Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How we got our kids to love grammar . . .

Well, love might be a little strong. But the homeschoolers certainly enjoy it much more than the grammar programs we used first. I'm sure that they are a lovely curriculums (Abeka God's Gift of Language A and Rod and Staff Beginning Wisely) but they just were not working for our homeschoolers.

I use several of the books/ideas from the Serendipity website, but I had not used their grammar ideas before. My sister and I were struggling to find something that would work for them - something that was enjoyable, but still enabled them to really learn the parts of speech. So I was searching through all my links, and I first looked at what they offered on the Serendipity. It is called Lively Language Language Lessons. The Lively Language Lessons primarily use the Ruth Heller language books to teach the parts of speech, although there are some suggestions for other grammar resources there. So I printed off the Lively Language Lessons, and got the Ruth Heller book for Nouns (Merry Go Round) to start out.

Then I decided to check my Montessori links. I use some Montessori materials with the homeschoolers, but I have always used Montessori materials with the preschoolers, but I had only used the very, very basics of grammar with the preschoolers. I knew that the parts of speech were generally introduced around age 6, and I knew that our children were older than that, but I wanted to look at the materials to see if they might still be workable for 7, 8, and two 10 year olds.

I first went looking for a Montessori manual. I thought about buying one, but many were fairly pricey, and I wanted to be able to really look at the manual to make sure that it would work for us, and so paying for one/having it shipped wasn't my favorite option either. Thankfully, I clicked on my link to Cultivating Dharma, and there is a great language album at this site, and the section on grammar is excellent. And the download is FREE!

Then I ordered the Montessori Grammar solid symbols and the Montessori basic wooden grammar symbols from Kid Advance.

Finally, I downloaded grammar words and sentences from both Montessori (link for words) for Everyone (link for sentences) and the Montessori (link for words) Materials (link for sentences) site. Montessori Materials uses a different color for conjunction and one other part of speech, so I only have the words for those two parts of speech from Montessori for Everyone.

And then I printed, and laminated and cut. And then decided I needed to find a good way to store the grammar materials. So I went off to Target (one of my favorite places to shop) and this is what I found:

(found in the nails, hooks, etc. section)
holds the grammar words and the
grammar nomenclature cards.
Another Plano utility box holds the grammar
sentence strips from Montessori Materials.

A coupon organizer holds the grammar
sentences from Montessori for Everyone

Here are a picture of the Ruth Heller books,
the solid and wooden grammar symbols,
and a binder that holds the language manual,
and the Lively Language Lessons.

My sister teaches grammar, so I don't know EXACTLY how it all works, but here is how she has explained it in our teacher meetings.

It is a every day but Friday subject. Generally, she does the activity from the manual when introducing a part of speech. Then she will read a couple pages from the Ruth Heller book and look at the Lively Lessons to see if there is anything they want to do on that part of speech. On another day, they will do create a page of their own drawing/writing examples of what they learned in the Heller book. On another day, they will work with the word boxes to create sentences. On different day, they may use the wooden symbols with the sentence strips or with sentences of their own creation.

And we are finally achieving our goal with grammar - they are enjoying it AND they are learning. Our goal is to get through the parts of speech this year. In some future post, I may share our plans for grammar for next year.


Lori Bourne said...

Your set up looks gorgeous! So glad you like the materials :)

Lori from Montessori for Everyone

montessori mommy said...

Thank you!! What a blessing it was for me to find your post about grammar tonight. :) I really enjoy your blog!

AndieF said...

Thanks Lori! I'm glad you like the set up! We love the materials! I have another post that I'm working on that talks about how much we've used the Montessori For Everyone materials for my elementary kids this year and how much they love them. They have been SUCH a blessing!

AndieF said...

Montessori Mommy,

Glad that you enjoyed the post and my blog! My kids really enjoy learning grammar this way!