It’s been my plan for a while to delay formal grammar instruction until at least 4th grade. A friend I really respect in this aspect of homeschooling gave me advice that tended in this direction, and given that a big priority for me with Miss M has been to work on her spelling, I was eager to follow this advice.
With spelling going quite well, I decided that it might be time to add in a little bit of “fun” grammar as a preparation for more serious grammar studies next year. I had read some good reviews of The Sentence Family, so I decided to give it a try. It’s available as an inexpensive download at currclick.com, and this was the format I purchased it in.
The Sentence Family takes the parts of speech, as well as four main types of sentences, and turns them into characters that are all part of the same family. Each member of the family has a short story about him/her, and these comprise the chapters or lessons of the text. Each lesson also has suggestions or directions for drawing a picture of the character, and sample pictures are provided. The chapters are quite short and take only a few minutes to read, though there is also the additional time for drawing to consider. The drawing is really a pretty key part of his program, as the drawings help the student remember key details about how each part of speech or type of sentence operates.
Since no student workbook or notebooking pages are provided for drawing each character, I created my own simple notebooking pages to go along with The Sentence Family. I bound a little notebook together for each of the three older kids using my proclick filled with one page for each Sentence Family character.
After the four sentence types and several of the parts of speech are introduced, there is a brief lesson on diagramming sentences. We skipped this portion, as I didn’t want to take our study to that depth. Example sentences are provided in several places in The Sentence Family, and we did use these sentence to do some “color coding.” Each part of speech is assigned a favorite color, and Miss M coded the sentences using these colors.
I originally assumed that only Miss M (3rd grade, age 8.5) would participate in The Sentence Family. Much to my surprise, Mr. E (Age 6, Kindergarten) and even Mr. K (age 4, Pre-K) wanted to listen in and draw pictures for each character as well! While I am not sure the boys will remember the parts of speech very clearly, early exposure to grammar concepts certainly won’t hurt anything!
We read Sentence Family two or three times per week, and possibly even missed a few weeks here and there all together. It’s a fairly short book (only 14 chapters if you don’t count the section on diagramming), and we completed it in less than three months. All the kids were sad to see it come to an end!