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#61 of 67 Old 12-19-2009, 10:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by caro113 View Post
I would say learning grammar and the parts of speech is incredibly important. If you children apply for a job and/or college, it will be necessary for them to know such things. Eventually, if they aren't already, your children will start reading and writing. How can they do that effectively if they don't understand the rules of grammar and parts of speech?

One of the best ways to learn to construct a sentence is through diagramming. That requires the knowledge of the subject, the verb, the object, etc. And one can not break the rules of grammar without fully understanding them.

There's a difference between:
to, too, two
hear, here
there, their, they're
all right, alright
affect, effect

And of course, one of my biggest pet peeves about grammar:
Could have, would have, should have
NOT could of, would of, should of (that irks the hell out of me)
But they teach all that in school, supposedly, yet most of us either never learn it or forget it. So apparently it's not easy to get those concepts. I recall diagramming a sentence, but it was incredibly hard for me (I have a learning disability that may have factored in), and I don't remember how it works. I hated it, hated it, hated it. All of the rules and names for parts of speech as well as the rules about what went where. And I write pretty well and also speak pretty well, as far as I can tell. I went all the way through supposedly advanced English classes in high school, including AP English, and yet it took a Philosophy TA in college to teach me to write an essay paper.

Jen 47 DS C 2/03  angel.gif04/29/08/ DD S 10/28/09 DH Bill '97.

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#62 of 67 Old 12-19-2009, 11:58 PM
 
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We are another family of language and/or grammar nerds. Both dh and I write and read copious amounts of books. We are also unschoolers.

So far, we have found that gramatical errors seem to resolve on their own with our children. They have enormous vocabularies and as a result, they don't always use words correctly. We learned that correcting anything our ds1 did as an infant meant he quit altogether, so it was his personality and intensity of conviction that led us to unschooling as a necessity.

Despite some short-lived panic attacks about whether or not they would truly learn what they need to learn (and granted that our dc are very young still), we've seen in every instance that any assistance they need comes naturally and not formally, as well as the more frequent occurrence which is that they resolve it on their own.

Last night I put my 25 month old's blanket back on him three times after he'd kicked it off (I was laying next to him) and he kicked it off again and exclaimed with certainty, "I don't wanna hava put dis back off several times, mummie!" Obviously there is no sense in correcting him, and I only mention this because I know a few people who do correct my dc's grammar and one has actually come to me and expressed concern that I don't do so. I told her that she should think of my dc as learning a second language rather than a first because their vocabularies are more sophisticated than that of many adults and yet their mouths are not fully capable of handling the intricacies of the words they feel comfortable using.

Imo, it is of much greater value to be able to express oneself as accurately as a language will allow than to be able to name the parts of speech. For some, that is a valuable key to learning a new language or better applying a first language, but I would disagree resolutely to a universal declaration of its necessity.

My dh is an amazing academic writer and hasn't a clue how the english language is put together. I often proof-read his work and find many grammatical errors in it, and then when I fix them, I explain why. Then he knows. He has to learn organically, within the context of a personal expression. Formal grammar instruction is meaningless trivia to him.

I wrote an article for a newspaper. The editor's assistant exclaimed that she was so impressed that she didn't have to do anything except change a word she thought was too obscure for their audience (it was lei, which she must not have understood because she changed it to 'lake' in the publication, posing a significant problem to the meaning of the sentence in which it was contained).

Anyway, it hadn't occurred to me that nearly her whole job (with such an important and fancy title as 'assistant editor') consists of fixing errors in grammar and spelling, and not much else. From my perspective, if my level of incompetence actually necessitates a whole, live, salaried employee to clean up my mess, maybe I could just learn how to do that little bit myself so she can do something more fulfilling to her aspirations than fix my grammar.

I know her now, and she does wish she could spend more time actually writing for the paper, but the articles they receive are usually in such high need of correction that she doesn't have the time.

I do also enjoy editing, but I don't tolerate poorly written work very well. I don't edit work that hasn't been proofread for grammatical and spelling errors. I actually had my fill of that by the time I finished college. Now I prefer to write and I help my dh with his work when he needs it.

Our dc will learn grammar organically until and unless they decide or indicate that they want some formal instruction, which I'll gladly give. 'Organically', in our home, involves a whole lot of references as it is though, so while I may be using similar expressions to others who have written similar things, I may mean something very different.

Please excuse my typos; I'm using my dh's computer and his keys are huge and shallow and I'm not at all used to using it. That and I can't proofread right now because it's nearly bedtime.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#63 of 67 Old 12-20-2009, 01:00 AM
 
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http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/

As someone that is starting back in college and has homeschooled children.......teach grammar and paper writing skills. I don't think it has to be tedious though.

Also teach them how to summarize, paraphrase, and directly quote. I am seeing many people with issues and failing papers because they did not correctly cite or have not mastered the above.
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#64 of 67 Old 12-22-2009, 05:23 PM
 
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I can see no greater way to destroy a love and passion for writing than to start forcing a kid to 'learn the proper rules'... I've seen it time and time again, it even happened to me after years of being exalted for my winning essays I got the 'how to write a formal essay' class and that was it, I couldn't hate writing an essay more after that, having to overanalyze and micromanage every detail... instead of focusing on the big picture, because writing is always about the big picture over the little details. No word, or clause holds any real meaning or beauty without the world around it. We learn and need rules for something we have no idea how to do... in a world immersed in words, there is no need for grammar, it comes after the fact, always, it's what helps those who have no idea how to play, but it's beyond a hinderance to those who have been playing for years. Knowing grammar, while it might help guide you when you haven't got a clue (as in a foreign language), will never make you a great writer... it's like baking bread, if you've been in the kitchen baking bread for years you know when to add a little bit more flour, a little bit more water, or when the yeast is just right... no recipe is going to get you that perfect loaf. Sure, if you want to make your first loaf and you have never kneaded your own you'd be lost without a recipe, but it's always second class to having lived it, and never anywhere near as much fun. What kid would choose following written directions over just diving in and getting their hands dirty, learning through trial and error. It's in a growing person's nature to play in the unknown and they will do it independently again and again and they will love it, but tell them how it should be done, take away the mystery, tell them all about what they can't and shouldn't, and it's a chore without soul.

