In Which I Consider the Merits of Grammar… and Decide to Skip it

… for the rest of this year, anyway.

After my middle kids finished First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind Level 4, my plan was to continue grammar studies using Saxon Hake Grammar Level 6.

But let me start before that.

I began to panic a little when I realized that my 4th and 6th graders were at the end of our beloved grammar curriculum, First Language Lessons. It was then that I posted at the Well Trained Mind forums asking for advice, and Saxon Hake was recommended.

I ordered it and it’s been sitting on my shelves for months, waiting to be used after we finished FLL.

Only… I really don’t like it.

Saxon of course is a very solid curriculum choice, and I’m not knocking it. But I find that my kids don’t like that much repetition, it’s discouraging to them. And when I picked up Grammar & Writing 6 and began seriously looking through it I realized there was no way I was going to subject my kids (and let’s be honest, myself) to another year or so of basically the same lessons that they’ve been learning for two years. (Also, it includes a lot of writing and they’re already doing an excellent writing curriculum, Writing With Ease, also published by Peace Hill Press.)

At this point, grammar doesn’t really get harder. These two can already diagram sentences in their sleep, have the grammar rules memorized, and know when a sentence is not properly written.

I’m giving them the rest of the year off of formal grammar studies. This will leave us more time to read aloud, which may be enough to teach grammar anyway. After doing some research, I discovered that many homeschoolers do no grammar study as a separate subject.  They just read a whole lot of good books.

I see value in learning to diagram sentences. Some believe that for children who enjoy diagramming sentences benefit from the practice, but for those who hate it, there’s no value.

My oldest son never diagrammed sentences, and in fact I did no formal grammar study with him at all, but because he spent the last several years reading great books for a few hours a day, his grammar skills are excellent. He even proofread one of my ebooks, and did a fantastic job.

When he took a standardized test at the end of 9th grade, he pointed out to me that he didn’t know many of the definitions in the language section… yet he still performed well on the test. I suppose most of it was intuitive at his age. I did have him to a bit of catch-up in the form of this book. Grammar in 15 Minutes a Day.

No matter how a person is educated (public/private/homeschool), there will be “gaps” in their education. This doesn’t bother me a bit, because those gaps can be filled later on, and usually in a fraction of the time. The fact is, spending so much time reading made grammar natural to him.

Sadie, 2nd grade, is doing First Language Lessons right now. When it comes to the older children, I may revisit this subject in the future, if I can find a language curriculum for middle schoolers that I love.

How do you feel about grammar studies? 


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About Carrie

Happy wife, homeschooling mom of many, autodidact, best-selling Amazon author, blogger, head chef and barefoot walker. Residing just outside Atlanta, usually found reading a book while sipping a hot beverage.


  1. I’ve always considered myself the “Grammar Queen”, but I’m pretty sure I’m never going to make DS diagram sentences (he’s only 7 right now). I think a kid should learn the basic parts of speech and the correct usages of words like lay/lie and bring/take, but I’m with you – why beat a dead horse? Once a kid understands it (more or less), shoving more of the same down his throat is a waste of everyone’s time, IMHO.