Grammar - Placement for child who has had little grammar

Issues specific to teaching 6th to 8th graders, including the transition to Saxon math, Apologia science, Progeny Press guides, and grammar lessons
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4Truth
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Grammar - Placement for child who has had little grammar

Unread post by 4Truth » Tue Aug 07, 2007 12:04 pm

Blessed with six wrote:We are not "up to speed" on our grammar. I want to get them ready for the HS program but am unsure what to do for Grammar. I don't want to give them something too hard and have it be frustrating.

My girls are 12 and 13. We have not done a formal writing program either...oh boy! Thanks in advance!
Kim
I think up until at least 6th grade, they're fine. My oldest did EG 3/4 but she didn't retain much of it. We tried BJU grammar last year (5th grade) and it was very mom-intensive and seemed to assume the child had been doing *their* English program all along... there was no "introduction" so to speak.

So we've spent all summer debating about what to do for 6th. We were leaning toward another program but that method "spirals", so she'd have to do and re-do a lot of concepts and grade levels just to "catch up" to 6th grade.

After discussing it this morning, we decided to just go with the All-in-One book that MFW recommends and continue with ILL (Intermediate Language Lessons). Then next year we'll go ahead with Applications of Grammar. So basically, for my older girl, we've decided to stick (mostly) with MFW's recommendations. I'm confident that she'll be fine for high school.
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 9th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.

cbollin

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Aug 07, 2007 12:58 pm

Kim,

I think you'd be fine with the All in One book for both the 12 and 13 y.o. It's possible that they might zip through the book in less than a year's time given their ages/stages. And then maybe the 13 y.o might be ready to start Applications of Grammar later in the year ? just a guess really.

I tend to suggest doing a program that is for their age/grade level that covers more, rather than doing a below grade level program that will just review what they have learned and not really "get them up to speed". All in One English is designed for those ages. It can be done more independently by children at this age. Each section starts with simple definitions and rules and then you get several exercises to practice.

It has an beginning assessment test in the front and a Final assessment test at the end. It will get them up to speed and be more age/stage appropriate without being overwhelming.

All in One English Covers: all 8 parts of speech, and various rules of usage for them. Each section has a review at the end where you pull all of the sub-sections together. Example, at the end of the punctuation unit you read a story and correct all errors.

And there is an answer key at the back of the book for mom/teacher to check it.

For Writing.... I'd check with MFW office on this or maybe Lucy or Julie or someone has a better feel for this.

I think if you went with MFW's suggestions both the 12 and 13 y.o would use Writing Strands level 3 (or maybe the 13 y.o is supposed to use level 4). But, I might get through the book in one semester instead of one year.

I guess the other parts of language arts would be -- do these children use Progeny Press Guides or Intermediate language lessons? not sure :) and again, I'd call MFW and ask if they have any recommendations as well. The MFW office sometimes has simple ways to combine things and it's just quick and easy to talk on the phone about it. I just want to make sure that option is known to you.

hope something in that helps you a bit

--crystal

4Truth
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Unread post by 4Truth » Tue Aug 07, 2007 1:30 pm

cbollin wrote:I tend to suggest doing a program that is for their age/grade level that covers more, rather than doing a below grade level program that will just review what they have learned and not really "get them up to speed".

All in One English is designed for those ages. It can be done more independently by children at this age. Each section starts with simple definitions and rules and then you get several exercises to practice.
Boy, Crystal is so much more more concise than me! That's exactly what I was trying to say, and why we decided to buy the All-in-One book. My dd will soon be 12, by the way.
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 9th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.

kellybell
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Unread post by kellybell » Tue Aug 07, 2007 3:16 pm

I'd recommend using the All-In-One book. It's inexpensive and while it's a bit dry, it's totally doable. On sections my daughter knew well, I simply chose some of the harder problems for her to do. On sections that presented new material (or presented not-so-new but not-yet-mastered material), I had her do them all. It didn't take much time.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).

tkbbrl6
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Unread post by tkbbrl6 » Tue Aug 07, 2007 4:22 pm

also voting for the All-in One book!

Laura
Wife to dh for 13 years
Mom to ds (19) Sophmore at USC; dd(11) Level 7 USAG gymnast; ds(9) Green belt in Karate; ds (4)Still waiting for a pet buffalo or lion
Using RTR

4Truth
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Unread post by 4Truth » Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:06 am

Jenn in NC wrote:Not meaning to ask a silly question, but... What is All In One? I have been in the same situation with my dc's, so I'm curious. I have never heard of that one. Thanks,
Jenn
Jenn, the All-in-One is the grammar book the Hazell's recommend for 6th or 7th grade, having done a CM type of language arts up to that point. Here it is on the Language Arts page: http://www.mfwbooks.com/1_lang_arts.htm
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 9th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.

cbollin

Unread post by cbollin » Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:10 pm

Blessed with six wrote:Okay...now I have another question about the All in One grammar book. I am weak in grammar, that is probably my worst subject. Is the All in One Grammar book going to be hard to teach from if you are weak in this area?

