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Traditional grammar vs. a more integrated/ relaxed grammar question


Sixmeadows
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I would like to know if anyone has gone from a Rod and Staff type grammar program to a more relaxed or integrated program. If so, do you feel that you wasted your time and will be returning to a more formal textbook program or was it a great change and will stick with it.

 

 

 

Thanks for helping me sort through this.:(

 

Cheri

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This is a great question. I did R&S with my daughter (11 now) up until last year. She and I both really started to hate grammar. So I gave her a break this year and switched to Queen Language Lessons. I figured it would give her a break and the book I chose focused on poetry which she really enjoys. I regret that I switched, because I don't think she learned any grammar this year. I don't regret it because she really needed a break. So, I don't know what I will do for next year. I am tempted to return to r&s because it is a great program. But, I also may look for something more relaxed, and/or integrated, just something different. I would really like to hear other's responses because this would help me out too.

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We hated Rod and Staff so we use Growing with Grammar. The boys don't love grammar still but i hear less complaining. We are also using Writing Skills by EPS which does contain some grammar, as well. Perhaps that might work for your child?

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Contextualized and spiraling grammar study is always good, but when you do it yourself or have it based in literature, it can get repetitive, shallow, and unsystematic. Programs like WT and CW that contextualize grammar are a great way to do it, but I think even then it's beneficial to spend some time, even just a dab, going through grammar systematically. It takes all the pieces they've seen lots of places and puts it all in order in their brains. If all you do is study grammar in isolation, it gets shoved into little folders and never moves into the big picture folder or makes connections. So you have to do things both ways, not just one or the other. The only thing I don't like is a program that tries so hard to contextualize that it ends up losing the meat or doesn't allow you to move ahead in certain skills. In that sense, connecting things is bad and isolated study is helpful. (2nd grader doing 3rd grade grammar for instance, who needs the writing quantities of 2nd grade but more advanced grammar)

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R&S was too dry, too intense, too old-fashioned and too religious for my tastes...Yes, even though I'm a Christian I found it overly religious. (I hope I'm not offending anyone here. I know so many love this program.) CLE was a breath of fresh air. Still religious, still rigorous, but more modern and a much better fit. To be honest, CLE is a lot like R&S with some Evan-Moor style thrown in. It's not relaxed, but it doesn't burn us out like R&S did.

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:)Oringinally I thought it would be best to do a year of R&S and then the next year do something like LLATL. I like both programs. But then I get anxious of getting behind a year in one of these and throw out the whole idea. As the kids are getting older there isn't as much room to play around.:o

 

I am interested in those of you that switched to Galore Park's English Prep/Junior English series.

 

Thanks for your help and I will look into the programs mentioned.

 

Cheri

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Yes -- for systematic grammar we use R&S, but don't do every single thing in the book. We don't do all of the written exercises, for example. For contextual grammar, we're using CW. I really love having both approaches;they really reinforce each other. We only do R&S once per week, and take about 1.5 years to do a book.

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For the "formal" grammar instruction (done informally on the whiteboard, 3x/week, 10 min each):

- small book from Joyce Herzog (now an audio tape) Simplified Grammar (gr. 3)

- Winston Basic (gr. 4-5)

- Winston Word Works (gr. 6)

- Winston Advanced (gr. 7-8)

 

For word usage/practice/etc. (done 2x/week, 10 min. each)

- Sonlight worksheets for dictation, and made our own

- Comic Strip Grammar (supplement)

- Cluefinders software (supplement)

 

For capitalization/punctuation/grammar mechanics:

- Write Source: Write on Track workbook

- Take 5 Minutes: A History Fact a Day for Editing

- Editor in Chief

- revising own writing

 

Supplements for parts of speech practice:

- Schoolhouse Rock: Grammar Rock

- Mad Libs

- Grammar Ad Libs

 

 

It's worked well for us; that one-on-one instruction time is so very effective, I find, as far as instructing/parsing sentences. If I were to revise anything, it would be that we would have worked a little harder on the punctuation / capitalization and editing aspects to make it more of an automatic habit in their own writing. Best of luck in finding a "happy medium" for your family! Warmly, Lori D.

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No graduates; two boys, grades 8 and 9 this year. This is year 8 in homeschooling them (started in grades 1 and 2). BTW, for some REAL wisdom on grammar (and all other subjects), this would be a good question to post on the high school board -- lots of ladies with lots of wise experience there! : )

 

My take on grammar is somewhat similar to Elizabeth's above -- that while you need formal grammar instruction, the point of it is context: in writing, in speaking, and as a tool in formally learning a foreign language. I'm also more relaxed than Elizabeth in that, grammar is successful here if my children leave home having learned to write and speak properly. : )

 

Warm regards, Lori D.

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Part of the reason we went the more relaxed/integrated route is that neither of my boys learn or retain well out of workbooks or formal textbooks. We saved the "workbook" aspect for practicing with the editing. We also have not done formal diagramming -- although they can both verbally (or on a whiteboard, with lines, circles and arrows) parse a sentence (break it down into parts and show part of speech, determine noun functions, define sentence types, and define phrases and clauses and their functions within the sentence).

 

Hope that helps! Warmly, Lori

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Thanks Lori,

 

I have been reading over on the IEW and have learned so much about why grammar is needed. Your post is just another to add my "confirmation" that the point of grammar is necessary for writing and speaking. It is not so I or my kids can answer every grammar question for the sake of answering questions.

 

Yes, I should post this on the hs board b/c it's "easy" to advise someone to stick with R&S when you haven't used say level 5!!! Just previewing this book made me cringe:o)

 

Thanks for sharing!

Barb

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We do stick with Rod and Staff, but we are VERY relaxed about it. Most of our work is done orally or at the white board. If I have them do written exercises I will usually say something like "Okay, do the first 3 of exercise sets A,B and C. If you get them right you are done."

 

I think the amount of written work in R&S is useful if a child is really struggling with a concept and needs the practice, but if they know it, move on!!

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I've been rather jumpy with this one child in grammar, so I decided to get a look at Winston Grammar and I loved what I saw. I can't believe that I passed up this grammar program several times before. It was originally published by the same people who do our most loved Explode the Code series.

 

Using this, I know that we are actually going to learn our grammar and I plan to use the Advanced Winston Grammar right after this one.

 

This would be a great way to get a systematic program, while still being able to be fairly relaxed and incorporate it into copywork and another program.

 

We have used LLATL, and also Easy Grammar and all my son did was fill out lovely workbook pages. I feel with Winston, we are all going to really learn our grammar and the why's of grammar.

 

HTH, Dee in sunny FL!

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I really believe that the best way to learn English grammar is by studying a foreign language. (And by doing a lot of reading!) I studied French from 7th-12th grade. I know I learned more grammar from that than any of my boring English classes! All 3 of my school aged kids are doing LCII, and I am very pleased with their ability to understand parsing sentences, conjugating verbs, declining nouns and translating from Eng-Latin and Latin-Eng.

What is the ultimate outcome with having a separate English grammar program? I think it is a lot of busywork. I love FLL and it is perfect for intro. and for reinforcing what is being learned through Latin studies. (I am using it with the 6 yo). I am very happy to have done away with a spelling and grammar curriculum. (It freed up more time to read aloud!)

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