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Mom28kds

Do I need writing AND Lit if I'm adding grammar

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I started the year doing writing and literature for my 9th grader coming from public school. I decided he needed some grammar because he was struggling in his writing so I figured it was best to go back and make sure he was solid. I just started AG today but I'm not sure if I need writing and literature still or if I'd be ok with dropping one of them for this year since I added grammar? I'm new to the high school scene and I want to be sure we are doing what we need. He is not a child who thrives on school work haha. Trying to get him through with what he needs. Thank you :)

Edited by Mom28kds

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The foundation of a high school English course is literature and composition.  Grammar is supportive of the composition piece, but it does not substitute for it.  Learning grammar will not make your student's writing better.  What it does do is, among other things, give you and your student a common vocabulary you can use to address grammatical issues in their writing.

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11 minutes ago, EKS said:

The foundation of a high school English course is literature and composition.  Grammar is supportive of the composition piece, but it does not substitute for it.  Learning grammar will not make your student's writing better.  What it does do is, among other things, give you and your student a common vocabulary you can use to address grammatical issues in their writing.

OK thank you! We will just keep plugging along :)

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2 hours ago, EKS said:

The foundation of a high school English course is literature and composition.  Grammar is supportive of the composition piece, but it does not substitute for it.  Learning grammar will not make your student's writing better.  What it does do is, among other things, give you and your student a common vocabulary you can use to address grammatical issues in their writing.

Agreed. Too many homeschoolers study grammar at the expense of literature and writing. By all means, continue with AG, but don’t drop writing and literature. AG should only take 15-30 minutes daily, so you should have plenty time.

Edited by fourisenough
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I did grammar, comp, lit 9th and 10th grade for my oldest.  I felt like he was solid with grammar so I dropped that and he did more rigorous comp through DE.  I always  had a lit component thought that it has been important to read quality lit.   I think it definitely helped with  reading comp skills and writing skills.  My oldest transitioned very well to DE composition.  His 2nd DE comp class was an honors lit based class.

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Mom28kds:

Reading is vital at this stage. As EKS said above, grammar is merely supportive of the composition piece, and reading, too, plays a role in the student's command of the language. I'm convinced that students at your son's age are still absorbing language, internalizing from their reading things like sentence structure and punctuation and vocabulary.

In my view, the literature piece should be challenging — reading that stretches the student's abilities. And at this age, along with close reading of really great authors:

  • It's helpful if the student develops the attendant practices and skills, like annotating the text, looking up difficult vocabulary & puzzling allusions, etc. It's at precisely this age that students can develop into really active readers, and the reading skills they develop will serve them across the curriculum. — In other words, it's not just about literature. 
  • It's great if the student is able to discuss with other students everything he or she is reading, participate in a forum in which all the students are trying to articulate what they're seeing in the text. Forming ideas and observations on the fly and articulating them in real time are skills, and like all skills, they require practice. — So it's not just about composition; it's also about expressing yourself, speaking.

Good luck to you and your son.

—Roy Speed

Edited by royspeed
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8 hours ago, royspeed said:

Mom28kds:

Reading is vital at this stage. As EKS said above, grammar is merely supportive of the composition piece, and reading, too, plays a role in the student's command of the language. I'm convinced that students at your son's age are still absorbing language, internalizing from their reading things like sentence structure and punctuation and vocabulary.

In my view, the literature piece should be challenging — reading that stretches the student's abilities. And at this age, along with close reading of really great authors:

  • It's helpful if the student develops the attendant practices and skills, like annotating the text, looking up difficult vocabulary & puzzling allusions, etc. It's at precisely this age that students can develop into really active readers, and the reading skills they develop will serve them across the curriculum. — In other words, it's not just about literature. 
  • It's great if the student is able to discuss with other students everything he or she is reading, participate in a forum in which all the students are trying to articulate what they're seeing in the text. Forming ideas and observations on the fly and articulating them in real time are skills, and like all skills, they require practice. — So it's not just about composition; it's also about expressing yourself, speaking.

Good luck to you and your son.

—Roy Speed

Thank you!

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After watching my oldest go through the SAT, I'm making my high schoolers continue grammar until the very end.  And we use the Easy Grammar series, where they probably spend 5 minutes a day on it.

So, yes, for high school: Literature, Writing, Grammar.

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Agreeing with previous posters. By high school, Grammar is a tool actively used in support of Writing. If shaky on elements of punctuation or grammar usage, you can do Grammar as review, rather than as a main subject -- it would be just a quick 10-minute review.

