Grammar: When, Why, and How?
June 6, 2018
Mercy Every Minute  
Ruth Beechick said, “After children write well, sometime in their teen years, they can learn some grammar so they will be educated about it. They will not have been burned out on it, and they may actually enjoy it at that time.” 

Sounds like a nice, relaxed approach. 

We like to take it easy, too; so from the time our kids can write until the time they graduate, we use simple grammar/language arts workbooks in their curriculum. If they need extra help, we find it among the hundreds of resources available. If their goals include being an English major or something similar, then they will need to learn more extensive grammar in the high school years. A couple of the kids took outside writing classes in the high school years, and that helped them pay more attention to their grammar.

In the real world, they basically needed to know how to
  • Express their ideas clearly.
  • Write those ideas with proper grammar and structure.

It isn’t as difficult as we like to make it, especially when we do a little bit each year and build on it as we go. 

Don’t be anxious about tomorrow or about grammar. 

Here is the Biblical cure to anxiety: PRAYER (Philippians 4:6-7). Don’t skip over that. Don’t put that thought aside. Put everything else aside; lay your anxiety and stress at the foot of the cross, and pray RIGHT NOW for your children that they would walk in Truth. That is all that matters for eternity.


Join me in the new Schoolhouse Devotions series. I’d love to hear what topics you’d like me to cover in the future. And, don’t forget, the TOS App is free! 

Here is more grammar help from TOS:
Who Needs Grammar, Ruth Beechick
Contemplating Grammar, Andrew Pudewa 
Making Grammar Fun, Ruth O’Neill
Sarah Wall
Grammar is one of those things many homeschool parents dread teaching. Like math, it’s seen as boring, full of repetitive drills, and sometimes hard to apply to real life. 

Why do we need to study grammar?
Grammar is necessary for proper speech and writing. People judge us ( especially online) by the quality of our writing. They will assume our education and even our intelligence by the way we speak and write. Resumes, applications, and scholarships can depend on good grammar before any other criteria. Knowing how to put a sentence together will go a long way towards gaining respect and recognition. 

Grammar also helps with learning other things. Learning a foreign language, for example, often assumes that the student has a basic grasp on grammar concepts, such as subjects, pronouns, and verbs. Music will talk about phrases and fragments, both of which are grammar terms. And of course, any subject that requires writing responses, like science and history, need students to understand grammar first. 

When should we introduce grammar?
Formal grammar studies can be introduced as soon as the student has a basic grasp on reading skills. They should be reading fluently, without hesitation, and with minimal stumbling or sounding out. You don’t want your student to have to figure out how to read the word and then determine what part of speech it is. 

Most students are ready for grammar by the end of 1 st grade. But even in kindergarten, you can introduce informal grammar concepts. Children can learn what a sentence is and isn’t while they are still learning letters. They can learn to recognize different kinds of sentences at the same time they are learning sight words. Grammar doesn’t have to be involved or complicated. 

How can you study grammar? 
Grammar can actually be a lot of fun. One of my favorite methods to introduce grammar concepts is with an old public domain book called Grammarland. This is a cute story that introduces the parts of speech as characters in a story. Each character is called to a court room and asked to prove themselves useful. As the characters are grilled by the judge, the students are invited to be the jury, and are given fun little exercises to help determine the verdict. 

After this book, we move on to more formal studies. There are lots of different grammar curriculum you can use to suit your style and method of homeschooling. But for extra practice, try using Mad Libs—It’s grammar practice for the whole family, and it can be hilarious!

Sarah is a single parent of 6, from infancy to teenager, including two special needs children. She and her princesses live in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where they enjoy homeschooling, playing, and growing together as a family. She runs ,  a virtual business support agency from home and helps other women start businesses. Sarah blogs at   and you can find her on Facebook or Twitter  @RaisingRoyals , or on Instagram or Pinterest  @xerarose. 
Looking for a grammar program that produces smiles, not tears? Easy Grammar Systems’ award-winning grammar program does just that! “I have a child who hated grammar…it brought her to tears. I switched to Easy Grammar! WOW! She’s like a new student. This is the best grammar curriculum ever…!” L.R./U.S.

Hey Mom,

If you’re still in the THROES of school while reading this, it’s time to THROW it aside and get onto the business of taking summer vacation! Or in the vernacular of the old school poem, it’s time to "let the monkeys out.”

