This year, Hatchick is in the eighth grade, and I wanted to find a fun component for her work in English grammar. So many grammar books seem to boil down to dreary drills and excruciating sentence dissection; Hatchick has always been an enthusiastic writer, and I wanted something that would teach some good grammar concepts without stifling her love of writing or making her fearful of errors in a way that would restrain her natural written exuberance.
I've found that book (and, standard disclaimer, I have not been compensated in any way for writing this; in fact, I found the book by searching vaguely on Amazon in the hopes that something more enjoyable than Excruciatingly Difficult English Grammar for Serious Eighth-Graders Who have Already Picked Out the Top Three Colleges of their Eventual Choice, or similar tomes, would turn up). The book is called Hot Fudge Monday, and though Hatchick has only been using it a little while, she is enjoying it immensely, as am I.
I'd like to share with you Hatchick's writing assignment from today. The book asked (not in these exact words; I don't want to infringe copyright) the student to imagine that he or she was a chicken in a long line of road-crossers, and to describe his or her own daring expedition across a local highway; the focus of the assignment was on using exciting verbs. In the interest of full disclosure I admit to correcting a couple of small spelling errors, but otherwise, the following is Hatchick's work:
It was finally time, time to bolt across the road, right into fame! Right into glory! Or right into a four-door sedan...It was time to muster up all of my chickenly courage and follow the path that my ancestors took, to take chances and flit and fly across the road. Ha! It will be a dangerous task, to laugh in the face of danger and so to continue to laugh until I reach the other side, throwing care to the wind and striding confidently along.Hatchick admits that she needs to work on some spelling (which, as I said, I fixed) and also that she is a tad too fond of the exclamation mark--it's amazing how seeing your work typed on a screen helps you to catch such errors. Still, I thought she did a good job of completing the assignment's specific task of using good, colorful, interesting verbs, and in some places this little story of hers made me laugh. Homeschooling moms know how rare and wonderful it is when both student and teacher-mom are laughing instead of crying when it's time for grammar.
I stood at the edge of the road, and then began to dash across the road!
I raced and zoomed along, I dodged a Dodge, catapulted over a Cadillac and hurried and scurried closer to the finish. Suddenly a Ford stopped right between me and the finish! I stopped, and began to prepare myself for the final sprint. Ford or no Ford, by golly I was going over there! I closed my eyes, darted forward and leaped over the car!
If the camera hadn't had a slow motion replay, no one would have believed it. But needless to say, I was now a hero.
As I said above, we haven't been using Hot Fudge Monday for long, yet. But I'm really liking it so far, and, more importantly, so is Hatchick. This would not be the perfect grammar book for the student for whom writing more than a sentence is akin to torture. But for the child who loves to write and who finds endless grammar drills dreary beyond belief, this book might be a good fit; it might, if you'll excuse the dreadful pun, be the "write" grammar book for such a child.