Meiklejohn and Morris, Textbooks Mason Used for Grades 7-9

composition-charlotte-mason-style-Form-III-and-IV-the-textbooksI blogged about CM’s approach to composition and grammar for grades 7-9 previously (scroll for links).

There are two textbooks she used for these grades- at least, two that are mentioned in the programmes I found on AmblesideOnline’s website.

In this post, I will share more specific details about the use of the two textbooks mentioned and the concepts covered term by term.  It’s really a post that will probably be of most interest to wonkish, nerdy types who like minutae and details.

In every term, in addition to the textbooks, the students “Parse and analyse from books read, making progress each term.”

The two textbooks mentioned for these grades are Meiklejohn’s A New Grammar of the English Tongue and Morris’s English Grammar.  Students used one or the other in a term, not both.

In Programme 90, (The 90th term of work set since the Parents’ Union School began.)  (May to July, 1921. September to December, 1921, in the Dominions.), these are the pages and concepts assigned:

IV. Meiklejohn’s A New Grammar of the English Tongue* Pp. 61-74 and 85 (a, b, c, d); 107-111; 175-180.

These pages go over how English gradually ceased to be an inflected language (one where you can always distinguish nouns and verbs by their endings), and gained greater flexibility because of it.  Explains that we now determine whether a word is a noun or verb (or something else) by its function in the sentence, with lots of examples from Shakespeare.  Keep in mind these students probably were familiar with inflected languages, as they usually had studied Latin, perhaps some Greek, always some French, so they would have already been familiar with the idea of an inflected language.  Today, I think most language scholars would not say English is not at all an inflected language, it’s just that our level of inflexion is weak, and often erratic since current use is often based on past precedents that mostly don’t apply any more.  More on inflected language here. 

III. Morris’s English Grammar, pp. 40-58; 92, 98, 109-126.

In depth study of pronouns as well and verbs, including voice, mood, and tense.  Compound words, Greek suffixes and prefixes.  The sentence analysis pages which I shared above.

In the next term (Programme 91. (The 91st term of work set since the Parents’ Union School began… September to December 1921….) we find:
Form IV. Meiklejohn’s A New Grammar of the English Tongue*  pp. 86-102; 116-122  These pages cover sentence analysis, simple sentences, compound sentences, and complex sentences, strange beasts such as active transitive verbs, gerundial infinitives, participial phrases, prefixes, suffixes, and compound words.
Form III. Morris’s English Grammar* pp. 56-78; 94, 95: strong and weak verbs and verb tenses, the to-be verbs, and Latin and French suffixes, “or, better,” Meiklejohn, pp. 1-22- these pages are about language in general, how it changes, how words are incorporated from other languages, the development of the alphabet, and some truly boring details on spirant, labial, gutteral, hard, and soft pronunciation of various letters.

One year I had my two youngest read this book: The 26 Letters by Oscar Ogg. My son in particularly really enjoyed it at the time.

In the following term (Programme 92. (The 92nd term of work set since the Parents’ Union School began, January to March, 1922), students this age did work set from Meiklejohn’s A New Grammar of the English Tongue, pages 23-45 OR from Morris’s English Grammar*  pp. 78-87; 96, 97; 109-125.

What does that mean?  The Meiklejohn pages and Morris pages 78-87 cover parts of speech, specifically adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions and interjections. I would assume that this is the choice for remedial students, students who have not yet done the parts of speech, or the youngest children in form III.

Morris is more advanced than Meiklejohn, and the pages assigned cover much more material. I would assume that would be the choice for the older students (8th or 9th grade), advanced students, and those who have mastered the parts of speech, however that’s not perfectly clear.  On the website transcript, it says this programme is for Form III.

At any rate,  here’s a sample page from the assigned Morris pages on conjunctions:Morris-conjunctions


From Morris, pages 96-7 (also covered this term), surprisingly to me consists of just two pages of boring lists of suffixes and prefixes:


There are no assignments or exercises for using them in Morris’ book, and I don’t know how Miss Mason approached them.  I feel perfectly convinced that Rummy Roots would more than suffice for this.

