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#31 of 47 Old 12-10-2008, 02:16 PM
 
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"Mr Morton is the subject of my sentence, and what the predicate says he does
Mr Morton walks, Mr Morton talks, Mr Morton dreams, Mr Morton loves."

School House Rock rocks!

I found that knowing the parts of speech, etc to be extremely helpful both in writing in English and in learning other languages, but I was taught them very badly in school. Luckily, I cam from a family of super-nerds who talked about this kind of thing and I think I absorbed it without really being taught.
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#32 of 47 Old 12-10-2008, 05:05 PM
 
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I had no idea what nouns and verbs were until I was in college. I'd never even heard of predicates and what ever else dd's language arts stuff is teaching but yet I still scored into the 100th percentile (yeah 100th as in top score, the lady who never passed a single English class in 13 years of school) nationally on my college entrance English exam thing I had to take to get into eng 101. I learned everything by reading tons of books and studying authors writing styles I liked when I started doing my own writing. I still don't know what an adverb or a predicate is but I can write "A" papers without much thought.

So, must know or not?
Seems to me you just answered your own question. - Lillian
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#33 of 47 Old 12-10-2008, 06:59 PM
 
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It depends on what your educational goals are for your DD. If it's "function as an adult and get a job that pays decently" then no, grammar's not important. But if you want her to be able to write well and know why one sentence makes sense and the other doesn't (subject-verb agreement is a huge issue for people who didn't study grammar, from what I've seen), want to make it easier for her to learn a foreign language, think systematically about what she reads and writes, then understanding the grammar of her native language is fundamental.

I went to public school and my parents had little interest in foreign language. Consequently, I didn't really learn grammar until college, when I became a big language nerd. It would have helped my French a lot had I understood what a direct object was.

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#34 of 47 Old 12-10-2008, 08:07 PM
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But if you want her to be able to write well and know why one sentence makes sense and the other doesn't (subject-verb agreement is a huge issue for people who didn't study grammar, from what I've seen), want to make it easier for her to learn a foreign language, think systematically about what she reads and writes, then understanding the grammar of her native language is fundamental.
I think people who are brought up speaking properly will know how to write properly, for the most part. If someone is raised in an area where poor grammar is commonplace (my MIL says things like "we was in the store"...."I seen three horses yesterday") then there will obviously be trouble with writing skills.

Then again, I grew up in Hawaii where the dialect is unique (to say the least), and I've never had problems writing well. And as programs like Rosetta Stone take off and become more accessible, a knowledge of grammar won't really be necessary in order to learn a foreign language.

My kids learned basic parts-of-speech from School House Rock and by playing Mad Libs. Easy Grammar has been lying around our house, collecting dust, for a few years now. It's there if they want to delve into it.
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#35 of 47 Old 12-10-2008, 08:35 PM
 
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I think people who are brought up speaking properly will know how to write properly, for the most part. If someone is raised in an area where poor grammar is commonplace (my MIL says things like "we was in the store"...."I seen three horses yesterday") then there will obviously be trouble with writing skills.
that's very true!!! made me laugh outloud too!

i think spelling errors are incredibly common & i'd be more concerned about those personally... (as they stand out like a black eye). i can't count how many people on MDC think definitely has an "a" in it.

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#36 of 47 Old 12-10-2008, 08:53 PM
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And as programs like Rosetta Stone take off and become more accessible, a knowledge of grammar won't really be necessary in order to learn a foreign language.
I dunno... I tried to learn Arabic with Rosetta Stone but had very little success. I really needed the grammar, and I even wish that the program I use now had more grammar stuff. Maybe if I were three, and trying to learn the language on a 3-year old level, things would have been different... but trying to gain true fluency in Arabic through Rosetta Stone seem a tall order to me, and learning to read and write seems almost impossible - every letter has up to 4 shapes, and there are sounds we use one letter or digraph to represent that in Arabic can be represented be either of two letters - in the case of "th", there are three different Arabic letters that correspond to three different sounds, but in English we use "th" to cover all of them.

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#37 of 47 Old 12-10-2008, 10:33 PM
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My understanding of grammar helped me a lot when I was using Rosetta Stone to practice my Spanish and German.

My personal bias is that certain knowledge and skills are prerequisites to other knowledge and skills that are complex and can be difficult to develop. In my adult life, I don't often pull up on the furniture and "cruise" from place to place while hanging on to things for balance, but it was a great way to learn to walk. I don't diagram sentences either, but having that knowledge of the pieces has helped me understand the rules of grammar, which helps me work out the proper grammatical structures I need to use when I produce formal writing.

