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Grammar mechanics fail need help


jeandh
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My DS, rising 6th grader, just got the results from the Stanford 10 test.  He performed below grade level for grammar usage and mechanics.  We have previously used Easy Grammar & Intermediate Language Lessons by Emma Serl.  Does anyone have a recommendations to get the student up to par?  He is more than capable but he is a STEM type student not a language arts fan.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks.

 

Jean

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My DS, rising 6th grader, just got the results from the Stanford 10 test.  He performed below grade level for grammar usage and mechanics.  We have previously used Easy Grammar & Intermediate Language Lessons by Emma Serl.  Does anyone have a recommendations to get the student up to par?  He is more than capable but he is a STEM type student not a language arts fan.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks.

 

Jean

 

When you did Easy Grammar, did you correct each page? Did you require him to do every page? Did you complete the book? How old was he when you did it?

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Let's see.... Look at Daily Grammar Practice by Dawn Burnett. Or you can track down HRW's Elements of Language materials, including the Grammar, Usage and Mechanics workbook. I hear that many people also like Fix It Grammar.

 

Something you can do for ten minutes a day, ten months a year will work better than long sessions less often.

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He did EG this year in 5th grade & we did not complete it.  I did correct every page but we worked on parts of speech & not on mechanics.  Intermediate Language Lessons worked a bit on mechanics and usage and we also did that for 5th grade.

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EG is excellent, but you need to complete the book, every page. So that would be my recommendation: two pages a day, every.single.exercise. You correct each page before he does the next.

 

Also, be sure to correct his writing, in all subjects, every time.

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Well, once upon a time my oldest (who is 25 now) was doing poorly with grammar type stuff.  I would ask questions on message boards and many ladies offered many suggestions to solve the problem. Try this book or that book.  Try this program or that program.

 

I would say I tried a good portion of the suggestions and ones I found on my own beside.  

 

The point that was always haunting me was that everyone seemed to suggest that I HAD to find SOMETHING that would turn my mechanical minded son into someone who was good with identifying parts of speech.  I finally came to conclude that this particular child wasn't going to ever get there.  I finally resigned myself that I would give it my best shot and what stuck stuck and what didn't didn't.

 

Maybe that isn't the most sage bit of insight there and maybe I am belying myself as an effective homeschooling mother, but it was the truth at my house, and I had to stop beating myself up over the fact that the child could rebuild truck transmissions but he really didn't give a hoot about adverbs.

 

P.S. Even knowing what I do now and the struggle he had with grammar and mechanics, I would still pick the same material with him that I liked the most:  Easy Grammar and the Serl books.  (Just like you are using).  I doubt anything would've inspired him more. 

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I frequently find myself standing alone in this philosophy, but here goes:

 

My STEM students all became proficient in English grammar, because I turned grammar into math. They still didn't care, but they learned it very well. :) I used Rod and Staff English for them, with daily hands-on instruction at the chalkboard followed by at-the-elbow supervision of their practice sets. We never moved on to the next concept until I felt satisfied that they had truly learned the lesson.

 

Rod and Staff's precision, regularity, and drill succeeded where abstract methods failed. Imagine a student knowing how to find a predicate nominative, and how to diagram it as he explains its function, with the same precision and assurance he feels when solving for x.

 

I thought it mattered for two reasons:

 

1. Nobody gets a pass on needing excellent English skills. My math and science, mechanically minded boys will still need to be adults who can parse legislation, understand holy scripture, comprehend manuals of all kinds, and communicate clearly in the written affairs of adult life.

 

2. Especially for my future scientists, I wanted to avoid the stereotype of the genius engineer who can't do his own writing. My future biomedical engineer can handle public speaking and the writing of extensive papers with aplomb. This will open doors for him that will possibly be closed to those who lack the English skills.

 

I made the time. It took about half an hour to 45 minutes per day, through the grammar and logic stages, to get the job done.

