Jr. Analytical Grammar

"Like everything metaphysical, the harmony between thought and reality is to be found in the grammar of the language."
Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein

When I had been homeschooling a couple years, I read Susan Wise Bauer's book, The Well Trained Mind. It was surprisingly simple to understand and gave me a few great ideas for organizing our school. I carefully took note of which curriculum she recommended, and because Rod and Staff Grammar was both on her list and available for free or cheap through used book sales and the publisher, I went with that for our grammar studies. I used R&S Grammar with my four oldest children, and along with all the books they read, it seemed to work well at teaching them the parts of speech.

My twelve year old son, however, was not as keen on continuing with R&S. He had a hard time with the vast cultural divide between himself and the culture of the publishing company, and grew weary of some of the colloquial sayings that are included in their lessons. Although I was a little annoyed with his annoyance, (I owned the curriculum, and was not keen on buying a new one), I was willing to try something different. 

We inserted a year of Easy Grammar, which might be very easy for someone who had more of an education than me, but I felt that the instructions were often a little light, which left some confusion. I did however, love their clear explanation of prepositions, so I am not ruling it out altogether for future years. It could simply have been an operator error.

Meanwhile, I read a few reviews of Analytical Grammar, and grew excited about giving it a try. I find that with my 12 year old, he does much better with more teacher involvement. He is a people person and wants the interaction. Because of this, and the fact that I am full time schooling his two younger siblings as well, I decided to try using Jr. Analytical Grammar with him and his 8 year old sister. 

It has been a wonderful asset to our homeschool this year. The lessons are very simple, but offer exactly the amount of review that these two need. The curriculum is simple enough for the 8 year old, but also gives my older son a good review of the parts of speech and their usage that he had previously learned in his use of R&S and Easy Grammar. I am enjoying teaching both of them the same material and having one set of material to grade. Although Jr Analytical Grammar was designed  for 4th and 5th grade students who are not quite ready for the more in depth coverage of grammar included in the regular Analytical Grammar program, it is working well as a grammar review for my son.

I also appreciate that Analytical Grammar is so clear and concise. The lessons are easy to understand, and build in a very logical way.  First nouns, then proper nouns, then articles and adjectives, and so on. As well, it is laid out differently than Easy Grammar and Rod and Staff, this is wonderful for us, because at the beginning of the year when we have lots of energy, we are now learning a different set of information. Instead of spending the first part of the year on prepositions, ala Easy Grammar, we now have the chance to get really good at identifying nouns, pronouns, articles and adjectives.

Although I truly believe that the most important way to teach your child good grammar is to read to them, and require them to read, great books, their ability to identify parts of speech will be a huge asset in their ability to communicate well. As an aspiring writer, I too am grateful for all the grammar review that I am getting. I need it and am thankful that we can enjoy studying grammar together.

Here is a video from the author, R. Robin Finley, with more information about Jr. Analytical Grammar.

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Homeschool Co-op How To

I have had some form of a homeschool co-op for many of the 17 years that I have been homeschooling. I love being around people, and I love the accountability and enrichment that homeschooling with a co-op has provided. 

Although space limitations have kept our co-ops very small, I dream of one day being able to meet in a facility where I could join with more families in my community to learn together.

In past years, we have only met once a month, but this year with no baby nap schedules to worry about and with fewer students to manage, I have two co-ops that meet every other week. This means that I have a co-op meeting each week. My children and I never have to go too long between an inundation of time with friends. Hooray for that!

One co-op is especially geared towards teaching writing and science and I am having a great time teaching the Apologia Flying Creatures class to my students. We scavenge for feathers, build bird feeders, and mostly draw, paint and read books. It is loads of fun. Meanwhile, friends who are better at teaching the upper grades are doing biology and general science with my older kids. It is a wonderful situation where we all get to see our children learn and have fun.

I recently joined Periscope, a very interesting app for live broadcasting, and my son and I have been making videos, with my broadcasts or with iMovie. The video here is a broadcast that I did on Periscope which explains exactly how to start your own co-op.

Some of the specific steps that I talk about in the video are;

Find a group to co-op with

Pick your subjects or classes

Meet together to create a schedule

Designate who teaches what and where you will meet

Then, just do it!

It isn't too late to start a homeschool co-op this year. It could be as simple as a play date with a particular theme, or as complex as hosting multiple classes. Book clubs, sewing bees and adventure clubs are all wonderful ways to get families together for fun and learning.

If you don't have a group of homeschoolers to gather with, check out the Wild and Free groups page here, or look up your state's homeschool association. Somewhere there is a group of families waiting for you to join them and learn together!

If you have questions about how to start a co-op, feel free to post them here, or e-mail me at jennpepito@yahoo.com

This blog post also has some great detailed advice on starting a co-op.

If you want a comprehensive book that explains how to start a co-op, check out this one.

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