The Boy, our lively 6 and a half-year-old first-grader, struggles with math. He does not struggle with math the way most people envision from that statement but rather he struggles with being able to tell you how he simply just knows the answer to the mathematical equations surrounding him (and oftentimes his older sisters). He sees 242 + 312 and says “556” without blinking an eye. However, when we start working through the problem itself and talk about the place value and such, he is literally a deer in the headlights then shakes his head and says, “I don’t get that and it’s 556.” There is much work to be done with teaching fundamentals and details to kids that seem to just get it naturally.
The mathematical example I gave is simply an example. We deal with the same sort of detail issues with Bookworm Beauty and Language Arts. Again, it really is not much of a surprise… her name is Bookworm Beauty for a reason… and typically avid readers appear to be ahead in the language game. It has been apparent that language comes to her the way math comes to The Boy. As we have worked through her language arts lessons, she typically sails through the lessons, and oftentimes looks up as if to say, “Really??? This is a waste of my time…” Ahhhh, but when we dig a bit deeper we find things are just not quite as they seem. Yes, she understands language and appears to grasp excellent concepts… but she can not always explain the why. Language is rhythmic and oftentimes is nearly poetic. Someone with the gift of language can hear the nuances of such and things just make sense…. they read with inflection and they write with ease… just don’t ask them to identify a prepositional phrase!
When we sat down and completed the first lesson of Sentence Diagramming: Beginning (which is designed for 3-12th graders – and beyond), I wondered if the program was really going to be a necessity to us or would it simply be another supplement to soak up some time. The first lesson focused on the how and why of diagramming sentences and then took students through identifying simple subjects and main verbs. This was easy, to say the least. However, as we moved through the lessons, things got a bit tougher. We have not finished the program, which ends on compound predicate adjectives and nouns, but we will. We got stuck on adverbial prepositional phrases and seemed to spend more time than anticipated there. I have to admit, I had some nightmare flashbacks on the same topics from my school years.
I have found that having the diagramming structure that Sentence Diagramming: Beginning offers gives us a really good framework to work with. Although Bookworm Beauty has done well in sentence writing before, now she has a greater understanding of the structure of sentences and her writing continues to improve overall.
We will definitely be finishing this 68-page workbook and then I plan on purchasing an additional one to use with Sweetness for next year. I am thrilled that they are a mere $12 for a high-quality consumable workbook with easy tear-out pages. This may seem a side note, but I really like the tear out pages because it keeps my children focused on the lesson at hand instead of getting distracted by the upcoming lessons (am I the only one that experiences this?) I will also be looking forward to additional levels of Sentence Diagramming to further challenge Bookworm Beauty. I have not found anything to indicate additional levels or release dates but the nature of the title Sentence Diagramming: Beginning indicates that it is just the beginning. (smile).
Now for the really good stuff… when I visited the website of The Critical Thinking Co.™ I discovered that they are truly an incredible resource! They offer several products to support education from PreK to beyond 12th grade in multiple subjects including: Critical Thinking, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Test Prep, Tests and Technology. Products are available in various formats including book format, eBooks, downloadable software as well as apps. They even have full curriculum programs are available for grades PreK-6th.
I am a happy Momma. You see, I love language and I am happy to see my children learn the details of language, not just how to use it.