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Why Grammar? Christian Worldview Many of us that attended government school either never understood the importance of grammar or did not care. Some only performed the grammar exercises assigned since it was required and/or we did not want to get "in trouble." This is so sad because grammar is not just about the mechanics of language, but has a Christian worldview behind it. Grammar, as in all things in creation, points us to our Lord.
Special Note: We kept our flashcards in canvas-style pencil holders that we put in each child's binder.
Noun Definition: A noun is the name of a person, place, thing or idea.
The Noun Game
Let your little one know that a noun is a name of a person, place, thing or idea. Go to a local feed store and get a feed sack (which would be close to what a farmer would use in the middle ages to sow seed). Either make an arm loop yourself or have someone experienced in sewing make one for you. Send your child off to find 10 nouns in the backyard, the front yard, his room, the frontroom, the kitchen, the bathroom, or where you choose. As your child pulls the noun out of his feed sack, have the child identify the noun while you say, A noun is a name of a person, place, thing or idea. This only needs to take about 5-10 minutes. Do not drag it out. Take only one target area a day (e.g., front yard, bedroom, etc.). In that way, your child will have plenty of practice picking up and identifying nouns. Children have a tendency to be very concrete. This concrete exercise will help him understand nouns in such a way that he will become VERY comfortable with them. One child, for example, was sent into the frontroom to retrieve 5 nouns. She came back carrying her little sister. When asked how this could cover 5 nouns, the child responded exasperatedly with, "Oh ma ! why she is a girl, sister, daughter, child, friend!"
Noun Field Trip
In order for your scholar to really grasp the concept of common nouns, you may want to take several field trips to some of the places listed in the above box. Prior to going on the field trip, you may want to practice at home.
Take your scholar into the kitchen. While s/he is standing there, have your scholar list off what s/he sees, e.g., stove, oven, ice box, counter, mixer, clock, faucet, sink, drawers, cupboard, mugs, dishes, flatware, plates, cups, saucers, cereal, fruit, vegetables, spices, timer, salt, pepper, microwave, bread machine, (coffee) pot, towels, dishcloths, dishwasher, etc.
Bathroom = tub, shower, toilet, curtain, floor, ceiling, sink, cabinet, towel, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, perfume, deodorant, etc.
Bedroom = bed, closet, shoes, clothes, slacks, toys, blanket, pillow, window, floor, hanger, etc.
As you are sitting in the car preparing to go on your field trip, have your scholar start to identify nouns s/he sees, e.g., dashboard, handle, lock, key, windshield, (steering) wheel, radio, pedal, etc. Next, as you drive, have your scholar identify nouns s/he sees while going to your field trip, e.g., cars, road, trees, flowers, birds, (license) plates, billboards, buildings, stores, police, accident (hopefully not, but it is a noun), signs, etc.
If you go to the mall, for example, take your scholar to different sections in a department store to identify the various nouns s/he sees. The linen department, for example, may have towels, washcloths, tablecloths, (napkin) rings, napkins, placemats, quilts, sheets, pillowcases, doilies, towels, runners, etc. Department stores offer many sections e.g., housewares, women/men/children sections, shoes, automotive, etc. Do not forget the specialized stores within a mall as they offer many opportunities to identify nouns.
Field trips to church, post office, fire department, police department, department of motor vehicles, zoos, restaurants, libraries, museums, amusement parks, etc. offer an almost endless variety of nouns to be identified.
Proper Noun Definition: The name of a particular person, place, thing or idea. Proper nouns are always capitalized.
Special Note: In order to connect proper nouns with capitalization, over exaggerate the term proper. You may want to imitate a British accent while performing a courtesy or a bow.
Proper Noun Exercise
Verbally, give as as many proper names of the nouns as you can think of for those listed below. Do this as quickly as you can!
boys = Douglas, Edward, John, Peter, Andrew, Alexander, Joshua, Caleb
|girls||heroes||books||Books of the Bible||weekdays|
|holidays||apostles||nicknames||presidents||animal pet names|
|Bible characters||amusement parks|
Verb Definition: A word which expresses action or being.
To begin, we will only concentrate on words that express action.
The Verb Game
You will need: kitchen timer
Again, this game should only take 5-10 minutes daily. Explain to your child that many verbs may be acted out. Do not drag this game out. Take turns with your child acting out verbs. One will pantamime the verb while the other needs to guess it. (e.g., eating, sleeping, snoring tended to be a great hit around here as well as burping, barking, walking, running, etc.). Take turns miming various verbs.
Make a collage on either construction paper or on poster board illustrating various verbs (e.g., running, sleepling, jumping, walking, playing, etc.
Adjective Definition: A word that tells about a noun. Colors and numbers are adjectives.
Anytime that your child pulls out paint or crayons / color pencils to color, look at the child conspiratorially. Hunch over and in a LOUD whisper state, "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ... don't tell anybody that I told you, but did you know that colors are adjectives !?! Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ... if anybody finds out I told you, they will get mad ! Shhhhhhhhhhhh!!"
In the same fashion, anytime your child plays with numbers, whether it be a toy clock, skip counting, etc. look at the child conspiratorially. Hunch over and in a LOUD whisper state, "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ... don't tell anybody that I told you, but did you know that numbers are adjectives !?! Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ... if anybody finds out I told you, they will get mad ! Shhhhhhhhhhhh!!"
Do the above two adjective reminders a LOT as children learn from the repetitive, fun nature of things (if they did not, Nintendo, sports teams/companies, and entertainers would have been out of business a long time ago!) You may want to go the Grammar - Suffixes section to pick out 1-2 adjective word endings and flash your child 1-2 seconds per flashcard per day.