 

The flip side: One of my boys is a creative artist and and writer. He simply doesn't need so much help with grammar-as-math; that's not the right approach for him. Extensive reading of the best literature combined with a whole to parts approach like ILL is better. He practically teaches himself. Now, this student could be seen by some as an unlikely candidate for proficiency in math. His mind doesn't work mathematically, so why not let it go a little? Nope. I'm not allowing that, either. We spend an hour per day, at the chalkboard and with me at his elbow as he does his problems, making sure he's proficient in math.

 

To me, this is education. It's worth solving the puzzles and figuring out how to teach the way they learn. We help them thrive in their areas of natural talent, and we also do the work of helping them close gaps and achieve baseline levels in their lesser subjects. My artist doesn't have to finish calculus but he does need solid arithmetic, algebra, geometry. My STEM kids don't need endless literary analysis but they do need impeccable grammar, usage, and mechanics. 

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Ok, lots to think about here.  This DS does have the opportunity to use AG in a co-op setting next year, though much to my chagrin they will be using season 1 & 2 & skipping the usage section.   :confused1:   So I would still have to use something else for the mechanics.  This DS said he likes the classroom involvement for learning grammar he felt it helped.  I was even considering grabbing one of his Star WArs books or the like and having me create grammar assignments from those sentences.  Labeling, parsing maybe I could type them up incorrectly & he edits.  

 

So I'm thinking as my 5 main choices...

 

1.  AG season 1 & 2 in the co-op setting which she willing be running like a classical conversations essential class (which means nothing to me)

2.  EG at home 

3.  Rod & Staff at home

4.  Me creating something using his favorite books

5. or a Fix it type program or Editor in Chief

 

Out of these any thoughts on which would be best in these circumstances?

 

Thanks for all this help my head has been somewhat spinning.  This STEM DS who just completed 5th grade scored 6 grade 6th month for math after using Saxon & DH is extremely displeased with that.  He wanted much higher so next I've got to think about that.  Yikes. :huh:   

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 I was even considering grabbing one of his Star WArs books or the like and having me create grammar assignments from those sentences.  Labeling, parsing maybe I could type them up incorrectly & he edits.  

 

 

That's what DGP does for you. You get one sentence for the whole week; the sentences get progressively more difficult.

 

On Monday, the student reads the sentence and identifies the parts of speech.

On Tuesday, he marks the sentence parts.

On Wednesday, clauses and sentence type.

On Thursday, the focus is mechanics. He adds all capitalization and punctuation.

On Friday, he diagrams the sentence.

 

If he's good at everything except the mechanics, you might try the eighth-grade book or so, and then select or make your own sentences from there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

OP mentioned that the AG class would be run like an Essentials class.  

 

Essentials is a wonderful opportunity which we are thankful for, but not without some sacrifice. For example: Tutor assigns the weekly grammar on say, predicate nominatives, and the weekly writing from the IEW book.  What I would like to focus on, in addition, is language mechanics.  However, the tutor assignments are significant enough (with a due date), that the focus for ds to continue with the language mechanics just is no longer there. And so some things I *know* need addressed get pushed aside because ds wants to be able to competently demonstrate his practiced skills in class (and what I know is needed is not part of class).  Yes, we work on this tension, but the fact that the syllabus for the AG class has already omitted some of the things you are most concerned with reminded me of this particular challenge we have with relying on an outside class.  Just something to consider. :-) 

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Saxon, and just use the grammar portion...we love it here.  We also used Fix-it along with it.  DD did FLL 1-part of 3, Easy Grammar,  and tried part of Season 1 AG (a major fail...she enjoys the review format of Saxon ).  By far, Saxon is the best  fit for her.  She'll be doing Saxon 7 next year.  You can go into Saxon at Grade Level (placement is based on reading level).  I think the grammar, usage and mechanics teaching is great, and I also love that each lesson has 2 vocab words.

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