Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Them Write Real Good One Day

As you might guess, learning to write intelligibly is a skill high on the list of Important Things My Kids Must Learn. It's ranked somewhat higher than How To Make a Key Lime Pie, but somewhat lower than How to Plunge a Toilet Successfully so Mom Doesn't Have To. Therefore, armed with dewy hopes and ambitions, we plunged into this book when Ian was an impressionable young lad of six.

Notice the cover. I believe the message being communicated here is that a tender young child fresh from God and full of wonder at the world around him will surely embrace daily implantations of nouns, pronouns, and verbs into his touchingly fertile mind.

Friends, bless Ms. Wise's heart, but we just couldn't make it. It didn't take long before I was yawning right along with my kiddos. Something about the scripted "dialogue" and the redundancy of asking my six-year-old boy to repeat the definition of a pronoun just felt too artificial to a mother who likes to hold "school" on a picnic blanket. We tumbled right off that apple cart.

And seriously, does a six year old really need to truly, madly, deeply know that stuff? I am a grammar nazi, and everything I know I either learned from my mother's faithful correction or the English Workshop class I sat through as a high school freshman.

So here's our current, [mostly] complete grammar curriculum. (Although we do adopt the Charlotte Mason's practice of copywork -- essentially, copying out poems and short passages of the Bible and literature.)

1. Very popular around our house. I consider us successful if we get through an entire mad lib without using the word "stinky" for an adjective.

2. This is a game I made up with index cards. (A secret: a homeschooler with index cards is like MacGyver with duct tape. ANYTHING can happen.) It's like Go Fish, except that instead of numerical suits, we have sets of common nouns, proper nouns, punctuation marks, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, etc. Instead of "state the definition of a noun," it's "Eliza, do you have any place nouns?"

I just discovered this little gem, called Grammar Grater. It's a very witty series of free podcasts, each about 10 minutes long, each focusing on a different aspect of verbiage. Example: a vignette about onomatopoeia, recorded at the Minnesota State Fair. We listen in the car. The kids giggle sometimes, but Mom always does, because she's a bit of an eccentric. And that is just an aspect of her personality up with which they simply must put.

P.S. I messed up the date and time of the Bananagrams giveaway in my previous post. It ends Wednesday, October 14, at 11:59 p.m. So send in those vacation faves. Don't be shy!


Era said...

Onomatopoeia was always one of my favorite conventions.

Jenny said...

Here's something funny for you: Claire LOVES grammar. Her favorite subject. Which is cool, except she doesn't like math! How could Will and I end up with a child that doesn't like math??!!

Hannah said...

Now that can only be explained by a very bizarre genetic mutation! Maybe she secretly belongs in my own genetic pool. :-)

Crystal said...

Hannah, I just found your blog from your post on austincharolottemason yahoo group. Love your blog, you are a funny writer. I too dislike FLL and love the game you came up with. Hope someday to meet you at a group meeting. Have a great day!

Vanessa said...

I thought diagramming sentences was the coolest as a kid!! Each word had its own special place. Glad the kids are having fun with it!

Anne said...

We still use FLL, and it is boring, so we just do what we want with it and leave the rest. :-)

Stephanie said...

So, my kids aren't the only ones who overuse the adjective stinky in Madlibs?

Other favorites: toot, dumb, smelly, gross, booger, toe jam, nose hair (part of the body, of course), etc.