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11 February 2013


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Oh, for the days when teachers had time to do these things!


Well, keep in mind that my elementary school class -- from kindergarten through sixth grade -- was only 12 kids. (The class behind us was twice as big, and every single teacher, at the end of the year, would mock-threaten to keep us all back so that they wouldn't have to take on The Big One.


"Why have schools been told that reading doesn't help you to learn grammar?" That must be a British thing--American schools have been preaching that for years. It's been at least 30 years since the National Council of Teachers of English came out against explicit grammar teaching in favor of lots of reading and writing.

Here's my problem with that theory: I must be pretty much the poster child for the ideal of absorbing grammar through reading. I had very, very little formal grammar instruction in school (I graduated from college without knowing what an adverb is), and I read ALL the time. And indeed, I am a good speller (though I have two bookworm siblings who are not, so I don't believe that theory either) and I can write a coherent sentence or paragraph. Success, right?

It doesn't feel like success from this side of the deal. I was always uncertain of whether I was writing correctly. I knew that I didn't know what I didn't know, and I made errors. (Like the one in my big collection development project in library school--that was fun.) I had a good instinctive feel for grammar, but the details were nonexistent. I wrote in a fog of uncertainty, which detracted from the enjoyment.

Now I have a daughter in 7th grade, and I've been putting her and her younger sister through the most rigorous grammar program I could find. I've followed along myself and I know a lot more now! As far as I'm concerned, the time spent has been an excellent investment, and somehow they still manage to spend hours reading for pleasure too.

(Um, you may have hit a nerve here. I could go on for hours, but I'll have mercy and stop now.)


Ahaha! Go on to your heart's content! I like reading about different experiences/opinions!

And, yes, I think it's very important to remember that learning styles figure in: I read a ton, but I'm also really visual, so even though I'm pretty good at spelling on the page (I can usually tell if something's misspelled), the mere thought of a spelling bee still has the power to make me break into a cold sweat. Similarly, my knowledge of Correct Grammar comes from the What Feels/Looks Right school, but obviously (OBVIOUSLY!), what I write here at BoD isn't going to be in the same style as, say, a grant proposal or something more formal.

Regardless of the mode of learning, I *do* think that a good understanding of the basics of grammar is a GOOD THING. (I've always loved that the online game Kingdom of Loathing requires users to pass a basic grammar test before awarding chat privileges. Heh.) And of course, when I'm not sure about the Real Rules, Google is my friend. I have some mega-nerd love for grammar blogs, too!

Do you homeschool? (Apologies if I should know the answer to that!)


This is true--for instance, there was that nice bit in Little Town on the Praire when Laura is taking her teacher's exam in which I learned how to diagram a sentance. An eagle flying around, if I remember correctly....


Hum. I've tried to post twice now and both have been eaten by the Internet after going through. Third time (and a different browser)'s the charm?


Hrrm. Let me check the spam filter...


No dice there... I don't know what's up with your comments being eaten! :(

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