Do you find yourself wishing you could grasp more natural teaching moments with your child? Do you have a child who resists anything contrived or in workbook form? Do you love unit studies, but have a hard time working in the nitty gritty details of grammar? Are you a Charlotte Mason or Ruth Beechick family who wants to get more out of copywork? Are you an unschooling or eclectic-learning family that wants to introduce small snippets of grammar into normal life? We are two moms who created this website for our own use, but would love to share it with others who are in the same boat. Dig in, explore, and let us know what you think!

Sunday, March 9, 2014


There's nothing wrong with occasional worksheets!  I prefer to use them to briefly review a concept the student already knows well.

Some good sources for grammar worksheets:

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Verbs 3 - State of Being and Linking

Many verbs do not convey action.  They are called state of being or linking verbs.  They link the subject to the predicate without any action.

State of Being Verbs
(these are all forms of the word "be")


State of being verbs are considered linking when they appear in these forms:

State of Being + Noun*
The dog is a beagle.

State of Being + Pronoun
The dog is hers.

State of Being + Adjective
The dog is fast.

State of being verbs are NOT considered to be linking** when they appear in these forms:

State of Being + Adverb
The dog was here.

State of Being + Prepositional Phrase
The dog was in the yard.

*The nouns following a linking verb is NOT a direct object (DO).  It is called a predicate noun (PN).

**This point is in dispute even among grammarians.  Many texts choose to simplify and called them all linking verbs.

Besides the state of being verbs, there are other verbs that are linking.

Other Common Linking Verbs


The dog smells stinky.
The dog appears friendly.

Many of these linking verbs can also function as action verbs; be aware as you look for them!

The dog smells his bone.
The dog appeared at the door.

Teaching Ideas:
  • Make a poster of State of Being Verbs
  • [Game for identifying linking v action verbs]
Copywork Ideas (Older):
  • Music is the universal language of mankind. (Longfellow)
  • The end of government is the happiness of the people. (Macaulay)
  • The true and good resemble gold. (Jacobi)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Subject/Object Switch

This game uses humor to show the difference between subjects and direct objects.

Choose two or more pictures from the links below; print them out. Allow children to color them if desired.  Create small cards for each word (see template below).   Have your child try to create the sentence that describes each picture; do the first one as an example.  Next, ask them to find the verb and the nouns.  Show them what happens when you switch the two nouns; explain the difference between subjects and direct objects.  (For an older child who enjoys drawing, ask them to draw the picture; then ask them to draw the picture when the nouns are switched).

Refer to the lessons on Subjects and Direct Objects for help with explaining these concepts.
  • Subject
    • Who? + verb 
    • What? + verb
  • Direct Object
    • verb + What?
    • verb + Whom?
Subject Object Switch (click here to download Word file)

Predicate 1 - Direct Objects

The predicate is the part of the sentence that contains the verb and phrases governed by the verb.  It can contain just the verb, or nouns, adjectives, and other phrases.  

Direct objects are nouns that follow action verbs.  They receive the action from the verb.  Direct objects answer these questions:

verb + Whom?
verb + What?

The cat drank some cream. Drank what? Cream.
Sally called her mother.  Called whom? Mother.
Daily Grammar Lesson 106

Predicate Examples:
Below are different forms the predicate can take.  In this lesson we are focusing only on the direct object.  The other concepts will be covered later.

Just the verb.
  • The sun shone.
If the verb is an action verb, the noun in the predicate is a direct object.
  • The sun burned my skin.
  • Skin is the direct object.
If the verb is a linking verb, the noun in the predicate is a predicate noun (aka predicate nominative).
  • The sun is a ball of fire.
  • Ball is the predicate noun.
If the verb is a linking verb, the adjective in the predicate is a predicate adjective.
  • The sun is hot.
  • Hot is the predicate adjective.
If you really want to be confused, read the Wikipedia article on predicates.

Teaching Ideas:
  • Play predicate games.
  • Practice finding direct objects in copywork. 
      • Remember: The subject does the verb.  The direct object has the verb done to it.

