We're Never Gonna Learn All This

Posted by Bruce Ham on April 4, 2014 

This is how we learn vocabulary in our house when the mind just can't take any more and the clock is ticking down. Kids are given a word bank and a list of definitions and must match the two. It's all about connections.

Vigorous: strong; energetic

I hold my big guns (biceps) up in the air - "Look Stephanie, my arms are strong and energetic and are in the shape of a V - just like Vigorous."

Illogical: contrary to the rules of sound reasoning.

"Do you know what logical is?"

"Yes."

"Most people just study - they follow the study guide that their teacher sends home. Tonight you are crying and pitching a fit. That is illogical. ILL - means sick. Your logic about studying tonight is sick. We need to get it well like it was last night. Ill-logical."

Subdued: quiet; not as active as usual.

"Ships are on top of the water - moving quickly and loudly. Submarines are quiet and sneaky under the water, like subdued. Now what is the word?"

"Sub something."

"Think about the time a kid pooped in the pool last summer. Sub - like a submarine; dooed - like an underwater poop."

"Got it."

Invariably: constantly; always uniformly.

"Dad, the word uniformly reminds me of my uniform."

"Well, you invariably wear a uniform to school. And the "v" in invariably looks like the "v" in your uniform collar. And the "n" sort of looks like a pair of short pants, just like your uniform."

Vantage: favorable or advantageous position for observing.

"I hate to have to point this out, but the word vantage is in the middle of advantageous. Take advantage of that."

Laboriously: with much labor, toil, or difficulty.

"Do you know what labor means?"

"Yes."

"I and Us go with Lee to do labor. Labor is done by I, us and Lee. Labor-I-US-LEE. "

Loped: Moved with a long swining stride.

A big, funny, daddy lope across the den floor. Arms dangling like a monkey. "I'm lopin' baby, I'm lopin'."

Warily: In a careful, cautious manner.

"Let's all sing...Warily we roll along, roll along, roll along; warily we roll along in a careful, cautious manner."

Rancid: Unpleasant odor or taste.

"Your uncle's feet smell rancid. Remember the smell. Remember the word."

(By the way, rancid is one of my all time favorite words.)

Respite: a temporary period of relief or rest.

"You tired of this?"

"Yea."

"Me too. We need a respite."

"Yea."

"Let's go to bed."

My kids are going to fail the SAT.

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