Vocabulary at the Supper Table

One evening at supper, I encouraged the kids to work as many vocabulary words as they could into our conversation.

Prairie and Rachel loved this.  Lincoln seemed to find it amusing.  And while my eldest, Sidney, did not contribute, he still laughed at his siblings’ attempts.  Since my husband says that learning is better achieved with laughter, I count Sidney’s laughter as learning.

Here is a bit of the silly supper dialogue that I remember

Rachel — “Oh, I was a bit insolent to my tongue.  I bit it.”

Prairie — “Hello, my paradigm wife.”  The little darling was addressing ME!  And Sid didn’t snicker.

Prairie — “What in the ubiquitous world?”  This has become one of Prairie’s favorite sayings.

Rachel — “This supper is satiating me.”

Me — “Prairie, you are using copious amounts of Stubb’s barbeque sauce.”

As an added bonus, I hear the girls incorporate our vocabulary words into their play dialogue throughout the day.  All the kids are noticing the vocabulary words popping up in videos and books.  Sidney noted that he is noticing words for the first time in books that he has read multiple times.  His brain just skimmed over them without paying much attention to definition before, but now they call attention to themselves and lend more meaning to his reading.

I wish I had started the practice of weekly vocabulary years ago when the boys were much younger.  At that time, I had tried vocabulary workbooks but gave those up when I didn’t see evidence of real learning and usage.  Our current way of studying vocabulary is much more effective, in part because it is fun.

Back to school

We began a slow return to our regular school schedule this week.

We started off the morning with family school — student planners opened up and reviewed scripture verses and vocabulary.

The kids had already made a card for each vocabulary word showing part of speech, definition, synonyms and antonyms, along with sentences and pictures illustrating each word.  Many times we incorporated vocabulary into free writes, challenging the kids to create a short story in 10 minutes using their vocabulary words.  We have had a lot of laughs over their stories.

I wanted to do a quick review of last semester’s vocabulary, so I told the kids to get out their cards and sort them alphabetically.

They have a LOT of cards, about 90.

There was some groaning, but even more laughing.  It perked everyone right up and was a nice, gentle way to ease back into school.

AND the vocabulary card sorting got the kids looking at their vocabulary words, jiggling those little memory wires in their brain, burying those words deeper into long-term memory.  At least, that is my hope.