Spelling Those Tricky Words

Spelling is just as important as doing your hair!

How’s that?

Well, it makes quite a first impression, whether on a job application or in a love letter.

Spelling is not something that we stop learning the day we graduate from high school, or college even. I am a good speller, and I like spelling, so just for fun I took a spelling test this morning. I discovered that I could not spell quite a few of the most commonly misspelled difficult words in the English language . . . which surprised me a bit. I thought I’d have it down by now!

Where to start? Students can make great spelling progress by learning these 12 tricky spelling combinations. These are among the most frequently used (and misused and misspelled) words in the English language. Just having these mastered will make quite a different in their daily writing!

1. Its / It’s

2. No / Know

3. Principal / Principle

4. Quite / Quiet

5. There / Their / They’re

6. To / Too/ Two

7. Through / Threw

8. Weather / Whether

9. Where / Wear

10. Which / Witch

11. Write / Right

12. Your / You’re

I have taught my kids to figure out these words with little memory clues. I’ll share some here with you:

Its / It’s

It’s is a contraction of the words it is. So, when confronted with which one to use, try to replace the word it’s (or its) with the words it is. If that sentence works, then make sure to use the it’s with the apostrophe. For example, “It’s five o’clock” can be also stated, “It is five o’clock”. But this sentence does not work: “The cat licked it is paws.”

Principal / Principle

The principal is a man who could be your pal. See the word pal in principal?

There / Their / They’re

There is a location, a place. You are either here or there. Can you see the word here in the word there? They’re is a contraction of the words they are. You can replace the word they’re with they are as a test to see if it works.

To / Too

Too many cookies is the phrase I use to help my children see the word too means additional, also or excess. You can draw chocolate chips in the letter o in the word too to help them remember!

Where / Wear

Where is another location or place word. When you ask the question, “where?”, you are either here or there. Look for the word here in the word.

Which / Witch

The witch that rides a broomstick has her broom in the middle of the word (the letter t).

Your / You’re

The word you’re is a contraction of the words you are. Teach your children to replace the word your/you’re in a sentence with you are and they can discern if it is a contraction or not.

Now, for contractions!

By the way, if you haven’t taught your children about contractions yet, that is a fun lesson! Using two index cards, write the separate words of the contraction, one per card like this:

can                 not

Have your child read the separate cards to you. Hold one card in each of your hands. Then show them how to make a crash of the two word cards (big appeal with boys) so they bend back and only show these letters:

can                 t

On a third card, draw a “comma-up-in-the-air” (apostrophe). Tell them the crash knocked out some letters and so you stick this mark right where the letters are missing to show they once were there.

can’t

Works with every contraction except won’t (will not).

Have fun with spelling today!

 

 

My Cantaloupe Man

Ammon (15) loves plants. He cherishes them, in fact. He can spend hours supervising and nurturing his garden. When he was a little boy, I always made sure he had his own large bed in our family garden that he could plant with whatever he wanted. This year, Ammon wanted to plant melons and squashes—both which take more space than our garden would provide, so the idea was born to let Ammon grow his sprawling garden in front of our house. We live our in the country, so this is not so radical a plan as it sounds like . . . but we have had some comments from the neighbors.

Ammon chose his seeds carefully from catalogs during the winter months, with me as his partner. He spent hours upon hours scheming and planning on paper while the snow was still deep. Finally spring arrived and in went the seeds, not haphazardly, but with the greatest of care. All of us in our family were amazed at what detailed care he took.

Now Ammon is enjoying the fruit of his labor—we all are! It is cantaloupe for breakfast, honeydew for lunch and more, more, more for dinner! He wants to taste and relish each variety. He photographs each melon, both on the vine, and cut and ready to eat.

As a mom, I am hoping we will very soon progress to the desire to give them away and reap the joy that comes from sharing something you have worked hard to produce. That would be the ultimate lesson.

While watching Ammon out in the blazing sun tending his melons, I often think of Mark Twain’s remark: “Don’t let your schooling get in the way of your education.” Ammon took a Botany course at the local high school with textbook readings and rather contrived projects. He learned a lot, especially vocabulary terms that he now uses when talking about his plants. But, he has learned a zillion times more about Botany by actually getting his hands in the dirt and growing his melon garden. It is a lot harder in real life than on the pages of a book! There is the constant need for water, weeds to deal with along with bugs, wilting, raccoons, birds, and the scorching sun. Ammon often comes to talk to me about the newest challenge: this week the leaves have developed mildew!