I’m not kidding. You need a break, and that time is now. So as soon as you finish this brilliantly-written article, step away from your computer, and think summer fun. With a piece of paper, write out all the ADJECTIVES that describe summer. In fact, you should even include the kids on this one.

Next: using only VERBS, list words that you associate with the next few months of summer. Again. you’ll need the kids help. Make sure you write them down.

Got that? Now list a bunch of NOUNS (you know-- people, places, or things) that you and your family would like to go to or see during the next three months.

Finally, have everyone sign and date the list, and stick it up on the refrigerator or a bulletin board. You’re done with the easy part . . . because you’ve just done grammar for the summer!

I said that’s the easy part . . . but that's NOT the IMPORTANT part. The important part of the grammar lesson is to DO IT. Anyone can sit in the quiet of their home and rattle off all the parts of speech, but we’re homeschoolers . . . and we LIVE it.

OK, it’s time to stop. Do the above assignment, and let summertime begin!

Be Real,

PS - I’ll be at the HEAV Homeschool Convention in Richmond, VA this weekend. First person to come up to me and say, “I’m enjoying summer!” gets a FREE copy of  Family Is Hard: Deal with It.
Make your children better problem-solvers with The Critical Thinking Co.™! Free Shipping + 20% Off orders over $50! Expires 6/30/18. Use coupon code TOSM5618
Grammar is one of those things. Opinions are all over the place. There are those who think it should be taught early and often, complete with diagramming sentences. There are others who think it’s a waste of time to teach at all. We fall somewhere in the middle.

Neither of our mothers tolerated any bad grammar at all. They told us that people would judge you by your grammar. They were right. Fairly or not, people will judge your level of education by how good your grammar is. That makes it pretty important.

The best way to teach grammar to your kids is naturally in life. If you make yourself use good grammar and expect your children to, as well, it will become automatic to them. It will just sound right when they hear it and grammatical errors will sound wrong.

Knowing good grammar instinctively makes both writing and standardized testing easy. It helps our children so much that it’s worth taking the trouble to speak correctly around our children.

In the early years, teaching grammar is just a matter of drawing our kid’s attention to it as they are speaking and writing. A curriculum makes that easier, particularly if you struggle with grammar yourself, but perhaps the easiest way of all is to listen to audiobooks, particularly ones based on older books, together. 

When kids listen to audiobooks, they learn how the written word sounds. They can understand complex vocabulary and sentence structure better when they listen to it than when they read it. That’s a simple and fun way to give our kids a boost academically. We love listening to audiobooks in the van. We spend an awful lot of time there!

As our kids reach the middle school years, we need to help them solidify the basics of grammar so that they can use them. For some of them, this will just be polishing what they’ve already figured out. For others, like those who’ve struggled with learning glitches or are late-bloomers, this may be the first time they’ve been able to make headway with grammar. That’s okay, there are some great programs that will catch them right up. One of our sons, who is severely dyslexic, pretty much learned grammar start to finish in the 8 th grade. He’s doing great in college now!

Y’all, we’re from the South and we live in an area where the word dingbat can have three syllables! We don’t want our children to lose their sweet accents, but we also don’t want to limit how the Lord might use them. That means we teach grammar. 

This may make it a bit easier and definitely more fun: Use the coupon code thmaudiofive to get $5 off the audiobooks we publish or the complete set of Hero Tales.

Your friends,
Hal & Melanie
“My year at Arrowhead truly changed my life! God was faithful to bring me out of a hopeless place and used my time here far beyond what I could’ve imagined. Arrowhead provided the opportunity for me to truly take my faith in Christ seriously and make it my own.” -Tim
Staying Relational   
Dear Friends,

You know, when it comes to grammar, I feel a little funny to be offering advice. I somehow missed this subject, or at least most of it, as I moved from school to school during my father’s military days. So when it came time to teach grammar to my own children, I had only one idea: ask my grammar-loving husband to do it!!

And, he did. With great gusto, he launched into all kinds of ways to have our kids “play” with grammar. They did hands-on activities, sampled different grammar curriculums, and, for the most part, enjoyed the relational time with their dad on one of his favorite subjects.

My only real contribution, one which I don’t expect to catch on, was in how to tackle the book Easy Grammar. Somehow, I had been tasked with the text. I opened to the first page and saw a long list of prepositions—which my children were supposed to memorize.

Knowing that my middle child, Michael, would gag at the list, I decided to try something completely outlandish. 

“Let’s act out these words, you guys!” I enthusiastically cheered. Shouting out such interesting-to-demonstrate words as beneath, under, around, and through, my kids and I performed physical maneuvers that would have made even Houdini envious.

