Wigging Out Over Grammar

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This past weekend was my annual getaway with friends from my teenage years, plus new friends those old friends have brought into my life. I love the sentiment of the old “Make New Friends, But Keep the Old” song from my childhood. We are still “make[ing] new friends, but keep[ing] the old, [’cause] one is silver and the other gold.”

My giving husband took care of my mom so I could be away.

This year we gathered in Burnsville, North Carolina, at the home of one of the “girls” I’ve known since her parents moved their family to Ashland City in the 1960s. On Friday we strolled through downtown Burnsville’s annual Mt. Mitchell Craft Fair. At 6,684 feet in elevation, Mt. Mitchell is the highest peak in the Appalachian Mountains, and therefore, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.

Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina

As we divided into smaller groups to stroll from vendor to vendor around the Burnsville Square, we three “old” friends ended up together at one point. I don’t remember what made me think of Miss Frances Landrum, who taught us all English in the seventh and eighth grade, but I mentioned her to my friends.

All three of us stand on Miss Frances’ shoulders. Sheila (with an MBA hanging in her home) has retired after a long career in telecommunications, Lexie is a grant writer for a community college, and I have been writing history for twenty years now. I learned so much under Miss Frances and I tried to express that, but Lexie said it best. She said that she never learned anything new about grammar after having Miss Frances in seventh and eighth grade.

I share this with you to encourage you. Many a homeschool mama has wigged out over grammar. (I’m not sure what Miss Frances would think about my expressing it that way!) Many a homeschool mama has exasperated her children because of grammar.

I just wanted you to know that a good foundation in grammar might be enough for your children. You and your children might not have to cry over grammar year after year after year after year. If it ever feels as if your children are simply repeating the same grammar lessons again and again and they are getting tired of it; maybe they don’t just think they have had enough. Maybe they really have had enough. Once they have a really good foundation, it might be okay to stop dissecting the English language and simply practice using it.

I hope this is an encouragement to you. I have long believed that the Scripture below has many applications for homeschooling mamas and that remembering it can prevent lots of tears — your children’s tears and your own.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children,
so that they will not lose heart.
Colossians 3:21



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One comment

  1. Thank you for this thought. The one English class that I did NOT take in high school was grammar. In 7th and 8th grades I had a teacher who taught us English, and the rest of the time taught Kindergarten. Unfortunately she taught us the way she would teach Kindergarten. “Read the directions, if you don’t get it, read them again.” So I would go up to her desk and ask HOW to do something. “Read the directions.” was the standard response. Needless to say, I learned very little about English those years. I thought I was bad at it, so since I didn’t have to have it in high school, I didn’t. Finally when our son was in 4th grade, I got him a book called Easy Grammar. I finally started understanding it (a little bit!) I still can’t diagram a sentence, and I doubt my boys can either, but the older one got the highest score on his ACT test on English!

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