Thursday, August 11, 2011

Homeschool: Grammar Lesson

Having children correct grammatical mistakes in sentences is a common way of teaching them to improve their own grammar. It's been proven an effective teaching method time and again, and it's one I use frequently for my eight year old, who has a terrible habit of forgetting to capitalize the beginnings of sentences. I tried a fun new twist on this method this week, and thought it'd be worth sharing.

Do you remember, as a kid, how much you loved to hear your parents tell stories about their own childhoods? In fact, even as an adult, I still love to hear those stories. My kids are no different, always asking about things I did when I was growing up. It's just fun to imagine your parent as a child, I think. And it also makes us adults a little more "real" to our kids.

So I started writing stories from when I was a kid in one of Chloe's school notebooks... without any capitalization or punctuation. I told about the backyard I had when I was growing up, about how the neighbor kids and I made up a "fort", about the kinds of fruit trees and bushes and flowers back there. I wrote about playing Intellivision video games, about my favorite Barbies, and learning how to ride a bike. I told about a time my best friend and I had a fight, and about how I always competed in penmanship at school with a boy named Justin, about my dear friend Samantha that moved away in the fourth grade. Silly little memories most of them, but those "little things" are the stuff of life, and make it easy for our kids to relate to us as actual people.

Correcting the grammar of those real life stories makes it all the more interesting. She looks forward to these grammar lessons now, because she gets to learn a bit more about me, instead of just fixing pointless sentences that hold no real meaning for her. And it's also inspired her to write out some of her own memories, willingly practicing her writing and journaling skills.

So, it may be worth giving it a try. Even the most boring childhoods are fascinating to our own children - and it can be fun to dig up those fond memories and share them with your kids.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

fun idea! When i taught (8th grade English), I would often make up funny stories (usually about romances) about my students for the class to correct. Just a short paragraph every day. i like your idea - that must be fun for you too!

I remember reading about another journal idea - this one mother/daughter pair started writing in a journal to each other. It would be in a certain spot, and whenever the spirit moved them, they'd just independently add an entry - another form of communication between them I guess. That might be something you and Chloe would enjoy.