Thursday, 14 November 2013

Homework, grammar and toys in pyjamas

My friend Circles in the Sand has written a lovely post about doing grammar with her boys, which inspired me to ruminate on our own homework and grammar experiences.

I've come to notice recently that I really enjoy helping the kids with their English homework.  This isn't really a surprise; I loved doing English at school myself, and always felt that an English lesson wasn't really "work", it was enjoyable. The best English lessons were those when you just got to read your book - hell, that wasn't work at all! This was closely followed by reading plays out loud, or - even better - getting to watch the video version of your set text. (Actually, I think everyone loved that. Particularly Far From The Madding Crowd with Terence Stamp and Alan Bates).

Maths was another matter. Littleboy 1 told me this morning: "Today is a great day because I have double maths." I had to laugh; my worst days at school were double maths days - clearly he takes after his father, who took Maths A Level.

Yesterday I spent ages helping him come up with creative adverbs to put in a story about aliens. It's difficult though - how much help do you give them? I don't want to put words in his mouth but on the other hand, I had to give him some clues, including hinting that "nicely" was not the most creative adverb in the world (and adding that teachers don't tend to like the word "nice" in general).

Anyway, as regards grammar: Littleboy 2 had a note come home from school which said:

"Friday is Children In Need day. Children are asked to bring into school their favourite doll, teddy or cuddly toy dressed in pyjamas or fancy dress for the day."

I'm not sure whether the sentence is actually ungrammatical, or just poorly worded, but it definitely wasn't clear.  We had a huge debate on whether it was the children or the toys that were supposed to come in fancy dress. I reasoned that it couldn't be the children, because they have sports on a Friday and it wouldn't be suitable to come in wearing PJs on a sports day. On the other hand, what cuddly toy has pyjamas?

Turns out it is the toy though. Seeing as Littleboy 2's is a tiger, he (the tiger) won't be going in pyjamas.





8 comments:

Iota said...

I used to love English. I couldn't work out why they made us do all those exercises, because they just seemed so easy to me. And essays were fun - just writing stories!

D'you remember in America when kids had to dress up as a favourite book character? If you ever have to do that again, then how about a panda? As in "Eats Shoots and Leaves".

Expat mum said...

Ha ha, love Iota's comment.
I remember doing English A level (Hamlet) and working feverishly at it, but it didn't seem like work at all (as opposed to the French Lit). I could have quoted the entire play but loved it.
As for helping the kids, we're doing that creative writing stuff at the moment, where he's expected to come up with other words, and my approach is to keep say "What do you mean by 'nicely' - tell me in another way". He doesn't understand what I'm doing all the time but he ends up giving me a whole list of words.

Expat mum said...

*saying*

Nota Bene said...

Glad you worked that one out...imagine the horror and humiliation of a wrong call there...

Muddling Along said...

Have been tempted to send back notes from school several times with adjustments marked in red pen... not because I'm a pedant but because they really should know better

Knackered Mother said...

I do the same! Glad I'm not alone...

Metropolitan Mum said...

L's preschool teacher used to say 'we was...'. I made me cringe and shudder. As a preschool teacher, shouldn't you know better?
PS: And I am the foreigner here!

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