Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Passionate Love Affair ... with Grammar

This week I started teaching Julie's One Thing: Grammar course for Brave Writer. Julie wrote the class last winter, and it's sheer brilliance. I would never, ever, in a million years, think about approaching grammar the way she does. My boys are doing the class while I'm facilitating it, and they are LOVING it.

Julie approaches grammar as a love affair with words. We started out this week making lists of our favorite words, then playing with them: writing them on cards and playing games with them, putting words together in unusual ways without being concerned with meaning. We had 3X5 cards flying everywhere last night, playing the games and laughing hilariously at the downright WEIRD combinations of words we came up with while I took notes furiously, capturing every strange and stranger combination. Our favorite was "Holy tobogganing ferret, Elf Lord!" (Those of us who are old enough to remember the old Adam West Batman TV show will remember Robin's wonderful exclamations on which this combo is based.)

Today we grouped words together and wrote rules for the groups. These "rules" like "Star Wars words" or "words associated with animals" or "words that describe stuff" will be our link to how grammar really works. As Julie says, "Grammar is simply the architecture of language," and words are the bricks, or on the kids' level, the Legos. Words fit together in certain ways according to their function: they show action (verbs), name things (nouns), describe things (adjectives), show emotion (interjections), link words together (conjunctions), show relationships with other words (prepositions), etc.

Next week we're going to make "fictionaries" -- dictionaries of fictional words, complete with our own definitions, parts of speech, pronunciations, etc. We'll use these "fictionaries" when we write our own version of Lewis Carroll's famous nonsense poem,
"Jabberwocky," which we will be studying in-depth. Grammar is what makes "Jabberwocky" make a strange sort of sense and demonstrates how nonsense words work together.

So grammar can be a complete joy. My three boys, who usually do their Daily Grams and Easy Grammar assignments dutifully but without excitement, begged me to do grammar first this morning. And we shelved our usual schedule and did grammar. And they loved every second of it. Boys demanding to do grammar is simply a miracle.

My hat is off to Julie -- the sheer brilliance of this approach is mindboggling. Even I, who have always loved grammar, am positively entranced by her manner of teaching grammar. My love of grammar has blossomed into a passionate love affair ... and I am thrilled to be able to share it with other homeschooling families on BraveWriter. I simply have the perfect job.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Makes me want to take the class. I love Grammar Rock too.

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