce grammar principles in a way that your visual, auditory, or kinesthetic child can understand. The simple, clear workbook has a definition, examples, and exercise questions for each of the 27 lessons, plus tests and an answer key. The workbook is good, very clear, and concise. I really like that in a text! In other books, the explanations can be so unnecessarily long and unclear, esp. for children. Although we found the teacher’s style to be annoyingly pre-school oriented,  it is still an enjoyable course that’s as useful for adults as it is for elementary or high-school students. As homeschooling parents, probably most of us are being faced with trying to help our kids with grammar that we have never learned.

My husband, who has a degree in Linguistics, also was impressed with the teaching in this course and how it was presented. My children enjoyed it and seemed to remember well what they learned. I do think it’s a great product and a wonderful idea, and we will use it often.

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Reviewed by Marianne Mendgen

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Rating (out of 5):

Family Approved

Genre: Family
Starring: Marie Rackham

Synopsis:

Marie Rackham, a former English teacher is the author and narrator of these videos regarding rules of grammar. She provides excellent explanations and examples, and the lessons are very suitable for all ages. Included is a workbook which reinforces the lessons in a clear and concise way, and offers review, tests and answer key. The setting is Marie’s seaside cottage in British Columbia, Canada, and she uses everyday situations and colorful graphics to illustrate examples. She is very enthusiastic about the material, and has a charming, sincere, whimsical manner, which offers a pleasant atmosphere away from the classroom.

Christian Worldview:

Marie’s method of presenting these valuable lessons should appeal to anyone who is interested in learning the correct rules of grammar, something lacking at some levels of education. Grammar is an integral part of effective language usage, and should be recognized as such. Marie taught the curriculum covered in The Basic Cozy Grammar Course in the Canadian Public School System, where it was introduced to children at the age of nine, and completed by the age of twelve, with regular reviews and more challenging examples provided right through to high school graduation. Homeschoolers have found that children as young as six find the videos entertaining to watch, even though they are too young to grasp the material. These videos have received a number of awards in the United States and Canada.

Content Description:

There are no objectionable elements in this video.

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Reviewed by Carol Verbrugge

Island Parent Magazine

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 Nikki's Book Nook in Island Parent Magazine (Vancouver Island, BC)

English Grammar Made Easy

My 15 year old daughter recently asked me a question about her French homework. She muttered something about pronouns and indirect objects and I could tell she had no idea what she was talking about. The problem was not the French homework at all (the instructions for the exercise were clear enough), but the fact that she really did not understand the grammar in English.

A lack of thorough grounding in English grammar is not at all uncommon.  To address this problem, Marie Rackham, educator and grammar advocate, has created an easy-to-use resource for parents, educators, and students alike.

The Basic Cozy Grammar Course consists of two video-tapes and a workbook with plenty of examples, exercises, and an answer key. The course covers all the basics from parts of speech and types of sentences to coordinate conjunctions and misplaced phrases. These concepts are described on the video-tapes using real life situations and settings to illustrate clear and relevant examples.

The video-tapes are shot on location on Vancouver Island beaches and in a cozy home and garden.  The quality of the tapes is excellent – interesting camera angles, classical music, and great settings provide an interesting context for the subject matter. Initially, I was a little concerned that Marie’s over-the-top performance style would soon become irritating.  In fact, the opposite was true.  As I watched more of the tapes, Marie grew on me. I was quite interested to see how she integrated real life settings and situations into each of her 27 grammar lessons. A scene at a dinner table with friends became the perfect excuse for chatting about pronouns, and a trip to the beach provided Marie with many opportunities to talk about the difference between transitive, intransitive, and copula verbs.

Recognizing that students learn in different ways, text is superimposed over the video images to underscore the key points being covered in the lessons.  In this manner, Marie supports visual, auditory, and contextual learning styles.

The accompanying workbook is logically organized, clearly written, and provides clear examples of each grammar topic.  There are enough exercises to get a student started without beating the subject to death.  The workbook also includes answer keys, several grammar tests, and a bibliography for those who would like to tackle more complex grammatical subjects.

A useful tool for ESL students, adults, kids, and teachers, The Basic Cozy Grammar Course is equally suited for classroom and individual use.

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Nikki Tate-Stratton

Homeschool Oasis

Homeschool Oasis Barb Shelton

Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

Is “Grammar” a word that ranks right in there with “spinach” for you?  Actually, spinach is one of my favorite foods, but then grammar is also one of my favorite subjects!  I realize that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for either spinach or grammar, yet, as parents and homeschoolers, we know our children need at least some of both!

Whether you have a young child just beginning to explore the world of grammar, or are an adult who has been “in the dark” on this subject all your life, this 27-lesson grammar course does for your grammatical muscles what spinach does for your physical muscles. And it does so in a delectable, easy-to-swallow manner! Marie Rackham, a retired English teacher, has a delightful way of presenting a full spectrum of grammar basics in a straightforward and non-intimidating manner that lays a thorough foundation of all the grammar basics. Even the most serious cases of “Grammar Phobia” will be cured following Ms. Rackham around her lovely home and beachside property. Cozy ~ one of my favorite words ~ is truly the theme for these lessons as Marie fixes tea, pedals her stationary bicycle, prunes plants in her garden, chops wood (no stunt men; she really does it herself!), and sits by the cozy fire made with the wood! The accompanying workbook is clearly laid out, follows the video lesson by lesson, and is easy to follow and use, reinforcing the lessons taught in each video lesson. The only drawback to this course is that it will make you wish you were there!

(I hope she has a cozy guest room!)

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Reviewed by Barb Shelton, Author of SENIOR HIGH: A HOME-DESIGNED FORM+U+LA

All Star Review

All-Star Reviews

Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

Synopsis: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course is a video course covering the basics of English grammar presented by a grandmotherly, Canadian English teacher. Included in this set, is a reproducible companion workbook featuring study notes, exercises, tests and answer key.

Age-Appropriateness: The suggested age recommendation is 9-12. However, it held the attention of students from ages 9 through17.

Replay Value: It is hard to find a grammar program which isn’t dull or obnoxious, however, this video succeeded. The Basic Cozy Grammar Course clearly explained the various parts of grammar and presented them in easily digested segments ranging from 3 to 10 minutes each. Each subject was clearly understandable.

Educational Value: This video set is ideal for home schooling, tutoring, as a teacher resource, and other situations that teach basic English grammar skills.

Graphics/Sound: Students enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the Pacific Northwest and the classical music in the background.

Pros: The program contains 27 short lessons which hold the attention of the students. It is appropriate for multiple ages. The home environment setting is something the children can easily relate to and is familiar to them.

Cons: The only complaint (made by a 17 year old reviewer) is that if your children are used to programs which use cartoons, rap or rock music and silly little characters as the main mode of teaching, this program may not hold their attention very well.

Conclusion: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course is a refreshing change from the usual grammar course. As a parent, I am not comfortable with academic subjects taught by silly characters or crude teenage humor. It might take some children a few minutes to become comfortable with the style of the host, but she really was delightful once we got used to her. The program was well designed and presented. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn the basics of grammar or who just needs a refresher.

Rating (out of 5): All-Star 5-Star Review

Reviewed by Laura Bahrt
All Star Reviews

The Old Schoolhouse

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Old Schoolhouse Basic Grammar Review

Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

“Cozy, Cozy, COZIES!” is what my daughter Julia, age 5, shrieks as she dives under her covers and laughs, waiting for me to rush in after her and snuggle. The word “cozy” is just that….a word that makes you feel comfortable and warm, just like Julia feels when she is deep within the blankets, squirming around, squealing for Mama.

Splashes From the River Multimedia, Inc. was smart when they named their product for educators, which is absolutely sweeping the nation with great gusto. Cozy Grammar is the name, and cozy it is — I shall tell you why.

