Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Great Word Debate

I am pooped!  We have had such a busy week as we are in the Big Push Mode to get everything done on our End of the Year Goals list before our "7 in '11 Grand Vacation Extravaganza".  I have a list stuck to the fridge of everything I am hoping to accomplish with the kids, and we are gradually making our way through it although it is seriously a lot of work.  I tend to always bite off a bit more than I can chew, but once we knew we were really and truly going to DC I wanted to throw in a bit more learning to make the trip more relevant.  So we are in the midst of watching the entire Liberty's Kids series...40 episodes of cartoons with big name actors doing the voice overs (tonight we heard Dustin Hoffman as Benedict Arnold and Walter Cronkite has been Ben Franklin!) as the history of the formation of our country is played out.  Even Dominick has enjoyed this and we laughed saying we were learning things we never were taught in school ourselves.  I can't believe how valuable Netflix has been to us as a family.

I tried to take photos today of the kids all beginning to work on their Colonial Life lapbook in preparation for our trip to Colonial Williamsburg, and the camera is indeed 100% dead. The Fonzie Smackdown worked for one round of photos, but today I had a weird black bar across my image and they were all eerily over-exposed.  Perhaps I should have posted them anyway and called them modern art!  While we knew it was on it's last leg, we had hoped to nurse it along for awhile, but that's not happenin' now.  So tonight was spent comparing and contrasting digital SLR cameras online, and guess what we are getting for our 25th anniversary?  A new camera.  Not quite the Rolex I envisioned when I was 17 and teasing Dominick as a newly engaged young woman (I have to laugh at calling myself a "woman" at 17, but that's our story and we're stickin' to it!).  However, the camera is far more practical and tens of thousands less! Hahaha! 

Besides, I have all the Rolex's I'll ever need, my little diamond and ruby encrusted Kiddos ;-0  And generously, much to my surprise, they all offered to pitch in and help buy us a new one with their money earned working on Saturdays for ski season.  Of course we declined, but their enthusiastic and authentic desire to want to gift us with something like that really WAS better than any Rolex!! pics until a decision is made.  We'll stick with a Canon I think, but which model is up in the air.  My first real camera was a Canon AE1 Program which was my graduation gift from high school and was used for about 20 years before I stepped into the digital world.  While in my affluent community as a kid many graduates were getting trips to Hawaii and there were a lot of keys to brand new cars being handed over, I was thrilled to get my camera and knew how much my folks had sacrificed to be able to give it to me.  It remained a prized possessions clear up until right before Joshie's adoption trip as the world slipped into the digital age and we realized we were at the break even point on a trip like that...we would spend about as much on film and developing as we would on a new digital camera and printing inexpensively only those photos that turned out well, so we made the leap and never looked back.  I doubt that any camera purchased today will last as long as my first one did, as technology creates premature obsolescence these days, but I'll keep whatever we get for as long as I can...and Dominick promised not to drop the new one!!! :-)

In the midst of our busy day today, we began working on this killer terrific new workbook on word roots.  It is a 5 year program (we don't plan on it taking us 5 years though) and is PHENOMENAL.  The kids really enjoyed it, and we had fun with it.  It teaches words in the same way I was taught all those years ago, but that somehow has been overlooked in recent years...focusing on word roots, prefixes and suffixes in a very systematic, organized fashion.  I am teaching all 5 kids at once, and as a vocabulary and spelling help it is extraordinary and was JUST the tool I had been searching for.  I found this at the show in Memphis and am so glad!  I know 98% of you aren't interested in such information, but for the 2% out there who might be you can find it at .  This is terrific in particular for older adoptees, as it has been tested in ESL situations and shown marked improvement in a mere 6 weeks of use 15 minutes a day.  However, any student would benefit from this program, and I am betting that this would virtually eliminate any vocabulary work necessary for those preparing for ACT's or SAT's, if you are going down that road eventually.

