Friday, July 12, 2013

The Sweetest Diagrams

I had typed all this out on the page of our intended 2013-2014 curriculum, but it became way to long for that list. It deserved its own post. So here it is:

At the homeschool convention this spring, I attended this great workshop by Elizabeth O'Brian. She started the workshop by showing a slide displaying the following sentence...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

And she asked each person attending the workshop to take a minute or two to paraphrase that sentence to explain what the sentence was about, what it was saying. Easy, right?

Apparently, wrong! She told a story of a college professor who gave his class of students the same assignment, and then she put up a few slides of the answers these students gave. I was dumbfounded. I wish I could remember them, but they were so far off base, so completely whacked, that now I couldn't even begin to accurately share them.

Anyway, I went to the workshop to check out a grammar program for Toa of Boy. I thought my little architect-to-be would like looking at the blueprints of sentences and seeing how sentences were constructed.

I walked out having had such a great time diagramming sentences (yes, I am that much of a nerd), that I thought Sweetling would really dig this too.

So, once a week, Sweetling is going to pick a sentence, any sentence she wants from any source, and the two of us are going to diagram it.

I also signed up for Elizabeth's free newsletter. Every two weeks she sends out a grammar 'challenge'. A couple of weeks ago the question was...Do you know when to use every day versus everyday? I sat and thought about it, and realized I wasn't sure. I read her article about it, and then I went to ask Sweetling (and impress her with my awesome grammar knowledge.) I asked Sweetling if she knew what the difference was between everyday as one word and every day as two words. Then I waited for her to ponder and be perplexed, so that I could jump in with my awesome new grammar knowledge. Instead Sweetling very matter-of-factly stated, "I think 'everyday' as one word is an adjective, but 'every day' as two words is an adverb phrase or something."

Or something indeed.

Sweetling isn't lacking in the grammar department.

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