First off, what is warm and fuzzy (in general) about grammar? Come on, be honest. I personally like grammar – It is my favorite subject (even though my punctuation definitely could use some sharpening), but grammar? Cozy? I don’t think so. However, there is a reason this program, which consists of two high-quality video tapes and a workbook (+ answer key), is definitely considered “cozy”. Marie Rackham. This woman is a character in herself. When you see the videos, you will understand what I mean when I say this. She has a cottage on Vancouver Island, right on Campbell River in British Columbia, and she films the classes right there, in and around her beautiful, warm home. The scenery outdoors is breathtaking. Have you ever seen the Anne of Green Gables videos? If you loved that gorgeous scenery, you will be pleasantly surprised at how similar this is. Marie is a retired English teacher who is prim and proper all the way (note the classical music piano soundtrack in the background), yet giggles and takes joy in the simple things around her. Much of the classroom time is spent outdoors, with the gurgling river and on the beach. Teacup in hand, Marie uses her surroundings to introduce grammatical concepts. For instance, she chops her own wood while explaining subjects and predicates. She falls DOWN and “hurts” herself on a log to visually demonstrate a grammar concept to the viewer. We all know how important it is to use visual aids, when we’re driving home a point. This is what Marie does, but she goes far beyond a blackboard and a still-life dummy. You walk with her on the beach, learning to speak and write correctly. You follow her into the kitchen, where she giggles and grabs a cookie. You laugh your head off when she sits on a damp log on the beach, and jumps up in “surprise”, claiming she does not like having a “wet bum”! All of this is for the viewer’s benefit — so they learn grammar.

The Old Schoolhouse™ gives Cozy Grammar the “Best all-time Grammar Award” in our book. This is a full course, complete with approximately 2 1/2 hours of teaching time in the videos and an online 110 page workbook (work along while you view the classes). 27 lessons in all and definitely well-worth the price. This is perfect for homeschoolers, absolutely perfect! Moms, take the class with your kids – it’s a wonderful refresher course. Although it is really designed for kids 10 on up, my two younger children loved “Cozy Grammar”, simply because of all the scenery and “cozy sounds” coming from the tapes. They thought it was great, and so do we. Highly recommended by TOS™ — 20 stars on a scale of five! —

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Gena Suarez, Publisher

Education Update Magazine

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Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

The Basic Cozy Grammar Course, a series of lessons on two videotapes with an accompanying workbook, was released in March by Splashes From The River Multimedia Entertainment. Marie Rackham, an exuberant retired English teacher, coaches her audience through 27 lessons from her idyllic beach cottage “classroom”. Rackham softens the instruction of what, for many, is a frightening subject by delivering the lessons in her slippers while enjoying a cup of tea. The materials are formatted for a student to watch a lesson and then complete the corresponding workbook exercises. Drawn from the curriculum Rackham used in the Canadian Public Schools, each video contains 14 different lessons, including Kinds of Sentences, Agreement of Verbs, Comparison of Adjectives, Misplaced Phrases and Common Errors. At the back of the workbook are answer keys for all exercises as well as four Grammar Tests. “Live” examples of the concepts being taught as well as Rackham’s colorful personality keep students’ attention during the lessons, while a classical soundtrack stimulates their thinking. Suitable for ages nine and up for use at home or in the classroom.

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Reviewed in the August 2002 Issue

Diplomatic Educational Services

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Letter of Recommendation

The Basic Cozy Grammar Course as an ESL resource

As an ESL consultant and developer of specialized ESL and TESL programs, I would like to commend Ms. Rackham on the creation of The Basic Cozy Grammar Course. I have been so pleased with the uniqueness of this program that I have recommended it to various international language schools and ESL students. In fact, the viewing of these videotapes is a recommended activity in the Grammar Module of the International TESOL Certificate Program created by our company.

I believe that all ESL teachers could benefit from viewing Ms Rackham’s relaxed, systematic and clear approach to presenting grammar topics. Similarly, ESL students – young and old – who are confused or frightened by English grammar have all responded positively to The Basic Cozy Grammar Course. The grammar worksheets included in the package further support the effective learning of grammatical concepts. I look forward to the development of a similar grammar program at an advanced level.

Congratulations to Ms Rackham and the whole Splashes From the River team on a unique and valuable contribution to the field of English language learning.

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Reviewed by Rebecca Azoulay, President
Diplomatic Educational Services

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Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

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Homework Tips with your Guide Cathy Spalding

Product Summary

The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

Guide Rating – 4.5 Stars

Guide Review

Pros

  • Video and workbook integrate well together.
  • Can use the whole course or just specific parts.
  • Video locations are varied and interesting.

Cons

  • Not enough exercises to go with each tutorial.
  • Narrator’s style could be annoying to some.

The Bottom Line

Uniquely presented video with workbook exercises to compliment each lesson combine to form a well-rounded English grammar course that could be used in many situations.

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Reviewed by Kathy Spalding, Homework Tips Guide

Parent and School Magazine

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Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

International Education Product

The Cozy Grammar Series hosted by Marie Rackham, is a new educational audio-visual product, officially released to the world Home Video market in 2001. The series includes English grammar tutorials and companion exercises featuring study notes, exercises, tests and an answer key.

Filmed on location on Vancouver Island in and around a beach cottage near Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada, Cozy Grammar was created to address the fears that many parents have today about the lack of formal grammar being taught in public schools. This resource was produced to empower individuals – parents/ grandparents/ teachers/ students – to take action about this concern. During the development of this project it was discovered that many younger teachers and homeschooling parents had some anxiety about teaching grammar. Hence it was decided that those fears could be alleviated by providing a resource that could be used in a library, classroom or at home. It was also developed to appeal to auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learners in a gently entertaining way; something that would be ‘family friendly’ and ‘edutaining’.

Presented by an experienced retired English teacher in an enthusiastic, whimsical manner the lessons are taken out of the classroom and placed in a soothing seaside cottage setting. Marine wildlife are included along with an eclectic classical piano soundtrack. The use of everyday situations and colourful graphics to illustrate examples provides a self-empowering, non ponderous way for any individual to increase their own knowledge of basic English grammar, or help teach someone else to do so.

The uniquely bubbly teaching persona of Marie Rackham is best described as a charming mix of ‘old-fashioned, carefully enunciated, school-marm grammarian sticklerness’, and ‘young-hearted appreciation and giggly joy for life’s simple homespun pleasures’, makes her the perfect teacher to bring The Cozy Grammar Course to students of all ages world-wide.

When the curriculum covered in the resource was taught by Marie in the Canadian Public School System, it was introduced to children at the age of 9, and completed by the age of 12, with regular reviews and more challenging examples provided right through to high school graduation. Reports from viewers however state that children as young as 6 find the videos entertaining to watch. Adult ESL, Literacy and Continuing education students report that even though the examples are very simple, they appreciate how easy it is to grasp the concepts presented.

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Christchurch, New Zealand

Video Librarian

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Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

March/April 2002 Edition

Instructor Marie Rackham’s Cozy Grammar Course offers a fine introduction to a subject that most of us blissfully forgot after emancipation from high school (and would opt to undergo multiple root canals rather than revisit.) In filmed lessons, Rackham draws from examples in and around her Canadian beach cottage — puttering in the garden, cleaning up around the house, roasting wienies on the beach, etc. — to teach viewers about subjects and predicates, nouns and verbs, pronouns, adjectives and adverbs, phrases and clauses, compound and complex sentences, verb conjugation, and common errors, among other topics. Shot on digital video with colorful on-screen text examples overlaid to illustrate each grammatical principle, this amiably presented guide (featuring a pleasant classical music soundtrack background) serves equally well as an introduction or refresher course in giving students and/or adult audiences a good grounding in basic grammar.

Recommended Audience: High School, Colleges & Universities, Public Libraries.

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Reviewed by R. Pitman

Life Learning

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Review: Cozy Grammar

Have Fun Improving Your Grammar Skills!

Learning the basics of English grammar has never been this easy…or fun or cozy for that matter. Cozy Grammar is a highly recommended video program that features retired English teacher Marie Rackham hosting a series of relaxed tutorials, in and around her cottage on the beach in Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada.

Says Rackham, “Grammar does not make you creative; it is a technique that enhances your creativity. If you can’t speak well and write well your windows of opportunity are closed.”

There’s no knuckle rapping here, although this package is not short on content. This light-hearted approach to a serious subject has won 13 national and international awards. It is appropriate for self-educating youngsters, private tutoring, ESL situations, adult and family literacy applications, and for virtually anybody ages nine to adult who wants to improve their grammar skills.

