Curriculum Review: Grammar Despair

Well, I don’t know about you but I am NOT a Grammar Nazi. In fact, grammar gets me stumped. Often! I can speak and write fairly well but I am pretty clueless when it comes to rules and why we do what we do. I’ve muddled through teaching it to my oldest 5 children. Fortunately, they are better than I am, or maybe they just sense what is correct (the same as I do). Today’s Curriculum Review is a book I was sent by a reader of my blog: Grammar Despair: Quick, simple solutions to problems like, “Do I say him and me or he and I?”

curriculum review for homeschool curriculum

Carolyn Henderson wrote this marvelous book that homeschool parents (and anyone aspiring to write) will find tremendously helpful and informative. But not only parents, children in middle and high school can use this as a personal resource in their own writing. It is going to be on our fall required reading list (and yes, I did get a free copy of the book to give an honest review – but it is DEFINITELY one I would buy and I get no financial benefit if you do).
Grammar Despair

Carolyn’s easy writing style make this a very fast reading book, despite the subject matter! 😀  She uses humor and easy to understand examples to remove the cloud of Grammar Fog that looms over many of our minds! Her topics include: Words that Sound the Same but Are Spelled (and Used) Differently, Writing Mechanics and Things We Didn’t Worry About 150 Years Ago.

For me, the Writing Mechanics section was the nuts and bolts of my confusion and I found myself, over and over, saying, “OH! So THAT’S what that means!”

Have you ever wondered if ANYONE really knows about using Who and Whom!? I tend to use it right but have no idea why (and can’t explain it to my children). Carolyn explains it very clearly:

Use “who” or “whoever” wherever you can juggle the sentence around and replace the word with I, he, she, they, or we – in Grammar Speak, the subject form of a pronoun.

Use “whom” or “whomever” where you would use me, him, her, them, or us, the object form of the pronoun.
(I don’t offer “you” or “it” because these words are the same whether you use them as a subject or an object.)

Like this:

Who is on the phone? (He is on the phone.)
To whom does this belong? (This does belong to him.)
“This is the author about whom I raved.” (This is the author; I raved about her.)
This is who wrote the bad check. (He wrote the bad check.)

In a culture of text-speak, when children are writing their essays as if they only had 140 characters, learning the difference between formal and informal writing is critical to our children’s (and our) success as writers. There are very specific and helpful things to watch for that make your writing suitable to different places. I love that Grammar Despair has examples and bulleted points to keep things SIMPLE and to the point.

Her whole section on sentences was excellent. I have one child who has struggled with the whole concept of what makes a sentence a sentence. This section is GREAT and will be a tremendous help later this month as we go through it.

And the section on what didn’t matter 150 years ago was quite informative. It is very interesting to read about how things have changed and the grammatical problems that now arise from being politically correct (my term, not hers). Some of her examples and explanations had me laughing out loud!

I strongly encourage you to purchase Grammar Despair to help give you confidence in teaching writing to your children. It will encourage, enlighten and enrich you. And you’ll find it enjoyable. (I am having way too much fun with alliteration!) It is available in paperback from Amazon and for the Kindle.

Carolyn Henderson author Grammar Despair

In addition to publishing Grammar Despair, Carolyn Henderson is the author of Live Happily on Less, a common sense approach to saving money and living well. She is the creator of the blog, This Woman Writes, and the co-owner of Steve Henderson Fine Art. Over a 20-year period, she and her husband successfully homeschooled four children – Eldest Supreme, College Girl, The Son and Heir, and Tired of Being Youngest – to articulate adulthood.

I’m linking up with these lovely blogs.

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