Everytime I see a movie or someone I know sees a movie that was based on a book they read, we agree that the book was better than the movie. Oh, a movie can entertain and bring tears to my eyes, or make me laugh uncontrollably, but when it comes to knowing the characters intimately, that takes words and vocabulary, I need more than pictures. Words can go deep and slow down a scene enough so that I grasp the feelings and the atmosphere the author is creating for me. It has been words that hurt and cut, and it has been words that led me to know the Lord and find healing and forgiveness. Words are used when I communicate with the Lord, even when nothing is said aloud. Words penetrate my Spirit and give outward expression the Holy Spirit. And evil thoughts. Words represent ideas and give shape to thoughts.
As I write this I am working on becoming a certified Educational Consultant through a homeschool book distributor. It’s not something that’s difficult to do, one would just need to really want to because it does take learning some very monotonous facts. Such as having to learn the rules and regulations of all the public and private schools and libraries during late night study sessions. And I do mean late night, I have the dark eye sockets to prove it. At the moment I am learning about library bar codes and special spines that library books have that regular retail books don’t have. It is very exciting for me when the studying takes me on rabbit trails. And they always lead back to Charlotte Mason. I am simply infatuated with what she has to share about books, words, and a child’s vocabulary.
Young children like to hear certain words over and over again, that is why they’ll have a favorite book that they want read every night. I offer another, but they want that one. It’s comfortable for them to hear familiar phrases. There’s been a lot of talk in homeschool circles about reading and twaddle and whole language learning verses phonics. I think that as long as kids are being taught and read to, and it’s bringing them love for books, read on! For my family, I learned pretty quickly that I enjoyed books authored by Beatrix Potter, Thornton Burgess, and other books that use a vast array of vocabulary. There is a place for twaddle, books that use over-simplified vocabulary, but if used exclusively, it would have a deadening effect on the minds of my sons.
We began using Sonlight books as our read alouds in preschool. In the beginning it was hard. The books were above grade level and there were many times I had to read the same passage over again in order that the children learn to pay attention. Our vocabulary grew as we read, and heard words in the context of how they are used. Vocabulary workbooks are good to have, we like Wordly Wise, but wider reading is preferred. Vocabulary and Spelling are two separate subjects. Spelling is a continuing on of phonics for us. In my own use of vocabulary, it’s only been by reading and writing as an adult that I have moved beyond the steady use of slang as my native speak. I am continually growing in my spelling as well and that is all thanks to spellcheck and writing this blog. Sometimes my children’s spelling curriculum will introduce new ways to remember rules and rule-breakers.
As an adult who wishes to further my education, as one who is providing an education for my children, and as a student in the process of becoming an education consultant, I know that I will need to continually brush up on my vocabulary. This year we are using the complimentary writing supplement to Weaver, Wisdom Words. In WW, there is a dictionary section in each child’s notebook. We are going to fill our personal dictionary lists with remarkable words, exciting words, strange words, and word relations. The discovery of Latin and Greek root words with their prefixes and suffixes can help us figure out particulars. An example: the latin word for “life” is vita and vivere means “to live”, so a vital concern is perhaps a matter of life and death. And when we read that a doctor checks for vital signs, we’ll make sense out of the familiarity of the words. A friend recently told me that she is planning on adding Latin to her homeschool because it can help when learning a new language. That got me really excited! My husband is learning Spanish right now through Rosetta Stone Academy, paid for by his company. Hopefully, the kids and myself will get the opportunity to learn a new language one day as well, I favor French and have always wanted to learn to speak it fluently.
Using our words is a great gift. Whether it’s speech, written, or sign language, vocabulary is a great gift that our Maker has bestowed upon us… I like that word… bestowed. It’s exciting to use new words and explore beautiful combinations of words, such as “cellar door” which I’ve heard is the most beautiful combination of words in the English language, in the movie Donnie Darko. Not sure who decided that, but it is a nice combination. My kids listen to me speak all day long, sometimes I speak a little loudly or harshly. I resolve to resist nagging them or speaking down to them today. I am going to lift them up with the words I use and my tone of voice and we’ll see how much power the words actually have. Maybe I’ll check back in later and let you know how it goes.
Off to a day filled with fun, friends, and hopefully sunshine! May you have a delightful time using your words today!