If someone can tell me or point me to an explanation of why children need to learn the parts of speech I’d appreciate it.
I’m having one of those moments when I’m wondering when learning English and when hoping to teach my children to be good communicators with the written word (in English) what part does knowing the parts of speech play? I’m suspecting it plays no part. Well one part could be to provide a structure for a teacher to discuss writing with the students. For example when correcting a grammatical error the teacher could say “you used too many adjectives”.
I want my children to speak well, but knowing parts of speech I don’t think has contributed to that skill either.
About half way through this upcoming year I am going to need a new curriculum for my sixth grader for English grammar. Right now I am researching the options. I want something that teaches sentence diagramming so we can continue where we left off with the last curriculum. Too bad this curriculum does not go to the next grade level.
A homeschooling mom I know told me she hadn’t planned to teach English grammar, except perhaps as a fast study in about fourth grade because she didn’t think it was useful. She began teaching her child Latin using a homeschooling curriculum. The mother did not know Latin. The mom said that knowing grammar was key in the ability to learn Latin. She then felt grammar was useful and began teaching it to her child.
Back a number of years ago I had the image of my children learning Latin, how it would help them on their SATs and would be useful in their lives. I know that my knowing some Latin which I learned in a medical terminology course has helped me in my private life when dealing with medical stuff, such as hearing a new diagnosis.
Confession: we have never gotten around to starting Latin. Yes, I researched the Latin homeschooling curriculums. Yes, I bought one. We have been too busy to begin using it. I have had no motivation to spend a long time figuring out how to use it. Since I don’t know Latin I am intimidated at the idea of teaching it. There, I admitted it. Note that as yet another imperfection of mine (some people I know have remarked that I only blog ‘the positive’ and some suspect I think I’m perfect and that being perfect qualifies me as a person worthy of sharing my thoughts on a blog).
When I went to public school in the progressive fad years (the 1970s), somehow I escaped a couple of trends. One was that I was taught to read with phonics from first through third grade (I have my completed worksheets to prove it). Second in Language Arts we learned English grammar including sentence diagramming. I recall still learning English Grammar in sixth grade but my memory does not recall if it went beyond sixth grade. I remember enjoying sentence diagramming; it was fun to pick apart a sentence and to organize the parts by following a set outline. I have no clue what parts of the content I learned helped my general knowledge base to contribute to the writing abilities I have today. Could it be that learning a lot of English grammar helped build a foundation which I later built upon?
A friend in my town tells me they are not learning parts of speech in the public schools here. Despite my town getting high Connecticut Mastery Test scores (the standardized test used in Connecticut public schools) and despite my town’s schools ranking very high in the ranking of schools across the state, not much English grammar is taught.
A friend who started homeschooling last year whose children both tested very high on the CMTs and got excellent grades found out when they began homeschooling that the kids were never taught English grammar. (The kids were in sixth and fourth grade.) Both parents were shaken as they had been told for years, and believed what the schools said about their education program being top notch.
Honestly in my own writing, I suspect that knowing the names of the parts of speech is not helping me write. Further evidence is the fact that I have forgotten the names of the more difficult parts of speech. As I homeschool my children using a Language Arts curriculum I am re-learning long-forgotten parts of speech. Sentence diagramming, while fun to have done in public school, leaves me wondering what the purpose was. I also have forgotten how to diagram sentences and the homeschooling curriculum is re-teaching me as I teach my own children.,
This is on my mind as I am making homeschooling plans for this upcoming year. I am including these topics in our family’s scope and sequence but I’m asking myself why I am bothering. I thought this information was somewhere in the book ‘The Well Trained Mind’ but so far I can’t find where it is buried (the book is so comrphensive that sometimes information that I know is in there eludes me). If you can clue me in please do, I’d really appreciate it.
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