When I first began homeschooling, I kept hearing the term ‘language arts’. I didn’t know what language arts was, but I could tell it was very important! As I began reading and learning, I realized that language arts covered reading, writing, and grammar. Two of those were easy to figure out for the early grades:
- Writing – I knew that serious writing (like essays) was usually covered later (middle school or high school).
- Reading – I already knew that I would be teaching my kids to read.
That left grammar. The grammar that I remember from my childhood included doing some pretty serious sentence diagramming at a young age. I went to a private school in my elementary years, and I had the Abeka curriculum which is heavy on grammar. Since I was familiar with the Abeka grammar curriculum, I checked it out as a possibility for our homeschool. But it looked very overwhelming, so I decided against using it.
Still, I wondered whether my kids would be missing out since I wasn’t ready to teach sentence diagramming in the early years of homeschooling.
Waiting for grammar
But then I found Ruth Beechick. I absolutely love her philosophy on education. Ruth Beechick was an experienced public school teacher who considered home the best place to learn. She has written so much to help homeschool teachers give their children an excellent education.
Ruth Beechick taught me that grammar can wait until the later years of school. Children can learn proper sentence structure (grammar) and the rules of language (grammar) through reading great literature. It was more important in the early years to teach children to fall in love with reading. The “rules of language” could be taught at a much later age.
Many children are taught grammar all during their years of school, but Ruth Beechick convinced me that if I waited, I could teach grammar in a very short time.
Fast forward to 2015. I have one daughter now in high school, and I have taught her very little formal grammar. She did learn some grammar independently through Language Lessons for the Elementary Child (Volume 2). Without any prompting from me, she reads and reads high quality literature every day. She loves to express herself in words and writes on her own daily.
Recently, I decided it was finally time to teach her some formal grammar. We were given Winston Grammar Basic Complete Set. I started using this set and she absolutely loves it. All of it makes perfect sense to her because she has such a firm grasp on the English language through her extensive reading and writing. Beautiful literature has taught her that the English language is beautiful and to be treasured. So, grammar seems fun to her.
Ruth Beechick was right. I have been able to teach my daughter grammar in a very short amount of time. I didn’t have to teach it all through her school years, and she loves language.