It was my one taste of success in teaching grammar. After that, I resigned my temporary position and gave my husband back his job.

Hope your experience is every bit as memorable—and fun!
Stay relational,


PS Do you wish you had an older, experienced homeschool mom mentoring you? Then you are invited to subscribe to Mastering the Art of Homeschooling, my weekly mentoring e-mail for homeschool moms. Here’s one of the latest issues.

Winner Submissions!

Blaze Picard, age 7, from Ontario

Mackenzie Graves age 7 from Ontario

Mackenzie is a 7 year old girl from Southwestern Ontario. She has a love for animals - especially dogs. Mackenzie has been homeschooled since junior kindergarten and excels in a variety of subjects. Some of her favourite subjects are geography and art. She recently started gymnastics at a local gym and is loving every moment.

Victoria Day 
By Mackenzie Graves 

We celebrate Victoria Day to honor Queen Victoria’s birthday. The way my family celebrates Victoria Day is we rest and spend time as a family. In 2018, it is on May 21. It is only celebrated in Canada and Scotland. Victoria Day was made
 a Holiday in Canada in 1845 and a national holiday in 1901.

Queen Victoria was born on May 24, 1819. She was born at Kensington palace, London, England. She had 9 children. It is to be celebrated on the last Monday before May 25. 
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Could you use a fun, no-stress way to teach grammar? Daily Grammar on offers daily worksheets so you and your students can take grammar one step at a time. From learning the parts of speech and basic punctuation to diagramming sentences, Daily Grammar offers material on many levels from 2 nd-9 th grade. 

All our nearly 400 courses on, along with all our parenting, scheduling, and educating resources, are available to your family with your membership. If you haven’t yet joined, come give us a try during our June special and lock in a low monthly or yearly rate! If you or someone you know would be interested in teaching or writing for us, let us know. You can email me at We look forward to serving you and your family! 

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Contest Corner  
For the month of June

Drawn to Discover is a unique online video drawing program that helps students develop fine motor skills and cognitive skills. This research-based curriculum also promotes language development. Drawn to Discover gives students confidence in their ability to succeed in art, handwriting, math, and so much more. The program provides a way for parents to interact with their children as they work their way through the program. There are multiple courses within the Drawn to Discover program that are available to users. The core of the program features the course, Drawn to Connections, which has Ten Blocks within the course. Each Block has on average ten lessons. The two other courses, Drawing Cursive and Drawn to Peace, are more supplemental courses.

Drawn to Discover has worked great for us, as homeschoolers.
This program is geared for the homeschool setting. For children in the school setting, this would also be a great enrichment program. The intended age for using Drawn to Discover is 4-11 years old. After speaking with the people at Drawn to Discover, I learned that children with autism have had great success with the program.

My 11-year-old daughter has fallen in love with Drawn to Discover! She is working through the Drawn to Connections course. She loves to draw but isn’t all that confident in her ability. She has used many different art curriculums and programs, and this one CLICKED! She cannot get enough of it. She will sit for hours doing lesson after lesson. She has shocked herself by what she has been able to accomplish artistically. Even though some of the concepts along the way are meant for younger students, it is easy to work around. While we are talking about elementary skills, such as the handwriting, let me let you in on a bit of a secret. My daughter is a bit sloppy when it comes to her handwriting. I was a bit giddy when I saw her meticulously copying a handwritten sentence out below her artwork. After hours of working through Drawn to Connections, I began to see an improvement in her handwriting! I have been shocked at the amazing artwork she has completed. She has learned about interesting facts relating to science, too. (. . .)

My 11-year-old daughter said,

Unlike other drawing programs, Drawn to Discover, helps you to draw step-by-step so that you know what your drawing is supposed to look like along the way. If what you are drawing doesn’t look right, you can pause the video, work on the drawing, and then restart the video when you are ready to begin again. My favorite drawing so far was the bee. When I drew the bee, I was amazed at how real it looked! Some of my other favorites have been the flower, goldfish, and dog. Another thing that I like about Drawn to Discover is that each lesson lists all of the things that you will need. I loved that I got to have my very own HUGE box of crayons of my very own. One lesson called for the following crayons: Orange, Dandelion Yellow, Asparagus, and Wisteria. Aren’t those just fun colors!” ( Read the rest of the review.)

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TO ENTER: Click on over to our entry page and follow the instructions! Contest ends at midnight, the last day of the month.
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