Grammar. Bring it.
All right, people. I’ve been threatening to talk about this long enough, let’s do it.
a) Should I even be teaching this at the age of 7? Is this one of those things where I can hammer it into his head for a decade OR do it for one year in middle or high school and end up with the same result? Grammar is fairly abstract, can he even grasp it at this age?
b) We are using Easy Grammar Grade 2. I don’t love this book, quite frankly. I mean, the one-page-a-day idea is good, and the exercises are short and sweet, but this is one area where I should have purchased the Teacher’s Manual, which I did not even realize existed until I started writing this post (Super! Homeschooler!). I normally eschew the TMs because hello! I’ve been to college, I should know second grade for crying out loud! On the other hand, there have been a couple of instances where I felt like I wasn’t explaining things clearly enough and a TM would have been helpful.
c) Diagramming? That’s obsolete, right? Gross.
Maybe I am using the wrong program. Easy Grammar is supposed to be, um, easy, and I thought it would be the perfect compromise between being the Sentence Diagramming Police and being the Unschooler Who Don’t Need No Grammar, Man.
Maybe I just need to stick it out and see what happens. I suppose a real grown up would at least finish the book before passing judgement.
I have read some very compelling opinions on the pointlessness of teaching grammar to elementary school kids, and I also have friends who believe in starting early. I don’t know which way I lean.
Here’s the thing. Every once in a while, Big will get his notebook out and write a story. I don’t correct anything he does for pleasure, unless he asks. When I told him we would be doing grammar, and told him a little bit about what grammar is, he flipped out and thought he would need to go back and fix all of his stories. Naturally, I told him that was not the case at all, that he wrote and spoke fine (well?), and that grammar was just going to help us categorize the words we already know. He didn’t really buy it.
That is the reaction that has me questioning teaching grammar. I am not afraid to tell my kids to suck it up and deal if they don’t like something, but I don’t want it to stifle his creativity. I don’t think Easy Grammar will do that, necessarily, because it’s not the end of the world to learn about capitalizing sentences. But I think it is a risk if I choose something more rigorous. I don’t want him associating something he doesn’t like with something he does like and have it ruin his fledgling interest in storytelling.
Not to mention, do I need to teach grammar before I even ask him to write anything? Isn’t reading well and speaking properly enough for now? Won’t that give him a leg up when he does write? Shouldn’t grammar be taught within the context of writing? I don’t remember learning grammar at all, and I certainly never diagrammed a sentence in my life, and I turned out okay –
yes, I realize that is the same logic old people use about everything – “we never needed a carseat with you-uns, ‘n yer awwright. We jes’ wedged ya inna dashboard ‘n lit up a ciggy when we broughtcha home from the ‘ospital.” I’m old. I don’t like learning new settings on the DVR, either
– But maybe I’m being overly dramatic. Maybe people who are interested in writing aren’t deterred by grammar, and I shouldn’t take that into consideration.
So. What do you say?
Or should I wait until later?
Maybe Just Shut up and Make a Decision, You Big Weenie?