The last set of pages assigned in Morris seems to me to be clearly intended for the oldest students in forms III and IV, but at least one program assigns it to form III.  They have to do with more complex sentence analysis- subordinate clauses of various sorts. It’s much more complicated, as you can see from the following page images (don’t worry, I won’t do this for every page assigned):Charlotte-Mason-grammar-form-IV-Morris-analysis-of-sentences-1 Charlotte-Mason-Grammar-form-IV-MOrris-analysis-of-sentences-2 CM-Grammar-form-IV-Morris-sentences-3

CM-Grammar-Form-IV-Morris-sentences-5 CM-Grammar-Form-IV-Morris-sentences-6






(Click to enlarge.  Click here if you’re interested in the full Sir Roger essay used in one of the above exercises)

So to sum up, in one term the students in grades 7-9 would, depending on their level, be sure they’ve mastered the parts of speech, learn a bunch of prefixes and suffixes, and work on parsing sentences.  The older students would also learn to identify some different types of sentences by the correct terms (compound, complex, and simple).  And it appears they spent more than one term on those pages.

From Programme 93.    (May to July, 1922.):

Form III: Meiklejohn’s A New Grammar for the English Tongue* pp 45-63, or, Morris’s English Grammar
Form IV: Meiklejohn’s A New Grammar of the English Tongue* (4/-), pp. 182-142: 175-185.

For form III (I didn’t look at the Form IV pages here), The pages in Meiklejohns go more in depth into the parts of speech, syntax, and English not being an inflexive language.

The Morris’s English Grammar pages we’ve discussed above- these pages have more in depth sentence analysis information.  Another thing that interested me when I compared the page assignments and programs, is that at least 3 terms above are covering some of the same pages in the Morris book (the last 20-25 pages or so, which cover more complicated sentence structures).

I’m going to hazard a guess that this means those pages were the target topics, and the teacher used the information in the textbooks to make lessons, perhaps using some sentences of her own making, and other times applying the material to paragraphs from the children’s reading.  They moved through the material at the pace the class could handle, ‘Parsing and analysing from books read, making progress each term.’

That changes the way I think about the page counts for the terms.

Here are some sample pages from the Meiklejohn pages (click to enlarge):

meiklejohns-new-grammar-page-45 meiklejohns-new-grammar-page-48-9 meiklejohns-new-grammar-pages-52-3 meiklejohns-new-grammar-pages-54-5 meiklejohns-new-grammar-pages-601 meiklejohns-new-grammar-pages-645

meiklejohn's new grammar page 45 meiklejohn's new grammar page 48, 9 meiklejohn's new grammar pages 52, 3 meiklejohn's new grammar pages 54, 5 meiklejohn's new grammar pages 60,1 meiklejohn's new grammar pages 64,5

Term 94 only lists this: Meiklejohn’s A new Grammar of the English Tongue pp.64-85.  These pages continue the parts of speech work after the style seen above.

The next post in the series will be on writing a precis or resume (not the sort you do for a job), and then later I’ll start looking at the last years of high school.  

Meanwhile, for more information, you might find this chart at AmblesideOnline helpful, as well as this ‘blueprint for a Charlotte Mason term‘ by Anne White at the AO Advisory blog, Archipelago.

See also Karen Glass’ post “Beginning Charlotte Mason with Older Students

Thanks for reading!

Part I is here
Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V: Upper Years, What Not To Do

Part VI: Composition, Form II (grades 4-6)

The ‘Umbrella’ Composition Book, Mason’s Horrible Warning

Part VII: Grammar, Form IIB (Grade 4)

Part VIII Overview of Years 7-9 with lots of specific writing assignments Miss Mason gave.

Composition Discovery for All Ages: The Books are the Curriculum!

Closer look at the textbooks used for Forms III and IV (this post)


Series at a glance- see the linked TOC for the entire series of Grammar and Composition/Language Arts the CM way posts

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