Homeschooling Moms: Spelling and Grammar


My friends call me a grammar nazi, but that’s not true. I’m not a stickler for perfect schoolmarm grammar in casual situations. I am actually a spelling nazi, because in my opinion, there’s never ever a time when bad spelling is acceptable. No, not even when you text. Definitely not when you’re on Facebook…not that I call individual people out about their spelling. No, I just make general posts about how annoyed I am by the illiteracy in the world today, and those who know themselves to be functionally illiterate  naturally respond and say things like, “I’m on here to relax, I’m not worried about all that.” Apparently they consider spelling words correctly to be quite an effort; something to be done when making a good appearance is an absolute requirement.. like dressing up for a job interview requires wearing pantyhose and heels instead of comfy flip-flops.

I’m afraid I don’t buy it, though. How to spell the common, everyday words in our language is something that should already be stored in the brain of every adult, and if the words are there, you will use them no matter whether you’re writing a letter to the President or scribbling a grocery list. If the words are not in your brain,  you will not know them no matter how formal the occasion might be, so please don’t try to pretend that you knew the right way and just didn’t bother to get fancy.

Now these are just my broad complaints about the world in general, but today I am particularly concerned with parents who homeschool. I read the blogs of many of these ladies, and by the way, I’m by no means a homeschool basher. I always did think it was an interesting idea and I would love to have taught my children at home, had my life situation been favorable to that. Additionally, I have no doubt that your children, by and large, probably finish up with a better general education than the average public school student. (Public schools are mired in silliness nowadays, and I think plenty of kids spend the days just shuffling from one class to another, waiting for the time to pass by.) So anyway, homeschool moms, I like you. I’m your fan. But I read a lot of your blogs and I am worried about your spelling and (although I’m not a nazi) your grammar. I see a lot of mistakes that are not typos. I see that some of you don’t know when to use your and you’re, loose and lose, their and there. I see  you writing about scarfs and roofs. You don’t know where apostrophes go. You talk about floors that “need vacuumed.” It worries me so much I want to put  my head down on my desk.

Because, you see, you are so much of your child’s universe. My own mother, for example, always said “stoled” instead of “stole.” This was a mistake on her part, but I had the chance to hear so many other people using the word correctly that I never picked up her mistake or carried it into adulthood. Your children hear (or read, or learn) the same mistakes from both their teacher and their mother, and if you have a large family, likely from all their peers! If you’re doing it wrong, there’s no one to point it out. Your child simply learns it wrong.

The problem is that of course we all think we’re doing it right. (Believe me, I proofread the work of a number of people at my job, and even after these smart professionals do their very best to hand in a perfect document, many times errors still exist.) The mistakes that are most deeply ingrained in you are probably the ones you’re least aware of. So what can you do to make sure your spelling and grammar are up to par? Well, I can’t personally check all your work (though secretly I would really love to!). But do you have a friend who has that grammar/spelling nazi reputation? That is the very person you should ask. It’s not enough for the person to be bright or to have a college degree. (One of my aforementioned coworkers is a college graduate who spells such words as “leesh,” “debrie,” and “nusicance.”) College means little in this circumstance, when what you need is simply a real stickler. Find that person and let him or her know how important it is to you that errors on your part are not passed on to your students, and I’m sure they will be overjoyed to help. If they’re like me, they’ve been dying to correct you already. :-)


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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. virtuesongage
    Nov 25, 2014 @ 04:30:38

    Great post.

    In homeschooling, they can choose to work through their curriculum as quickly or slowly as they feel comfortable doing, establishing their own pace. A child who struggle in one or more areas academically should consider homeschooling as an excellent one-to-one environment to learn the skills necessary to catch up.



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