What wonderful preparation for life! Our at-home-Botany-course has taught marvelous lessons that far exceed the textbook, and will ready him for life, including:

*neglect when things are young can ruin them when they are grown (including people, animals and plants)

*the path includes challenges, and joy

*we are dependent on God for every blessing

*growth is a miracle that we take for granted

*you only reap what you sow (corn seeds do not produce cantaloupe, forgetting to practice does not create a concert pianist)

*only God can make the sun shine, can bless us with the necessary elements to create life

*time marches on (get your planting done early in the season, as you cannot delay the killing frost)

. . . and many more lessons!

I love homeschooling!

Hates Math

Question:

I homeschool my three girls. My oldest is 9 and works 2 grades ahead, and works independently. My middle child, 7, is advanced and just as intelligent. She absolutely hates sitting and doing worksheets, especially in Math. I am getting extremely frustrated and this in turn frustrates her. Neither of us is happy. She loves to sing, listen to music and work on the computer. Help!

Answer:

How blessed you are to have three little girls! It must feel like Little Women at your house.

God sends these children to us with such diversity of personality. It is really up to us as mothers to study out our children’s temperaments and dispositions and figure out how to reach them individually. Each child has a natural curiosity, love of learning, inborn talents and interests. It is our joyful task to arrange their environment so they can retain that enthusiasm while learning the skills they will need to contribute as an adult. We don’t want to drum the love to learning out of them with an approach to learning that they find dull. Learning is fun! If your daughter (and you) find it tiresome, then it is time to re-evaluate your methods. Some children (not many) enjoy workbooks, and they are self-directed learners that make homeschooling very easy! Other children need time, plus the resources and supplies, to pursue what they find interesting (that is educational and wholesome), plus some directed learning by mom that makes the unpleasant subject as fun as possible.

My daughter Louisa (at age 12) did not like doing math in a textbook format either. In fact, as long as I try to make her learn math through her textbook, she “hates math”. So, I studied out what she enjoys and tried to apply her interests. She enjoys art a lot, and interaction with me, rather than quiet sitting studying. So, here is how we do her math facts practice: I sit at the table and she stands (her enthusiasm makes sitting impossible!)  We play a math game called “Got It” . We turn over two cards with single digit numbers on them, and we race to multiply the numbers on the cards and say the answer. To make the game more fair, I tap my hand down on the table twice before I shout the answer, to give her some thinking time. (She may shout it out just as soon as she is able!) She loves the suspense and delights when she can beat me to the answer! This takes us about 10 minutes every morning. Louisa would be glad if I would play it with her for an hour (!) and she is quickly getting quite proficient on her times tables. We used to do multiplication facts worksheets, which were dreary to her. We are reaching the same goal, getting the same results–the multiplication facts learned. The method, though, makes the difference between a happy encounter between us, or a dull exercise.

To teach the math lesson, I use either a chalkboard and colored chalk, or a stack of scratch paper and some colorful markers. I scan the concept in the Saxon book and draw out as much as I can in picture form. If I can use real objects to teach the lesson, I do it. I have her draw out as much as possible to help her visualize the problem. I teach the concept, talking it through with pictures and then we do just one problem on each piece of scratch paper, drawing the numbers colorfully and big. When the lesson is on something concrete, such as weight measurements, I get out a food scale and some different items to weigh and we just do a hands-on lesson. (Did you know that 1 grape weighs 10 grams?)  I learn something too! I pose all sorts of questions (how much do you think a dollar bill would weigh: an ounce or a gram) and she does the hands-on work to find the answers. Once I feel sure she has mastered the concept, I review a few concepts from the previous lessons, and feel confident that we have done enough math. And she does retain those concepts so much better than if she had done the whole Saxon lesson!

You will be surprised to find that your other daughters pick up on the concepts too, even if they are not the “right age” for the lesson!

If your daughter enjoys singing, music and computer; teaching math could be really fun! I can think right off of several math resources that would be delightful: math facts set to music as  Multiplication Songs CD, computer games such as Quarter Mile Math that drill math facts, and other computer games that teach math lessons. Math Wrap-ups are a creative way to practice math facts. There is also a great series of math books for the creative child, called Life of Fred.  Try a few ideas, and see which she takes to the best. I do think it is necessary to ensure children learn math skills, but please do all you possibly can to make it fun.

Think of Mary Poppins! A spoonful of sugar does make the medicine go down!

Excuse this House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some houses try to hide the fact
That children shelter there—
Ours boasts of it quite openly,
The signs are everywhere

For smears are on the windows,
Little smudges on the doors;
I should apologize, I guess,
For toys strewn on the floor.