Thanks again..you guys are great! I can't wait to get started w/ MFW!
Kim
Kim

This is an easy to teach from book. Each lesson has a small section to read to learn the rules. It is written very simply. Examples are given. And then you practice. MFW recommends that this book be used more independently by the older students to help them teach themselves a bit. So -- it's easy to teach from. It's not a script to follow on that book.

--crystal

kellybell
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Unread post by kellybell » Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:59 pm

Don't worry about YOU being weak in an area. To the best you can, learn along with dc. It's an adventure. Hey, I thought Nicaraugua was in Africa when we started ECC. DON'T TELL ANYONE THAT I SAID THAT.

One of the thrills of homeschooling is saying "wow, I get it now." I hope you have the same thrill with grammar.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).

4Truth
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LA suggestion for 6th grader with no prior grammar?

Unread post by 4Truth » Thu May 22, 2014 5:36 pm

Shlee Brown wrote:My dd with be in 6th next fall. She has been in public school, We will be doing ECC in the fall. She needs a big change of pace to embrace homeschooling, so I'd like to make it as 'fun' as possible.. (but can you make grammar fun?)
Well, I don't know, but the year I taught both of my older girls together from a Rod & Staff English book, using the white board for some of the teaching and practice lessons, they seemed to have a great fun... Of course, they were also being goofy and a little bit competitive with each other on occasion... ;)
Shlee Brown wrote:The big question is Grammar- she knows very very little grammar- just the basics. Never diagrammed a sentence, and can't tell me what an indirect pronoun is, or identify a prepositional phrase. I was thinking Easy Grammar, but I have no experience. I see that All in One Grammar is recommended for this age. But it looks painfully dry. Or are they all like that? lol. I've heard good things about lots of programs , but I guess I just need a recommendation as to where to start her at this stage. Any help would be appreciated.
I think most grammar programs are pretty dry. :~ The All in One book that MFW recommends would be a very basic, foundational grammar book that might be good for her to go through just to get familiar with all those terms, and then you could choose something else for 7th grade.

MFW recommends Applications of Grammar in 7th, so there would be a switch, anyway. Of course, Easy Grammar would work just as well, but I honestly don't think EG is any better than the All in One, or vice versa. A lot of people really love Rod & Staff English. Take a look at that if you want to... if you were to go with R&S, I would recommend starting with the 5th grade book. OTOH, R&S might be more than you need since you already have writing and other language skills covered.

And welcome! :)
Last edited by 4Truth on Fri May 23, 2014 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 9th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.

annaz
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Re: LA suggestion for 6th grader with no prior grammar?

Unread post by annaz » Thu May 22, 2014 6:14 pm

Analytical Grammar is another one that begins late and learns it all within 3 years. And that IS their plan.

Shlee Brown
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Re: LA suggestion for 6th grader with no prior grammar?

Unread post by Shlee Brown » Thu May 22, 2014 9:47 pm

Thanks 4truth, for the perspective. It's hard for me to determine how much is too much. I want to encourage her in areas of interest, but not overwhelm her. She finds etymology fun and looks forward to it (keeping an illustrated journal on each word root) so we can just do EFTRU at a slow pace so as to not cramp the other ECC studies. I have heard many glowing reviews about R&S, but wasn't sure about dropping her in at this point.

Annaz, Analytical grammar sounds good, in that it is designed for middle school. Do you think it would be too hard for her starting from scratch? Or is that intense of grammar study really necessary? I suppose that's an opinion fueled question... but sometimes I wonder. I want my child to know how to speak and write properly... but I didn't do this high level of grammatical work in public school, and I can write technically well when necessary.. Anyway, thank you for telling me about this program. I hadn't heard about it, and will keep thinking on it.
annaz wrote:No, it's meant to start at this level, from scratch and is learned in 2-3 years.

gratitude
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Re: LA suggestion for 6th grader with no prior grammar?

Unread post by gratitude » Thu May 22, 2014 11:27 pm

Shlee Brown wrote: I have heard many glowing reviews about R&S, but wasn't sure about dropping her in at this point.
My oldest is 10, so I am not to your dd's age level yet in teaching. I am though in my 3rd year of teaching R&S English. My oldest started it in 2nd grade, and I now have 2 using it.

