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Friday, 13 August 2010


Can you parse? No, I haven't completely taken leave of my senses but in the interests of some research for my memoirs I was going through some of my memorabilia and came across these sheets along with some school reports and such like.

This was an exercise done by me when I was at the most 6 years old since I left this particular school to move house before I was 7! What is parsing I wondered... To Parse: to resolve a sentence into its component parts and describe their syntactic roles - uh?!.

I even had to check it in the dictionary yet here I was aged 6 merrily doing it and getting it right!

I was amazed at the level we seemed to be expected to reach back in those days although you will notice I obviously hadn't got to grips with capital letters! Though as my husband pointed out in astonishment I was using joined up writing so I guess I couldn't handle it all at once.

Notice the little homily at the top of the page admonishing us not to run after tramcars - where would we find one now?

Verily schools aren't what they were in the olden days!!!


  1. Verily they still are in France, though! That's a lovely piece of your own history, Jane. I think you really were doing well - I had a fit when I moved to the USA and was asked to parse sentences, so they were still doing it in the 1970s...

  2. Hi Jane....verily I say unto you, I saw the word parse and thought pass.....

    Really interesting to see what you were doing at age 6, compared to my grandson who has just turned seven.

  3. That seems so advanced for a 6 year old, when I used to help out at my mums school they would be lucky to spell noun and verb correct, let along writing adjective, using joined up writing and remembering capital letters!

    Nice bit of history you've kept! :)

  4. I most heartily agree .....
    After working with the Reception/ year 1 class for 17 years I think things have declined with our multivariations that children have to cope with today.
    You were SO clever!
    Have a lovely weekend
    Val (a 20 Minuter)

  5. Oh yes, I remember it well - you don't want to hear my English teacher husband on the subject of falling standards though. I hope your self-esteem has survived being marked in red ink - mine seems to have managed. Our 6 yr old daughter was taught joined up writing at one school in the 1980s then told to go back to printing at the next as the rest hadn't learnt it! Needless to say her stay at that school was not a long one!

  6. Oh yes I remember Parsing well. Those were the days when we were taught English !! The falling standards and "new" curriculum are the main reasons I'm SO glad to be out of teaching !!
    Achieving all of that at 6!!! You certainly were more advanced than any Aussie kid of that age in those days. These days the kids don't even know what a sentence is - you need to know parsing to be able to work that out !!!
    Don't get me started!!!

  7. I certainly wasn't up to parsing at 6, although we did do it at secondary school where it was called sentence analysis, which I loved for some reason. When I left teaching three years ago I was teaching nouns,verbs,adjectives etc to 7 year olds, it was part of the National curriculum.

  8. Jane,

    I wish I still had my old school reports. I looked at this and it gave me a jolt. I've often mentioned subject and predicates and people look at you cockled. When I explain it was all part of the grammar we were taught in primary school, the look deepens and it's as if you came from another planet. Now I know I am right - thank you, although I have to admit that I have never heard of parsing! Your handwriting was exemplary for a six year old. I think I peaked then and it's all been downhill ever since! Have a great weekend rummaging thorugh your archives. Doesn't this show the value of keeping things? Lesley xx

  9. Have you records of your mathematical skills as well?
    I well-remember the process of long-division and multiplication of pounds, shillings, pence, half-pence and farthings, although not quite at six years of age.
    Then there was the same process applied to ounces, pounds, stones, hundredweights and tons; not to mention pints, gills, quarts, gallons, as well as reams and quires, inches, feet, yards and furlongs.

  10. How fantastic to have that little part of your history. It made wonderful reading. Thank you Jane :O)

  11. I can remember doing all that in English lessons at school, don't think I would be able to do it now though, I have enough trouble some days remembering the children's names.

  12. Until 5 years ago I was a primary school teacher and although we did teach grammar and sentence work I have to admit I've never heard of parsing! Now I train student teachers, maybe I'll ask them if they've ever "parsed" when I meet my next cohort in a month's time!

  13. I remember parsing too. (Although you have also taken me back to conjugating verbs and declining nouns in Latin now!)

  14. Hi Jane
    I've never come across parsing! You were a lot more advanced at age 6 than I was! I don't think we even attempted joined up writing for several years at primary school, never mind something this complex.

  15. My how clever you were at just 6 years of age.
    I've never even heard of the word 'parsing' before.

  16. The little note about not running after tram cars made me smile - I grew up in the Yorkshire Dales and went to an old Victorian village school with a block of toilets outside across the yard - probably along with most conveniences in those days we had the shiny izal toilet tissue on a roll which skidded over any deposits rather than wiping and cleaning important little places effectively but the one thing I remember most vividly about our particular loo rolls was they had a message printed on each sheet which always read 'WRCC Please wash your hands' And they say we live in a nanny state now!

    (Incidentally WRCC stood for West Riding County Council)


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