But I sat down with the children
And we played and laughed and read;
And if the doorbell doesn’t shine,
Their eyes will shine instead.

For when at times I’m forced to choose
The one job or the other;
I want to be a housewife—
But first I’ll be a mother.

(Author Unknown)

 

Memory Tricks for Learning the States and Capitals

Homeschool mom Catherine Lamb offers these fun and silly memory clues to help other mothers teach their children the states and capitals. Thanks for sharing!

The Pacific States
Washington, Olympia (Washington sits with the Greek Gods in Olympus.)
Oregon, Salem (Ore e goin’ sailin’? Are you going sailing?)
California, Sacramento (Can I afford a sack of Mentos?) (*Mentos is a candy)
Alaska, Juneau (Do you know Alaska? say with an Hispanic accent)
Hawaii, Honolulu (easy to remember, no clue)

The Mountain States
Idaho, Boise (I have a hoe named Boise.)
Montana, Helena (Helena went to the mountains)
Wyoming, Cheyenne (Indians are in the Western state of Wyoming)
Nevada, Carson City (My car and son went to a city in Nevada)
Utah, Salt Lake City (easy, no hint)
Colorado, Denver (Color a do in the den.) (*do = a hair do)
Arizona, Phoenix (The giant phoenix bird flew out of the heat of Arizona’s deserts)
New Mexico, Santa Fe (Santa doesn’t go to New Mexico.)

North Central States
North Dakota, Bismarck (We go to North Dakota to eat Bismarcks) (*a donut with pudding in it)
South Dakota, Pierre (We go to South Dakota to smell fresh pea air.) (*one of the lame ones, any better suggestions?)
Minnesota, St. Paul (St Paul gave me a mini-soda)
Nebraska, Lincoln (Lincoln went to his knee‚ ask ya)
Iowa, Des Moines (I owe a day mowing)
Kansas, Topeka (To peek at a can of sauce.)
Missouri, Jefferson City (Jeffer’s son in the City misses Ori.)

South Central States
Oklahoma, Oklahoma City (easy)
Texas, Austin (Ah! is tin in Texas?)
Arkansas, Little Rock (I saw an ark and a saw on a little rock)
Louisiana, Baton Rouge (Louise and Ana took their batons and rouge to the Mardi Gras.)

Midwest States
Wisconsin, Madison (Madison, wish no sin!)
Michigan, Lansing (Miss yi gun? Lance him.) (* little violent I know —unfortunately my boy’s favorite clue!)
Illinois, Springfield (Simpsons live here) (*the cartoon Simpson’s)
Indiana, Indianapolis (Capital name almost same as State.)
Ohio, Columbus (OH! Hi O‚ Columbus) (*greeting Columbus)

Northeastern States
Maine, Augusta (A gust a wind blew through the horse’s mane)
New Hampshire, Concord (Cut on the cords of the new ham, sire.)
Vermont, Montpelier (Vermin on a mount of peels – also mont ends Vermont,
starts Montpelier) (*we picture a rat sitting on a pile of fruit/veggie peelings)
Massachusetts, Boston (My boss weighs a ton. That’s a lot of Mass—or—weighs a ton from from mashed potatoes)
Connecticut, Hartford (connect a cut in the heart)
Rhode Island, Providence (It was Providence that we found a road on the island.) (*Providence means divine care or guidance.)
New Jersey, Trenton (Trent has on a new jersey)
Delaware, Dover (Dangerous Dave dove her into the Delaware.)
Pennsylvania, Harrisburg (Mr. Harris Burg has pencil size veins.)
New York, Albany (New York has all the bunnies.)

Southeastern States
Kentucky, Frankfort (Frank’s in the Fort, but Kents not so lucky.)
West Virginia, Charleston (Rich men are in Virginia, but Charles has his own town in West Virginia) (*see clue for Virginia)
Maryland, Annapolis (Anna’s polo game is in the merry land.)
Virginia, Richmond (Virginia was the first colony so it has all the rich men.)
Tennessee, Nashville (Ten seas are in Nashville.)
North Carolina, Raleigh (Oh Raally [snobby accent], you are from North Carolina?)
South Carolina, Columbia (A Column a bees flies South to Carolina) (Also, Carolina and Columbia both have C,O,L,I,A)
Mississippi, Jackson (Jack’s son misses his missis.)
Alabama, Montgomery (I’ll bam Mont’s gum merry!) (*whatever that means! but the sillier, the better we like them, ha ha)
Georgia, Atlanta (My sailor Georgia is at land.)
Florida, Tallahassee (I sit on the floor in da tall house by the sea)

The Singing House

by May Morgan Potter

 

Fred ate his breakfast dutifully and then slipped down from his chair.

