Jump to content

Menu

pulling our hair out with grammar


Recommended Posts

I enjoy grammar and teaching it but the kids are going crazy with it. We use Grammar for the Well Trained Mind. We decided last year to take 2 years to go through it. I can't imagine doing that whole book in one year. We also skip the diagramming. (gasp... I know).

I'm finding myself just really glossing over certain lessons. Then other lessons seem way more relevant and valuable. Like things like commas, correct verb usage, etc. 

And some things I am wondering how much I need to be concerned about if they don't retain it. Like if you can word something right but not know what it's called, is that ok? For example: Indicative: He LEAVES at noon. Subjunctive: It's important that he LEAVE at noon. Obviously you want to use the right grammar, but is it important that we know that one is indicative and one is subjunctive? Things like past participles as adverbs... do we really need to know?

My kids will likely go to public high school in 2 years so I really do want to know what they will need to know.

Thanks. If there is a curriculum that might be a little less intense, please recommend!

Link to post
Share on other sites

No offense to SWB, but there's waaaaaay too much in Grammar for the WTM that the vast majority of people really don't need to know, IMO. I actually do think diagramming is important because it helps you see the structure of the sentence in a very visual way when it's a complex sentence that has a whole lot of words in it. We use Analytical Grammar in 6th-8th grade and it's just right - thorough, complete, plenty of practice, concise and to the point, easy to teach, easy to accelerate if needed, and best of all by the time you're done with it in 8th grade you know all you really need to know about grammar in order to be a good writer.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

After teaching grammar-phobic boys for the last 9 years, I would say, no, it's not that important. If they can use the grammar correctly, then they are good. The point of learning grammar is so that you can write well, so if they can do that, they'll be fine. I'm not sure public schools even teach grammar at all anymore, do they?

I use LLATL for 7th-8th grade and it's quite enough grammar for me and mine. I think Easy Grammar might also be less intense, if you want to look at that.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Momto6inIN said:

No offense to SWB, but there's waaaaaay too much in Grammar for the WTM that the vast majority of people really don't need to know, IMO. I actually do think diagramming is important because it helps you see the structure of the sentence in a very visual way when it's a complex sentence that has a whole lot of words in it. We use Analytical Grammar in 6th-8th grade and it's just right - thorough, complete, plenty of practice, concise and to the point, easy to teach, easy to accelerate if needed, and best of all by the time you're done with it in 8th grade you know all you really need to know about grammar in order to be a good writer.

I’m a huge fan of Analytical Grammar. Do it once and do it right.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On September 19, 2019 at 1:58 PM, lgliser said:

how much I need to be concerned about if they don't retain it. Like if you can word something right but not know what it's called, is that ok? For example: Indicative: He LEAVES at noon. Subjunctive: It's important that he LEAVE at noon.

Your examples are making my eyes blink, and I took plenty of TESOL, advanced grammar, linguistics, etc. classes in college, studied multiple foreign languages, etc. I'm just having a brain squig here, not even sure of what I know, lol.

So you are correct that, in general, a conceptual understanding is MUCH more important than specific terms. There are disagreements among systems of grammar (yes, this is a thing), and solid conceptual understanding of function, not terms, is transferrable to other language situations and the most useful. HOWEVER, there are BASICS that everyone should know. I would be highly concerned if a dc reached middle school and could not do *something* with basic terms like verb, adjective, adverb, noun. And this actually happens that high schoolers do not understand these basic concepts. Those kids are not served well and not prepared to go on at all.

But once you get in the weeds of sentence complexity (clauses, etc.), really what you're doing is stretching language, improving their language expression and comprehension to improve reading and writing. Lots of ways to skin a cat there, lots of ways to do high quality instruction. And then you got into mood with subjunctive and indicative, which is really nice but maybe not so essential? https://www.englishclub.com/grammar/subjunctive.htm  So you see here that you're forming relative clauses (essential, something I need to work with my ds on) and then saying hey, native speaker, I want you to realize this less common structure used in this relative clause is a subjunctive. 

It's a rare construction, something your native speakers probably form correctly unless they have a language disability. 

Me personally, I don't see the point in bothering if you're not diagramming. The only reason that construction is even interesting is because it's a relative clause, something you could diagram and be more aware of in your own speech and writing. 

A lot of our grammar distinctions have been simplified out over the centuries to the point of being unnecessary nuances for most native speakers. They're horribly important distinctions in OTHER languages or hundreds of years ago in middle english, etc., but less so in modern english. Your kids are probably already forming it correctly. If you were diagramming, you'd simply have diagrammed it and moved on, because the diagramming was obvious and their usage was already correct. 

Had you thought about diagramming only *one* sentence a day? That's what I did with my dd. My dd is not a huge fan of grammar, not your next linguist or person to study 12 languages. She likes being a *little* proficient, like more than her peers but not more than she needs, lol. For her, one sentence a day was enough. It's actually very fun. 

Here's another link on mood. https://www.thoughtco.com/mood-in-grammar-1691405  Honestly, it's so in the weeds and it's stuff your kids probably already use correctly. My ds doesn't use these constructions, so I'm looking at this and thinking it could be really fun!!! 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

No, remembering the terminology for things like indicative and subjunctive is not necessary. Being able to use different verb forms etc. is but most native speakers of English can pick that up naturally by listening and reading.

I'm confident that 90+ percent of published authors do not know what indicative and subjunctive are. Same for 90+ percent of lawyers, doctors, and college professors.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...