Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Am Not Sure If Our Issue is Spelling or Language...

One of the issues when using a Classical Curriculum for homeschooling is that often times we come across words in our literature which are not ones we use in our everyday language… often originally innocuous words which have since taken on another (typically less desirable) meaning.
For example, every time our current history text mentions something about “booty” for example: “they slaughtered all the people of the town and hauled off much booty”…my boys dissolve into a giggling fit the likes of which you may have never seen.
Unfortunately, this means that their teacher may or may not also giggle.
Of course, as a trained professional, I would merely be laughing at them laughing…
I didn’t come here today to talk to you about that.
But it’s kind of related so I’m not completely off-topic.
Now, in our literature, there is sometimes the inclusion of curse words. I try to act as though it’s no big deal at all and keep on reading. These are all words the PBA has heard (not from me, just to be clear) and it’s not as though the purpose of our homeschooling is to keep them entirely sheltered. So we read strong, classic literature.
Which sometimes has curse words.
It typically consists of, but is no way limited to, the following list: ass, damn, and hell…and bastard is thrown in there sometimes as well.
I felt I should include this list because I am full-service. And you may also be questioning, at this point, what I am allowing my children to read. I really don’t have issue with it and you shouldn’t either.
That’s what I tell myself, anyway; it helps me sleep at night.

Anyway…we ran into a few choice words this week, as we were reading our current literature piece,“Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc” by Mark Twain…I tell you this just in case you care to pick up a copy for yourself. I’m sure you will…it’s quite a lovely read, actually...minus the expletives. I am certain you’d enjoy it. I’d loan you my copy but I just couldn’t stand to part with it. I’m sure you understand.

But I digress.

So yes, this book does have a little language but so far it’s been fairly easy to gloss over. I am often the one reading it (we are working on our listening skills at the PBA so I make them listen and then narrate back to me what they have heard; it’s about as frustrating as it sounds, actually) so I can omit a choice word if it’s really not relevant.

However this week, we were in the car and pressed for time so I let my 11yo read it aloud for us. Which also works on developing my listening skills; it’s also about as frustrating as it sounds, actually.

So since I decided to take one for the team and listen to someone else read, in so doing I got to hear my 11yo, with great delight and emphasis (I might add) shout out “Bastard!”

Several times, in fact.

I have never before and possibly may never again hear him read with such excitement and zeal.

I must, before I continue, share with you my favorite sentence in this streak: “Bastard, Bastard, will ye play always with these English? Now verily I tell you we will not budge until this place is ours. We will carry it by storm. Sound the charge!”

He was so impassioned in his reading, I felt like I was there to witness the event.

At first, my 13yo, the consummate rule-follower (except when the rules might apply to him), chastised his brother, “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe you said that word!”

11yo: What’s the big deal? Mom said that it’s not a big deal when it’s in our books for school. The sentence had an exclamation point so I was trying to read it with enthusiasm!”

Me: Just keep reading, please…

So, like the obedient son he is, he forged ahead…until he got to a sentence that began, “When all our host…”

And then he stopped.

11yo: Ummmm this sentence has the “h” word in it…

Me: Oh, ok…well if you aren’t comfortable saying it, just skip it.

I could not imagine why he wouldn’t say “hell” after shouting out “bastard” no less than 4 times…but whatever, dude.

He continued on, but for some reason the sentence with the “h” word was rolling around in my head…because it didn’t make sense with the “h” word.

And because I am a stickler for complete understanding, I stopped him.

Me: Buddy, stop for a second…the “h” word that you didn’t want to say. ..could you just tell me what it is, because the word I was thinking of doesn’t fit in that sentence.

11yo: Well… (clearly uncomfortable and a little bit squirmy)

13yo: It’s ok…what was it? (so all of a sudden, a curse word isn’t wrong to say? I assumed that he was just trying to learn a new curse word…so here’s a case in which me telling them “I want you to be life-long learners and don’t be afraid to ask questions” kind of came back to bite me in the behind...or ass, as it were)

11yo: It’s the “h-o” word…

Me: Oh…

Considering the sentence, it still didn’t make sense. So I forged ahead.

I’m an “only”…don’t judge.

Me: But wait, that still doesn’t make sense.

11yo: “h-o-a…”

Silence filled the car. Now I don’t claim to know every single curse word which has ever been uttered, but I’d like to think I have a jump on the 11yo. Not that it’s a competition, mind you, but if he’s hearing swear words on a regular basis (and possibly new and different ones to boot), I might need to step up my parenting.

My 13yo shot me a confused look…clearly thinking the same thing as me.

Me: Ummm, I still have no idea what word that is. Can you read the sentence again…maybe I didn’t hear it correctly.

11yo: “When all our host was shouting itself *beep* with rejoicings…”

(After I stopped giggling), I said, “Oh…is it ‘hoarse’?!? I think the word you are thinking of begins with a silent 'w'..."

1 comment:

  1.! I actually did giggle out loud to the evil stare of my 9th grade homeschooler. Thanks for the jolly!