“Now can I go over to Jimmy”s, mother?” he asked.

“But Fred,” I said, “you were over there yesterday and the day before. Why not have Jimmy come here today?”

“Oh, he wouldn”t want to.” Fred”s lip quivered in spite of his six years of manhood. “Please, mother.”

“Why do you like Jimmy”s house better than ours, son?” I pursued. It came to me suddenly that Fred and all his companions were always wanting to go to Jimmy”s house.

“Why,” he explained hesitantly, “it”s cause—it”s cause Jimmy’s house is a singing house.”

“A singing house?” I questioned. “Now what do you mean by that?”

“Well,” Fred was finding it hard to explain, “Jimmy’s mother hums when she sews; and Annie-in-the-kitchen, she sings when she cuts out cookies; and Jimmy’s daddy always whistles when he comes home.” Fred stopped a moment and added, “Their curtains are rolled clear up and there”s flowers in the windows. All the boys like Jimmy’s house, Mother.”

“You may go, son,” I said quickly. I wanted him out of the way so I could think.

I looked around my house. Everyone told me how lovely it was. There were oriental rugs. We were paying for them on installments. . . . We were paying for the overstuffed furniture and the car that way, also. Perhaps that was why Fred”s daddy didn”t whistle when he came in the house. . . .

I . . . went over to Jimmy’s house, even if it was ten o”clock and Saturday morning. It came to me that Mrs. Burton would not mind being interrupted in the middle of the morning. She never seemed to be in a hurry. She met me at the door with a towel around her head.

“Oh, come in. I have just finished cleaning the living room. No indeed, you are not interrupting. I”ll just take off this headdress and be right in.”

While I waited, I looked around. The rugs were almost threadbare; the curtains . . . tied back; the furniture, old and scarred. . . . A table with a bright cover held a number of late magazines. In the window were hanging baskets of ivy . . . , while a bird warbled from his cage hanging in the sun. Homey, that was the effect.

The kitchen door was open and I saw Jerry, the baby, sitting on the clean linoleum, watching Annie as she pinched together the edges of an apple pie. She was singing. . . .

Mrs. Burton came in smiling. “Well,” she asked, “what is it? For I know you came for something; you are such a busy woman.”

“Yes,” I said abruptly, “I came to see what a singing house is like.”

Mrs. Burton looked puzzled. “Why, what do you mean?”

“Fred says he loves to come here because you have a singing house. I begin to see what he means.”

“What a wonderful compliment!” Mrs. Burton”s face flushed. “But of course my house doesn”t compare with yours. Everyone says you have the loveliest house in town.”

“But it isn”t a singing house,” I objected. . . . “Tell me how you came to have one.”

“Well,” smiled Mrs. Burton, “if you really want to know. You see, John doesn”t make much. I don”t think he ever will. He isn”t the type. We have to cut somewhere, and we decided on non-essentials. . . . There are books, magazines, and music. . . . These are things the children can keep inside. They can”t be touched by fire or financial problems so we decided they were essentials. Of course good wholesome food is another essential. . . . The children”s clothes are very simple. . . . But when all these things are paid for, there doesn”t seem to be much left for rugs and furniture. . . . We don”t go into debt if we can avoid it. . . . however.  We are happy”, she concluded.

“I see,” I said thoughtfully. I looked over at Jerry and Fred in the corner. They had manufactured a train out of match boxes and were loading it with wheat. They were scattering it a good deal, but wheat is clean and wholesome.

I went home. My oriental rugs looked faded. I snapped my curtains to the top of the windows, but the light was subdued as it came through the silken draperies. . . . My house was not a singing house. I determined to make it sing.

 

Practice for Preschoolers

Rebekah does her cut-and-glue work

School time, but what to do with the little ones? They want to have “school” too. They need activities to keep them happy and busy while you are teaching older ones. Here’s some of my preschoolers favorite “jobs” to do during school time:

1. Cut-and-Glue

Hands down, this is my preschoolers favorite fun at school! Simply take a piece of white paper and draw a very simple outline drawing using big geometric shapes such as circles, triangles, squares, diamonds, etc. to make a picture. You could put a circle sun in the sky, a rectangle truck with circle wheels, a triangle teepee, and so forth. Then draw those simple shapes on different colors of paper. Give your child some child-sized scissors and a glue stick and let them cut out the shapes and glue them onto the matching shape on their picture. They can use crayons or markers to draw in details. This is lots of fun and great cutting practice! Stick it up on the wall for Daddy to see when you are done.  (See my favorite cutting and pasting books for little ones!)

