It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted anything to the blog, and it’s because of what I want to highlight today: BrashCards! A couple of years ago, a dear friend and fellow CC/Essentials mom/teacher and I found ourselves discussing a shared dream of creating resources that would help homeschoolers teach their kids English grammar. We knew that resources were sorely needed based on our own interactions with teacher friends, but the busyness of life (including cancer, for me), family priorities, and school commitments kept us from being able to devote any real time to developing our ideas. We would touch base now and then on our dreams but never had time to pursue them until one weekend when we were able to get away by ourselves for a couple of days and really start to think about what we might create. From that weekend, Grammar Nerds Club was born as well as our first product, BrashCards™.

What in the world is a BrashCard, you ask? Well, it’s a play on the word flashcard and Brash, which is the name we decided to give our little monkey who is one of the three friends who make up the Grammar Nerds Club (the others are Tyro, a panda, and Ace, an eagle). Being proponents of classical education, we decided that our friends would help us identify and target the needs of students in the three stages of learning: grammar (Tyro), dialectic (Brash), and rhetoric (Ace). As our dialectic student, Brash is a curious little monkey who asks questions and looks for connections. As such, he seemed to be the perfect spokesmodel for a product that would focus on diagramming sentences. After all, this task is at the heart of the dialectic process of learning English grammar since it requires the student to ask questions of each word that makes up a sentence and then order those pieces logically using the rules of diagramming.

The cards are organized in a 24-week sequence where the diagrams start off very simple and then gradually progress in difficulty, ending with compound-complex constructions in Week 24. With 4 sentences per week (all roughly the same in terms of what each of the 4 include), there are 96 cards in all.

CC Essentials students will find them particularly relevant since they follow the scope & sequence of CC’s Essentials of the English Language guide, although any student of English grammar who is learning how to diagram could use them just as easily. The words within the diagrams are color-coded by their function in the sentence, so they’re especially helpful for visual students who will quickly begin to recognize word groups as they learn the color key.

Our first set of Brashcards was released on May 1. The subject matter of the 96-card set is ancient history, starting at creation and ending with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here are a few of the sentences it includes:

  • God created.
  • Odysseus devised a plan, and he deceived the Trojans with a giant wooden horse!
  • Compare the Shang Dynasty with the Zhou Dynasty and consider King Wen’s sons.
  • After archaeologists uncovered Ashurbanipal’s library, its contents gave us much of our knowledge of Assyrian history!
  • Did Aesop, who was once a slave, tell people clever stories with hidden meanings?
  • Alexander the Great, who carried the Iliad with him at all times, conquered the known world, but he died at 33.
  • His contemporaries considered John the Baptist, who wore clothing of camel hair, a rough man, but he proclaimed Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

If your English grammar student enjoys studying ancient history (we love Mystery of History, which inspired our subject choices), I think you might find these BrashCards a useful addition to your homeschool curriculum. You can find them at the Grammar Nerds Club website!