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How have you used Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind?


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DS10 just finished lesson 48/review 4 in the purple book of GWTM. He is doing fine with it so far (lessons take about 20-30 minutes, rarely do we have to split up a lesson, excluding reviews which we do over 2-3 days). I have read that it ramps up somewhere between weeks 18-20. I was originally thinking that if we could make it through week 18/review 6 in the next 10 weeks, that would give us last quarter to switch gears and work on some Killgallon writing, and we would start the GWTM red book next year, back at lesson 1.

I just saw that there is a video explanation for how to use the program as well as a chart that shows sample progressions through the different 'colored' books. I am wondering, how many people stop at midyear and start the next book, essentially doing the same lessons over again in the second half of the year? Our midyear is technically this week - should I stop him where we are and start the next book back at week #1, even though he currently isn't having any difficulty with the material? (I already have the red books, FWIW.) 

How have you used GWTM with your middle schoolers?

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I could have written your exact post. We are at lesson 50 and we just switched to Killgallon for a break and to review good writing strategies. I have no idea what the answer is. I just know that my kids are super sciency and the type of grammar instruction that is really helpful to their needs is the Killgallon approach. I have really appreciated how much sentence diagramming has benefitted my son and me for helping us see how it all hooks together. So when we go over Killgallon, I can talk through how the sentence would be generally diagrammed. 

That being said, I genuinely dont understand the need to know all the nitty-gritty of grammar. I have never once needed to know what a modal verb is or how to diagram it. Some of this knowledge seems so esoteric to me. Whereas with Killgallon, I am finally understanding why commas go in certain places. I have intuited these rules, and now I know them (my other kids has been doing Killgallon since Sept). I have found it enormously helpful to know the different types of clauses and phrases, because those can be put to use to improve writing. That, combined with WTM grammar up to lesson 50 at least, has helped us have a better grasp of what is going on.

Sorry I am no help in answering your actual question.😁

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The Recommendations file you posted was not available (?) when we did GWTM. We spent almost two years finishing one book. That said, my oldest was in 6th when we started. When we restarted in the red book, it reminded us of how "easy" those first lessons were.

So, for the first book we muddled through basically. Similarly to you the first 16 weeks or so were not a problem. Then it proceeded into lessons that took a LOT longer.  So I started breaking up the lessons on the basis of time. We would do about 30 minutes a day.  Some of the review lessons would take five days to finish. I provided a lot of help with the diagramming.

For book 2, I started with both kids and then since my oldest is in a writing class that includes grammar, I allowed him to stop, but kept going with my youngest (7th grade currently). We aren't even halfway yet.

 

ETA: I could also have made some similar comments to annegables.  There was a section on hortative verbs. I was confused so I tried Google. There was nothing except something about translating from a foreign language. Then I asked my friends that I consider knowledgeable in grammar. None of them knew. In the end, we kept going despite the fact I didn't understand it fully.  Most of them considered the study of the "mood" of a verb to be very advanced (e.g. college) language study.  That said, some of that does come up in foreign language (for example, the imperative in Latin).  

Edited by cintinative
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This is helpful to me too, thanks for the replies!

I'm using GWTM with my 5th grader at half speed since everyone else said it'd be too hard. I think we'll get as far as we can next year, then stop. He'll be starting First Form Latin next year too (and hopefully continuing) and has completed FLL 1-4.

I'll reevaluate the need for explicit grammar after that.

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I did the purple book last year with my seventh grader. We just did it as scheduled in the book. I wanted to be done with grammar after that honestly. As others said, it was far more grammar instruction than I received in my seventh grade year in which I had an entire class devoted to grammar and mechanics (the last such instruction I received). However, my son said he really wanted to continue so I got the red book. He’s actually been doing it on his own this year and is doing much better than he did last year. We’ve done a couple of the lessons together, but overall it’s been an independent study with me checking his answers. We are on Week 23 right now and I expect that at some point we will need to do the lessons together but it has been nice to have a break from it.