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Homeschooling From the Heart

Review: The Cozy Grammar Course

Making the Grade: A+
Value for your Homeschool Dollar: 10

The Cozy Grammar Course

“Grammar does not make you creative: it is a technique that enhances your creativity.  If you can’t speak well and write well your windows of opportunity are closed.”

So begins, The Cozy Grammar Course, hosted by retired English teacher Marie Rackham.  Cozy is the perfect adjective to describe this program!  Filmed on location at a beach cottage on beautiful Vancouver Island, this grammar course isn’t anything like the way I was taught in school.  In fact, I’ve always thought of learning grammar as being dry and boring.  After using this program in my home, grammar has become far less painful!

The Cozy Grammar Course consists of lessons designed to teach the basics of formal grammar.  The video lessons are incredibly heart-warming and will appeal to the auditory AND visual learners in your home.  In each lesson Marie walks you through the new concept and then instructs you to complete the exercises in your workbook.  There are several exercises for each concept being taught and tests are provided to ensure your student has grasped all the material that has been covered.  An answer key is provided for all exercises and tests.  It’s like having a professional tutor right in your living room!

My first impression was that perhaps the lessons were too “girlish” for my boys – with the cozy cottage, flower gardens, classical music soundtrack and a dramatically cheerful teacher.  After viewing the first two lessons, we were quickly won over!  When Marie introduces a new concept, words are also placed on the screen.  She often gestures first with one hand then the other and as she does the words or phrases are underlined on the monitor.  With this format, the needs of both the auditory and visual learner are met.  For instance, while sitting in a rocking chair in front of a roaring fire, Marie states, “The chair rocks.”  Then she repeats the sentence, it appears on the screen, and underlines appear as she points out that “chair” is the subject and “rocks” is the predicate.  This type of procedure is followed throughout the entire series, making even more challenging concepts much easier to understand. I find the calm, “cozy” atmosphere used in this course to be most refreshing!

While the course could easily be completed in a little over a month of school days, there are several recommendations in the back of the book for using it for a longer period of time.  One suggestion, which we will most likely follow, is to use one lesson a week.  Each lesson in the workbook has 3 sections of exercises, so we will view the lesson on one day followed by the first set of exercises in the workbook.  The next two sections will be completed on two other days during the week.  As the lessons progress, the concepts do get a bit more challenging, so I believe this will work well.  We can even watch the lesson again to reinforce concepts when needed.  I also anticipate reviewing several of the lessons in future years of schooling to reinforce the concepts that are fundamental to excellent communication.  This course would also be great to use in a group teaching situation!

The Cozy Grammar Course has received numerous awards and I enthusiastically add my own endorsement!

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Review by Cindy Prechtel, Editor

About.Com ESL Guide

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Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

About.com ESL Guide

English as a Second Language with your Guide Kenneth Beare

In The Spotlight

This video / workbook course focuses on learning a solid grasp of English grammar structure. The tutorials are taught on beautiful Vancouver Island employing an excellently presented multiple-intelligence approach.

Product Summary

The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

Guide Rating – 3 Stars

Pros

  • Enjoyable way to learn English grammar terms
  • Video expertly employs a multiple intelligence approach to learning
  • Great for reviewing everything from the basics to complex sentence structure

Cons

  • Not for ESL students wanting to focus on conversational English
  • Students need a solid grasp of English to take full advantage of the product

The Bottom Line

A fine product for ESL learners who plan to follow university courses in an English speaking country as the course focuses principally on structural understanding to improve a deeper understanding of the workings of English.

Product Description

  • An entertaining and thorough teacher in a background of spectacular scenery helps students acquire an excellent understanding of English grammar structure.
  • The course provides a companion workbook with which to practice the grammar concepts discussed.
  • The course employs ample listening and visual clues to help students master the ideas presented.

Guide Review

The Basic Cozy Grammar Course is designed for native speakers who want to acquire a solid understanding of English grammar. The course is also well suited to ESL students who need a thorough knowledge of grammar terminology in order to study in a higher education setting. The course takes for granted basic fluency and uses a wide range of vocabulary. This makes the course more suitable to ESL students who already have strong vocabulary skills. The spectacular scenery of Vancouver island provides many entertaining learning situations expertly taken advantage of by Marie Rackham, the author and teacher of the course. Visual and listening cues, as well as repeated key concepts on screen employ a multiple intelligences approach to learning.

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Reviewed by Kevin Beare, ESL Guide

Educational Media Reviews

Educational Media Reviews Online MastheadReview: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

Rating: Highly Recommended
Audience Level: Grade 6 – Adult
Subject(s): Language, English
Date Reviewed: 1/19/2004

The Basic Cozy Grammar Course and workbook is a presentation of English grammar tutorials that instruct on all of the areas commonly considered grammar. The lessons are taught by retired English teacher Marie Rackham, in and around her home in a cottage on the beach in British Columbia. The viewer goes along on the journey as the instructor uses household chores, a dinner party, and other daily life scenarios to teach the concepts. The real life examples in the lessons make the transfer and application of grammar skills clear-cut. Ms. Rackham spends a good deal of time addressing the different learning modalities of her viewers. Her approach to teaching is free spirited, with occasional use of humor, making the lessons run smoothly. Background classical music by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and others helps enhance an ideal learning atmosphere.

The transition from one lesson to another is well done and the length of each is kept short enough to hold the viewers attention. The instructor has a playful persona and her passion for language is apparent, making the material very engaging and easy to assimilate. The accompanying workbook has a table of contents, exercises, sample tests, and some extra information not found in the video lessons. Additionally, the appendix has suggestions for using the materials.

I highly recommend that these resource materials be purchased by public, academic, and school media centers. The information found on these lessons would be very useful for the independent learner or as a tutorial to supplement and reinforce classroom instruction. Additionally, these materials are a great resource for students who have learned English as a second language and for the home schooled population. A very worthwhile investment!

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Reviewed by Hope Marie Cook

Aspired Living

 

Review: Cozy English

The Dreaded Last Minute Curriculum Change

You probably haven’t heard of Cozy Grammar. I know that I hadn’t, so let me tell you about it. First of all, I found it in September after a frantic search for a new English program, after I realized I had made a mistake <sigh> when I had picked Winston Grammar. Don’t get me wrong, I still think Winston Grammar is an excellent program; however, it is more teacher intensive than our homeschool distinctives dictate. During this search I ran across Cozy Grammar.

First Thoughts about Cozy Grammar

The first time we set up Cozy grammar the kids loved Mrs. Rackham. They were enthralled by her. Mrs. Rackham looks like the quintessential English Teacher and it is clear that she really enjoys teaching. Literally while I was working on Speed Phonics with one of the children the rest all gathered around the computer to listen to Mrs. Rackham discuss types of sentences, as if they were watching the latest movie.

When I ran across Cozy Grammar I was looking for an independent program that provided a complete overview of Grammar that the children could complete independently. We are enjoying a year of intensive Language Arts and Cozy Grammar’s Mastery approach & independent nature fit the bill.

Cozy English Grammar lessons look like this in our home:

  • The children watch the teaching videos on Monday and do 1 exercise.
  • Then they complete 1 exercise each day.
  • There are periodic tests to evaluate the students progress.
  • Cozy English is a mastery program.

What I like about Cozy English

  • It’s really easy to implement.
  • I really like the fact that it allows my children to work independently on their grammar and punctuation.
  • It doesn’t take a long time for them to finish their English assignments.
  • Mrs. Rackham is really very pleasant to watch and she explains concepts in simple easily understandable terms. If children do not understand the exercises it is usually because they did not watch the video.
  • The same program can be done with children in different grade levels , about 3rd -7th grade.

What I dislike

  • I wish they had  a bit more practice and some review built into the program.

Overall thoughts about Cozy English

We have been using Cozy since the beginning of the year and we are very happy with the program. Like most things in our homeschool, we are slowly working our way through the rather large workbook as we attempt to reach a mastery level in English Grammar & Punctuation, and it is one of our favorite language arts resources. This is a very enjoyable way to execute an English curriculum that can be used with multiple children.

