Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Joy of Grammarly

Want to know a secret that can free up some of your time as a homeschool mom?  

What if I told you there is a website that can check your kids' papers for grammatical errors and plagiarism?  

Well, there is....it's called Grammarly!

Grammarly is an awesome website that can check your kids papers for grammatical errors and plagiarism.  I have been using it for a while now to check the girls' papers and recently I discovered that they are using it to check the stories they write on their own (they sometimes don't like to share those stories, you know how personal writing can be and how emotional adolescent writers can be!)

Over the last four years we have used several different grammar programs from the Michael Clay Thompson Grammar series to First Language Lessons to Daily Grams to Diagramming Sentences. Some programs we completed, like the MCT Grammar and some programs we only completed one or two volumes.

I think it is important that kids' have a firm foundation in grammar.  I believe it makes them stronger writers.  But, I also think a lot of writing is flow and I don't want my girls to get bogged down with trying to remember grammatical rules and concepts while writing.  I want them to get caught up in the flow of ideas and associations and connections into written form to be shared and expressed.  Then they can proofread and edit for grammatical errors.

We have completed Writing with Ease and have used Writing with Skill and we are currently using and LOVING Writing Strands.  I also assign weekly current event papers and weekly papers on things we learn about in history or science.  We almost always approach writing the same way.  The girls write their rough draft, this is all about FLOW.  Then, they proofread and edit their paper.  Then we go over it together and I make corrections or suggestions on how to make the writing stronger, we discuss weak areas and I always tell them what I like about their writing.  Oftentimes, my girls don't like to take all of my suggestions.  Sometimes, that is acceptable.  But other times, their writing is just incorrect.  Those are the times when we copy and paste or type their writing into Grammarly.  Now they don't just have mom telling them they need a comma or they have a run-on sentence, but they have a respected website telling them they need to change something.

We play a game now where the girls try to have Grammarly NOT find any errors in their writing.

We have been working a lot of research papers lately.  Grammarly can also check for plagiarism. We played around a little with that so the girls could see that a professor or teacher WILL be able to tell if they just copied someone else's work.  It was a great lesson in the importance of being able to write WELL.