When to Teach Grammar- Some food for thought

Hello All! (and @Luvmyboys & @sgrrrbear)
I’ve commented on a previous post about Shurley grammar and thought this article would be helpful to those who are contemplating when to teach grammar. Here’s the link to an article by Andrew Pudewa from IEW for your consideration.

Our family switched over to the Classical style of education two years ago (after using My Father’s World for 5 years). So we jumped in to learning Latin and that’s where my fourth grader learned about parts of speech. Additionally, our IEW curriculum integrated the recognition and use of nouns, adjectives and punctuation usage.

Before we studied Latin I tried formal grammar(using Shurley Grammar) with grades 6,5,& 4. It was a hit for two of them and a bust for the other. In hindsight (which is always 20/20 right?) the study of Latin & IEW earlier would have immensely helped my struggling-with-grammar-child.

So ladies (and gentlemen, if the dads are reading this too :grinning:) my encouragement if you choose not to study Latin would be to consider focusing on writing (using IEW)and basic sentence structure (capitalization, nouns/proper nouns,punctuation, etc). Then in 5th/6th grade start a more formal grammar study.

**For those who might be interested in my “credentials” - I’ve been homeschooling for 9 years, have seven children (3 in high school, 3 in elementary & a toddler). We will graduate our oldest this June.

I look forward to your feedback & questions.


@MotherofMany I’m always grateful to hear from other hs moms! Part of my problem is I’m always comparing our hs to public school:( But, I know public 1-2 grades are not using a rigorous grammar or writing program. So then I feel like I don’t have to push my son(7 yrs old) to master grammar now:) I’m discovering I need to readjust my expectations! I am drawn to classical education, but am eclectic for sure:) I looked into IEW and it looks very systematic and well thought out by the publisher! My son is just beginning (today actually) AAR 2, his fluency is poor, so where would you recommend we start in IEW? I don’t want to add Latin in at this time, but Im very interested in researching IEW for the writing-grammar aspect. I have heard excellent things about it, by credentialed teachers and parents alike:)

@MotherofMany We will begin Prima Latina in the fall. We tried it last year, but we had so many other things going on that it just fell off my radar. But Brooke still remembers the words she learned, so that makes me happy.

I read a book about Classical Education for special needs children and was impressed with what she said. (The book is by Cheryl Swope and is called “Simply Classical”) I’m not sure how I’d go back and re-start a more formal classical education. Did you do that with all of your children? What do you see as the pros/cons for children with learning disabilities?

I love that book! I have reread my copy, with highlighter in hand, numerous times:)

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@KathiJohnson When we made the switch to Classical Ed. my children were in the following grades:11, 9, 8, 4, 1 & two preschoolers :-0 For us, it meant doing the following: 1) switching curriculum from My Father’s World (which is fantastic-I highly recommend it!) to Tapestry of Grace (just for my 11th and 9th grader, my 8th grader was finishing up the final year of the MFW cycle- and he is now using Tapestry this year)

  1. Incorporating Latin using Latina Christiana for my older ones and Prima Latina slowly for my 4th grader

  2. I did some research/learning about the basics of Classical Ed (the parts of the trivium & how they line up with the natural way children develop).

Because I don’t have any experience educating children with learning disabilities, I don’t have any feedback to offer :disappointed:

But I can offer some encouragement :smile:: Don’t feel the need to re-start, you can pick up where you are and incorporate the pieces of the methodology that will suit your child. If your child is between grades 1-4, that is a great age for memorization. (which comes in handy in Latin)

Now I will shamelessly confess that my high school children have learned Latin via DVDs, which meant fairly to little help from me. And I’ve had to take it really slow with my 5th grader and we may not even continue next year. On the flip side, my 2nd grade (girl) asked to learn Latin and is devouring (and loving) it!


Well, this thread has my interest piqued. I was just searching the web last night: classical education for children with learning disabilities. I hope there is some more input from others. @KathiJohnson I will be ordering Cheryl’s book ASAP! I thought this would be too much for my daughter but the more I learn the more I am thinking this may be what we need.

@MotherofMany thanks for your thoughts and input. Again I thought IEW and the classical education style would be way passed my daughter. I will be brushing up this summer.

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@bezona When you get it (and are reading it), maybe we can start a new thread on that. I’m curious to know what you think about it.

I’d love to! It will be here next week. Be warned, I’m slow :grimacing:

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@bezona It was my pleasure :smile:

@bezona and @KathiJohnson

I came across an article in the Memoria Press magazine and thought of you both. Now, I’m not sure of the ages of your children but Memoria has Classical curriculum for special needs learners. If you’re interested in learning more the magazine is a free resource. You can sign up on their website.

Thanks @MotherofMany. It seems as though the special needs curriculum is meant for severely special needs. I appreciate you thinking of me (us).

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Hello!! Looking around for grammar/writing & language curriculums and I’m seeing “italic” and “Latin” a lot…what good does it do for kids to learn these two things? Curious :slight_smile: Now I’m wondering if I should be teaching italic writing or the everyday writing style taught in school?? Español or Latin?? Thank you!!!

@MotherofMany thanks for the information. I have enjoyed looking around MP’s site and really enjoyed the magazine. I am currently reading Cheryl Swope’s book “Simply Classical”. I am learning so much, but feel so overwhelmed at the same time. I have lists and lists of curricula that might be “the one” and now thanks to Cheryl’s book I have a new list of other books I need to read.


My simple answer to your question is that I would not dare tell anyone what they “should” be teaching. So I hope my initial post did not come across that way.

I’ve never heard of “italic” handwriting style, but would encourage the teaching of cursive starting in about the 3rd grade. I have a curriculum recommendation for that if you’re interested.

As far as Español or Latin, are you bilingual? If so, what an amazing gift to be able to pass on to your children! As a family we are trying to learn Spanish using Rosetta Stone. But our struggle is being able to use what we’ve learned. So, I’m looking into a tutor for next year to help our fluency.

Before we started teaching Latin, I did a Google search and found some helpful articles discussing the pros and cons of studying Latin. That might be a good place to start and I’ll post the links to the articles I still have within the next few days.

I hope that helps! Looking forward to chatting with you some more!

@bezona I know this discussion was back in March, but have you read the book by Cheryl Swope yet? If so, what do you think?

Hi @KathiJohnson I have and I loved it. I bought several books from Feb-Apr and that one is by far my favorite. I actually haven’t completed any of the others. I want to read it again, it was so inspiring. What she did with her children was amazing.
I work 36hrs per week out of the home and wonder how I can ever do that much with my kids, but I am slowly trying to improve how we do things here. I know we won’t ever be on the same level as her and her family, but I now realize that there is no excuse for my daughters lack of education.

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The takeway, for me, was that no matter what my daughter’s challenges are, she has the ability to learn and progress. I just have to get more creative in how I teach her. I really love that book because of the hope and possibilities it shows me.

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