For the students I work with, looking something up (even on google) when they suddenly realize they need to know more about it is not a trivial enterprise.

Imagine you have two essays to write this week. Imagine that writing them well is important to you because you need good grades to achieve your personal goals.

If you're competent and comfortable with grammar, you can focus your attention and energy on expressing your ideas about the topics. Two essays (assuming a high school assignment, expected length 500-600 words) is likely to take you 4-8 hours, depending on how comfortable you are with the topics. You have plenty of time left over for student council, part-time work, and your other obligations.

Now imagine that you're not comfortable with grammar and you know that you will need to check and double-check every single clause and sentence for grammatical rectitude and are still likely to get it wrong because you don't know what "right" looks like. In addition to doing the reading and planning to prepare to write your essays, you are going to need to look up basic grammar online and try to apply what you have just read to a critical essay about a topic you may not yet be entirely comfortable with.

For students facing the second scenario, high-level academic challenges are torture. They're smart and they're capable. They can overcome the challenge if they *really* want to. They also could have learned grammar in elementary school if someone had taught it to them, and their lives would be a lot easier if someone had.
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#38 of 47 Old 12-10-2008, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ok, I'm going back and forth on this, everyone makes really good points. I never learned the rules, writing just comes naturally to me. I was surprised by the poster who has to write several drafts of a paper and work hard on it. When I write papers they usually come out near perfect. I literally just write it all out with out much thought then re read it to smooth out any rough spots so maybe a couple minutes to edit and that's it. I usually get an A, occasionally a B, worst I have gotten was a C and that was becasue I turned in a paper that was only half the length it was supposed to be. The teacher literally wrote "where's the rest?!" I was the kid who literally read from the time I got up till the time I went to bed and it wasn't comics. I LOVED reading, it was my escape from my miserable life. I picked up grammar from that. My dd how ever is not a book worm so maybe it would do well to teach her grammar rules. I've never done mad libs and I vaguely remember school house rock but wasn't that just a cartoon back in the 80s?

ETA: I was also raised to speak proper English and wasn't allowed to use slang and the like so that's helped a lot I think. I still remember my kindergarten teacher correcting the kids with poor grammar "we was at the store", called it old slave talk (remember this is a couple decades ago!) and that if they ever wanted to make something of themselves then they needed to learn proper English. They didn't quite get it until Mr. Mack in 1st grade, only AA teacher I ever had and he made it a point how important good grammar was (only teacher in all my years of school to teach black history too and I haven't forgotten any of it!) and that's when the kids started working on it. Anyway, only reason I really remember this was becasue I thought the kids who couldn't speak "proper" were kinda stupid becasue they usually couldn't read either and once they started speaking proper English I was able to understand them (um yeah, there English might as well have been another language to me it was that bad)

and yes, I was a little snob when I was a kid We may have been poor but my mother had high standards!

Seriously?
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#39 of 47 Old 12-10-2008, 11:36 PM
 
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I never learned the rules, writing just comes naturally to me.
eh, you probably did learn the rules. we all did in school. we remember what we were taught, just not the labels of it all, yk?

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I was surprised by the poster who has to write several drafts of a paper and work hard on it. When I write papers they usually come out near perfect. I literally just write it all out with out much thought then re read it to smooth out any rough spots so maybe a couple minutes to edit and that's it.
well, i wrote that. i majored in social work and had to write 50 page case studies, lol. it needed a lot of drafting. a lot of coffee. a lot of time. it was hard work. really hard!! it definitely wasn't a creative writing course, ykwim? everyone in my class busted their butts on those papers.

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#40 of 47 Old 12-11-2008, 12:11 AM
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In my adult life, I don't often pull up on the furniture and "cruise" from place to place while hanging on to things for balance, but it was a great way to learn to walk. I don't diagram sentences either, but having that knowledge of the pieces has helped me understand the rules of grammar, which helps me work out the proper grammatical structures I need to use when I produce formal writing.
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.

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.
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#41 of 47 Old 12-11-2008, 08:35 AM
 
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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.

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#42 of 47 Old 12-11-2008, 08:52 AM
 
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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!).
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#43 of 47 Old 01-10-2009, 12:53 AM
 
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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.
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#44 of 47 Old 01-10-2009, 12:09 PM
 
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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!"
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#45 of 47 Old 01-10-2009, 12:44 PM
 
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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.
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#46 of 47 Old 01-10-2009, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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

Seriously?
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#47 of 47 Old 01-10-2009, 03:07 PM
 
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Old threads never die around here. Expect it to pop up again in 3 to 5 years.
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