Grammar doesn't have to eat up all of your LA time in your schedule. 🙂

If wanting to continue to use Analytical Grammar (AG):
I believe AG is set up so you can spread it out over 3 years, and only need to do it for about 12 weeks each of those years?? (Not a user of AG, so can't remember exactly...) Anyways... if that is the case, you can spread that 12 weeks out over your whole school year, so you only need to do grammar 2-3/week... or, do it everyday, but for 10 minutes, and just pick up where you left off. Also, you don't have to do every single problem on every single page. If your student is getting the concept, just circle 2-4 problems to do, and move on to the next lesson for the next day. 😉 

If wanting to use something that is more review-based:
Like Evanthe, we went with a quick Grammar review approach throughout the years of high school -- we used The Chortling Bard which is 1 paragraph a day that adds to an overall story. In this case, an amusing re-telling of Shakespeare plays. Each paragraph takes about 10 minutes, and includes editing practice (for spelling, using the correct homonym (like: their or there), capitalization, punctuation, and grammar usage -- verb tense, subject/verb agreement, etc.). Each paragraph also includes learning 2 vocabulary words, and reviews grammar concepts daily. If you click on the "Look Inside" option at the Amazon link above, you can see quite a few of the pages that cover the grammar concepts, and if you click on the "Surprise Me" option, you can actually see some of the daily paragraphs that build the story.
 

@Mom28kds -- You mentioned in your original post that your student was struggling in his writing... What exactly does he struggle with?

Grammar review is helpful for a lot of reasons, some of which are related to Writing -- IF the writing struggles are that he needs to learn what a complete sentence is, and if he needs to polish his proof-editing skills of GUM (Grammar Usage and Mechanics)... BUT... if his writing struggles have to do with what to say, how to support his thoughts, and how to organize his thoughts -- in other words, how to come up with a claim or position for the thesis statement of an essay, and how to come up with what he needs in each of the body paragraphs to build an argument of support for his thesis claim -- Then Grammar review is not really going to help. Those are logic/critical thinking skills that need to be practiced. And it's also about an essay structure that has to be learned (of what sentences are needed, and where they go to build complete paragraphs).

I've been teaching writing for several years now at the 7th-12th grade level with students at our homeschool co-op. The big hurdles I have with the struggling writers are:

1. realizing -- and accepting -- that writing is a multi-step process:
- brainstorm
- organize
- rough draft
- revision
- proof-editing
And to also realize/accept that they are going to have to take a lot more time to set up the piece of writing, and to go over this same piece of writing several times -- many students dislike writing and just "blurp" out some thoughts on the page, print it out, and want to call it good, LOL.

2. understanding that writing is very different than speaking -- it's like having to learn a different language, what with having to use complete sentences, of certain types, in certain order, to make complete paragraphs -- they can't just type up what they would say, and in the way they would say it

3. thinking and building an argument of support for your thought is really HARD, and takes a mentor walking alongside and helping you  especially at the stages of brainstorming/organizing, and then to help give guidance at the revision stage


Writing at the high school level (and teaching/mentoring your student through it!) is HARD! Wishing you all the very BEST in finding what best helps you both in your high school English adventures! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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4 hours ago, Lori D. said:

Agreeing with previous posters. By high school, Grammar is a tool actively used in support of Writing. If shaky on elements of punctuation or grammar usage, you can do Grammar as review, rather than as a main subject -- it would be just a quick 10-minute review.

Grammar doesn't have to eat up all of your LA time in your schedule. 🙂

If wanting to continue to use Analytical Grammar (AG):
I believe AG is set up so you can spread it out over 3 years, and only need to do it for about 12 weeks each of those years?? (Not a user of AG, so can't remember exactly...) Anyways... if that is the case, you can spread that 12 weeks out over your whole school year, so you only need to do grammar 2-3/week... or, do it everyday, but for 10 minutes, and just pick up where you left off. Also, you don't have to do every single problem on every single page. If your student is getting the concept, just circle 2-4 problems to do, and move on to the next lesson for the next day. 😉 

If wanting to use something that is more review-based:
Like Evanthe, we went with a quick Grammar review approach throughout the years of high school -- we used The Chortling Bard which is 1 paragraph a day that adds to an overall story. In this case, an amusing re-telling of Shakespeare plays. Each paragraph takes about 10 minutes, and includes editing practice (for spelling, using the correct homonym (like: their or there), capitalization, punctuation, and grammar usage -- verb tense, subject/verb agreement, etc.). Each paragraph also includes learning 2 vocabulary words, and reviews grammar concepts daily. If you click on the "Look Inside" option at the Amazon link above, you can see quite a few of the pages that cover the grammar concepts, and if you click on the "Surprise Me" option, you can actually see some of the daily paragraphs that build the story.
 

@Mom28kds -- You mentioned in your original post that your student was struggling in his writing... What exactly does he struggle with?

Grammar review is helpful for a lot of reasons, some of which are related to Writing -- IF the writing struggles are that he needs to learn what a complete sentence is, and if he needs to polish his proof-editing skills of GUM (Grammar Usage and Mechanics)... BUT... if his writing struggles have to do with what to say, how to support his thoughts, and how to organize his thoughts -- in other words, how to come up with a claim or position for the thesis statement of an essay, and how to come up with what he needs in each of the body paragraphs to build an argument of support for his thesis claim -- Then Grammar review is not really going to help. Those are logic/critical thinking skills that need to be practiced. And it's also about an essay structure that has to be learned (of what sentences are needed, and where they go to build complete paragraphs).