Kyle Suzaane McVay Aspired Living

Reviewed by Kyle Suzanne McVay, Editor

The Usual Mayhem

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Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

A couple of months ago, the Canadian distributor for Cozy Grammar, Splashes From the River, very generously sent us the Basic Cozy Grammar program to review. It opens with music playing softly (turns out that on one of the printouts from the cd they list the music for you, a very thoughtful touch I thought), and a woman appears (Marie Rackham, a retired English teacher) and begins explaining why grammar is important. She speaks very slowly, and clearly, and repeats herself several times, with some of what she says appearing as words on the screen. Normally this would send M running from the room; she hates it when people talk down to kids. However, the woman in the video seems so pleasant that it is hard to take offense. She also wanders through her cottage making tea and chatting with the viewer the entire time. It’s like a grammar lesson at your favourite aunt’s, or grandma’s, house. When she’s done, she suggests that you go find the worksheet and try it out for yourself and you find yourself actually wanting to go and work on some grammar. To give you an idea of how nice this woman seems, my 18 year old wandered through in the middle of our first lesson to find out what the tinkling music was. He began by mocking it a bit from behind the couch…and then somehow ended up sitting down, watching it, and describing the lesson to my husband at supper later that evening! Even my three year old wants to watch, although I don’t know how much he’s absorbing.

Despite the seemingly slow, somewhat repetitive pace of these lessons, Marie Rackham manages to pack a good amount of very clear, very easy to understand grammar into these videos. The sheets reinforce it, but the simplicity of the videos actually turns out to be its charm and also its strongest point. If you have a child who resists grammar, a younger child, or one who needs a gentle approach that still teaches a great amount (CM homeschoolers will find that it fits the style nicely), this may just be the perfect program for you. For the rest of us, it’s still a thorough program. And there are three levels, the one I’m reviewing being the first in the series, so you can see that it’s quite thorough.

Overall, I would give this an 8 out of ten for enjoyment and a 9.5 out of ten for content. Definitely worth considering if you’re planning for fall now!

The Usual Mayhem Chicken

Reviewed by Erin Dean

Homeschool Kids YouTube

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“Cozy Grammar is an excellent tool that’s well worth a look.”

Oklahoma Homeschool

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Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

Cindy Downes Masthead

Let me begin this review with some facts: My maiden name is Edwards. My favorite movie is Pride and Prejudice. I’ve read every Agatha Christie mystery written and I love Earl Grey tea. So, how could I not love Cozy Grammar! Cozy Grammar, produced by Splashes from the River, is a video teaching resource. Splashes from the River has produced several video courses that teach basic grammar, intermediate grammar, punctuation, and essay writing. This review relates to the Basic Cozy Grammar Course.

The main character in this video is the author, Marie Rackham, an active, full-of-life, senior citizen and retired school teacher who lives in British Columbia. In her preface, the author says, “I wanted to get out of the classroom – to present grammar in an everyday setting. The coziness of a home, the familiarity of a garden, the fascination of a beach, and the ever changing moods of the Pacific Coast weather combined to make a stimulating, but non-threatening, setting for teaching a potentially dry and boring subject.”

I can assure you that she did exactly that. She used the beautiful setting of her home in the Pacific Northwest to teach basic grammar skills. For instance, in the first lesson, she teaches about the kinds of sentences while welcoming you into her home and drinking tea. In the second lesson, she teaches about subjects and predicates with a demonstration of chopping firewood, building a fire, and then relaxing in front of it. She illustrates nouns by having a dinner party with friends. She uses name plates to teach personal nouns; she sets the table to show common nouns; she serves the meal while teaching collective nouns, indefinite nouns, pronouns, etc.

I thoroughly enjoyed her slightly English accent, her somewhat “stuffy” English ways, the beautiful scenery, and the background music consisting of piano compositions from composers such as Bach, Chopin, and Beethoven. The experience was pleasant and relaxing, as well as informative. After viewing each segment, there is a worksheet to complete that reinforces what has been taught, as well as tests to be given as needed.

There are a few segments that may bother some Christian homeschooling families. One is the segment where Marie is having a dinner party and she pours red and white wine in her guests glasses. The other is when she uses a buddha and yin/yang symbol to talk about adjectives. These incidents are brief and I think so minor to the program that they shouldn’t present a problem for most families, no more than seeing them in a TV ad or at the mall. I would use these segments as talking points, if desired.

I highly recommend this series for children who are visual and auditory learners. I would begin the Basic Grammar course with children who are reading fluently and ready for formal grammar instruction. The course is simple to use and is an enjoyable way to learn grammar, especially for those who dislike the traditional textboook approach.

Unfortunately, I think most teenagers will think this series is a little too “cheesy” for them. I don’t believe you’ll find many of them volunteering to watch it. However, I have an idea! Why not assign your older teen to watch it with your younger child to “help him” learn grammar. That way your teen can save “face” and it would give you time to work one-on-one with another child or do housework while this is going on!

My suggestion for this company is that they should create additional sets of Cozy Grammar with new actors and call them, “Wild West Grammar” for the western folks and “Shopping Mall Grammar” for the metropolitan type. That way everyone can enjoy watching them as much as I did!

The checklist by Cindy Downes

Reviewed by Cindy Downes, Founder

Homeschooling Almanac

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Review: Cozy English Grammar

“Discipline does not stifle creativity” Marie Rackham

I cannot recommend this grammar course highly enough! I thoroughly enjoy watching a well-done video, presenting material I care about, and I love grammar — as well as English in all its forms.  I also love all things “language”. I consider the skill of language, written and oral, to be among the greatest achievements Man has wrought — as mysterious as algebra, but far more useful! Marshall McLuhan, the great analyst of media, said that the content of the medium of both speech and writing, is thought. However, one who has not developed the ability to speak and write well, may have difficulty convincing anyone that he/she possesses any thought! Nothing aids in developing the dual skills of speaking and writing like a comfortable grasp of grammar.

Yes, that hated and feared topic that we all had to sweat through as part of our elementary English (or any other language) skills. Now, as homeschooling parents, we are once more confronted with this “toothed beast” of English and have to find a way to impart it to our children so that they can speak and write to the world, revealing the intellectual light we parents know shines within. Help is here!!

Conservative homeschooling parents will cheer mightily at Ms. Rackham’s approach and her assertion that discipline does not stifle creativity! I am among their number! I do not believe that discipline stifles creativity — one only need look to some of the greatest artists who ever lived to prove this truth: Bach, Beethoven, Michelangelo, DaVinci, Dali, Milton, Tolkien, Lewis, and many, many more, have been noted for their powerful discipline in the development of the technique of their art. The only element that seems to affect creativity is the presence or absence of creativity. You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Marie Rackham calls grammar “the technique of English” and she demonstrates that a skilled development of grammar will enable one to speak and write clearly, intelligently and comfortably enough to communicate one’s thoughts so that others wish to hear and/or read them. She mentions these uses for good grammatical writing and speaking skills: Resumes, job interviews, presentations, master’s theses, e-mail that may be read by any number of people beyond the writer’s knowledge and formal letters. In any of these cases, the writer/speaker has one “shot” to make a favorable impression of his intellectual skill. Considering the stakes, such an impression had better be the best possible.

The setting for the videos is Marie’s home in British Columbia, a cozy, knotty-pine sort of house on the ocean that looks the perfect refuge from a wintry rainstorm. Here, she illustrates and demonstrates each lesson with actions of varying sorts: Pouring tea, chopping wood, riding (or not riding) on an exercise bike, discussing the seagulls that populate the beach, etc.

In this way, she has skillfully developed a way to teach grammar that satisfies any learning style a student may have. Watching Ms. Rackham move throughout her home and its grounds, creates an ever-changing atmosphere that makes for more interesting viewing than simply a “talking head” lecture approach in a static setting and her movements coinciding with the grammar material keeps the observer attentive and the information flowing!

Ms. Rackham warns that this is an elementary course and that there are many excellent materials available to carry the study of grammar to the highest levels. Besides the Basic Grammar course, she has also created Intermediate Grammar I and II, Punctuation Course, Essay Course and a Free Spelling Course. This entire set is the perfect English Skills course, to be used over a 3- or 4-year period, so the prices are very affordable! This set is also perfect as a grammar review for college students or other adults.

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Reviewed by Michael J. Leppert

Love To Know

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Homeschool English Grammar

Love to Know Laura Henderson  By Laura Henderson

Grammar is one of the cornerstones of language arts. While there is much debate over how to teach grammar, when to teach grammar, and even if you have to teach grammar; most parents approach grammar at least a few times during the course of their child’s education. Fortunately, there are an abundance of grammar programs to consider.