Adverb Definition: A word that tells more about a verb, an adjective or an adverb.
Tell your child that the word ending " - ly " says that a word is an adverb. I used the Richard Henry Lee song in the film 1776 to teach adverbs during kindergarten. The song is cute, fun, fast and is chock full of adverbs like socially, politically, financially, naturally, internally, externally, fraternally, modestly, immediately, shortly, triumphantly, etc. You may want to preview the song prior to introducting it to your young scholar.
I have tried to give many, many words to add the " - ly " adverbial suffix on to in the Adverb Fun PDF File worksheets to make it easier on the parent !
Types of Sentences
Sentence Definition: Thought expressed in words. All sentences will have a subject (noun), a predicate (verb), begin with a capital letter, and has an end mark.
Subject Definition: The subject (noun) of a sentence is what something is being talked about.
Declarative Sentence Definition: A sentence that says something. It always receives a period.
Interrogatory Sentence Definition: A sentence that asks a question. It receives an interrogation point or question mark (?)
Imperative Sentence Definition: A sentence that gives a command or an entreaty. It always receives a period.
The subject is understood to be (you) or (thou).
Exclamatory Sentence Definition: A sentence that uses an exclamation point (!)
Teaching Types of Sentences
Goal To identify the 4 types of sentences easily ... declarative, interrogative, imperative, exclamatory
First, explain there are four (4) different types of sentences that you will conquor one at a time. We took a sentence type a week. At the end of the second week (Friday), I typed up a series of sentences mixing up the Declarative and Interrogatory sentences. Then, I handed the child the paper. My daughter would silently read the sentences and did the appropriate acting out (as described below). By the end of the third week, I mixed up Declarative, Interrogatory, and Imperative sentences and typed them up handing them to my daughter. Again, my daughter would silently read the sentences and did the appropriate acting out (as described below). The 4th and final week, I mixed up Declarative, Interrogatory, Imperatiave and Exclamatory sentences. Again, my daughter would silently read the sentences and did the appropriate acting out (as described below). I taught this process in kindergarten and my children NEVER forgot it! In fact, my children taught all the neighborhood children the Types of Sentences Game!
Note: I have given you several declaratiave, interrogatory, imperative and exclamatory sentences sentences to get you started in the Sentence Fun PDF File worksheet.
In a southern belle voice accompanied with appropriate mannerisms (e.g., female = fluttering eye lashes, etc., male = swaggering, etc.). The student will say, "Why I do declare ..." and then give an example of a declarative sentence. Go through readers, books that are currently being read for fun, etc. to find declarative sentences. Every time someone comes across a declarative sentence, they have to say in a southern belle voice with the accompanying mannerisms, "Why I do declare ... ", say the sentence and (still in a southern belle voice/mannerisms) say it was a declarative sentence. If they missed any part of this process, it doesn't count & it now becomes a race to see who can do this process first. For example, "This is a declaratiave sentence, The day was bright and shiney. A declarative sentence." If the child fails to do the mannerisms or voice (even if the child has correctly identified the type of sentence), it does not count.
Please remember that many grew up with a lot of WWII movies where Nazi's were interrogating prisoners to find out information. Ja! With this in mind, again search or come up with our own sentences. (Realize, of course, that you can race each other to come up with sentences!). The Interrogatory sentences, in order to count, have to be done in a German accent, a click of the heels, a in a very stern voice saying "Zis ist an interrogatory sentence .... (I hope this does not offend anyone --- again, many grew up with WWII movies). For example, "Zis is an interrogatory sentence (heels clicking), Vhen vill ve eat lunch? Zis ist an interrogatory sentence." (Translation: When will we eat lunch?) Again, if your child(ren) missed any part of this process, it does not count and it now becomes a race to see who can do this process first.
For this type of delightful sentence, explain that kings and queens used imperative sentences (ok, so this might be stretching, but it works). Our family purchased cheap tiara-type crowns around Reformation Day (aka halloween). Whenever a child ran across an imperative sentence in their reading, they had to quickly: put on the crown, put the left hand on their waist, point with their right finger, look down their nose, stand on the kitchen chair and say the sentence in an imperious voice. For example, "This is an imperative sentence, Clean your room. This is an imperative sentence." If any one of these things were missing, it didn't count and the race was on.
Explain to your children what silent movies were like (i.e., over dramatic, over done sign language, etc.). You may even want them to watch the film Singing in the Rain with Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds so your scholar(s) may gain an understanding of the work involved in changing from silent movies to talkies. This film does a brilliant job at illustrating the difficulties as well as the changes in acting styles. The silent movies tended to utilize a lot of gestures and over emphasized body posturing. (Actually, I used Singing in the Rain to introduce two new vocabulary words -- histronics and melodramatic.) Have your children over emphasize gestures of joy, fear, excitement, anger, etc., but add in an appropriate voice --- whatever the sentence calls for. For example, "This is an exclamatory sentence, Alas ! and Alack ! I must clean the house! This is an exclamatory sentence. (Note: For sentences like this, my children would "faint" on the couch.)
Recommendations: Upon completing two (2) types of sentences and each time thereafter, test your children from the books they are reading to identify each type of sentence as it comes along. As your children learn all four sentences, it becomes a total riot listening to them read a paragraph as they will first read one sentence in the paragraph in their normal speaking voice and, then, re-read the sentence with its proper accent and gestures. This process becomes absolutely hilarious!
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