This really resonates with me regarding our Japanese study for a couple of reasons. One is that, although my kids have been picking up a fair amount of Japanese from what we're doing, I've been feeling like the grammar that I studied while I was in college laid a really useful foundation for me, and that when I reached a point recently where both the grammar and my vocabulary hit a critical point, and my ability to understand both written and spoken Japanese has been really expanding the past few months -- but I'm also aware that my kids are not getting very little explicit grammar instruction right now, and I think that needs to change. We already have a number of grammar resources I've purchased, but nothing that's really kid-oriented, so I need to break down the information we've got into bite-sized pieces for them. Hopefully, this will be a pretty straight-forward process!
The modern approach to language study is the reading method, in which students are required to read text prior to instruction in the necessary grammar and vocabulary. Although this approach can be successful in certain limited circumstances, it is often very similar to teaching reading without phonics.
Looking at the way that the Latin course is organized has inspired me to take some of the grammar materials that we've got and try organizing it into something that is somewhat similar, so that my kids can have a better grasp on the grammar of our new language. We're going to use some vocabulary that they're already somewhat familiar with, but expand the ways that they can do conjugations and declensions. The Latin book has the kids doing small, discrete units: a collection of forms for a single verb makes a set. I'm going to follow that example with these present tense verbs and adjectives:
To be - inanimate objects:
ある、 ない、 あります、 ありません、 あって
To be - animate objects:
いる、 いない、 います、 いません、 いて
たべる、 たべない、 たべます、 たべません、 たべて
ねる、ねない、 ねます、 ねません、 ねて
のむ、 のまない、 のみます、 のみません、 のんで
よむ、 よまない、 よみます、 よみません、 よんで
おおきい、 おおきくない、 おおきいです、 おおきないです、おおきくて
ちいさい、 ちさくない、 ちさいです、 ちさくないです、 ちさくて
おいしい、 おいしくない、 おいしいです、 おいしくないです、 おいしくて
かわいい、 かわいくない、 かわいいです、 かわいくないです、 かわいくて
こわい、 こわくない、 こわいです、 こわくないです、 こわくて
I'm really excited about this -- grammar sometimes gets a bad rap, but I think that, particularly for foreign languages, it helps to speed up the process, and knowing the patterns that are used, it's a lot easier to both understand what's being said, and also to be able to start to swap parts out of phrases and begin to be able to express yourself. I'm looking forward to continuing our Japanese journey, and also to this new Latin adventure!