Choosing a Grammar Curriculum

Choosing a curriculum can be the most important step in teaching grammar to homeschool students. Most grammar curriculums build on prior learning, making it important to consider your student’s current learning level and understanding of basic English concepts.

Cozy Grammar Courses

Although some homeschool students learn well just following textbook instructions, others require systematic instruction that parents are not always able to supply. Cozy Grammar Courses are educational DVD courses that provide an on-screen system of learning that includes the instruction of a qualified English teacher. The grammar, punctuation and essay writing lessons encompass a variety of learning modes that can help address your homeschool student’s individual style of learning. These courses include basic grammar, punctuation, essay and spelling and are appropriate for children age nine through adult learners.

Choose the Best for Your Student

Although there are plenty of homeschool grammar curriculums and learning tools available to choose from, the best choice for your homeschool depends on your student’s individual learning style and current understanding of grammar concepts. Since many companies teach concepts systematically, continuing with one type of curriculum can help provide a comprehensive method of building new concepts on prior knowledge.

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Reviewed by Laura Henderson

National Adult Literacy Database

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THE BASIC COZY GRAMMAR COURSE listed in the National Adult Literacy Database

The National Adult Literacy Database Inc. (NALD) is a federally incorporated, non-profit service organization which fills the crucial need for a single-source, comprehensive, up-to-date and easily accessible database of adult literacy programs, resources, services and activities in North America and overseas. NALD provides adult literacy information to practitioners, teachers, volunteers, program administrators, policy setters and learners.

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Best Children’s Videos

Kids First Best Children's Videos

THE BASIC COZY GRAMMAR COURSE listed in 2001 Best Children’s Videos

Whimsical approach to basic English grammar as retired teacher presents light-hearted tutorials in and around her cozy cottage on the seashore. Includes video lessons and workbook with exercises, tests and answer key.

Adult Juror Comments: Educational. Interesting, well organized, in-depth study of grammar. Cheery host in a lovely seaside setting made the lessons less intimidating. Best for late elementary to junior high students, or basic adult learners.

Kid Juror Comments: High-schoolers found the content suitable for themselves but the presentation geared for younger students. “The appeal is for a younger audience and would catch their interest.” “It starts out simple and gradually becomes more in depth.” “Good examples.” Age: 10-14.

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Coalition For Quality Children's Media, Adult Jurors, Youth Jurors

AMTEC

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Review: The Basic Cozy Grammar Course

Many people are concerned by what they perceive as a lack of grammar skills being taught in schools today. The producers of THE BASIC COZY GRAMMAR COURSE have created a self-contained audio/visual learning tool that would help parents and educators to empower themselves to do something about the problem. The goal was to provide a comprehensive, easy-to-follow course in basic English grammar, presented in a relaxed, non-threatening setting, by a retired English teacher considered to be a master teacher by administrators, colleagues, parents and students. Their hope is that teachers or parents could use it to teach themselves. We hope to see it utilized by public and private schools, homeschoolers, adult literacy programs, libraries, tutors etc.

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The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course

All Star Review

All-Star ReviewsReview: The Cozy Punctuation Course

Reviewed July 2003

Synopsis: The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course is a comprehensive, easy-to-follow punctuation curriculum for homeschools, libraries, private tutoring, ESL, adult literacy, teacher resources and anyone wishing to brush up on punctuation skills. The course contains filmed lessons and an online workbook containing lesson overviews, exercises, and answer keys.

Age-Appropriateness: This course teaches punctuation with a relaxed, comfortable style that holds the attention of multiple age groups. The lessons are clear and easily understood, each one ranging from 7 to 18 minutes in length.

Graphics/Sound: Gentle classical piano music in the background and stunning location shots from beautiful British Columbia are a winning combination.

Pros: It is nice to find an educational program which doesn’t insult the student with crude humor and slick gimmicks. Marie, a retired English teacher, presents the potentially dry material in such a way as to be entertaining as well as educational. Also, she gives the learner little tips to help remember some of the punctuation rules. Each lesson is short and to the point, reinforced by the accompanying exercises and the written dialogue on the TV screen. The video format allows the student to go directly to the lesson he/she is working on, which saves time and frustration.

Cons: Kids of the MTV mind set might be inclined to make fun of the gentle style of this program, and ignore the genuine educational value of the material.

Conclusion: The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course is another delightful product from the producers of The Basic Cozy Grammar Course. My children not only polished their punctuation skills, but they also learned some geography of British Columbia, and gained a renewed desire to practice their classical piano pieces… not bad for an English course. Whether or not you know what an interrobang or a loonie is, you need this course.

Ages:9 to adult

Rating (out of 5): All-Star 5-Star Review

Reviewed by Laura Bahrt
All Star Reviews

Film Advisory Board

 

Film Advisory Board Hollywood CA

Hollywood, CA

 

Film Advisory Board Children RatingFilm Advisory Board Family Rating

Excellent! We first had the pleasure of evaluating the outstanding ‘THE BASIC COZY GRAMMAR COURSE‘ – and now we can enjoy retired English teacher, Marie Rackham, as she educates us on punctuation! The soothing, picturesque scenery of Campbell River, British Columbia and the welcoming personality and skill of Marie Rackham make this educational video course, complete with online workbook, a unique and very enjoyable learning experience! ‘THE BASIC COZY PUNCTUATION COURSE’ should be in every home, every school and, in addition to being sold online, should be made available to the public through television infomercials! It’s one of the best educational products the FILM ADVISORY BOARD has evaluated in its twenty-eight year history!

Film Advisory Board Elayne Blythe

Reviewed by Elayne Blythe, President and Founder

Library Journal

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Library Journal recommends The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course for grade school through high school and ESL instruction

September 1, 2003 Issue

The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course set contains 15 lessons, of varying lengths, on the proper usage of punctuation marks (periods, comma, parentheses, etc.).

Marie Rackham, a Canadian teacher, offers clear, real-world examples of proper usage. An online workbook, with exercises for each lesson, is included, and answer keys are provided. Short poems appear from time to time as learning aids.

The overall presentation is clear and specific; the Vancouver Island, BC, backgrounds are absolutely stunning. This set would be useful for grade school through high school and ESL instruction.

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Reviewed by Jay Schwartz

Video Librarian

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Review: The Cozy Punctuation Course

November/December 2003 Edition

Sporting the bumper sticker “Punctuation Rules!” on the back of her car, retired English teacher/instructor Marie Rackham tools around natural settings on Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada, pointing out noteworthy sites while sharing insights into the finer points of punctuation. Divided into 15 lessons, Rackham’s survey looks at the proper use of periods, commas, exclamation marks, quotation marks, apostrophes, colons, semicolons, hyphens, dashes, parentheses, brackets, slashes, and the “interrobang” (a combination question-exclamation mark that is not yet in common usage, nor found on computer keyboards).

Shot on digital video with colorful onscreen text examples used to illustrate each grammatical principle (in fact, nearly all of the script is transcribed onscreen), this excellent primer (featuring a pleasant classical piano background performed by Rackham) serves equally well as an introduction or refresher course in giving students and/or adult audiences a good grounding in the rules of punctuation. Unfortunately, the workbook (for which permission to reproduce has been granted) is referred to at the end of each lesson, and does have some fill-in-the-blank sections,  making the course somewhat problematic for public libraries (although the instruction can stand alone without it, since the workbook only contains practice exercises). In addition, I have to say that Rackham’s slow-paced set-ups and perambulations would drive some people bonkers in a New York minute.

Still, the instruction is both comprehensive and superb, and punctuation courses on video and DVD are rare, making this one highly recommended.

Audience: High Schools, Colleges and Universities, Public Libraries.

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Reviewed by R.Pitman

American Library Association

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Review: The Cozy Punctuation Course

January 1 & 15, 2004 Issue

Gr. 6-12. Retired teacher Marie Rackham follows up The Basic Cozy Grammar Course (2002) with this similarly helpful punctuation primer.

