Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shurley English Teaches Itself

There are are some areas of the homeschooling curriculum about which I get excited. Literature, for example, really gets my blood flowing and my teeth chattering. I love to learn it, teach it, toss it up in the air and catch it, feed it cookies, babysit its toddlers, etc. History increasingly delights me too, although that surprises me -- I can remember saying "History is so over" to enrage my history major friends. I love working with the kids on music, art, writing. But one thing I do *not* enjoy, one thing I found galling and irritating as a child and feel pointless and tiresome now is GRAMMAR.

My nod to grammar with Benny has been to purchase some kind of floppy, grade-level workbook a few weeks before our yearly test. We mash through it with our noses pinched, and then he knows whatever capitalization or comma rules are appropriate for him to know, and we leave it for another year.

The one place where we have spent some time learning grammar, and the one context in which it seems interesting and relevant, is Latin. As you know, we use Latin for Children from Classical Academic Press, and in teaching the first level this year, I kept hearing about how Latin for Children is designed to fit perfectly with Shurley English, and how a lot of the methods employed are similar, based on the same research. Well, we LOVE Latin for Children -- maybe, just maybe, I could love a grammar program too. As I contemplated starting Sadie in first grade in the fall, I realized that Shurley English might be perfect for her -- so I bought the Level 1 stuff from their homeschooling-specific line, and had a look.

I have to tell you, this stuff teaches itself! One lesson I learned immediately is that unlike many programs, the teacher's manual in Shurley English is essential. It tells you exactly what to do, what to say, how to say it, what pieces of the workbooks and activity books to use, and more. There are chants, songs, and jingles, along with a very methodical approach to teaching elementary grammar. For someone who is uninterested in charting any new courses or blazing any new trails in teaching this particular material, Shurley English is perfect.

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