British/Australian Grammar for Homeschoolers

We\’ve used quite a few different grammar programmes in our home as some worked better than others with our different children. We\’ve been homeschooling for a long time so many of the resources we have are from the US as that was what was available to suit a homeschooling situation at the time. I\’ve adapted these for use in our Australian situation and added some other books to help me do this.

Part of the problem I had was remembering the grammar I learned when I went to school so I could explain British grammar to my kids while using an American based programme. I really needed a basic book to double check what I thought was right or different and then teach it to them. My daughter had to buy a reference book during her teaching degree and she showed this to me and said it was very good and covered basically everything. It is designed for parents, primary school teachers and students but I\’ve found it useful for the higher grades also. The Oxford Primary Grammar Handbook (third edition) by Gordon Winch & Gregory Blaxell. ISBN: 9780195560282

So many of our novels and other books are printed in the US and spelling can become confusing for children: apologise/apologize; traveller/traveler; judgement/judgment; labour/labor, are a few examples. A good dictionary is indispensable and I really like the Pocket Oxford Dictionary – not that it would actually fit into your pocket – but it\’s a good size for children and is easy to pick up secondhand for next to nothing.
I found out recently that this dictionary (mine is a 1942 edition) was a condensation of an earlier classic, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (2nd Edition) by H.W. Fowler, slightly edited by Ernest Gowers. I downloaded this for free a while back but I haven\’t been able to find the original link. Published by Oxford University Press in 1965, it is very highly regarded and was originally written in 1926.
(ISBN: 0192813897)
The copy shown below (the one I have) is a slightly revised version of the 1926 edition but it still retains the flavour of the author\’s original work. From what I\’ve read, the revised edition by Robert William Burchfield in 1996, doesn\’t.

Another of H.W. Fowler\’s books is The King\’s English, a style guide for British English, and is free online at

 \’Some of the more obvious devices of humorous writers, being fatally easy to imitate, tend to outlive their natural term, and to become a part of the injudicious novice\’s stock-in-trade. Olfactory organ, once no doubt an agreeable substitute for \’nose\’, has ceased to be legal tender in literature, and is felt to mark a low level in conversation. No amount of classical authority can redeem a phrase that has once reached this stage.\’
The University of New England in NSW has quite a good fact sheet on spelling rules.
A spelling website with British resources is here.

4 thoughts on “British/Australian Grammar for Homeschoolers

  1. We have similar spelling issues in Canada–we traditionally use a modified British spelling, i.e. apologize instead of apologise, but we do keep the extra U in words like colour.


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