Copywork Ideas (younger):

Copywork Ideas (older):

  • Time rolls his ceaseless course. (Scott)
  • Love understands love: it needs no talk. (Havergal)

Adjectives 1 - Modify Nouns

The basic definition of an adjective is "a word that describes a noun or pronoun."  Adjectives answer one of these questions:

Which one?
What kind?
How many?

Daily Grammar Lesson 31, 151-155

Which hat?  The pink hat.
What kind of pie?  Blueberry pie.
Whose house?  Joe's house.
How many children?  Four children.

Teaching Ideas:

  • Play adjective games ("Search By Topic" in sidebar) such as Grammar Farm or Adjective Collection.
  • Make an Adjective Poster that says "Which One?  What Kind?  Whose?  How Many?"  This distinction will come in handy when you learn about adverbs.
  • For this lesson, focus on words that children already know as "describing" words.  Hot, cold, blue, green, nice, mean, silly, etc.  
  • Later lessons will cover adjectives that are:
    • proper (Chinese noodles)
    • articles (the, a, an)
    • used for comparison (hottest summer)
    • nouns (winter weather)
    • possessive nouns (man's hat, Bob's tools)
    • possessive pronouns (my book)
    • demonstrative pronouns (this car)
    • verbals (howling wolf)
    • prepositional phrases (man in the moon)

Copywork Ideas (younger):

Copywork Ideas (older):

Verbs 2 - Simple Conjugation

Verbs take different forms in order to agree with their subjects.  These different forms are called conjugations.  The simplest conjugations add -s, -ing and -ed.   Other simple verbs have irregular forms that even young children should know.*
Daily Grammar Lesson 13

Example: Adding -s
The boys kick the ball.
Sally kicks it harder.

Example: Adding -ed
We like to wash the car.
We washed the car last weekend.

Example: Adding -ing**
The girls eat their tacos.
John is eating a burrito.

Example: Irregular Forms
eat, eats, ate, eaten, is eating
come, came, is coming
send, sent, is sending
see, saw, is seeing

 *Many conjugations involve changing the tense of the verb.  Don't go into that concept at this point.  Just teach your child to recognize verbs in all their different forms.

**Adding -ing technically changes the verb into a "verbal."  The particulars of this are addressed much later.  If you are curious, in the example "is eating" is a present participle.

Teaching Ideas:

  • Children who read (or are read to) will pick up this concept naturally.  We have noticed that it comes up when we play Magnetic Poetry, and we have to look for that tiny "s" or "ing" piece to make the sentence sound right.

Copywork Ideas (younger):
  • A big spider saw a little spider.  The little spider was spinning a web. (Treadwell)
  • Toad went to the store.  He bought two big ice-cream cones. (Lobel)
Copywork Ideas (older):

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pronouns 1 - Personal

A pronoun is a word used in place of a noun (or nouns).  A personal pronoun can be used in place of the subject of a sentence, or one of its objects.*
Daily Grammar Lesson 21

Bobby hit the ball.
He hit the ball. (He is a personal pronoun that is the subject.)
Bobby hit it. (It is a personal pronoun that is the object.)

Sarah smelled the rose.
It made her happy.
(It refers to the rose; her refers to Sarah.)

List of Personal Pronouns:
I, me, you, he, him, she, her, it, we, us, you, they, them

*Pronouns are one of the more complex pieces of grammar.  Later concepts will cover other uses of pronouns, including possessive (my, mine, yours ...), indefinite (all, any, more ...), demonstrative (this, these ...), interrogative (who, which, ...), relative (that, which, ...), and reflexive/intensive (myself, yourself, ...).  In the beginning, just look for the personal pronouns which directly refer back to nouns.

Teaching Ideas:
  • On Google Books you can find old (free) grammar books that have interesting ideas on how to teach a concept.  One I often refer to is "How to Tell the Parts of Speech" by Edwin Abbott.  Here is an exercise from this book for learning about pronouns.  You can use this idea when reading any favorite book with your child.

Copywork Ideas:
Try to find copywork that includes both a noun and a pronoun that refers to it.
  • Frog hid behind a rock.  He saw the thing coming.  It was big and brown. (Lobel)