My last two homeschooling posts were about Toa's curriculum.
Today, I started to put a snippet about Sweetling's vocabulary lesson on Facebook. Instead, I decided to put a couple of snippets about vocabulary together to make a blog post.
Snippet Number OneThis scenario isn't atypical of a Sweetling school time. No Sweetlings were harmed during the making of this anecdote. Unless you count the therapy she might need later in life.
Me (singing): Ignominy, do doo do do do. Ignominy, do do di do.
Me: You know, I wasn't like this when I was in school.
Sweetling: Really? What were you like?
Me: When I was in school I was quiet and studious and serious.
Me: So, maybe when you get older....you'll become like me.
Snippet Number Two
This is Sweetling's list of challenge words for this section of her vocabulary book. We read through the challenge words and take a guess at them if either of us think we know what they mean. If we aren't sure, or if, as is often the case, we have no earthly idea, we make a mark by them and then look them up.
Here was the list so far:
- literalism (knew it)
- litarati (marked it)
- transliterate (knew it)
- scriptorium (think we know it, marked it to double-check ourselves)
- serif (knew it)
- shrive (could take a wild guess, but we marked it rather than go with Mommy's wild guesses)
- superscription (knew it)
"Oh, I know that one," says Sweetling.
"What? How do you know that one? I don't know that one," says me.
Then Sweetling proceeds to give me a definition of eponymous and uses it in a sentence. I was still incredulous, so she looked it up to prove that she was right; and that I was less right. Really? What young teen has "eponymous" as part of her working vocabulary?
Sweetling does, that's who.
(The rest of the challenge list was euonymus, metonymy, paronomasia, agnomen, cognomen, nominalism, nominative, and praenomen....just in case you were wondering.)
Last year, we took a year off of a formal vocabulary program. As you can see, Sweetling isn't lacking for an awesome vocabulary, so a year off wasn't going to hurt her.
But now, we're looking at PSATs in a year, followed by SATs in another couple of years. So, I felt a return to a formal vocabulary program was in order.
The book itself is divided into 16 "lessons". (We work through one "lesson" every other week.) I love the way the text groups words around central concepts. Lesson 5, which is the one we're currently in, and lesson 6 together form a section titled "Reading and Writing". Each lesson uses four or so classical roots, teaching the classical root, its meaning, and its spelling. From those few roots, the lesson focuses on learning fifteen vocabulary words.
I find this approach to be a much more effective and sensible method to acquire language than a list of words that seem to be randomly selected with little in common.
I purchased two workbooks, one for Sweetling and one for me. We sit together to work on our vocabulary. After the various exercises, we compare our answers with each other. When we differ, we discuss our reasoning for each of our selections and decide together which response is the best choice. (I won't say which of us is often less right than the other. I'm trying to get through this school year with some of my dignity still intact.)
The engaging discussion during the lesson and the unofficial challenge for us each to try to use the vocabulary words throughout the week increases the long-term retention and use of new vocabulary. Plus, it's FUN.
(And what teenage girl doesn't welcome the opportunity to prove that she knows more than her mother?)
Check out what others are doing this week on Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.