Grammar

IMG_0775Grammar, being a study of words and not of things, is by no means attractive to the child, nor should he be hurried into itLatin grammar is easier; a change in the form, the shape of the word, to denote case, is what a child can see with his bodily eye, and therefore is plainer to him than the abstract ideas of nominative and objective case as we have them in English. Therefore, if he learns no more at this early stage than the declensions and a verb or two, it is well he should learn thus much, if only to help him to see what English grammar would be at when it speaks of a change in case or mood, yet shows no change in the form of a word.”

“It is better that the child should begin with the sentence, and not with the parts of speech; that is, that he should learn a little of what is called analysis of sentences before he learns to parse; should learn to divide simple sentences into the thing we speak of, and what we say about it––’The cat-sits on the hearth’––before he is lost in the fog of person, mood, and part of speech.”

So then I took up the next book. It was about grammar. It said extraordinary things about nouns and verbs and particles and pronouns, and past participles and objective cases and subjunctive moods. ‘What are all these things?’ asked the King. ‘I don’t know, your Majesty,’ and the Queen did not know, but she said it would be very suitable for children to learn. ‘It would keep them quiet.‘”(2)

Miss Mason then goes on to include examples of how to teach young children the simple rules of grammar without the tedious complexity of English grammar as we know it.

In the Charlotte Mason method, Grammar is typically introduced to children around age 10. She even wrote her own grammar book called Simply Grammar which has been republished by Karen Andreola.

For additional information about teaching grammar, please read this article by Simply Charlotte Mason.

Ambleside Online’s Language Arts Scope and Sequence can be found here: https://www.amblesideonline.org/LangArtsScopeSeq.shtml 

I personally find little value in teaching formal grammar simply because children learn grammar naturally from the people they associate with and the things they read. Because I provide them with high quality literature, they understand where the verb goes in a sentence and how to use present/past/future tense words, it comes naturally and does not need to be taught. The only reason they need to know the definition of an adjective is to pass a test or when learning advanced foreign language.

That said, we currently live in a state that requires annual testing, so the “curriculum” we use in our homeschool is Rod & Staff English (we only buy the student book and don’t write in it, so it can be used year after year) which is a very gentle approach to grammar. My boys love it and if they didn’t I would find another program or eliminate grammar lessons altogether- the important thing is that a child can read and write well, if it becomes a chore to do so, we’re doing something wrong. I have also enjoyed the Language Lessons from Queens Homeschooling although they are consumable (you must purchase one for each child). I have not personally used Simply Grammar although it looks very similar to Queens. I have used First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind and found it incredibly boring and repetitive.

Advertisements