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On 1/19/2020 at 6:07 PM, Noreen Claire said:

DS10 just finished lesson 48/review 4 in the purple book of GWTM. He is doing fine with it so far (lessons take about 20-30 minutes, rarely do we have to split up a lesson, excluding reviews which we do over 2-3 days). I have read that it ramps up somewhere between weeks 18-20. I was originally thinking that if we could make it through week 18/review 6 in the next 10 weeks, that would give us last quarter to switch gears and work on some Killgallon writing, and we would start the GWTM red book next year, back at lesson 1.

I just saw that there is a video explanation for how to use the program as well as a chart that shows sample progressions through the different 'colored' books. I am wondering, how many people stop at midyear and start the next book, essentially doing the same lessons over again in the second half of the year? Our midyear is technically this week - should I stop him where we are and start the next book back at week #1, even though he currently isn't having any difficulty with the material? (I already have the red books, FWIW.) 

How have you used GWTM with your middle schoolers?

Wow. I just clicked on the links and it is so reassuring that I am doing what was actually recommended by the author! I thought I was giving up or just not trying hard enough. I cannot believe that we are actually using a curriculum the way the author intended! This day will go down in history...

As to the bolded, I wonder that as well. Some of the initial lessons were so easy. I think what we might do is go back through some of the sentences that he did not diagram, and do those as review. The main thing my DS needs to review is just the nitty-gritty of sentence diagramming, not, say, irregular verbs or past perfect.

I can see starting a new school year with a new book. But I wonder if instead of redoing it all right away, if moving back and forth between GWTM and something like Killgallon would be more beneficial. I love that with Killgallon I can see the point to learning grammar. 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

We got thru about Week 22 last year in the purple book. I'm cheap, so rather than buying the red books this year, I  re-used the purple book! My kids have not recognized a single exercise as "Oh I remember doing this last year!" 😄  For this year, we didn't start right at the beginning of the book again. We did Review 1, 2, and 3, and then started up with whatever lesson comes right after Review 3. I'm not even certain we'll finish the whole purple book this year, but next year I'll probably buy the red one and do Review 1, 2, 3 and 4, then pick up after Review 4 the same way we did this year. As everyone else has noted, I've had to start dividing lessons--I think 74 was the first one I divided, and since 80 I've divided almost every lesson.

My kids also complained that the Review Weeks were too spread-out and they'd forgotten the material by the time Review Week came along. So we sort of intersperse review exercises among the lessons rather than doing all of them in a block. If people are interested, I'd be happy to post my schedule with what review exercises to do when. I spent... an absurd amount of time putting it together. That was the day I was in morning zombie mode and accidentally swallowed my husband's ADHD meds instead of my vitamins. True story.

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  • 5 months later...

Resurrecting this thread to talk about the upcoming year. We still did not finish the purple books last year. We stopped after Lesson 111. I decided DS (going into 10th this year) will be done with grammar, and this will be the last year for DD. She is angry that she still has to do it when she had about a year of FLL before DS started to homeschool, so in the end he will have done 2 fewer years of grammar than she. But something clicked for DS this year and everything we covered was suddenly very simple/easy for him--including modal verbs, hortative verbs, etc. that were new to all of us--and it wasn't for her. I think it's a mental development thing, more than "how many years have you studied grammar?"

Like many other posters here, I find the end content to be rather unnecessary/overkill, so I still don't plan to get all the way to Week 32 and the final Review. We'll pause every few lessons to do some relevant lessons from Killgallon's middle school grammar book.

Here's a link to my original plan for last year--including my notes about what we had to divide, and where we inserted review exercises. (Lesson 112-end do not have dividing info, because we never got there.) Although the schedule says "Day 5," in practice we never actually did grammar 5-days-a-week, just 4.

And here's a link to my plan for this year with the Killgallon exercises included. If we get behind, my plan is to prioritize Killgallon over GWTM.

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