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Grammar Lesson using The Arrow: Love that Dog

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Grammar.  The word can evoke very strong opinions.

Who knew grammar was such a hot topic?  Probably very few parents.  Unless they decided to homeschool.

And once you weed through all of the philosophies, it can be quite confusing to find the actual best fit for your family.  I know because we have tried so many options!

One teaching option that feels very natural for our homeschool is teaching grammar through literature passages.  The Brave Writer literature guides, The Arrow, have been the backbone of this process in our house.
Our family has found that teaching grammar with literature as the tool has been a great fit for our homeschool. Here is just one example of how we did it!

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The Arrow as a Tool for Grammar Instruction

Each week, The Arrow guides provide a copy work passage selected from the book.  Included with the copy work are notes for discussions.  These discussions incorporate literary elements as well as grammar.

These guidesIMG_1555, part of the Brave Writer Language Arts program for 3rd-6th graders, have been such a helpful and practical way to teach grammar in this house.

This month I am reading, Love that Dog by Sharon Creech, with my 1st, 3rd, and 5th graders.  The entire book is written in the form of a journal by an elementary school aged boy.

Each journal entry is a free verse poem, communicating the school boy’s feelings and thoughts as he studies poetry in school. He writes his reactions to his teacher, assignments, as well as about poems that he heard in class.

Thankfully, each of the poems that are mentioned in the book are included in the back, providing exposure to well known and lesser known poems.

The copy work passage for week two included in the Love That Dog Arrow Guide was a fun challenge.  My students were asked to copy the concrete poem that the main character writes after reading, “The Apple” by S.C. Rigg.  (see both “The Apple” and “My Yellow Dog” below)

IMG_1557   IMG_1556

My kids immediately asked if they could just write their own concrete poems instead of copying these.

YES!  YES!  Of course you can!  While I love the skills acquired from copying a passage, I felt like it was more than appropriate to create their own passage in this case.  And they did:

IMG_1560    IMG_1559

I love these.  

My son’s poem is “Steve” from Minecraft and my daughter’s poem is “The Nether Star”.  Both children are currently reading through the Gameknight999 series and their conversations all day revolve around the plot.

Our poems were perfect as a tool for our discussion about grammar the next day.  We examined the parts of speech in each of the concrete poems.  Nouns were found in all three.  Adjectives were located in two of the poems.  Verbs were unique to only the “Yellow Dog” poem.

Discussing the parts of speech felt very natural as part of our writing.  Combining literature, writing, and grammar feels so natural, but it is something I would struggle to do without a guide.  With the guide in hand, I am confident to add my own ideas to the mix.

Tomorrow, I will ask each of my students to add VERBS to their poems!  I might encourage my son to try out a few adjectives. I hope this final activity will be another way to continue to solidify these parts of speech into their minds.

The Arrow Guides provide an excellent springboard for me to dive into the world of grammar.  We don’t always have time for every suggested discussion.  Some weeks get too crazy, but when we are able we take advantage of the time to dive in even deeper.


One example of how our family learns grammar using literature with the Brave Writer Arrow Guides as our language arts backbone.


This is our language arts plan to use the Brave Writer Arrow guides in our homeschool.
A collection of periscopes about how we implement the Brave Writer Lifestyle in our Home.


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