Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Simple Spelling and Language Lessons

Being unusually organized this week... I thought I would take time to share my simple, yet effective spelling and language strategy that I have developed over the years. 

Using a classical framework as well as tools I have learned from Essentials, here is a simple flow you may wish to consider...

Weekly spelling list:

  1. theory/theories
  2. mystify/mystifying
  3. occupy/occupied
  4. try/tries
  5. story/stories
  6. boundary/boundaries
  7. easy/easily
  8. priority/priorities
  9. costly/costliest
  10. authority/authorities

Discuss rules and exceptions.  Copy or test orally or written.

Dictation  (I have a dictation book with associated spelling words, or I make up my own.  Today I made up my own list and dictation sentences, note that the sentences contain words from my weekly list.)

  1. The authorities occupied the land. {S-Vt-DO}
  2. Good boundaries are the costliest. {S-Vl-PA}
  3. Some theories are mystifying stories. {S-Vl-PN}
  4. She easily manages her priorities. {S-Vt-DO}

Review Grammar

  • State/write the seven sentence patterns.
  • State 4 purposes and 4 sentence structures.
  • Name the five kinds of nouns.
  • Name the four types of verbs.
  • Chant the preposition list.

Choose a sentence and parse.

Choosing sentence #1

  • Who occupied the land? Authorities - subject noun
  • What is being said about authorities? Occupied. Verb.
  • Occupied what? Land. Does land describe authorities? No.  Can land replace authorities? No. Then land is a Direct Object, label the verb transitive.
  • What kind of authorities? The - article adjective.
  • What kind of land? The - article adjective.

Now Modify...

Modification #1 - Add a preposition phrase

  • The authorities occupied the land near the river.
  • During the war, the authorities occupied the land.

Modification #2 - Change the purpose to interrogative.

  • Did the authorities occupy the land?
  • Who occupied the land?

Because I have studied the "grammar" of  language with my children, I can easily walk through lessons like these and even tailor lessons for my children.  My understanding and ability to logically follow the system above allows me to enjoy wonderful language lessons with my children.  And when I tailor my lessons by making them up from scratch, I am utilizing classical rhetorical skills. 

This lesson above took me about 20 minutes with my 9 and 11 year old.  I did add another step - we diagrammed the sentence too!  My 11 year old does more sentences, walking through all of these steps and my younger does one sentence well.  I even have my 11 year old "play the teacher" - and walk her younger brother through these steps.

NOW...  Do you want to know where I started 4 years ago? 

At GROUND  ZERO!  My children were 9, 7, and 5. 

I had avoided language studies as a student. (Engineering school lends itself nicely to that!)  While I have always been a strong reader, my ability to write and compose was greatly lacking, as was my basic understanding of language. Not wanting the same for my children, I have put myself in some pretty uncomfortable positions in order to learn language and writing so I can pass along better language tools to my children.

Homeschooling ... redeeming two generations of education - my children's and my own!

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