Monday's vocabulary homework

Today's words are:


The children are frustrated and chewing their #2 pencils. Eraser shreds cling to the stomachs and sleeves of their shirts. The kids are learning to use the guide words in the dictionary to locate their vocabulary word. They copy the definition and use the word in a sentence, of course. We've all been there. We've all lived through it. Some of us perfected our penmanship enough so picky and prickly old maid schoolmarms* could see we wrote bay and not buy. It would be pretty surreal to be stuck in a rut buying futons, like a bad discount furniture store version of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. The Curse of the Evil Dinette Sets, with wolves baying at the moon...

Rut was giving one boy trouble. Monday before last, the two of us danced around the silent e rule when he insisted that rap was pronounced rape. Yikes. He copied the definition of rut today, but didn't understand the meaning well enough to use the word in a sentence. I wasn't getting anywhere talking about grooves in roads, so I switched to soccer field damage when games are played in the mud. (I was really thankful he didn't read the next definition of rut about the cyclically recurring condition of sexual excitement and reproductive activity in male mammals, such as deer.)

The boy told me his soccer team was playing the Hawks tonight. His team, the Raptors, must defend against this "hard-charging team". I asked him if he knew that hawks are raptors. Well, of course not. To him "Raptors" are those velociraptor dinosaurs menacing around the kitchen in Jurassic Park. I didn't even mention F-22 Raptor fighter planes!

Another boy was struggling with the definition of "bay". Much as I wanted to, I did not say, "Open the pod bay doors, HAL." Two of my favorite hobbies are watching hawks and using the dictionary. How wonderful it would be to transmit some of that joy to a new generation! I wish I could give each child a sprinkling of dictionary fairy dust and the RDA of vitamin silent E!

*So are campaign managers spinsters?

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