The boys were working on their Grammar/Writing yesterday when one of them barged into the den and interrupted my morning Diet Dr. Pepper-blog reading-Nickelback singing-session asking for help. Again.
What's up with 6th graders always needing help with stuff, anyway? I only started homeschooling them cause I figured they'd be able to do most of this school business on their own by now. And take care of the occasional basket of laundry for me. Whatever.
Quatro needed advice. He pointed to the exercise he was working on, which involved selecting the best words to complete a bunch of sentences. It was arranged so that there were pairs of sentences, each with a blank space. And then each pair of sentences had two words to pick from. Words that have very similar meanings, but one word would be more appropriate. Am I making any sense here?? Probably not.
1. I saw Mom ____________ the baby upstairs.
2. A jet was waiting to ___________ the important papers to the president.
Alrighty then. Pretty straightforward and simple. Quatro had completed all but one pair of sentences and was stuck. He couldn't decide which sentence needed the word "woe" and which one needed the word "misery." Of course I told him to go look up the words on the computer dictionary and leave me alone. He came back seconds later to report that "misery" means mental or physical pain and "woe" means suffering.
"Yeah, but Mom. That's the SAME THING. How am I supposed to know which one?"
"Well, I don't know, Son, but you're annoying me, now get out of here and go do your work," I told him. "Beat it."
No, not really. It was tempting, though. Instead, I turned the volume down and put the laptop aside, giving him my full attention.
Trying to find a way to explain the subtle differences between the two words, I took the book from him and read the sentences aloud. (Why? I don't know. It's not like he hadn't already read them himself. Sometimes my profound teaching skills amaze me.)
The first sentence one read: Cries of ___________ came from the people who had watched their houses slide down into the ocean.
And the second: I was in such ___________ that I had to call the dentist about my toothache.
Like I said before, pretty easy, but I'm an adult, I already know everything. He's only twelve and clearly he wants me to do his assignment for him. So I asked him, "If you had a really bad toothache, would you be in physical pain?"
"Yes, Ma'am. But I'd be suffering, too."
"Well, yes, of course you would." (Smart alec kid!) "But if your house was falling off a cliff, would you be in pain? So you can determine that you'd need to use "misery" for the toothache sentence and..."
"Oooohhh! Yeah! Cause if our house was sliding into the ocean, we'd all be yelling, WHOA!!"
Which is why I'm filled with woe at the thought of these children taking care of me in my old age.