Thursday, September 18, 2014

Language Arts Connection...

Today, Riley and I made connections in language arts.  I just love that!  First we did Logic of English, in which we finished up lesson 4.  We've been spreading each lesson over 3 days.  Day one introduces/teaches any new concepts.  Day two we study spelling words and day three is spent on grammar.  Today was grammar day and we learned about three articles, "A", "An", and "The".  This also happened to be our first week using Michael Clay Thompson's Language Arts.  Riley is studying the Town Level, in which today she learned about the three articles listed above.  It was ironic that both programs covered this in the same day. 

One of the assignments in MCTLA was "Write a statement of twenty words, with as many nouns as possible.  Then write one of twenty words with as few nouns as possible.  Discuss the difference."  At first, I thought about skipping this, but I am so glad we didn't!!  Here is what Riley wrote on the white board...

The cat climbed the tree. The lamb said baa.  The cow said moo.  The pig laughed.  The cat did too.  

The fuzzy black cat ran up the big leafy tree.  The wooly white lamb jumped up and down saying baa. 

Next, I asked her which statement she liked best.  Initially she said she liked the first one because it was funny, rhymed, and mentioned more animals.  Then I had her close her eyes and I read the first sentence of each while she visualized the scene, then the second sentence of each, again while she visualized the scene.  She quickly changed her mind and decided the second statement was much better because it was more descriptive and helped you develop an image in your mind. 

It then occurred to me that in order to use many nouns, we had created short choppy sentences.  This prompted me to think of an exercise we did in our Charlotte Mason Study Group while watching the SCM Learning and Living DVD series.  On DVD number two, Sonya Shafer teaches about living books and narration.  She mentioned avoiding "twaddle" and how to tell it apart from a good book.  She talked about being careful to avoid books with short choppy sentences that are dumbed down.

The MCTLA exercise also made me think of Levi and the way he learned to talk.  When he first began speaking, he spoke primarily in nouns, naming things....cup, water, mommy, daddy, Riley, Ruben, tractor, kitty, etc.  He then progressed to adding a verb....drink water, play Riley, drive tractor, etc.  Eventually he added pronouns and some adjectives...I take you, I thirsty, I want tractor, etc.  This made me realize that short choppy sentences are really primitive.  They show up in early speech and again in early composition.

The point of all this being, it really solidifies the importance of staying away from "twaddle" with "short choppy sentences" and reinforces the idea of filling our children's mind, especially young children, with rich and interesting language, so that when they learn to speak and start composition, they have a rich vocabulary to draw from.  Hence creating much more interesting speech and composition. 

All this to say, so far I'm liking MCTLA and Logic of English.  And of course, I LOVE Charlotte Mason's methods!!  I'm pleased with the connections we are making :))

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