Strolling around her comfy home on picturesque Vancouver [Island] B.C. environs, Rackham compares punctuation marks to “traffic signs for reading and writing” and explains how the placement of commas, periods, exclamation points, and other symbols follow speech pauses and verbal inflections. Practical examples show how changing the location of a comma, for example, completely changes the meaning of a sentence. The program features the teacher’s homespun advice and punctuation rules in captions. The accompanying workbook enhances the usefulness of this excellent tutorial for classroom or self-study purposes.

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Educational Media Reviews

Educational Media Reviews Online MastheadReview: The Cozy Punctuation Course

Rating: Educational Media Reviews Online Highly Recommended Check Icon Highly Recommended
Audience Level: Elementary – Adult
Subject(s): Language, English
Date Reviewed: 1/19/2004

The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course is a presentation of 15 English punctuation tutorials that encompass the rules for the proper use of commas, question marks, colons, and other punctuation. The lessons are taught by retired English teacher Marie Rackham; the background surroundings are set in and around some of the most beautiful views in British Columbia. Classical background music by composers Mozart, Bach, Chopin, Beethoven, and others add to a peaceful learning environment. The real life examples used in the lessons make the transfer and application of these skills clear-cut.

The transition from one lesson to another is well done and the length of each is kept short enough to hold the viewers attention.  The instructor has a colorful personality and her enthusiasm for language is evident; this makes the material less tedious and easier to assimilate. The accompanying workbook has a table of contents, exercises, answer key and some extra information not found in the filmed lessons. Short, catchy sayings are included in each lesson. For example when explaining the comma the quote attached is: “Of all the punctuation marks, I like the comma best, for when I’m running out of breath she lets me take a rest.”  Additionally, in the appendix is a glossary and a listing of the music incorporated in the lessons.

This resource is highly recommended and should be purchased by public, academic, and school media libraries. The information found in these lessons would be very useful for the independent learner or as a tutorial to supplement and reinforce classroom instruction. The home schooled population would find this material succinct and practical. Additionally, these materials are a great resource for students who have learned English as a second language.

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Reviewed by Hope Marie Cook

Eclectic Homeschool Review

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Review: The Cozy Punctuation Course

Okay. Swallow hard. Here’s a course on basic punctuation that your 6th through 12th graders could actually like! Let retired school teacher Marie Rackham take you to beautiful scenic spots – like a lighthouse, forest, shoreline, Native totem poles, and a waterfall – to make question marks, double quotation marks, and capitals more palatable. Really!

Splashes from the River Multimedia Entertainment brings you Rackham’s The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course, and it delivers! Here, find 14 lessons broken up over 178 minutes on video, plus intro and conclusion, to go with your online workbook. The course – shot on location in beautiful British Columbia – includes 52 tracks of classical music woven into the assignments along with poems and highlighted graphics, thereby interesting and holding the attention of your audio learner, your visual learner, and your hands-on, workbook-doing learner in tutorials ranging from 7 to 18 minutes each.

Great for ESL, classrooms, corporate seminars, and homeschoolers, The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course will make you giggle, fill your eyes and ears with beauty, and cause you to learn or re-learn/remediate the elasticity of punctuation. What? I said “elasticity”? That’s right, for Rackham notes the evolution of punctuation (invented by publishers) and the introduction of new marks as well as new uses and popularity for old marks. [No, Marie; I had never heard of `interrobang’ before, and neither had my spell-check program!] Thankfully, she includes an answer key to help the teachers navigate the treachery of changing commas, slashes and dashes, and periods that have a “to be, or not to be” sense of humor.

This “living textbook” not only challenges, but encourages. The company’s very mission statement makes you want to -uh- dive right in: “Creating original, rehydrating material for questers who get thirsty while wandering and wondering through the backwoods of their imaginations.” The grandmotherly-looking veteran teacher is warm and hospitable, inviting you into her home and along for an educational ride in her trusty Camino. Excellent!

Ecletic Homeschool Online Pencils

Reviewed by Deborah Deggs Cariker

HomeschoolReviewsForYou

Homeschooling From the Heart

Review: The Cozy Punctuation Course

When I received The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course to review, I thought, “How could the word cozy go with punctuation?” Well, I soon found out!

I told my kids to get ready to review The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course. They all came back with their pillows and quilts. I laughed and said, “Why not?” We situated ourselves in a “cozy” manner and began the introduction, where we “met” retired schoolteacher, Marie Rackham, who spoke to us as if we were in her home getting ready to go with her on a peaceful outing.  Her speech is quite different, as she pronounces everything very distinctly. This made us chuckle a bit, but not enough to disturb the lesson. One of my sons said he liked how clearly she spoke because there was no question as to what she said — nothing misunderstood. As we continued on to Lesson One, we enjoyed the beautiful scenery, soothing background music, and how easy it was to understand the material. As with the Basic Cozy Grammar program reviewed in a previous issue, Basic Cozy Punctuation appeals to both auditory and visual learners through the use of graphics, color, and background scenery to emphasize the concept being taught. Auditory learners will also appreciate the clever poems included with each lesson that serve as a helpful reminder of the punctuation rule.

After each lesson we used the accompanying exercises.  My three boys (ages 7, 9, & 11) did very well and their success continued with each lesson. My two girls (ages 3 & 6) also watched the lessons with us.  I’m not sure how much punctuation they have learned, but the lessons definitely held their attention. In addition to the punctuation instruction, Marie weaves facts and interesting information about the Pacific Northwest into each lesson. Not only are the students learning punctuation, but historical, geographical and even scientific facts as well. As for topics covered, the 15 lessons on two DVDs begin with basic sentence endings and continue through commas, quotation marks, apostrophes, colon and semi-colon use, parentheses, brackets and more. In addition to the exercises, each lesson from the video is also presented in the workbook. This becomes a handy resource, which the student can refer to as they apply what they have learned in their daily writing.

Basic Cozy Punctuation seems best suited for elementary grades. Older students, especially those used to fast-paced videos might find the flow of the lessons a bit slow. Marie repeats key concepts often, which is good for retention, but occasionally seems to “drag out” the lesson too much. As I’ve mentioned, the setting of the lessons themselves make this course a delight for the eyes and the material is covered in a very thorough manner. The publisher encourages using this course in a classroom situation. I’m not sure how we would like Basic Cozy Punctuation in a classroom setting. We are a cuddly family and greatly enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere, even watching the lessons with the lights off!

Overall, Basic Cozy Punctuation is a thorough course presented in a step-by-step, visually pleasing format. Since each lesson only takes about 20 minutes to complete, it can be an easy addition to your homeschool routine.

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Reviewed by Lori Carvell

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Review: The Cozy Punctuation Course

“Remember the purpose of punctuation is clarity of meaning.” Marie Rackham

Quick, how many punctuation marks can you think of? Ten? Fifteen? We’re not talking hundreds here, so why is punctuation so hard to master? Retired English teacher Marie Rackham doesn’t think it’s difficult and she has the course to prove it!

The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course covers all aspects of punctuation from periods and commas to hyphens and interrobangs. Comparing punctuation marks to street signs, she reminds the student that the primary purpose of punctuation is to alert the reader to stops, pauses, and detours in the written work. In addition, she also covers parts of speech and types of sentences along with the appropriate punctuation.

Consisting of 170 minutes of streaming video this self-teaching course offers fifteen lessons taught on camera by Mrs. Rackham. These lessons are beautifully filmed at various scenic locales near the author’s home in Campbell River, British Columbia, and are accompanied by an assortment of classical music selections. Onscreen text provide examples to complement Mrs. Rackham’s delightful presentation.

Referring to hand copying as a lost art, Mrs. Rackham recommends that students copy the online exercises by hand as they complete the work. There is a full page of exercises for each of the fifteen lessons and the introductory lesson. The companion online workbook section is followed by an answer key, and appendices that cover capitalization, italics, and a glossary of terms.

Watching the video lesson, reviewing the lesson notes, and completing the online practice exercises will take the average student about an hour for each lesson.

This course is beautifully presented, designed for self-teaching, and quite thorough. I highly recommend it for junior high and high school students who haven’t yet mastered punctuation rules.

