It’s not that I consider myself to be the Grammar Police, nor do I want to be. But, I did realize once upon a time, somewhere toward the beginning of this homeschooling journey that I’m “it”. If I don’t correct them and teach them proper grammar, then nobody will. I clearly remember the day one of my boys said, “Me and Chaz are going to go…..” I cringed as though I was hearing fingernails on a chalkboard because of the incorrect use of the grammar. But before correcting him, I flashed back to my childhood remembering a teacher correcting me and my classmates. And suddenly, the reality hit that since we are homeschooling I can’t just let it go and wait for a teacher to teach him. I’m the teacher. I have to do it. So I began correcting my boys when I would hear them speak with incorrect grammar.
I think it worked….or is working….or has worked fairly well as my big boys will now correct me. Along with proper grammar, I have hopefully taught them enough social graces to not walk around correcting strangers or relatives. That would be bad. But, I do know they hear the same fingernails-on-chalkboard screeching in their ears when we gather with extended family. I know this because we share a look….and then we let it go.
However, I fear I may not have kept up with the same level of proper grammar modeling for my little kids. Yes, I’m tired, and I tend to be more relaxed with schooling than during the early years. But, that’s not it. I still correct them when I hear grammar being used incorrectly. But, thanks to the acquisition of a little cockapoo named Beau a little over a year ago, we now have Dog Talk.
Dog Talk knows no grammar rules. Dog Talk doesn’t care about verb agreement….or any grammar rules, for that matter. Of course, we don’t have to engage in Dog Talk. But….I cannot help myself! Dog Talk is fun and sweet. I (we) say things like, “Here him be.” or “Where are him be going?” or “Him are be going to get some chicken.” or “His is a baby.”
As a result, Dog Talk is wreaking havoc on my impeccable grammar teaching record. We could eliminate the Dog Talk or the dog, but I don’t see either of those as suitable options. When my eleven year old was recently working through a lesson on pronouns, I had to get a little creative and step up the teaching. He struggled at first. I couldn’t simply teach by saying, “Think about how we say that sentence when we talk.” That has worked in the past for my older boys, but my little kids have heard all kinds of weird sentences since the arrival of Beau. I’m not proud. But I think we figured out a solution. I told him to think about how he would say the sentence to people when doing his grammar. It worked like a charm. He passed the pronoun test with flying colors, and we have moved on to adverbs and diagramming….that dreaded diagramming. I may have to write about that soon.
For now, I’m happy to report that child number five is on his way to achieving proper grammar skills even though “Him are still be going around causing us to speak Dog Talk.”