Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Classical Method: English Grammar Recitation

To teach or tutor? 
"The goal of teaching  by the Trivium s to give students the tools of learning with which to learn on their own - to liberate them from the drudgery of task-performance and to make them independent scholars." pa 301 Teaching the Trivium
Over the years we have worked with some great grammar programs that were VERY TASK intensive Abeka's Language & Christian Light Educations Language are wonderful programs but they did not fit the out method of education for the Grammar Stage. We then switched to Climbing to Good English which is a wonderful Mennonite Program but it is also a workbook and although it's not as intense as Abeka or Christian Light it was still very task orientated.As we have focused our homeschool on the Classical model and wrote our Distinctives it became evident that our grammar was in violation distinctive #2 which states "

  1. "Emphasis on independent study by the student with Mama in the role of tutor. Thus we adopted much of the methodology of the Classical Method. Which allows me to insert Charlotte Mason type elements into our homeschool without usurping the role of teacher. (again see Proverbs 2:6)"

The programs we had chosen were teacher intensive and were not creating independent scholars. Recitation seems to be very teacher intensive but I am really just giving them a tool and they are learning to recognize grammar and to use it.

Switching Gears

So this year I began to search from something I thought was a more "pure" form of Grammar for a Classical school and we found Memoria Press' English Grammar Recitation. We are thoroughly enjoying our English Grammar Recitation  by Cheryl Lowe which we are doing during our family gathering time. Additionally, it is helping me to organize the rules of grammar that I have rolling around in my head into neat little categories. This little book is composed of 5 smaller books and has around 140 grammar recitations. It is set up like a catechism.

How do you use it?
First I review the questions they have already learned. Then we go on to the next question and ask that question and practice the answer. If necessary I will give them an example. But for right now my desire is that they learn the definitions and application will occur while they work through their I.E.W. and after age 10 when they start another Grammar Program such as Winston Grammar.Right now they are learning the grammar of grammar. So here is a sample question from English Grammar Recitation:

"Question 1: What is a sentence?
Answer: A sentence is a group of words expressing a complete thought." (pa 7)

I ask the question they learn/repeat the answer. The questions range from simple questions like this one to much more complex questions like...
Reciting Poetry from IEW Linguistic Development in Language Arts Notebook
"What are the four kinds of sentences classified by purpose with definitions?" (pa 7)
Then we add each new rule to our English Language Spiral (we use spirals for notebooking). Sometimes I give them a single simple sentence and I diagram it to illustrate the point of the rule.

Is that it?

Yes, that is it and it takes less then 15 minutes for us to complete our Grammar/Language. Now Memoria Press also has workbooks that go along with English Grammar Recitation, but I am not going to be using them. We will simple continue reciting and adding the information to our English Language Notebooks.

Finally, we now actually discuss grammar as we read it and hear it spoken, I may ask them if they know what the subject of this sentence is. Or they have announced while rewriting an I.E.W. paper that "This is an interrogative sentence and clearly needs a question mark!". I gave them the tool and they are applying it to their work. <smile>

I'd love to hear how you have found simple ways to  implement Classical Style Grammar in your home, especially for the next two stages!

Linked to: Trivium Tuesdays,weekly wrap up


  1. I love everything from Memoria Press. I think I missed this book. I might have to save my pennies to buy it. Thanks,

    1. Good News Beth it's not very expensive just $8.96 on Amazon. :) I am familarizing myself with Memoria Press but so far I really like what I see.

  2. I need this book!! It looks great.

  3. I just picked up Analytical Grammar to used with Abeka. I'm really looking forward to it since my kids are visual learners who want the facts and to get it done. They do still enjoy their Abeka, I just like giving my kids one subject but with multiple flavors since they tend to like the mixing of presentation. I'll stay tuned to see how this is working for you.

  4. Thanks! So far so good they are applying their new knowledge naturally to what we read. Our next stop (older knowledge stage) I think is Winston Grammar and that will really give me a good gauge on their information retention.

  5. Good information about English it is very useful for students

    English tests


Thank you so much for your encouraging words!

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