I love Rod and Staff for the English grammar that my children are learning. Some days they like it, some days they do not like it, and over all they for some reason appreciate the education it is giving them. The grade 4 book my oldest is doing is far more English grammar / diagramming than I learned in high school or college. Their web-site mentions older students starting with the Grade 5 book. Since it is Mennonite it goes through grade 10 (they graduate at 16). The 8th grade book, from my understanding, is the equivalent of 12th grade English.

Is grammar necessary? MFW recommends grammar later. Charlotte Mason, a 19th century educator recommends grammar later, and classical education recommends it earlier. I always wished I had been given a solid grammar education. I was taught to write through reading exceptional classical literature and writing numerous papers starting in the 7th grade. I longed to better understand the English language through a real study of the mechanics of it. I wanted to know if sentences I wrote really made sense grammatically; or not? When I read the Laura Ingalls's books I wished we had been given the grammar education that shows up in her Little Town on the Prairie book. I still don't fully understand the parsing of sentences that she does in that book. Through 3 years of R&S though I now understand about half of her knowledge at age 16. My personal choice to start grammar in 2nd or 3rd grade was based on this hole in my own education. Is it important? I see it as having a place. If we only get it done 3 or 4 days a week though, and we have to finish 20 lessons in the fall from the previous year, I don't worry about it. I love the depth of Rod and Staff. Clearly though it isn't for everyone since MFW has good reasons for not recommending it and choosing to recommend grammar at a later date. Grammar though, in Rod and Staff, is really about understanding the English language and grammar is only a portion of an overall English / composition program.

I hope that helps as you decide. ECC will also include some writing in the program itself.

Welcome to Home schooling! :-)

Julie in MN
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Re: LA suggestion for 6th grader with no prior grammar?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Fri May 23, 2014 1:04 am

Another option for 6th grade is to use Intermediate Language Lessons, if she already knows the basic parts of speech. ILL continues the emphasis on examining language, which is always what I wished I could do with kids when I was tutoring in a grammar-heavy program where 99% of the kids never applied it to their writing. ILL is gentle but there are some challenges for a 6th grader, with some gentle outlining and debates and such. Then after the basic parts of speech, MFW recommends the technical details of grammar, so she could do Applications in 8th grade.

So many choices,
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
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4Truth
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Re: LA suggestion for 6th grader with no prior grammar?

Unread post by 4Truth » Fri May 23, 2014 8:53 am

Julie, thanks for this reminder. I don't know why my mind was blocking and thinking that the student would be finished with ILL before 6th grade. But you're right, the last 1/3 of the book is for 6th grade! :)

Schlee, there are two different ways to approach the study of grammar -- whole to parts, and parts to whole.

Using Charlotte Mason methods (which MFW does) is a whole-to-parts method. That is, the students gets sort of a "global" study of grammar through literature and using the language, beginning with reading well-written works (reading to learn), copywork, dictation, and narrations, both oral and written. One is learning how the language is used in its context studies of history, Bible, science, and other subjects... and actually using it themselves. These are very, very effective methods for both oral and written communication when one is older, as it's "ingrained" into their brains, so to speak. To use an analogy, it works sort of like a timed-release capsule: It's working its way through your system and taking effect over a period of time, not instantly. You don't necessarily see immediate results by having the child take a test at the end of so many lessons and producing a grade, which may or may not then transfer over to proper usage in real life.

The parts-to-whole method, however, is the focused, intentional study of grammar which gives everything a name. It teaches why we must have both a subject and a verb that reflect the same tense in order to make a complete, comprehensible sentence. (Although we may inherently know this because after years of practicing the whole-to-parts every day, we know something's wrong with a poorly written sentence, even if we don't know why.) The analogy in this case is taking something that gives us immediate relief, i.e., Tylenol instead of that timed-release capsule.

We need BOTH. Charlotte Mason (and thus, MFW) believed it was mostly fruitless to try to force the parts-to-whole method down a child at an early age because their brains weren't developed enough yet to comprehend the why, and that it was just as, if not more effective to wait until the child's brain reached a level of maturity that it made sense. And this would be after several years of utilizing the whole-to-parts so that the why makes sense. This is exactly what happened with both of my older girls. Every time I attempted "formal" grammar (parts-to-whole) with them when they were younger, they just didn't get it... didn't care or see the point of it (because it was out of context), and so it mostly ended up being busywork which made ME feel good because I had them "doing grammar". However, somehow through the years, they managed to not only become good readers, spellers, and communicators, but they came to LOVE the English language, and even developed a desire to study it more formally. That one year I mentioned above when I taught both of them from a R&S English book.... they were in 10th & 7th grades that year. My oldest was also doing a year of Latin that year, and she told me later that that was her best year ever for learning English. Prior to that, even though she did it, she didn't understand it. (The introduction to Latin helped her better understand *English* grammar, as well.) All of the "formal grammar" books I'd done with her before that were just a frustration to her. Could or should I have done R&S with her much sooner? Probably. R&S is an excellent program that teaches very, very well. But I guess I didn't think I needed to since she was doing some formal grammar here and there, and was a voracious reader, a good speller, and loved to write. Like your dd, mine loved/loves etymology, too. She refers to diagramming sentences as "organizing words". :-)

