Curriculum 101: Grammar & Composition

Curriculum101One of the biggest struggles homeschooling families battle is which curriculum is best for their children. We become overwhelmed by the amount of curriculum available, struggle to find the right fit for each of our children, proceed to doubt each choice made for at least the first several weeks, and continue to search for new ways of teaching well after we’ve already begun our year.

To this end, we thought we’d spend the month of September launching discussions on all things curriculum.

…..

I confess, when in school myself, grammar didn’t seem important to me. Why did we need to learn what a noun is? Did it really matter if we could break down a sentence into diagram form? As long as we could form correct sentences and get our point across that was the important thing, wasn’t it?

Here I am, years later, listening to my littles make the same arguments to me. Funny how God works, isn’t it?

Before beginning our studies in grammar, perhaps we should consider these principles found in Grammar to Enrich and Enhance Writing, by Jonathan Bush and Dr. Constance Weaver:

  1. Teaching grammar divorced from writing doesn’t strengthen writing and therefore wastes time.
  2. Few grammatical terms are actually needed to discuss writing.
  3. Sophisticated grammar is fostered in literacy-rich and language-rich environments.
  4. Grammar instruction for writing should build upon students’ developmental readiness.
  5. Grammar options are best expanded through reading and in conjunction with writing.
  6. Grammar conventions taught in isolation seldom transfer to writing.
  7. Marking “corrections” on students’ papers does little good.
  8. Grammar conventions are applied most readily when taught in conjunction with editing.
  9. Instruction in conventional editing is important for all students but must honor their home language or dialect.
  10. Progress may involve new kinds of errors as students try to apply new writing skills.
  11. Grammar instruction should be included during various phases of writing.
  12. More research is needed on effective ways of teaching grammar to strengthen writing.

The study of grammar itself might not make your child a better writer, but it will give them a better understanding of how language works and help craft better sentences. It will cause them to become more effective writers.

Language changes over time. Grammar allows us to apply timeless rules which aid in communication. Grammar gives positive advice on avoiding errors. While rules are never 100% accurate and sometimes oversimplify, they are meant to keep us on track.

May we use our lessons to deepen our children’s understanding of the English language and assist them in becoming more effective writers.

(To learn more about Constance Weaver’s Grammar to Enrich and Enhance Writing (and to read a sample chapter), visit the Heinemann website.)
🔔Time to Chime In: Is diagraming sentences part of your homeschool learning routine? Share your thoughts with us!

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12 thoughts on “Curriculum 101: Grammar & Composition

  1. For my daughter, I made a chart about the parts of speech that we’ve used for years. There’s a crazy-looking guy on it juggling the letters P, A, and V because down the side of the chart it says PAV PANIC (Pronoun, Adverb, Verb, Preposition…etc). Then I studied the parts of speech myself and made a similar sheet with important details listed under each part of speech as a quick reference. I made a sheet for coordinating conjunctions that says FAN BOYS (for, and, nor…etc), and one for subordinating conjunctions that says A WHITE BUS (after, although, as, when, where, while…etc). These ideas were all suggested by Jane Bell Kiester in her “Grammar with a Giggle” series of books (which are great, by the way, I think I’ve mentioned them to you before). Her books come with a grammar guide on CD that is superb–in plain English that you can understand! Hmmm…I think I’ll put those charts on my homeschool Pinterest board so others can use them.

    I also made up a song with 53 common prepositions that is on my You Tube page and my Pinterest account. I taught the song to my daughter three years ago, and she can still sing every word of it today. Music is such a powerful tool for teaching anything!

    Sorry this is so long. I’m just loving homeschool! I wouldn’t trade this time with my daughter for anything! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. I’ve always been good at grammar and was actually the weirdo in school who liked diagramming sentences 🙂 So grammar is important to me when teaching my own. We use BJU Press grammar and writing curriculum.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. With two dyslexics in my homeschool, I had tried various programs, and none at all. Now that I’m down to my last two, who are not language challenged, we’ve gone back to Easy Grammar. I want them to have the overview and the practice, but I don’t want to spend much time on it. So far, it’s working pretty well. They’re picking up what they need without getting bogged down with terms and exercises they’re unlikely to remember anyway.

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  5. Pingback: Curriculum 101 Review | A Homeschool Mom

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