Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sneak Peek - Montessori Nuggets on Grammar Boxes

There is a series of Montessori Nuggets coming up on the grammar boxes.

The one I include here is not scheduled until June 9 - but I am fielding so many questions about this material, so thought I would share it here.

UPDATE: There is one coming up on June 9 but I have changed that upcoming Montessori Nugget to provide a more detailed *suggested* outline for presenting the grammar work (the entire "Parts of Speech" section of the elementary Montessori language album).

The original post:

The child in question is not my son - he is another little boy I once knew. My own son loves to do things sequentially, so wants to do all the grammar work grouped together as much as possible - so all noun/article; then all adjective. Now, he does plateau at times and we move on, returning at the appropriate time to review previous learning and build more on the nouns and verbs. (in the between times, he chooses the work for his own follow-up, so he is reviewing in between presentations; as well as participating in my large group presentations with the co-op children).

Homeschools will have to consider the best method of ongoing review for their particular situation. Classrooms have other children working on the material, so it is reviewed by mere observation and by jogging the child's memory - "ah yes, I remember working on that! that is the "past simple tense" work" - and this keeps review going by keeping it in the forefront of their minds.

Without further ado - the (original) June 9 Montessori Nugget:

There is no ONE proper sequence for presenting the Grammar work at elementary, except perhaps to do anything that kills interest ;)

The grammar boxes with all language work should be presented before the child's 9th birthday - this does NOT mean the children need to have mastered it all. It just means the child has other things that require grammar as a strong foundation.

But what about all those exercises? 

Well, "all those exercises" really refer to the noun and the verb. The remaining parts of speech (grammar boxes) do not have so many associated activities. And those exercises are mostly the *contents of the remaining filler boxes* - therefore can only come AFTER the grammar box has been presented.

While I have personally seen many Montessori schools presenting the grammar boxes in the 1st and 2nd years of elementary and I have not personally witnessed a new introduction of the grammar boxes in the 3rd year (unless the child is altogether new to Montessori elementary) and I have never seen the grammar boxes presented as the "capstone" of all grammar work, I do see these references online in various places - in charts and diagrams on how to present what/when.

That method might work too.

This Montessori Nugget is focused on two things: Follow the Child - and Have Fun.
Grammar is a fun game - keep it that way! :)

Let's take a look at one particular child:

He received all the grammar work at primary; he moves into elementary and has quick review with those parts of speech and even begins hearing the name of the part of speech. The noun activities by themselves do not have a grammar box (it would be grammar box 1 as the boxes are labeled by compartment number) - so this child moves right on to the article, where he may have an oral introduction to the noun, some noun activities, and then immediately do Grammar Box 2 on the article (which includes the oral introduction given in primary).

Now he MAY do some of the noun activities; but he needs time for them to percolate, so he goes on to the adjective (grammar box 3) before finishing all the noun activities.

He has an oral introduction (a review of what he learned in primary); does Grammar Box 3 with the first filler box; then proceeds through some of the associated activities; alternating between more noun work and more adjective work.

In the meantime, he is exploring the other parts of speech as well - like an introduction to the verb followed by that grammar box; then more review work; then another grammar box. And suddenly he does 3 grammar boxes in the same week and he's done with "new" presentations - now he just keeps working with the previous filler boxes (not all children need all filler boxes; but they tend to be fun enough for the children to WANT to do most of them - just don't require them to copy out the phrases).

This all happens rather quickly - within a few months at the most. And well-run Montessori classrooms have at least an introduction to every grammar box with some activities long before the end of the first school year the child is in elementary Montessori. With plenty of work left for review in the 2nd year. By the 3rd year, many children might have received everything; and those who haven't (because they have been focused elsewhere in their studies or are new) will receive the remainder. There is time for percolation, and those who are ready can move into logical analysis in usually their 3rd year, sometimes starting in 2nd year and some children not until 4th year of elementary.

And again - those later grammar boxes don't have as many associated activities; and some of those few activities are best done AFTER the grammar box presentation. So things DO move rather quickly as you reach the final grammar boxes (and again, there may be more activities in nouns and verbs even after a child has done ALL the grammar boxes).

A good deal of the verb work is intended for approximately 8-10 year olds - after they've worked with ALL the grammar boxes and are simultaneously working with the sentence/logical analysis material - it means more to them now as they are evaluating those different parts of speech, trying to classify them.

The grammar boxes and associated activities lay the foundation for further work in language analysis.

Language analysis extends the work of grammar into practical use.

I hope this is not overwhelming. The point is this:


Follow the child's interests and abilities. The child is using interjections and conjunctions every day, why wait until age 7 or 8 to introduce them? Why turn a fun interesting game (the grammar boxes) into a tedium of a series of exercises that may or may not be beneficial at this time (and can be harmful if it kills the child love of language study)?

Have fun with it! 

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