After 10th grade when she did R&S English and an intro to Latin course, she flew through Spanish I very easily, with all A's. (She and her sister both took Spanish with another group of homeschoolers, and her teacher is someone who's taught at the college level for many years.)

So I did all those things a little too late with her (and she only got in one year of Spanish before graduating), but my point is that they do NOT need years and years and years worth of formal grammar repeated again and again during the elementary years in order to be excellent students and communicators. She's living proof of that. She got nearly perfect scores in Reading and English on the ACT, was told by the history teacher at community college (who taught solely by lecture, note-taking, and essays, with very little memorization of names and dates) that she didn't need to take Comp I, as she had received the highest score in the history class and was an outstanding student. She did take Comp I (wanted to for the experience), but she learned nothing as far as grammar or writing skills in that class. She did learn something about the topics she had to research for the papers, but not the writing itself. She got all A's in that class, too. In fact, the teacher asked for permission to use two (out of four) of her papers as examples in future classes. He told her that he believed her papers would raise the bar for other students' work.

All of that is not to brag on my daughter, but to boast in Charlotte Mason methods for language arts. They really and truly do WORK. Is formal grammar needed? Yes. But not until late elementary or middle school. Miss Mason knew her stuff.

I can give a similar testimony for the methods working on my second dd who's always been what I call a "boy learner", as her preference would be to fill out some workbooks, call it done, and get busy playing or doing something outdoors. She never loved reading or writing or any form of "school" like her older sister did, and her fine motor skills were poor for a very long time. My older dd loved both PLL and ILL (and then later, R&S). My second dd absolutely hated PLL and ILL. Why? Because they made her WORK. She had to slow down and focus enough to be able to do the lessons and really think about what she was doing... and she hated that! But I made her do it, anyway. Same with the copywork, etc. that are scheduled within MFW. But she's really good at memorization, so again, she would've preferred to just do textbooks all the way. If I had let her do that, though, I don't think she would love language study as much as she does NOW as a rising 10th grader. She's recently decided that she might like to get a degree in either teaching or English, and asked for a R&S English book to study on her own. She also had an easy time with Spanish I this year, even though she hasn't taken the Latin course that my oldest did. But she has done EFTRU, she used the same spelling curriculum that my oldest used, she's done MFW for many years (which always incorporates those whole-to-parts methods of copywork, dictation, narrations, notebooking, research skills, and a great deal of quality written work), she did PLL and parts of ILL, and she did some formal grammar here and there.

Will everyone have the same outcome with every student? Of course not. God made us all differently, with different chosen paths in life. But even STEM students should be able to understand the written and spoken word well enough to properly read, comprehend, interpret, and apply Scripture. ;) Some people never "love" language study like my girls do, no matter what. And it's not "wrong" to do formal grammar study every year of elementary... but it's not necessary, either. It's just a personal preference thing. I expect that your daughter, Schlee, will do well with whatever you choose for grammar next year, partly because she already loves the study of words, and partly because she's a 6th grader, so her brain is developmentally ready for it. :)
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 9th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.

Poohbee
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Re: LA suggestion for 6th grader with no prior grammar?

Unread post by Poohbee » Fri May 23, 2014 4:51 pm

One other thing we do in our house that makes grammar a bit more fun is to use Mad Libs books. My girls love doing Mad Libs! We do one probably 3 times a week, right after Bible time, before we really get our day started. They are a fun supplement to whichever grammar program you choose. :-)
Jen
happily married to Vince (19 yrs)
blessed by MFW since 2006
have used every year K-1850MOD
2018-2019: Adventures with 9yo boy

Shlee Brown
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Re: LA suggestion for 6th grader with no prior grammar?

Unread post by Shlee Brown » Sat May 24, 2014 9:52 pm

This has been great for me to think about, ladies. I'm still pondering, but I appreciate all the help.

I especially feel better knowing that my daughter has a good foundation of reading and writing up to this point, even if she hasn't learned the technical aspects of grammar yet.

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