As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Teaching Notes: Grammar

Grammar has never taken a front row seat in our homeschool.

I have taught grammar to each of my children, but only for a season, never in an all-year-every-year style. I believe that if children hear correct grammar used in the home on a daily basis, and read an abundance of great literature, they learn it!

During a "season" of grammar, I may work through a section of a textbook or a workbook. We have also learned some Grammar Songs, and I have had my students do a ten-minute-per-day exercise in Daily Grams. I admit that I am the Grammar Police in my home (it's a tough job, but somebody has to do it ~grin~) and point out incorrect usage when I need to do so. I must also admit that, although my high school senior's spoken and written grammar are excellent, she just might give you a blank stare if you asked her to identify an infinitive or an indirect object.

When I read this article on teaching grammar at the Simply Charlotte Mason web site, I silently cheered. (Hey, my husband may not have understood if I had loudly cheered an article about grammar.)

I loved the analogy the author used...
"You mean I don't have to teach English grammar all year long in every grade?" Esther was astonished.

"You're already teaching the correct way to use words every time you have the children read or write or tell or listen. 'Grammar' just means the set of rules for speaking and writing a language." Beth smiled. "Think of it this way: Let's say you wanted to learn how to play chess. Your household was full of chess players already, so you had ample opportunity to watch them play and try your hand at playing too. Would you learn how to play correctly?"

"I would think so. I might need a little coaching now and then, but I would pick up a lot on my own," said Esther.

"Exactly," replied Beth. "Now, if I asked you to recite all the rules of chess, you may not be able to do that right away. You could probably come up with many of the rules just based on your own observations and experience. But if I insisted that you formally study the rules, it wouldn't take you very long to learn them, especially because you were so familiar with chess anyway."

"That's true," Esther agreed.

"It's the same with English. Your children are learning the proper way to use that language every day, by hearing and reading, telling and writing. You have to coach them sometimes on proper use, but they're picking up a lot," Beth explained. "Along the way, you will want them to formally study the rules, but it's not going to take them twelve years. So use the early grades to let them get familiar with the language in all the ways it's used around them, and save the formal studies of grammar for when they're older."

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

And while you're there, home educator, nose around a little at Simply Charlotte Mason! I think you'll find some treasures for your homeschool!


  1. Practice makes perfect Cheryl, and I was the gramma police in our home to. lol. I will visit Charlotte's blog.
    I also read your last post about October and enjoyed it so much, great photos. We have been doing yard and porch projects too.
    Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to leave me a comment.

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