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Review: The Cozy Punctuation Course

Volume 10 – Number 1 – October 2004

In acknowledging that there is no absolute agreement on the correct or preferred use of many punctuation marks, The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course introduces the listener/reader to the basic ways to use punctuation.  The author’s “cozy” approach to teaching the uses of punctuation is perfectly captured by her words, “Punctuation marks are language traffic signs/ They tell you when to start and stop/ Or how to read the lines”.

The author employs humorous short poems to convey the essentials of what the “dots, lines and squiggles” mean and how they are used.  The filmed tutorials, set in the Campbell River area on Vancouver Island, feature colorful graphics and classical music to set a relaxed mood for learning the punctuation basics.  One of the lessons discusses discrepancies in uses of punctuation marks and emphasizes clarifying meaning and preventing misunderstanding through the use of punctuation.

Lessons deal with periods, commas, exclamation marks, quotation marks, apostrophes, colons, semicolons, hyphens, dashes, parentheses, brackets, and slashes.  Each lesson includes exercises and answer keys.  Appendices cover capitalization, italics, and a glossary of terms.

The course is useful for classroom settings, private tutoring, home schooling, adult basic education and by anyone who wants to improve their use of punctuation.

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Reviewed by C. Lyn Currie

 

 

The Basic Cozy Essay Course

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All-Star ReviewsReview: The Basic Cozy Essay Course

Reviewed October 2003

SynopsisThe Basic Cozy Essay Course features a series of five easy-to-follow filmed essay tutorials  and an online 177 page companion notebook. A retired schoolteacher, Marie, walks you through the mechanics of essay writing, including a basic formula for writing an essay. She presents a step-by-step tutorial on writing a research essay and an expository essay, complete with footnotes and bibliography. The companion notebook goes into more detail on these and other types of essays including: Expository, Argumentative, Informal, Review, Literary, Character Analysis, Cause & Effect, Comparison/Contrast, Definition, Personal Narrative, and Admissions Essays. Sample essays are also included.

Age-Appropriateness: The simplified method taught can be applied to different subjects and grade levels.

Educational Value: Essay writing is a necessary part of a student’s life and this program provides a valuable resource for the many assignments students will face from the elementary level to the college level. The examples are helpful, and the simple formula makes the whole process less intimidating.

Graphics/Sound: English courses can be dry or dull but that is not the case with this program. The location shots of the beautiful Pacific Northwest and the gentle, soothing classical music helps hold the attention of most age groups. Also, the course uses colorful graphics to clarify examples.

Pros: The Basic Cozy Essay Course uses a winning formula for teaching the basics of essay writing. The comfortable manner of presentation is easy to understand, thorough, and entertaining.

Cons: Some might consider the program slow and repetitive, though repetition does reinforce learning and you come away from the lessons familiar with the concepts taught.

Conclusion: The Basic Cozy Essay Course takes the mechanics of grammar and punctuation taught in previous programs (The Basic Cozy Grammar Course and The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course) and applies them to the practical challenge of writing an essay. After watching the DVD, my college-age son revised an argumentative essay which he had written the day before, and the subsequent results were more professional and polished. Another child (my 14 year old daughter) commented that the formula taught would also be useful in preparing speeches and talks. Overall, this is a most useful program.

Ages: Recommended for ages 12 to adult

Rating (out of 5): All-Star Reviews 4.5 Stars

Reviewed by Laura Bahrt
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Educational Media Reviews

Educational Media Reviews Online MastheadReview: The Basic Cozy Essay Course

Rating: Recommended
Audience Level: Jr. High – Adult
Subject(s): Language, English
Date Reviewed: 2/11/2004

The Basic Cozy Essay Course DVD set and workbook is a presentation of the mechanics of how to write an essay, and where to place certain elements within the text of a written essay, and the various types of essays, and their functions and differences. The DVD comes with a guidebook with examples of essay styles, for what purpose they would be used, and layout. The lessons are taught by retired English teacher Marie Rackham who is noted for her award-winning English grammar and punctuation courses.

Those who are familiar with Rackham’s work appreciate that they will be treated to a stunning teaching environment, set in and around some of the most captivating views in British Columbia. Background classical music by composers Bach, Strauss, and others add to a serene atmosphere conducive to writing. The real life examples used in her teachings make the transfer and application of the information straightforward and easily applied to the construction of producing an essay. Her lessons flow effortlessly, and the length of each is kept short enough to hold the viewer’s attention.

Recommended for purchase by public, academic, and school media centers. The information found on this DVD would be very useful for the independent learner, college student, or as a tutorial to supplement and reinforce classroom instruction.

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Reviewed by Hope Marie Cook

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Review: The Basic Cozy Essay Course

Thesis. Composition. Theme. Essay. These are the words that strike fear into the hearts of high schoolers of every generation. “I hate writing!” and “I don’t know what to write!” are as commonly heard by parents of teens as “Mom, where are my socks?” and “Dad, can I borrow the car?” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone could simplify the whole writing process, making it clear exactly what ideas are required and in what order to present them?

A delightful, soft-spoken, retired English teacher, Marie Rackham, has done precisely this with her Basic Cozy Essay Course. Consisting of a 177-page online notebook and 50 minutes of on-camera instruction, this self-teaching course introduces the student to the standard formula for constructing more than a dozen different styles of essays, including research, character analysis, and admissions essays.

The notebook includes detailed explanations of what an essay is, how to outline and prepare information for your essay, how to include footnotes and a bibliography, how to format and present an essay, and samples of each kind of essay discussed. (Most of the samples revolve around the subject of tigers, making this course an interesting tiger unit study, as well!) Each style has its own introductory page where the style is defined and example notes given, a properly-formatted sample essay, and a summary page.

The heart of this program is the beautifully produced instructional video. From her impeccably landscaped front yard to the nearby shore, Mrs. Rackham discusses the proper format for all essays. She begins by giving a brief history of her own experiences learning to write, and reminds us that, “No one fails if they have the tools.” She then goes on to give her students the tools necessary to complete the task, pointing to superimposed text on the screen to demonstrate her examples. The serene beauty of the landscape and Mrs. Rackham’s deliberate presentation are accompanied by beautiful selections of classical music. The video lecture is a joy to watch, and can be repeated and referred to as often as necessary for each student to fully comprehend the lessons.

This course is intended for grades 7 and above, but the video is so well done it can easily be used with younger children. While the examples given in the notebook are far more extensive and detailed, the video’s research essay on Life Cycle of Plants is a simple, five-paragraph essay that is easy to follow, even for third and fourth graders. These younger students would only need to substitute their own facts when writing their research paper, while learning and practicing the basic formula for all future writing assignments.

A student should watch the video first, then review the course information in the notebook as he follows the steps in organizing his own facts and ideas into a coherent, well-written paper. Together, the video presentation and the reproducible notebook provide a simple, yet thorough, course in constructing essays, themes, and compositions. As this is a non-consumable resource that a homeschooling family can use with all children, it is an excellent investment as well as a truly enjoyable experience.

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Reviewed by Ruth Pell
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The Intermediate Cozy Grammar Course

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Old Schoolhouse Magazine Spring 06 CoverReview: Intermediate Cozy Grammar Course, Levels 1 and 2

March 2006 Issue

My children and I so thoroughly enjoyed Basic Cozy Grammar that I knew it was a given that we’d continue on with this curriculum. The last TOS review of Basic Cozy was in 2001 and the Intermediate Levels became available a few years later. It is definitely time to bring this product back into the forefront for our TOS readers. This is an absolutely delightful product and one you will enjoy using in your home.

The keyword for describing this curriculum is COZY! The author, Marie Rackham, takes us into her cottage on the Campbell River in Canada and uses her surroundings to teach the child about all the different elements of grammar. The Intermediate Levels pick up where Basic Cozy Grammar left off – they provide a more in-depth study of the topics covered in the Basic program. In addition, the Intermediate program is broken down into 2 thorough components – you need BOTH Levels 1 and 2 for a complete grammar program for ages 12 and up.

Sitting down with the kids to study grammar is the highlight of my week. There’s a moment of anticipation as we want to watch the lesson – what funny thing is Marie going to do today? Is she going to be down at the beach? Is she going to be drinking some tea and eating cookies? Will she be riding her exercise bike again or maybe taking us outdoors as she splits wood or recycles her trash? Marie uses everyday objects and situations to give the child a visual for each lesson. This helps me because I can refer back to the lesson easily and the children have a point of reference that they remember. Marie is so personable and her infectious giggle helps the children relax. Studying grammar is NOT boring or tedious with Marie around!

