The best way to learn grammer is to hear proper grammar being spoken, to write (and revise and write again) nwith good grammar, and to read good works of literature. If you have a reluctant writer, I think you can let the study of grammar ride for a little bit in the homeschooling environment and just perhaps try to write without pressure. However, for some children, the study of grammar can be helpful in reaching new heights in writing. For other children, many write well without much in the way of formal grammar. We do, however, want enthusiasm for writing for the future because there is quite a bit of it in middle school and certainly high school.
This is my third time through fourth grade, and this particular student has been a very reluctant writer, so this block is a good exposure towards writing more and the mechanics of writing. My tack in this block was to do a preassessment – Dorothy Harrer has a little list of third grade free writing assignments in her little book An English Manual for the Elementary School available for free at Online Waldorf Library. In this way, I could look at his overall writing – his flow of thoughts, how he writes, the quality of the sentence structure, capitalization, spelling, grammar – just within free writing.
We went through the second and third grade lessons from the above book rather quickly, focusing on the different parts of speech first with different colors in sentences on the board, and naming them BOTH with the “little person” version (naming words) and the “bigger people version” (nouns). I pulled poems out of books by Caribbean poets and reinforced with examples from those poems. Then we moved into the fourth grade lessons and are moving through types of sentences, parts of speech, adverbs, prepostions, tenses, adjectives, linking and helping verbs. For some children, understanding grammar helps them understand how to write. Our fourth grader is very much like that.
I anticipate this block to take about six weeks or so. For the first three weeks, I will take things relatively slow and have free writing, correcting writing I put on the board, looking for parts of speech in poems and such plus some of the specific things I listed above and free write something once or twice a week. For the last three weeks, we will delve into writing three smaller pieces a week, using our work to tie stories, paintings, and writings with the stories from the book , Myths of the Sacred Tree, which I think is a wonderful bridge between fourth and fifth grade. Excited as we head towards fifth grade!
Would love to hear what you are up to!