Climbing to Good English

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  • Reviewed on Thursday, September 25, 2014
  • Grades Used: 3rd-8th
  • Dates used: 2014-2015
I switched my children from Rod & Staff English to Climbing to Good English. CTGE is very thorough and straight-forward, with no teacher prep at all.


- It's so inexpensive. Even though it's a workbook and you have to buy new ones every year, they are only $5 each or less.

- The instructions in the lessons are clear and to-the-point. This is one of the main reasons I switched to it. Rod & Staff is rather wordy, especially in the higher levels (6+).

- I love the writing instruction. CTGE teaches types of paragraphs and revising and proof-reading and lots more; all useful expository writing and all things I want to cover with my kids.

- It can be used independently so that my kids don't have to wait for me to do their English. They can just get it done on their own and finish school sooner.


- The biggest down side is the font. Lots of people complain about the font. Honestly, we have found this very easy to get past, but some people have a harder time with this.

- I'm not a huge fan of the dictionary re-spellings but they are only in the lower levels and I am finding them easy to skip.

- There are a lot of exercises and therefore a lot of writing, especially in the 5th+ books. I have often modified the instructions or only had my boys complete some of each type of exercise


  • Reviewed on Thursday, March 21, 2013
  • Grades Used: 1st and 2nd
  • Dates used: 2013
I love the simple do it by yourself approach. I wish I would have know how easy book 1 is before I bought it. If you've done a complete phonics for two years or more like we have (Saxon phonics k and 1) then don't bother with book 1. It's review of phonics with a little grammar sentence writing for the last half. It's not worth the money when book 2 covers it.
I will continue to use CGE with my oldest till my youngest son is old enough to do Shurley with my oldest son. CGE is simple but complete on the subjects it covers.


  • Reviewed on Monday, June 20, 2011
  • Grades Used: K-3
  • Dates used: 2005-2011
I LOOOVE C2GE. I picked it up from a homeschool fair one time for $5 with very low expectations, but it completely ironed out my first grader's weaknesses in English grammar. So I kept him in it for two more years, and he has learned more from this series than almost any other (we combined it with Bob Jones English 2 and Rod and Staff English 2).

I have continued to use this series with my subsequent boys and while it is totally dry and boring, they have really worked through the fundamentals almost independently. For the youngest years, when explaining grammar can be very wordy, the C2GE series walks them through tiny lessons very incrementally. They get better without even noticing that they are making progress.

The first book is great for when your kindergartner finishes the Rod and STaff kindergarten series and can write/spell/sound out simple three letter words. Start there and watch how just one lesson a day with barely any "teaching" on your part gets them to writing sentences and then simple stories and letters, paragraphs, etc!


  • Reviewed on Friday, April 3, 2009
  • Grades Used: 2nd +
  • Dates used: 2009

I'm using this English workbook style curriculum again. I wanted to just add to my long ago review on it, that the reason I am using it again, is that even though I had decided to use A Beka for English, I decided to use Climbing to Good English 2, prior to using A Beka Language 3 & Climbing to Good English 3, because of the gradual, gentle, but serious break in to Grammar in CTGE 2, rather than the not too much at all in A Beka 2 -- with the large jump into A Beka 3.

I fell in love with Climbing to Good English years ago, and while I will still use some A Beka English (at least for the first six grades), I will count on Climbing to Good English for the steadily introduced essentials that it supplies.

Also, regarding "respelling" lessons, that so many of us find questionable at best. They can be skipped. However, I have discovered that the ones that take the student from a "respelling" (the code used in the old red Thorndike Barnhardt student dictionary, available from Miller School Books -- see my old review below for that address) to the correct spelling in English ARE very useful "spelling" exercises.

I'm still reserved about going the "other" direction with respelling exercises (from correct English spelling to dictionary code spelling), as I think this should really probably be about looking things up and pronouncing them, rather than having to encode according to any dictionary. But, I did have a son, now 21, that loved doing these exercises.

Climbing to Good English gives a great phonics review, and word studies that are useful for spelling instruction/practice, while guiding the child into loving to write.

If Rod & Staff English were in workbook form, I might have chosen it, but it isn't and this is.

CTGE is fun and doable at one page per day in the first and second grade workbooks, and provides comprehensive short lessons for what it covers in all eight levels.

Being geared for the Amish it is concerned with the kind of writing most likely to be done in a day to day Amish lifestyle, so it is a little skimpy on emphasizing audience and persuasive writing, and perhaps a lot skimpy on some of the advanced grammar concepts, but what it covers it covers well.

I will also be using Writing With Ease and KJV Bible copywork, as I believe that children write best that have learned to narrate what has been read, to copy, and to do some dictation of well written passages.

Climbing to Good English was my "root" English program, and after some 16 years of homeschooling steadily, I find myself returning to embrace this well written and highly affordable English workbook series for the rest of our journey.

Hope this review blesses someone that is looking for a well-written, affordable, straightforward, workbook English series. See my other review below... for more in depth, but older, perspective on this English.

Shannon Glimpse