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Topic: English Problems

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Subject: English Problems
Date Posted: 11/6/2007 12:30 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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I am looking for a FUN way to do grammar.....or at least some kind of list that can give me a good jumping off point as to the where, when to teach in order to build on stuff???  My son is in 2nd grade and I have tried Easy Grammar because I thought Hey this is it!  But I think he is getting bored because it seems he is only interested when he is learning something new.  He hates to practice something he already knows by heart by going back over and over in the same way again about stuff.  I try to get him to write stories, etc...but no go...I can't seem to find anything fun in that area either that gets his juices going about writing.  He used to love to write me books, and was making books for me long before he ever went to school.  I saw a thing something about comic strip writing prompts and thought that might be a good idea to unlock his writing again.....but I guess I am just afraid that I'll miss something along the way somewhere about grammar rules, etc.  Help here please!  I had thought the best way to teach him grammar was to get him writing, then somehow go thru and call attention to like...Pronouns one week, verbs the next, something like that, but just can find no good guidelines so far for me to use for myself so I am not missing anything anywhere?  Is it really just that simple that 8 parts of speech and punctuation are what grammar covers........that's it?  I mean I know each part of speech is subdivided down, but he has what goes at the end of a sentence downpat and has had long before I ever started any kind of grammar with him.  Now I think he may be regressing because he is so bored with it and I need to get moving along in English too!  Help!

Date Posted: 11/6/2007 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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And I guess one other question I have,.....would it make sense to take like say Nouns (as he already knows common nouns) and then go from there and explore all the different kinds of nouns, then once we have finished that, move to verbs...then show all the different kinds of verbs, then adjectives, etc.....or should I just start out sticking with basics....like here are nouns....then here are verbs....then once I have introduced each part of speech, go back and study each more in depth?   I have a math program already that teaches like...all about addition, then all about subtraction......and he already tells me he wants to be done with spelling FOREVER.........should I approach english the same way?

Date Posted: 11/6/2007 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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And I guess another thing I should add....he can tell stories like nobody's business!  When telling a story out loud he goes into GREAT GREAT detail about it....and most of the time he can give you a beginning, middle, end to the story.  He just has a hard time writing it all down because his little hand won't travel as fast as his little mind can (which is a problem that his dad has always had).....so is there some help there for that?   Possibly.....don't stress the handwriting aspect of it so much when first writing, just get it down, then go back and fix after we got our ideas down?  Would that type of thing work?   I know that gets into rough drafts and all that stuff.....but I think it takes a lot of pressure off a writer to KNOW he doesn't have to have it right the first time...that he can go back and reread as many times as he wants, and change what ever he wants until he gets it just like he wants it??? 

Date Posted: 11/6/2007 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
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I think "blocking" the different parts of grammar is a good idea.  That's whay my curriculum does.  They start grammar in 1st grade.  Not only are the main things covered:  types of nouns, types of verbs, adjectives, adverbs, but also types of sentences, etc.

If you're able, I'd have him dictate stories to you, then you type them, and then let him edit.  Or get a program like Dragon Naturally Speaking and have him dictate directly to the pc.

I highly recommend the School House Rock 30th Anniversay DVD.  It's a great bargain for the money!  It has every SHR song we grew up on (if you're in your 30's & 40's :-)) plus more.  There are lots of special features, too.  My kids have learned a TON that way.  There are CD-roms also.

I would look into the What Your __ Grader Needs to Know books for guidelines.  That will give you a basic outline.  Or get grammar books Exercises in English.

JC

Date Posted: 11/6/2007 8:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
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We have had success with First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind. There is one book and the homeschooling parent uses it, it is not consumable. It is NOT a workbook. It is intended to be used for grades 1 and 2 (the book spread over 2 years). If you begin with a 2nd grader you can whiz through faster if you like.

(There is a new book for grade 3 which is totally a different product that I am not discussing here.)

Some HS moms I know think the program is dumb. Chanting the definition of a noun etc. they say is dumb. Well it is simple and saying that 3 times takes less than 2 minutes. Most lessons took us under 5 minutes. So even if this is 'silly' to spend 5 or 10 minutes on one lesson is not asking too much, not torture. And it worked. So I didn't care that my kids were learning by using chants. LOL.

I used part of the program with my older son at the end of 2nd grade as that is when I personally 'discovered' it. It worked. I then spent the next 2 years using workbook based programs. Now here I am this year (grade 5)  realizing that much of the 2 years of workbook stuff was in one ear and out the other. Yet the parts of the FLL program are still memorized. Amazing.

You can order the FLL book in paperback or hardback and try PBS or online through the big stores it is discounted and not as expensive as EAsy Grammar, I believe.

It is light on paperwork and you can even cut that down if you think the work is 'fluff' and just do nearly everything orally. Also you can condense the lesons such as if proper nouns are mastered skip the next 3 lessons if they are on the same topic, KWIM?

Regarding "writing composition" you may want to investigate Institute for Excellence in Writing which has a good way to teach writing. We began using that this year with my 2nd and 5th grader. Check out their website.

