I really do not remember working on the eight parts of speech until the fifth or sixth grade. Nor do I remember much about it. My real first recollection of actual teaching of grammar was in the seventh grade, and it was mostly doing exercises.
I will say I learned the parts of speech. I am just not sure how it happened. My schooling was not extraordinary nor very challenging. However, I also chose not to really study anything that I did not find appealing.
In high school, one of my teachers told me that she would bet me a steak that I wound up teaching English. I took her up on that bet and lost. The original grammar book was called:
A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, eventually a three-volume textbook for schoolchildren. The first part of this series became famous as the “Blue-Backed Speller.” According to one biographer, no other book, except the Bible, played such a part in unifying the language of the United States. Parts 2 of the three parts was the original grammar book. The other book was the first reader.
As I look back now, the approach to teaching the basic parts of our grammar system has never been very effective. Somewhere along the lines, we get caught in remembering the names of the parts of speech and forget that the reason that we learn these is only to transfer the knowledge into what is more important: writing and reading the language. There have been some new approaches: mountain language is suppose to be an effective way to learn the parts of speech.
I have seen some teachers who taught the parts of speech like it was a separate entity from writing and reading. They diagrammed 30 words sentences and those students who were visual were delighted. But the transference back to reality still left a good percentage of the students scratching their heads wondering what this had to do with anything.
As a young student, I did not know anything about the importance of grammar. However, I was smart enough to know that I needed to read to know anything. As a reader, it is easy to pick up the syntax of the language and the sentence and eventually, the paragraph. That is what is important.
Naming the parts of speech in isolation does not bring into focus the use of those words as relevant to the more important writing skills.