2. Pom Pom Sort

Glue several different colors of felt rounds into the bottom of the cups of an old muffin tin. Give your little one a bin of colored pom poms in colors to match the felt in the muffin tins, and let them use tongs to pick up the pom poms and drop them in the matching color space. Now that takes some coordination! Younger children can sort them with their hands or a spoon. This muffin tin is also great for noiselessly sorting buttons, beans, coins and more.

3. Lid Match

Save all kinds of plastic containers and their lids, plus jars and their matching lids, for a 4-5 year old who can handle this project. I kept mine in a computer paper box, and brought it out once a week or less to keep it novel. Just match the tops to the bottoms! A very challenging puzzle!

4. Tracing Time

You can build fine motor coordination, so necessary for writing by using tracing to help your preschooler learn to control a marker, crayon or fat pencil. Just paper-clip a piece of tracing paper firmly to a coloring book page (torn out of the book) and have your child trace over each line. It’s exciting to see the image appear on the tracing paper! Great practice to make a wonderful future writer!  (See my favorite tracing book for preschoolers).

5. Puzzle Dump Challenge

If your preschooler has mastered all the kids’ puzzles you have in your school room, you can give him a project to master by taking 2 or 3 (or more!) puzzles and dumping all their pieces in one pile. Lay the puzzle frames in front and let your student figure things out.  Exciting and challenging!

6. Pattern Train

One of the kindgarten math skills requires learning to replicate a pattern. Preschoolers can learn this and have fun with it. Using big legos (buttons, game tokens, dollar store poker chips or any other manipulatives), create a pattern for your child to follow. Start simple. You might make a row of legos in a pattern: red, blue, red, blue, red, blue. Now it is your child’s turn to make a very long train following your pattern over and over. As their skills develop, make the pattern more complicated: red, blue, yellow, yellow, green . . . and repeat . . . red, blue, yellow, yellow, green. Let your little one take a turn making a pattern train for you to follow, too.

Enjoy!

May I recommend:


Sticker & Paste

Book of Tracing

Book of Cutting

A Work that Matters

Daniel Webster

 

If we work on marble, it will perish. If we work upon brass, time will efface it. If we rear temples, they will crumble into dust, but if we work upon immortal minds, and instill into them just principles, we are then engraving upon that tablet that which no time will efface but will brigthen and brighten to all eternity.

—Daniel Webster

Punctuation Games

I’ve always found language arts workbooks dreadful. I know some children like doing them, but I love English and those workbooks seem to reduce a rich, lovely language to a dull, fill-in-the-blank exercise. I like to make things into a game.  So, when it comes to learning punctuation skills, I am all about learning them through an interactive game. Here’s how we learn the punctuation symbols and how to use them in my homeschool:

Punctuation Game

Get a stack of 3 x 5″ blank index cards and write a punctuation symbol on each card, including period, comma, question mark, exclamation point, hyphen, colon and so forth. If a child is old enough to write well, he should make his own set. You’ll need a stack too. They should look something like this:

Now, seat your children apart, facing you and not each other. For starters, just use the cards with the period, question mark and exclamation mark. Set others aside.

Explain the differences in how a sentence sounds when it ends with each of these punctuation marks. For example, read this sentence:
Mary bakes bread.
Show the card with the period symbol on it and explain that this sentence ends with a period. You can hear ending punctuation. A sentence ending in a period sounds even and somewhat monotone.

Now read this sentence, with inflection:
Is Mary baking bread?
Show the card with the question mark and ask your students to listen for the lilt at the end of the sentence. You can hear the question mark.

Now read this with excitement:
Mary is burning the bread!
Hold up the exclamation point card. Ask the students how they can tell the sentence needs an exclamation point.

Now it is time to play the game:

Mom reads a sentence, and the kids simultaneously hold up the correct card, high in the air, facing Mom. It works best if they cannot see each other’s cards. Mom takes a look at their cards and then holds up her correct card. Everyone whose card matches Mom’s correct card gets a token (bean, button, paper clip, whatever). After everyone has played to their fill, count up tokens and see who is the winner. The winner now gets to make up the sentences.

