Saturday, February 20, 2010

Grammar~Montessori R & D Manuals-Obesogens


Consider joining in on this project. It's easy, fun, and you'll be helping bees (which helps all of us!):

Why do I have to learn grammar?

It all started because I was googling Mary Daly's The First Whole Book of Diagrams that I saw for sale. I love her timeline so I wanted to see it. One thing led to another (you know how it is with googling!) and I found this wonderful site. Here is an excerpt that beautifully answers the age-old question put forth by youth to their elders. Funny thing: I was just asked that exact question the week I found this. My answer was nothing like her rationale and we'll just leave it at that :). I printed copies for each child to glue in their Writer's Notebooks. We don't do grammar in those but that way they'll see it occasionally and I'll remember where to find it. Here is the link. I'm posting the excerpt but go check out all of the other goodies there using the top tool bar. There are wonderful lists of books for history and science.

"Why do I have to learn grammar?"
Core knowledge. If you're educated, you know grammar. It's like learning state capitols. No one yet has asked me the capitol of North Dakota (it's Bismarck). But it's one of those things educated people learn.
Jargon. Grammar provides a vocabulary to communicate about writing. When your teacher says, "Great vivid adjectives," it helps to know what adjective means.
Be able to apply rules. One rule says, "Avoid passive voice; it makes dull writing." You can't avoid passive voice until you know what it is.
Understand writing better. Can you compose music without knowledge of music theory, major/minor chords, and dominant sevenths? Well, yes. But you'll write music better if you know music theory.
Analyze others' writing. A knowledge of grammar lets you analyze, describe, and eventually imitate the style of good writing.
Foreign Languages. Knowledge of grammar helps you learn foreign languages, especially inflected ones (all the European languages).
It's a mental discipline. The Army makes recruits do pushups. Now I've never yet seen a soldier do pushups when he's fighting the enemy. But building up those muscles equips him to perform his other tasks. So also, learning grammar strengthens logic skills, and you use logic elsewhere.
Equipping. I want to equip my child for whatever God calls him to. Even if today he wants to be a fireman, one day God might call him into a vocation that requires strong writing skills.

Our Grammar Curricula:

We used Montessori R & D Language Arts 1 (Elem). Then we moved to Winston Grammar Basic. We are almost finished with that and will go back to R&D, Language Arts 2 (Elem). This sequence has worked out beautifully for us. The hardest part for me is to decide whether a prepositional phrase is an adverb or adjective and what it modifies. Seriously. They get that part right more often than I do! Youngest dd is ready to start R&D Language Arts 1 (Elem). I've been procrastinating because I need to reorganize the labels first. It's the latent perfectionist in me (sigh). Would it just be easier to make now labels? Nah!

Montessori R and D Manuals:

Here is my brag on Montessori R and D: When I was pulling from the different free resources for Montessori presentations I felt pulled in different directions, disorganized, and overwhelmed. Once I just started using their albums for my spine and main resource, and using moteaco and such as supplements, things went smoother for me and I was actually doing presentations. They don't have the colored illustrations and such like some of the others but that's actually what I like and that helps them be affordable. The diagrams and lists are very helpful in making materials and/or using bought materials. I was able to make all of the necessary labels for Vol 1 using their lists.

I just got Vol. 2 (Elem) and am jazzed about delving into it. However, I'm going to make myself prep to use Vol. 1 with younger dd before I start 2 with the olders and use them parallel-ish. This is because I know myself. I'll get so engrossed that I'll forget to do younger dd's. If I make myself do the tedious task of sorting/organizing the little cards before the fun part of new presentations it will get done faster.
Speaking of those little cards, for Vol 1 I used plastic baseball card sleeves and wrote the page numbers with a sharpie on each plastic pocket. It was so easy to grab the album and the appropriate cards when I was going to present. I'll post a picture below. Not pretty but very functional!
Take a look at the table of contents of these wonderful albums (click on each one; then click on "view table of contents in pdf"). As I said, we've done 1, and will begin vol 2 asap. Volume 3 is Word Study and I definitely want to do that one. Yes, I could spend hours and hours scouring the internet and come up with the works, but I think I'd like the works together with proper presentations for this. We have effectively done mechanics (vol 4) in writing workshop so I'll skip over that one for the olders. I'll have to see with younger dd. Right now she's still confusing upper case when it's not necessary in a sentence, so she would probably benefit from those activities. Then we'll go into Volume 5 for sure. It is 'Advanced Grammar' for ages 9-12 (Elem II). It seems very comprehensive from the table of contents. Once we've exhausted all that Montessori R and D has to offer we'll switch back to Winston Grammar Advanced.

Here are their Elementary Language Manuals:

Here are pictures of how I organized all of the word cards for Vol. 1 for easy use. It was worth every minute of organizing... now I just need to do it all over again to be ready for youngest dd. After the presentations the cards were set out for shelf work. Then I would sort of just put them up when they weren't needed anymore mixed together (especially since they weren't necessarily done with the cards in order of presentation).

I could say more about their math manuals but I'll leave that for another post :).

A must-see video from CBS. I can't believe it's in mainstream media! Spend 4 short minutes for your family's health. If you want to find local food try I cannot insert the video but here is the youtube link:
This wonderful video came from Kelly's blog here:


  1. I just came across your blog today and I'm really glad I did! I was wondering if you were still able to offer some guidance on the Montessori R&D Manuals. I just got my Language 1 and could sure use some help. I also like how you organized your material, do you have larger pics or more info?


  2. Shanah,
    This is a pdf and Open Office link to my card template. I made the words in the color rather than the background to save ink and it's never been an issue for my dc. I hope the open office one will work for you with whatever software you use for documents.

    What I did was spend a summer one year making ALL my cards ahead of time. I also made duplicate cards so I could just pull out a set of cards for that particular presentation and not have to look for ANYTHING. I put them in those sleeves with the page numbers written on them (with sharpie).

    I hope this helps and feel free to ask.