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By Jennifer Thieme
Are you a "relaxed homeschooler"? Have you ever wondered if spending one, two, or even more years on grammar is a meaningful use of your precious time? Have you heard that extensive grammar studies are not important, as long as the student reads well and reads a lot? Here are four reasons you should not skimp on the study of this important subject:
Helps with foreign language. English grammar provides an effective basis for the study of upper level foreign language. If one first understands grammar in English, it's much easier to understand it in the foreign language, because it provides a strong basis for comparison. Since high schools now require foreign language for graduation, and colleges look for it on high school transcripts, why not ensure that your child will be thoroughly prepared for it?
Helps with English composition. It is helpful to know English grammar when studying higher levels of composition. The language of grammar enables us to talk to our kids accurately about what they have written: "You ended your sentence with a preposition," or "You used an adjective instead of an adverb," or "In a prepositional phrase, the pronoun must use the objective case." All of these ideas can be conveyed without the language of grammar, but it is more accurate to teach this way.
Teaches thinking skills. Since grammar has clearly defined rules, studying grammar encourages logical thinking. Kids must follow a logical progression in order to label and understand parts of speech.
Increases vocabulary. Learning new words is great; learning them in context is better. The study of grammar is not only the study of the parts of speech and how they fit together; it is also the study of a new set of vocabulary words in context.
If you are struggling with reasons to teach grammar, perhaps these four will give you the boost you need to teach this subject confidently, knowing your time is well spent.
Jennifer Thieme began homeschooling her three children in 1996. She is the administrator of a small, private ISP she established for her own family and several of her friends. She has been published in Practical Homeschooling and the Intuit ProConnection Newsletter. She operates a bookkeeping and tax service from her home. You may visit her business website at http://www.jenniferthieme.com
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