We discovered Kittredge and Arnold’s classic The Mother Tongue Book II several years ago after hearing about it from very wise and experienced classical homeschooling moms. It seemed odd to bother with an old grammar book, but we felt pretty confident that women with a decade or more experience homeschooling classically than we had surely must know what they were talking about.
I found a copy and started using it with my twin daughters, who were in about sixth grade at the time. I liked it a lot, but it was a bit of a hassle to use because of the old font and layout. We read the chapters aloud together, and my daughters followed along on photocopies of the old pages. It seemed that to get the best value out of the treasure-trove of practice sentences, my daughters should spend the time working the exercises out on paper. But to do it right, it took a lot of time. We got through a dozen or more chapters, but then lost steam.
It was a great resource, but difficult to use. I spent the next couple of years bouncing around with grammar books, discontented, and ended up wistfully pulling out The Mother Tongue Book II again last winter. I decided to try to take my daughters through it again, and this time my son would join in.
Tina shared my admiration for the vintage book, but she knew the old layout, font, and style was just too inaccessible for her to use with her family. It had to be easier on the eyes, easier to teach, and easier to implement the practice sentences in her homeschool. As we talked about it, we hit on the idea of teaming up to re-format it, add study aids, and put the practice sentences into a format that our kids could work on efficiently.
Today, the fruit of that labor is The Mother Tongue: Adapted for Modern Students. Workbook 1 is now available (which covers exercises from chapters 1-75), and Workbook 2 (which covers the remaining chapters) will release this fall.
Oh, yes, and an answer key.
We are working diligently to get the answer key for Workbook 1 released by the end of August. It is pretty daunting to write an answer key for a definitive grammar book written by a Harvard professor around 1900! More on that process in a coming post.