Word Whimsy

We are having such fun with our vocabulary studies that I may create a whole new category labeled Word Whimsies.

I outlined our vocabulary study in an earlier post.  Friday’s family school has a slightly different format and includes a vocabulary test.  I have been varying their test each week — sometimes the kids write out the definition and a sentence or the synonyms and antonyms.  A few times, I gave them 10 minutes to write a poem using that week’s vocab words.  Their favorite test thus far —– begin a story, using that week’s vocab words.  They do not have to complete the whole story, just begin the story.

Then comes the best part —– we read the stories aloud with much drama and giggling.

I love this method as much as the kids.  It serves multiple purposes.  The kids must grasp the definition to use the words correctly, but they are also freed to play with language, to have fun and take chances with their writing.  Sid believes that learning is more likely to happen when humor is involved.  I suspect he is right, and there is definitely a lot of laughter during vocabulary study.

Last week’s vocabulary words were imbue, hallowed, propensity, vestige and trite.  Rachel stole the show with her short story and her original use of the word trite.

I should explain that we have an odd little rhetorical question that our family says when someone asks a question to which the answer is obviously yes.  It goes like this . . .

“Would you like a cookie?”  I ask.

Sid responds, “Do dogs have fur?”

That ridiculous response/question should be interpreted, “YES, I want a cookie!  What kind of ridiculous question is that?”

Rachel employs our little family rhetoric with a twist.

And now, Rachel’s story . . . . .

Once upon a time lived a boy named James.  One day, James was walking on the sidewalk.  He looked down and saw a baby flamingo that was imbued with blue dye.

“What the heck?!!? said James.


“Are you lost?”

“Yep,” said the flamingo.

“One question — have you read the hallowed Bible?” said James.

“Do dogs have propensities?” said the flamingo.

“Uh . . .I don’t know,” said James.  

“Anyway, my name is Vester,” said the flamingo.  “And I am trying to find a vestige of Mom.”

“I will help you find your Mom,” said James.

“Right,” said Vester.  “Let’s not go around triting.”

“Hey, is that your mom?”


“Is that your mom?”


“Is that your mom?”

“No,” said Vester.  “Please stop triting.”

“Oops,” said James.

“Ah, there’s my mom,” said Vester.

Rachel’s vocabulary test has now given our family a new phrase — “hey, stop triting!”

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