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Do they really need to know what a predicate is? - Page 3

post #41 of 47
I think the late elementary ages are good for learning basic grammar, but at some point in time, probably in middle or high school ages, I will bring my kids into diagraming and the nitty gritty of grammar. I was always a good writer but until I had a gifted English class in 9th grade where the teacher taught us diagramming, I never really understoond WHY things sounded right or wrong. It opened up a whole new world to me and really helped speed up my writing, allowed me to be copy editor of my school newspaper, and made college a breeze. It was only this teacher that taught it, she was really old school, but I really thank her for it. No reason to torture a young kid with it (shocked to learn they used to teach it in elementary school) but I really loved it, it was like turning a sentence into a puzzle I needed to figure out.

I don't think you "need" it, but with the dumbing down of newspapers, constant bad grammar on the internet (where most of us write the most anymore, and I am guilty of cutting grammar corners on it) and then the need in college to suddenly write a zillion term papers, teaching a little old school grammar will help trancsend some of the language laziness that seems to have developed.
post #42 of 47
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post

Anyway, I sort of come from the "learn it when you need it" camp. Grammar is not such a difficult thing that it should take years to learn. I figure that when it's necessary and/or desired, it would be much quicker and easier to get through.
Yeah this is what I think too. No one is saying learning more about English grammar rules is pointless. As I said earlier in the thread, around age 18/19, learning foreign languages helped me better understand English grammar. It was a bonus for me and it was not at all a hindrance that I hadn't already learned the difference between a direct and indirect object. It's not that hard to learn and when you have a reason (you want to know if you use le or lui) it's a real pleasure.

eta: I think the best thing you (general-homeschooling-parent-you) can do is learn the stuff yourself, then when things come up you can easily and casually share your knowledge with your dc (to the extent they wish to hear it!).
post #43 of 47
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
when I was in highschool I was struggling with geometry. My parents got me a tutor. I asked her why I even needed to learn this stuff...What use would it be to me! I loved her answer, "It's another way for your brain to think. It's like exercise for your brain"
Sure. But it seems to be one of those things we believe in so whole-heartedly only when we're not in a position to have it apply to us personally. At this point in your life, would you choose to do something only for the purpose of exercising your brain, in the total absence of other considerations like interest and usefulness? I'd consider it a waste of my time that I could be using to learn relevant things.
post #44 of 47
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
I guess we're all just so different. Writing has always been one of my best "subjects," and I rarely think about grammatical structure when I write.
So true. We're all different. That's why our kids may need to learn things a different way than we did.

Although I learned to speak and write well, because I was surrounded by good examples, I never really "got" grammar. I often felt at a disadvantage in college because of that. I wanted to write for the school paper; I could write great articles, but it felt like I was pulling my own teeth. Yeesh, it was so frickin' hard to make it correct and readable. I wonder what vistas would have opened up for me if I'd had decent grammar instruction in high school. It reminds me of the family in Little House/Rose Years who don't see the value of learning to read and write -- they can't fathom a life in which that would be important. I wonder what life I'd be having if I could wrestle an adverb to the ground -- maybe I'd be a writer now.

On the other hand, math is really easy for me. Those numbers pop into place like a little puzzle. Pretty much any math curriculum works for me. My daughter, though, looks at math a totally different way than I do. She can't learn math "naturally" from me -- she needs to get it chopped up in a different way than I would ever think of doing. That same daughter can diagram a complex sentence without uttering even a single , unlike me. So, what I needed for grammar instruction is different than what she needs, and what she needs for math is different from what I needed.

The point being, I can't simply say, "By gum, I learned it this way and I turned out okay, so that's how I'm going to teach my kids!"
post #45 of 47
I think it does depend on the person. I learned all the grammatical terms in school (High School level). I didn't and still don't consider that knowledge to be something I needed. I was doing just fine without it and doing just fine now that I've forgotten most of it (I know what nouns and verbs are, - I think that's it ). If I need to write well, I can do it. And even in my everyday writing, I don’t think I’m too horrible with grammar.

But you know, it's like spelling. Spelling came pretty easy to me so all the rules that they taught were just busy work as far as I was concerned. Meanwhile, I have a friend who cannot spell to save her life. She loves the rules and refers to them often. So they’re not something everyone needs but they are something that some people can benefit from.

The foreign language aspect might also be personality. I took four years of German in High School. It was taught in English with us discussing grammar. Then in college I took one semester of Spanish taught with the immersion method. We didn't discuss grammar at all. At the end of that semester I spoke Spanish as well as I spoke German. Ok, which wasn't that great, I'm not too hot at language acquisition (and now, about 20 years later, I don't remember much of either language - use it or lose it!). But still, the experience really drove home to me how *I* learn language best and it's not by discussing predicates and conjugating verbs.

Funny – last night my daughter watched a brain pop video that talked about division. She was telling me about quotients and dividends and divisors. I told her that I didn’t know which was which. I can figure out which is the divisor because that makes sense to me, but I had no idea what was the dividend and what was the quotient. So she wrote out a division problem and diagrammed it for me, But I can do the problems without knowing the terms. Sort of the same idea I think.
post #46 of 47
Thread Starter 
I thought this thread was dead I let her watch a brain pop video on the subject and that's all it took for her to understand the concept and she flew through the lesson with no problem
post #47 of 47
Old threads never die around here. Expect it to pop up again in 3 to 5 years.
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