Fwiw, my daughter just recently decided to take some courses with a specific college degree in mind, and not only has she had no issues with writing (she's actually had requests to use her work as examples to others), but when she needed to take a test on rules of grammar it only took her a few moments to get it all figured out (without ever having spent a second in her 14 years on the rules of grammar she has it all figured out, just not the names). Why school spends years and years and years on it I will never be able to fathom. She is also taking two foreign languages and doing very well, so it hasn't proved to be an issue there for her either.
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#65 of 67 Old 12-22-2009, 08:24 PM
 
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The impressionists, Picasso, etc., all first learned how to paint in the traditional manner before turning the art world upside down. Technique needed to be mastered first. I think you need an understanding of the rules of grammer before you can deconstruct them in manner that really means something.

I found this discussion about not teaching grammer rather problematic. What about the child who is raised in a home where non-standard english is spoken? It is all very well to teach by example where there is an example to be followed, but what if one doesn't exist?
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#66 of 67 Old 12-25-2009, 01:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Jane91 View Post
The impressionists, Picasso, etc., all first learned how to paint in the traditional manner before turning the art world upside down. Technique needed to be mastered first. I think you need an understanding of the rules of grammer before you can deconstruct them in manner that really means something.

I found this discussion about not teaching grammer rather problematic. What about the child who is raised in a home where non-standard english is spoken? It is all very well to teach by example where there is an example to be followed, but what if one doesn't exist?
Is this question meant to be understood within the context of unschooling?

Doubtful I'll be teaching my children anything about electronics engineering because this is a home where electronics engineering is not practised. If I were an electronics engineer, likely that would overflow into my lifestyle and to my family as the focus of that lifestyle.

If I have a child who needs to understand elecrtronics engineering (because if it's his passion, then it is a need to understand it), I will have to facilitate him finding an appropriate way of learning it, like through mentoring (such as in your former example of the painters who learned traditionally which at that time took place under the tutelage of a master painter and mentor), books, tools and equipment, videos, classes, etc...

You might argue that electronics engineering isn't in the same category as grammar, but then we're back to arguing the validity of unschooling as above.

My father grew up in a home of hungarian-speaking people. They still cannot properly form a sentence in english. He spoke hungarian at home and skipped school where they taught grammar (so was shipped to Germany to be taught there, and skipped out there too), was pushed through his grades even though he didn't do the work, and has excellent grammatical skills in both english and hungarian. He doesn't know what a noun or a preposition are and doesn't care. He is a terrific writer and very articulate, which used to find him in trouble on the construction site until he started his own company and became the boss, which apparently makes it okay to speak properly.

Anyway, I am certain that examples abound of every sort of situation within which a young person finds him/herself being raised and that have yielded capable and articulate, grammatically inclined, and competent people.

It seems like your question is about the validity of unschooling moreso than the necessity for teaching grammar, but I am happy to have misunderstood. Maybe you could elaborate on your points, if you are inclined?

Also, being in Canada, I can vouch for non-standard english in the home not being a hindrance to fabulous writing. We have a long list of famous and capable authors to show this. We have award-winning authors from every area of non-standard english-speaking including certain east-coast regions, where dialects can be very difficult to understand for non-residents, to all the way across french-speaking communities and cultures and little pockets of various overseas nationalities and ethnic groups. Also, most immigrant assistance programs don't teach grammar either; they teach conversational language and from immersion, people learn the grammatical rules of english if they have need.

There was a long time here when grammar wasn't taught in schools; I didn't have a single grammar lesson in all of my schooling from kindergarten to college. Many of our authors today were in the same situation as I was. Perhaps we have an inordinate amount of editors and proof-readers, though (who took a personal interest aside from the lack of formal education in grammar); I've never checked into it.

I do think that non-standard english is probably the norm here, given that we have so many people whose first language is not english. I know lots of people who do speak english primarily, but I wouldn't consider how they speak 'standard' if by that we mean 'correct' or 'accurate.'

I still don't think it's necessary or beneficial to impose formal grammar lessons, but that's because within my philosophical position on education is a trust that children do learn what they need if they are free to do so. There are millions of resources for the curious child who realises s/he's not learning 'standard english' at home.

I am also assuming these children do leave home every once in a while and experience some outside influences.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#67 of 67 Old 12-25-2009, 02:40 AM
 
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I'm not an unschooler, but for several years I did teach a course which involved a lot of writing to army recruits. It was not actually a writing course, and the expectation was only that they be able to write at a high school level, so I didn't have much time to teach them how to write.

Many of them, kids who had perfectly normal speech, could not write at all. In some cases I actually had difficulty understanding them. And because they had no language to talk about language, it was difficult to help them.

Very basic grammar is no different from arithmetic I think. People also intuitively pick up a lot of ideas about numbers, but learning the conventional symbols and language of numbers makes it possible to build on that whenever it is required.

As far as my own learning went, I didn't study grammar in school, but I was a reader and had good speech models. My writing was never a problem. But when I did have to learn grammar so I could learn Latin and Greek in university, I found that it improved my writing.

I tend to think a foreign language can actually be an excellent way to learn grammar, and it shows how different languages tend to encourage different ways of thinking and forming ideas. This can really increase a person's language power.

 I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt.
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