As a homeschool family that teaches in the classical tradition, it should come as no surprise that Latin and English grammar are two of our core subjects. As my older children have moved along in their studies, it is even more apparent to me that English grammar is a subject to be mastered.
In those early homeschooling years, I didn’t realize that exposure and mastery were concepts I should know about. As you’ve heard me say several times, I didn’t have a homeschool mentor, and it was certainly to my detriment.
→ This is an excellent Ted Talk on Mastery Learning by Sal Khan of Khan Academy.
While some subjects lend themselves more easily to exposure, there are several subjects that must be mastered before I allow my children to progress.
Those pesky math facts come to mind…
Recitation is one method I use for ensuring mastery in our core subjects. Recitation is an interesting method. Unlike fill-in-the-blank or circling the correct answer, you can’t run and hide from recitation! It is a tell-all method of proving what my children do (or do not!) know about a particular subject.
Today, I want to share with you the recitation guide that I use for memorizing Parts of Speech. I created this recitation myself, using our Rod and Staff English curriculum as a guide.
But note that you can use this recitation with any English grammar curriculum, or use it independently of a grammar study.
→ Read about how we use Rod and Staff English in our homeschool here.
Parts of Speech Recitation for 3rd through 5th Grades
I find it incredibly beneficial to practice grammar in the way that Rod and Staff English presents its content. In each grade, they cover (mostly) the same topics, however, they incrementally advance the concepts surrounding the topics.
Because of this incremental approach, you will see that I created a recitation for 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade. Each grade builds on itself, little by little.
The information at each level is what I expect my children to know, or master. In essence, I am “teaching to the test.” I have seen the test, and it is all information that is worthy of being memorized and understood before we can progress on.
How to Use Parts of Speech Recitation
In our homeschool, I always have a short time of review prior to any class time. I want to refresh their brains on what we have just studied, and prime them for what is coming during the lesson time.
I use this recitation as that beginning review.
We recite the 8 parts of speech in the order that you see them on the 8.5 x 11″ poster paper. If they recite them in the same order every day, it becomes more ingrained in their memories. This step is important!
Our Parts of Speech poster is on our schoolroom wall, just beside our white board.
When it’s my 3rd grader’s time for English, I ask the questions in bold that she should know already. At this point in the school year, she can recite the answers through 4.) Adjectives.
This is what our recitation looks like:
Me: What is a noun?
My 3rd grader: A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea.
Me: What is a verb?
My 3rd grader: A verb is a word that shows action or being.
And so it goes until we cover the information she knows.
When we get to the next topic, which will be adverbs, I will teach her the recitation. I write the new question and answer on the white board, and we recite it aloud 5 times each day until she can remember it by herself.
Some recitation questions are harder than others. My 5th grader has encountered a fairly large stumbling block with the types of personal pronouns. She’s needed quite a bit of pushing to memorize those, and we had to slow down that section and work through the written work together a couple of times.
Despite her protests and wiggles to get out of it, I’m firm that she must understand the personal pronouns. She will drown in Latin without knowing them! So this is a non-negotiable. 😉
When we get to a stumbling block like that, I slow down a bit, provide a lot of extra support and examples, and we work until mastery.
Yes, sometimes it feels like very slow going, but I know the end result if I push through without requiring mastery. It leads only to frustration and trouble down the line!
Do your children practice recitation in any of their subjects?
If you practice recitation with your children, what does it look like in your homeschool?
You can download a copy of the Parts of Speech Recitation below: