In which I ramble a bit

You know that thing where you can’t seem to get to bed before midnight or after because you are relishing the quiet and alone time that comes with three kids nestling snug into their beds?


I wish I could say I was being ultra-productive with my late night down time, but that’s not necessarily the case. Last night I spent an hour reading up on diagramming sentences…for fun.

I fear the salty Florida air has gone to my head.

I’m thinking about teaching Sloan the very basics of how to diagram a sentence. My poor kids. They just don’t stand a chance in this house, do they? But I can’t help myself. I feel like learning how to diagram a sentence is a lost art and is one of the best ways to grasp grammar. I didn’t learn it until I was in college and I hated every minute of it, but it was also the first time that grammar started to make sense to me.

So today the kids are going to get a lesson on Subject and Verb, and will learn how to break up the two in a simple sentence. We are starting easy.

What are your thoughts on teaching kids to diagram sentences? Is it something you think is important?

In that same vein, are you teaching your kids how to write in cursive despite the fact that it isn’t a totally necessary skill this day in age? In general, most public schools have stopped teaching handwriting simply because kids don’t need it, but I kind of think it’s necessary, which is why I torture Sloan every Tuesday and Thursday with cursive writing practice lessons.

Changing topics slightly, I think I may have found a local Russian tutor for the kids. We are going to meet on Tuesday so she can get to know the kids and hopefully we’ll move forward from there. I can’t wait to have them practice with a native speaker again. I so desperately miss their Russian school in St. Louis.

Lee and I are taking the two older kids on our first family mission trip this summer. I am so excited about it. We are going with IsleGo Missions to Jamaica where we will likely be helping with construction of some sort (last year they built homes) and leading a VBS. My kids are going to be amazing at this – especially Sloan. God has outfitted that child with a missionary’s heart and I can’t wait to see him in his element.

I can’t think about leaving Landon behind, though, or I get incredibly sad and anxious. He will be with my parents, so I know he’ll be fine but he is such a Mama’s boy and he and Tia are pretty much joined at the hip so being away from all of us for a week is going to be hard on him.

*sad face*

Lee and I are in the midst of praying fervently about what to do school-wise for the kids next year. We have several options and all are good, but we are seeking which is best for the kids, for me and for our family dynamics as a whole.

I am headed to Blissdom in a couple of weeks, which I’m really looking forward to, but FIRST my friend Bethany is coming to visit and I’m so excited I can barely see straight. Every time I think about it, I girl squeal and clap my hands, which can be awkward in the middle of the grocery store but whatever.


Read this blog post. It’s amazing and inspiring isn’t it?

I should go. The kids are getting restless and I need to prepare today’s lessons. Sentence diagramming here we come! This is the part where my children would likely request prayer for sanity…

Image credit


  1. We diagram and yes, it HAS taught them grammar SO much better than they would get it otherwise. Until I taught them this myself I didn’t even know what a direct object was or how to properly determine to use “who” or “whom.”

  2. I was actually amazed at how quickly they picked the process up this morning. Granted we were on very simple sentences, but they were able to grasp adjectives, adverbs, subject, verb and direct object in a short half hour time frame. Why aren’t we teaching this in schools? It makes so much sense to do so? If you break it down and start simple it’s really not that intimidating. 🙂

  3. mel cable says

    our school does teach cursive, they have to use it for their spelling words every week. But I’ve wondered the same. Parker likes it though, he loves writing in cursive, just something new to pick up I suppose. Also, you may want to take a look at shirley english, our school does it as well as some of my homeschool friends, I despise it, cuz I don’t get it, but is all about the sentence structure, labeling, etc.

    • I’ve read that cursive is good for basic brain development and fine motor skills, and the fact is these kids are still going to need to be able to write as adults, even if they won’t have to write out their college essays by hand. 🙂 They still need to be able to sign their names legibly.

      I will check out Shirley English. I’ve heard of it. Thanks, Mel! 🙂

  4. I admire you and your efforts! I think it’s a great idea, why the heck not? And I agree that there are some things that should still be taught, like cursive, even if it isn’t necessarily expected. I think it’s just a finer part of education and it’s not like it hurts them. Though….Sloan may argue otherwise. 😀

    You’re a good momma. You give so much of your time to the kids every day. They will remember that forever. HUGS TO YOU!

    • Haha! You’re so sweet. I must admit I’m reading this while they watch a movie because I couldn’t do it anymore today. But we all have those moments, right? 🙂

      Hugs back atcha. I love you.

  5. Oooooooh— if ever there was a post to get me to de-lurk!!! Gotta love me some sentence diagramming! Once your children become fluent in all the parts of speech and can easily diagram complex sentences, they will rarely make a grammar mistake in their writing again. How’s that for motivation?? 🙂

    Counting down days and packing my flip flops,

    • ONE WEEK!

      Yes. I still struggle sometimes with grammar because I didn’t learn it properly from the beginning. I really don’t want them to have the same issues. So diagram we will!

      ONE WEEK!

      • Oh, and I knew if I talked about both your impending visit and grammar i could likely incite a comment from you.

        *insert maniacal laugh here*

  6. And I agree with Mel. Shirley grammar never impressed me much either.

  7. Love Love LOVE diagramming sentences! I remember in 7th grade, we had to diagram the Pledge of Allegiance. At the rate your kids are learning it, they’ll be on to the pledge next week! So cool to hear how well they did with it! But cursive…. my hat’s off to you. I think Andrew’s a year younger (first grade) than Sloan but we did cursive for about 2 weeks and I’ve never seen my son’s brain shut down the way his did with trying to write in cursive. It was like he lost his ability to even hold the pencil. It was a horrible mess of an effort on both our parts, and I learned that a few of the schools who DO teach it wait until 2nd grade to do so. So, I put the books away and called it quits on that. ‘Til next year at least. Praying that the schooling decision-making goes well and God gives you lots of guidance & wisdom in it. We won’t be doing homeschool next year. Part of me is sad; part of me is very glad.

    • Isn’t it funny how big of a deal that simple practice of writing is to them? It’s like I ask him to roll in fire every time I pull out the book! Good for you for recognizing your son’s need to take a break, Jenny!

  8. I completely dig the fact that you are teaching them diagramming as well as Russian! What really makes me happy is that you are allowing Sloan to go on a mission trip. That is one thing that I have never done and long for in my heart. I feel certain I would do well with it, and my kids would as well. It warms my heart to know that blogging friends of mine (read friends) are going to do it at least. How wonderful indeed. Great post Kelli!

    • Thanks Rodney. We are very excited to take the kids with us. I think it will be special for all of us.mthanks for the encouragement. 🙂