Anyway, I had to share with you where this took us...and I hope no one is offended.  I was trying to explain how words morph as time passes.  I don't know WHY I this example popped into my head, but it was perfect if a bit crude.  When such examples come, I usually use them as the first thing that comes to mind is often the best.  We talked about the word "bitch" and its original meaning, then how it changed meaning to be applied to women, then how it morphed into the surfer cool term bitchin' when I was a kid, and how it also could be used as a verb.  The kids were absolutely fascinated (I kid you not!) that one word could change so radically and have so many meanings over time.  I threatened them with being drawn and quartered if I heard them using it :-)  and interestingly, they had never heard it before!  I couldn't believe that some kid or adult hadn't said it around them at one time or another, but they were clueless. 

We then also talked about "dotcom" and "email" and their origins, which also surprised them as they just knew them as the words they are.  I'll admit this was a bit off course from our workbook, but hey, you gotta go where the muse takes you...hahahaha!  And a HUGE connection was made for them all today with this, as they began to understand how words start as one thing and continue to change with the times, something they had never considered before. 
Now, please don't think I am a terrible  mother OR teacher for the example I used!  After all, the original word was NOT a bad word, and I did point that out!

And now you ALL know you would never want your children attending the LaJoy World School, for they would come home with potty mouths acting as if it was perfectly acceptable and wondering why you were mortified after they repeated certain things.

A super busy week stretches out before us as well, and I will be in Duluth this next weekend with Nancy Larson Science at another homeschooling show, which I am looking forward to. 

Kenny starts round two of braces this week, as we go in for spacers for the next set on his upper teeth.  It has been nice to see his smile without braces for the past several months, but we are not even close to being done with him and are looking at several years more with another round with the palate expander sometime later this year.  We are awaiting word from Shriner's about when his next surgery will be, which is a lip revision at his request. 

Last week we finally got his vaccinations done so we could move forward with that.  Everyone but Josh needed more so we walked out of County Nursing 2 hours after arriving having 13 vaccinations between 4 kids.  Must have been a world record, and it took them even longer because Olesya's records showed her having vaccinations before she was even born!  I found this highly amusing considering we had been under the assumption she was a year younger than she actually was when we went to adopt her.  Now the Kaz records were messed up in yet another area, but it really threw the nursing staff for a loop and for a few minutes I was given the evil eye, as if I had somehow forged the documents and then done so incorrectly! When it was all over we walked out with a few tears having been shed (Angela and Matt) and few hands having been held as Joshie was the Official Hand Holder and did a great job providing comfort to his siblings, and giggling over Olesya's weird noises made while getting 4 shots...she was a riot!

It is SO nice finally having Dominick home on a normal schedule after ski season.  He gets up so early all winter, around 3:00 AM, and then is understandably wiped out when he gets home at night, so we feel like we lose him for 4 months or so.  Last weekend was the last one of ski season, so now we are back to being able to hold coherent coherent as we LaJoy's will ever be!

You are now up to date with this rambling post which has probably bored you from beginning to end.  Sorry about that!  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Shannon said...

This post made me smile, Cindy. You can teach my kids about words anytime. After my 3 1/2 year old (now 5) dopped the f-bomb (and used it correctly in a sentence, I might add), nothing would surprise me! Glad to hear Dominick is "back" and all the kiddos are got caught up on vaccinations without incident.

Joyce said...

Cindy I really enjoy your everyday posts, plus I really enjoy the little links thrown in. Im no longer homeschooling but love to keep learning and you provide links that you have found useful.

Anonymous said...

What a "bitchin" blog. I'm going to refer my daughter to it. The word program sounds like a good one for my grandson.

Thanks for the info,

Dee said...

Learning the roots of words is very valuable. ost curse words started out as something else anyway, I think, so why not teach them that?! Just think, 100 years ago it was considered indecent to use the word "pregnant." In England a "faggot" is a piece of wood. Fascinating stuff.

My kids both have Coolpix cameras [Canon, I think] and they work better than my much more expensive camera.