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grammar in the grammar stage - gentle or semi-rigorous?

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From what I can tell, there are 2 "schools" of thought regarding teaching grammar to grammar-stage kids: gentle, a la Primary Language Lessons, Winston Grammar, etc., and more rigorous, a la Rod and Staff, First Language Lessons, BJU, etc. Now, I know that the curriculums I'm calling "rigorous" are actually quite gentle, however, they introduce things earlier rather than relying on things like copywork, dictation, and other methods to introduce grammar to younger kids.


So which is "better?" Has anyone ever used some of the more gentle grammar curriculums in the early years and regretted it? On the flip side, has anyone ever used something more "rigorous" (again, note the quotes) and found that it wasn't necessary and that a more gentle approach would have worked just as well? Does it matter? Does it depend on the child?

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I suspect that it does depend on the child. Both my boys write grammatical English despite having had only gentle instruction. They are both book hounds and, in their cases, the structures of the good writing that they read seem to suffuse their own writing. If that hadn't happened, I would have looked for more rigorous instruction.



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I use the gentle first, rigourous later approach, and so far have been pleased with the results. I think that a dc has to be reading well (at least gr 3 level) as well as have a handle one certain other skills before doing rigourous grammar.


That said, some dc might like doing it. We use R&S English (grammar mostly, but not exclusively) starting with the gr 5 book. My ds did FLL and now is doing Easy Grammar. We already had the Easy Grammar and I can only change so many things on our budget. He's not retaining as much as I'd like, but I'm confident he will have it down well in middle school. To me, this time is more exposure time to grammar, not serious learning time.


We spend more time on things like reading, spelling and copywork in the grammar stage language arts section of our day, and keep grammar light. He certainly knows his parts of speech from FLL and prepositional phrases from EG 3/4.

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