Here’s some sentences to get you started. You’ll think of more fun sentences to use as you go along. You read the sentence, Mom, and then hold up the appropriate punctuation card.

1. Ouch! I stubbed my toe!

2. Today is Tuesday.

3. I love to go to the beach!

4. Are you sleeping?

5. The paper is on the table.

6. Are you finished yet?

7. It’s my birthday!

8. When is dinner?

9. I don’t know.

10. I hope we have ice cream!

After several rounds of this game, add additional punctuation mark cards, and explain their use to your children. A quick round at the beginning of school time will make your children practically geniuses when it comes to punctuating a sentence. You can increase the difficulty quickly by requiring them to hold up 2 cards per sentence.

Try this:
Add the hyphen mark, which is used in words that are linked together, specifically numbers, such as thirty-four. Also use a hyphen to join words that act together to describe the noun, such as one-way street, well-known person, chocolate-covered raisins, when the describing words come right before a noun.

I am twenty-one today!
Hold up first the hyphen card and then the exclamation point card.

Are you eating a raspberry-filled doughnut?
Use a hyphen and a question mark.

How about this one (say it with drama!)
The thief stole my gold-plated statue!
Use a hyphen and exclamation point.

To your punctuation success!

 

Grammar Excitement

Now, I know “excitement” may not be how you describe the subject of grammar, but your kids will think this instant, silly game is plenty of fun, and they’ll get good at knowing their parts of speech too!

Ready?

Set?

First, teach or review that a “noun” is a person, place or thing. Have your children look around the room and find nouns. If you can touch it, it is a noun. If you count it, it is a noun. If you can go there, it is a noun.

Next, teach or review the concept that a “verb” is an action word. Anything you can do is a verb. That would mean hopping, running, swimming, dancing, playing, typing, etc. There are also words for just existing or being and they are verbs too! Is, am, are, be, were, being, was, are all verbs.

Now, for the game!

Have the children stand up and raise their hand. A hand is a thing. The word hand is a noun. So whenever you say a word that is a noun, the children are supposed to raise their hand up.

Now have the children hop. Verbs are action words: hopping, swimming, dancing, running, etc. Tell the children to hop on one foot whenever you say a word that is a verb.

Start easy by just saying random words:

apple (noun—children should raise a hand up)
dancing    (verb—children should hop)
balloon    (noun—children should raise a hand up)
cookie     (noun) . . . continue
whistled (verb)
pet     (noun)
Disneyland (noun)
book     (noun)
slid     (verb)
slither    (verb)
hamburger (noun)
Japan     (noun)
slime     (noun)
sneezed    (verb)
jiggled    (verb)
. . .etc.

Be careful when saying verbs to state them in their -ing form (dancing rather than dance) or in a past tense form (danced instead of dance). The reason is that many verbs are also nouns. A dance could be a noun. Dancing and danced are verbs.

You can pick the silliest words you can think of and go faster and faster so that the children are racing to make their signals. This is lots of action, fun and laughs. When the children get good at this, slip in a few state of being verbs such as is, was, are, be, am. When they are no longer stumped by the “being verbs”, you can start telling them a story slowly, and let them figure out the nouns and verbs. For example, you could say this sentence and expect these signals:

“The pig gobbled his dinner.”
The
pig (noun—children should put their hand up)
gobbled (verb—children should be hopping)
his
dinner (noun—hand up).

“Charley was a large pig and he lived in a muddy pigpen.”
Charley (noun—hand up)
was (verb—hopping)
a
large
pig (noun—hand up)
and
he  (noun—hand up)
lived (verb—hopping)
in
a
muddy
pigpen (noun—hand up).

“Charley loved to eat apples.”
Charley (noun—hand up)
loved     (verb—hopping)
to
eat    (verb—childen should hop)
apples (noun—children should put their hand up).

You can add to the game by teaching a signal for proper nouns. Proper nouns are nouns that are capitalized and mean a certain, specific thing, such as Charley, Mr. Jones, or Disneyland rather than pig, man and amusement park, which are common nouns. Whenever a noun is proper, have your child bow in a proper way. So when you say the word, Charley, your child will not only have his hand up to signal a noun, but he will take a bow to signal a proper noun.

If you aren’t quick in thinking up sentences for your children to do the actions to, then read a simple children’s book aloud, sentence by sentence.

Your children can join right in to make up more signals as you learn more parts of speech. There are 8 parts of speech (nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, coordinating conjunctions, preposition, articles) so this doesn’t get too complicated to have fun with.

Who can resist grammar when it is just fun and games?!