Sean has studied the parts of speech before, but I thought it was a good idea to start with a brief history of language, then dive into the parts of speech, and continue from there with writing exercises.
A couple of weeks ago I was talking about nouns, and gave him a little information on the beginning of human language and how people began to give things in their lives names: house, tree, plant, flower, food, deer, etc. He listened quietly.
Then I asked him to bring out his language book. We are working from composition books because the pages stay in them, and it makes for less papers everywhere. We do have some loose papers that he keeps in a binder with tabs, but mostly he uses composition books for his works.
I haven't studied what Maria had to say about the 9-12 year olds, and whether she observed any sensitive periods for art, but I do. Sean has always enjoyed art, but when he turned nine he began to draw all the time. And he continued to draw and loved it so much that it became somewhat of a "problem" at school. His art has evolved as he has matured, and he draws characters from cartoons and does them really well. Some of them look exactly like the characters and you would think they were drawn by the artist who created them.
Because he loves to draw, I can spark his interest in a subject by having him create a drawing. I try to incorporate it into every subject we do. He also loves to invent things. He doesn't hate language arts, but it did seem kind of dry and I was trying to find a way to spice it up.
To illustrate the noun story I had him invent something and draw it. I told him he could invent anything in the world he would like. It didn't have to make sense, and there were no rules around this activity. It just had to be something he would like to invent, and as far as we knew, it couldn't already exist. And I needed him to draw it.
And once he did that, I told him it now had to have a name, and he couldn't use a name that already existed.
Then I told him that if he had actually invented this product, he would have just added another noun to the world.