Intermediate Level 1 contains 31 lessons and 4 tests and covers nouns, pronouns, verbs, direct and indirect objects, compound subjects and objects, and a few other topics. Intermediate Level 2 has 26 lessons on gerunds, infinitives, participles, various types of phrases, diagramming, conjunctions, clauses and a review of adjectives and adverbs. We usually finish one to two lessons weekly depending upon the material being covered. We watch the lesson and go through the worksheet in the workbook. The lesson is duplicated in the workbook in case you need to run through it again with your child. Each worksheet contains five brief sets of exercises, so you can have the child complete one set daily each day of the week. However, if my child can complete two to three exercises perfectly, I just move on to the next lesson. I do not let my children write on the worksheets already printed out for Level 1, but copy them instead.

The only weakness of the program may be that the exercises may not be enough review for a child having difficulty with a topic. In that case, you are going to have to go online to find further review and/or worksheets. In addition, there is no further review of each topic later in the book. Once you cover a topic, you just move on to the next one. This is where it is important to have the child take the tests to make sure they have understood the material covered. If not, the great thing is that you can just watch the lesson again! The answer keys to all of the worksheets and tests are also included.

The Cozy Grammar products are of high quality – the videos are digitally shot and mastered using stereo sound.  If your child is a visual learner, definitely consider this curriculum. If you dread teaching grammar and want to make it fun and exciting for your family, then let Marie come into your home and do the teaching for you. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a tutor to come into your home each week for the price of this curriculum!

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Review by Kris Price, Assistant to the Publishers

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School Library Journal 2011

The Intermediate Cozy Grammar Course

Reviewed in the June 2005 Issue

Grade 8 Up – The Intermediate Cozy Grammar Course is a self-directed series of instruction and exercises covering grammar at the intermediate level. It begins with a basic grammar review and introduction to inflection and classification, followed by 30 detailed lessons on the inflection of nouns, verbs, and pronouns, each approximately five minutes in length. Retired English teacher Marie Rackham offers a relaxed, go-at-your-own-pace approach, emphasizing repetition and practice. Pleasant classical piano music plays in the background at the beginning and end of each lesson. Rackham’s beautiful waterfront home in British Columbia provides the backdrop for the program, and sample sentences are created as the camera follows her doing simple housekeeping activities such as cooking, stacking wood, bed-making, and sorting goodwill items. “All my knives need sharpening,” she says, as the words appear graphically on the screen. Rackham changes her vocal tone for emphasis as the possessive plural noun, “knives,” is underlined on screen. Her “cozy” approach is accessible and encouraging as she finishes each lesson with, “Now do the exercises!” in the accompanying workbook. Exercises, review sheets, three unit tests, a final, and answer keys are included in the workbook. The program would be appropriate for self-directed learners, including ELA, ESL, and homeschooled students.

Reviewed by Vicki Reutter

Educational Media Reviews

Educational Media Reviews Online MastheadReview: The Intermediate Cozy Grammar Course

Date Reviewed: 4/20/2005

The Intermediate Cozy Grammar Course is designed to teach more advanced principles of grammar in a relaxed and soothing manner, and is a continuation of The Basic Cozy Grammar Course. Structured in two levels, Level One focuses on the inflection and classification of nouns, pronouns and verbs and contains 31 lessons that can be viewed individually or in a sequence. Level Two tackles verbs, participles, prepositions, adjectives, adverbs, phrases, clauses and diagramming and is divided into 26 lessons. Each level contains filmed tutorials, and an online workbook with lesson outlines, exercises, tests and an answer key.

Marie Rackham, a retired English teacher, presents each of the lessons from her cozy cottage on the shore of the Campbell River in Canada, and she attempts to tie each segment to a day-to-day activity in her life, such as chopping wood, fixing a clock, or drinking tea. In each lesson Ms. Rackham describes a part of speech and then provides an example of its usage. While she is speaking, the concepts are displayed as text on the screen. Soothing music and nature sounds are used to enhance the cozy environment. While the content of this intermediate course is geared towards grades 8 and up, teenagers may find the “cozy” teaching approach juvenile and out of touch with their interests. Since every lesson is presented in a repetitive format – a description, followed by an example, followed by directions to complete an exercise in the workbook – students may become disengaged and find it difficult to pay attention to the content. The program would benefit from some interactivity, such as exercises that can be controlled via remote control, or even something as basic as Ms. Rackham interjecting questions directed at the student. While this video series may work well in conjunction with other teaching methods or as supplementary material in the classroom, it is not recommended as a stand-alone teaching tool. Recommended with reservations.

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Reviewed by Dawn Eckenrode

 

 

The Cozy Classroom Collection

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All-Star ReviewsReview: The Cozy Classroom Collection CD

Reviewed July 2003

Synopsis: The Cozy Classroom Collection CD is a collection of 30 classical piano compositions that have been selected to facilitate learning. The composers are mainly Bach, Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Beethoven.

Age-Appropriateness: All age levels will enjoy this relaxing music.

Educational Value: Studies have shown that certain kinds of classical music are beneficial to the learning setting. Music can reduce stress, accelerate learning, help in retention of facts, improve test scores, and increase IQ’s. This CD is designed to be played quietly in the background while studying or relaxing to aid in the learning process.

Sound: The pieces are simply arranged with no extra orchestral accompaniment. Most are familiar or recognizable.

Conclusion: This is an excellent collection of well-known classical piano pieces which is soothing to listen to. As well as its effect on learning, It would make a great introduction to classical music for the reluctant student.

Ages:All

Rating (out of 5): All-Star 5-Star Review

Reviewed by Laura Bahrt
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Review: The Cozy Classroom Collection CD

Classical Piano Arrangements Conducive to Learning

The Cozy Classroom Collection CD features Marie Rackham playing 72 minutes of classical piano music, comprised of 30 selections. This collection has been carefully selected, performed, arranged, edited and recorded to facilitate learning.

This CD comes with some interesting facts. Most of us have heard that music increases learning potential, but were you aware that in recent years many studies have been conducted that confirm the rumor? These confirming studies show interesting results: “increased IQ’s, accelerated learning, greater retention of material learned, higher test scores, and reduced stress and tension.”

Ms. Rackham plays the piano with a finesse that is not only heard, but felt. Her selections are peaceful and her abilities to perform them are extraordinary. Even though I play the piano myself, musicians often interpret songs differently. I plan on making a few changes to mimic her interpretations myself. For example, the tempo in some of her songs is a little livelier than the way I learned them, and in others the crescendos aren’t as great as I have played them in the past.

This CD has become a blessed reminder of why God allowed pianos to be invented in the first place. I highly recommend it to all who are in need of a respite.

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Reviewed By Debbie Maddox

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Review: The Cozy Classroom Collection

Music CD – 72 minutes

Performed by Marie Rackham

Grades: Pre-school – Adult

“In recent years many studies have been conducted on the effects of classical music on learning.  The results of these studies are interesting and varied: increased I.Q., accelerated learning, greater retention of material learned, high test scores, and reduced stress and tension, to name a few.”  (taken from liner notes)

Assuming this theory that music enhances learning is correct, retired teacher Marie Rackham has performed, recorded, and compiled a CD of well-known classical piano music.  There are 30 tracks, most of which are two to three minutes in length. The music is entirely piano, without orchestral accompaniment and is soothing and pleasant for quiet background listening. Most of the music (22 tracks) is Bach, Mendelssohn and Beethoven.  Other composers include Chopin, Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Bergmuller and Debussy.

Marie Rackham has put this theory to practical use.  “…While I worked on their organizational skills, I also addressed their hyperactivity.  First, I encouraged them to reduce their consumption of “junk” food…and second, I played tapes of quiet, classical music…the results were amazing.  Ten to fifteen minutes into the class the hyperactivity reduced and learning was able to take place.” (taken from press release)  “Play the CD at a low level while the students are being taught a new concept, or while they are studying independently” (taken from liner notes)

This is a lovely recording of piano arrangements which serves as an excellent introduction for young people to classical music and hopefully enhances their learning as they listen and enjoy!

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Reviewed by Ann Ketcheson