This post is part of our series titled:
Helpful Answers for You to FAQs about Homeschooling.
Today I’ll be sharing the answers to FAQs I’ve been asked over the years about teaching grammar.
If you missed the post about which grammar programs we used from first grade through high school, you can read that post here.
# 1 English was my worst subject. How am I going to teach grammar?
Math was my worst subject in school, and our children completed Calculus in high school. With all the great homeschooling resources on the market, I taught our children my worst subject up to the level I completed in school. When they reached a level that I no longer knew, we found a homeschool tutorial program which offered math.
You can do the same with grammar. You can either find a grammar program with scripted lessons plans, a complete answer key, and even customer support OR find a way to outsource grammar. If you don’t have access to local homeschool tutorial programs, you can subject swap with another homeschool mom. You teach your best subject to your children and hers, AND she can teach math to her children and yours.
# 2 What was your favorite grammar program?
Not a complete program but my favorite grammar resource over 15 years of homeschooling was Oral Language Exercises. A small spiral-bound book packed with lessons on grammar usage. We used this resource so many years that it deserves its own post, which I’ll write soon.
The grammar program that helped both of our children the most was Analytical Grammar.
# 3 How much time did you spend each day teaching grammar?
I never kept track of how much time we spent doing each subject. We took as much time as we needed to complete the lesson for that day. Since I had one child who had handwriting issues, we did the majority of grammar lessons orally, which took less time than writing out answers and having to grade papers.
# 4 What about diagramming? Did you teach your children how to diagram sentences?
Yes, I did teach our children how to diagram sentences.
And I’ll share the reason why in an upcoming post.
# 5 Did your children like Rod & Staff (English)?
Funny, at used book sales I’ve been asked about what I like and dislike about each program I was trying to sell. However, Rod & Staff is the only grammar program I’ve been asked if our children liked it. Our children had mixed feeling about Rod & Staff English.
For 4 years, our daughter worked through the exercise with ease, liked the sentences and paragraphs about science topics, and learned grammar with this program. After the fourth year, our daughter asked if she could do something else for grammar. When I asked her why, she reported that she’s tired of the daughter being in the house with Ma. She’d rather me in the barn or out in the field with Pa. Rod & Staff English is a Mennonite publication, and their lifestyle is highlighted through the exercises. Our daughter (who is now an industrial engineer student and may never be a mother) got tired of the traditional roles of men and women displayed in this program.
As for our son, I’ve already mentioned that handwriting was a struggle for him. He did not like Rod & Staff when I required him to write out his answers. When we switched to answering most of the exercise orally, he tolerated Rod & Staff English. However, I did not see him learn, retain, and use the mechanics of grammar with this program like his sister. After 2 years, I switched grammar programs with him.
A FAQ about all subjects is What would I do differently?
I didn’t have a helpful answer for this question for years. When I was in the midst of homeschooling, I could think of a host of things that I would do differently. But at the end of our homeschooling journey, I now see that what we did (good and bad) got us to where we are today. At the end of a successful homeschool journey.
In the end, it’s okay that my son did most of his grammar exercises orally. It’s okay that I never timed our grammar lessons. It’s okay that we used multiple programs before finding the one that fit our family best. It’s okay that I made many mistakes because I learned from those mistakes.
You too can teach grammar successfully with the right resources and some help along the way.
Do you have a question about homeschool grammar programs?
I’d be happy to try and answer it. That’s why I’m here.
Just leave me a comment below or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org