I've been teaching writing for several years now at the 7th-12th grade level with students at our homeschool co-op. The big hurdles I have with the struggling writers are:

1. realizing -- and accepting -- that writing is a multi-step process:
- brainstorm
- organize
- rough draft
- revision
- proof-editing
And to also realize/accept that they are going to have to take a lot more time to set up the piece of writing, and to go over this same piece of writing several times -- many students dislike writing and just "blurp" out some thoughts on the page, print it out, and want to call it good, LOL.

2. understanding that writing is very different than speaking -- it's like having to learn a different language, what with having to use complete sentences, of certain types, in certain order, to make complete paragraphs -- they can't just type up what they would say, and in the way they would say it

3. thinking and building an argument of support for your thought is really HARD, and takes a mentor walking alongside and helping you  especially at the stages of brainstorming/organizing, and then to help give guidance at the revision stage


Writing at the high school level (and teaching/mentoring your student through it!) is HARD! Wishing you all the very BEST in finding what best helps you both in your high school English adventures! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Thanks LoriD! I noticed that in his writing he struggled with grammar usage and mechanics. He is doing ok with the other things at the moment although proof editing isn't very good because of the GUM. I have to also admit that this is my weak area so I have to rely on curriculum to help me help him with all language arts. He struggles with staying focused so his days are already long. I am adding the grammar with my other 2 middle school kids also so we are all doing it together. Great idea to just do some of the problems and not all of them. They can still learn without having a ton of problems. They might not dread the addition of grammar if it's not super long. I appreciate the help from you and the others.  

 

Edited by Mom28kds
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Thanks Lori D , for Chortling Bard recommendation. Will use it this summer with my then new 10th grader for SAT prep.

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2 hours ago, Mom28kds said:

...in his writing he struggled with grammar usage and mechanics. He is doing ok with the other things at the moment although proof editing isn't very good because of the GUM. I have to also admit that this is my weak area so I have to rely on curriculum to help me help him with all language arts. He struggles with staying focused so his days are already long...


Whew! GUM is a much easier problem to address than struggling with the fundamentals of writing. Some ideas:

For the writing process itself, sometimes if it's too much/too long, we get sloppy with the GUM aspects. If that's a problem try:
- breaking writing into shorter, focused chunks, and do 2 chunks in the day (example: 30 minutes in the morning, then a second 15 minute chunk in the afternoon).
- spreading out longer pieces of writing (more than 1 paragraph) over more than one day, and only do 1 or 2 of the 5 stages of the writing process (brainstorm; organize; rough draft; revision (and possibly 2nd or 3rd revisions); proof-edit), per day.

For more success specifically with light revision/proof-editing:
- do revision and proof-editing as separate steps at separate times from rough draft writing, to give the brain a chance to "switch gears" from "writing mode" to "revising" or "editing" mode
- give him a checklist of revising and/or proofing items, so he knows specifically what he's looking for (example: changed verb tense partway through; subject/verb agreement; comma use; etc.)
- have him read it out loud, and especially to someone; we often catch our errors when we have to say what's on the page -- in contrast to how easy it is for us to mentally blank out or skip over errors when reading to ourselves 😉 
- start at the end of the piece of writing and work backwards one sentence at a time -- that gives you "fresh eyes" for each sentence to see mistakes within each sentence

BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

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51 minutes ago, Lori D. said:


Whew! GUM is a much easier problem to address than struggling with the fundamentals of writing. Some ideas:

For the writing process itself, sometimes if it's too much/too long, we get sloppy with the GUM aspects. If that's a problem try:
- breaking writing into shorter, focused chunks, and do 2 chunks in the day (example: 30 minutes in the morning, then a second 15 minute chunk in the afternoon).
- spreading out longer pieces of writing (more than 1 paragraph) over more than one day, and only do 1 or 2 of the 5 stages of the writing process (brainstorm; organize; rough draft; revision (and possibly 2nd or 3rd revisions); proof-edit), per day.

For more success specifically with light revision/proof-editing:
- do revision and proof-editing as separate steps at separate times from rough draft writing, to give the brain a chance to "switch gears" from "writing mode" to "revising" or "editing" mode
- give him a checklist of revising and/or proofing items, so he knows specifically what he's looking for (example: changed verb tense partway through; subject/verb agreement; comma use; etc.)
- have him read it out loud, and especially to someone; we often catch our errors when we have to say what's on the page -- in contrast to how easy it is for us to mentally blank out or skip over errors when reading to ourselves 😉 
- start at the end of the piece of writing and work backwards one sentence at a time -- that gives you "fresh eyes" for each sentence to see mistakes within each sentence

BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

Thanks for the great ideas 😊

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