One more thing I'll say is it is great your child can orally tell back things in great detail. However a good skill for what is called 'narration' by some is not just the telling back of everything but the ability to summarize and condense the larger amount of material into something more condensed yet still retain the undertanding of what is being told back. That is a skill to work on too, figuring out what is most important (thinking skills) and then telling it back in their own words in a more summarized fashion (communication skills). To me oral narration is actually 'composition' but not in their own handwriting. So oral narration is worthwhile to do.

I see you put a lot of thought into your situation and have ideas of what you want to achieve so I am sure you'll not have a problem finding tools (books,  curriculums etc.) that can meet your needs and goals. Knowing your needs and goals is key to narrowing down the search and finding something that works for your child. :) Now that you know what you want you can easily avoid the products and books that are not what you want. One key is to try to look at these things in your own hands before buying them, if possible. Second best is talking about them online. For example to discuss FLL you can check the message boards on The Well Trained Mind website, and IEW program has a Yahoo Group!  HTH.

Good luck!

Date Posted: 11/6/2007 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2007
Posts: 158
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Even though you certainly can start grammar at any point in time, I believe most of the information will be repeated and in more detail in the upper grades.  So, if you did "miss" something, you'd certainly have the opportunity to fix your error later.  Besides, you homeschool- if you come across something when he's in 3rd grade that you haven't covered yet, you just cover it. ;-) 

 

 

You might look online for some resources- there are several website that offer grammar help, writing prompts and story starters.  Of course, it's only important that he write stories at his age if you feel it's important.    You've got 10 more years to do all these fun things. KWIM? 

Date Posted: 11/6/2007 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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Thanks guys!  I was sooo having doubts about the Easy Grammar, but son came back in in just a little while and went back and finished everything that he hadn't done.  I started noticing that I think it was in MY attitude and not so much his.....  He does great at it, builds his confidence....which is one thing he greatly needs more than anything else at this point in time......  Bless his heart, he must have had a REALLY hard time at school...a lot of things I know he hasn't told me about....we were sooo close before he went to school...I hope to get that closeness back again.  I do think I will look into maybe studying by each area also...or maybe I will at least go over each part of speech at the end of the book to see if he really "got" what he was doing or not.  He picks up things quickly, when I find the key to unlock the door and it seems to just stick there.  I have mentioned time and again about getting him School House Rocks....I was looking at the history end of it....but he wasn't turned on by it anymore....He had a School House Rocks cartridge for his Leapster...but he says now....No WAY!!! LOL....Frankly, I can still here those songs ringing in my ears today!  I would just live and breath sometimes for those little ditties to come on TV!  LOLI  I have the book What Every Second Grader Needs to Know and I refer to it all the time...but maybe I just haven't sat down with it long enough yet to get a good basic outline in my head of just WHAT I am supposed to be doing here!! LOL  Thanks for all the great ideas!

Date Posted: 11/7/2007 11:15 AM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
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I forgot this link in my reply.  It is a great overview of each grade.

World Book Curriculum Standards

www.worldbook.com/wb/Students

Also, your state board of ed should have a list of the scope & sequence for each grade level.

Date Posted: 11/7/2007 6:08 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 120
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I agree with Christine.  we've been using First Language Lessons for a while and are taking our time, but it's not torture when we do it :)  Grammar rules will be repeated several times over throughout the years so these years are just a foundation.

I also highly recommend Excellence in Writing by Andrew Pudewa.  It's definitely an investment, not cheap in other words, but there is a yahoo group where you can buy used materials.  Sounds like your little guy loves to write so Andrew would give him the tools to do it well before writing becomes painful, which it ends up being for most kids (experience speaking!)

If you have any other questions let me know

Ange

www.homeschoolblogger.com/scotschooler

Date Posted: 11/7/2007 8:25 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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I like the looks of the Excellence in Writing myself, but am not sure son would go for it at this point.  He suffered from major burnout at his public school, where he had to repeatedly write over and over again , the same things which he already knew.  He likes to get the answers, get it fast, and move on to the next thing....He doesn't mind building up on what he has previously learned, especially when it comes "old hat" to him, but the 1-3 hours a day....there is probably no way he would go for that  at this point.  I thought I might get him back into writing by making his own comic books, then he would have his art lessons and his writing lessons in one....or rather at first...art practice and writing practice...then moving on to teaching once he has a few under his belt.  He is really into comics right now...and they seem to be a less intimidating format to use for a youngster just learning how to write, cause frankly he was taught so much at his public school that he must fill in the piece of paper entirely that he now shies away from the blank regular size notebook pages.  I found a small (probably 3x4) notebook for him the other day and he just loved it for taking notes in!  And I am learning more every day too....that relax, every day does not have to be Test day (or Inventory as I like to call it)...some days we can just learn everything by conversations we have...and he retains a big portion of it.  I wouldn't mind having some kind of "guideline" to go by as far as his starting in writing goes.  If you have any suggestions on that, they would be greatly appreciated :)