Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Greek Columns, Smiling Tigers, and Bitter Butter

How do I love thee, homeschooling? Let me count the ways...

1) Greek columns. After a long explanation about the three types (doric, ionian and corinthian), including how the Greeks characterized them (the man-style, the woman-style, and the inspired-by-thistles-on-a-child's-grave style), I quizzed James.

Poking his pudgy finger at the page, he said, "That's the man-style one."

"What's it called?"

"Dorky. And that's the woman-style one. It's called ironic."

Stifling a grin, I redirected, "That's doric. And ionic."

"Right. And that kuh-RAZE-y one is called... um... corinthian?"

"Yep! You got it! Just like the books in the Bible."

"Yeah. I know. Except it's really ugly."

2) Childhood Poems. James's face reflected first shock, then horror, then amusement, then glee as he realized just what happened to the Young Lady of Niger who smiled as she rode on a tiger. You see, the thing is, he really loves animals. Really. So then he giggled, "The tiger ATE her?!?" and laughed his head off.

3) Verbal Calisthenics. Here. You try it. Read this poem aloud.

The Butter Betty Bought

Betty Botta bought some butter;
"But," said she, "This butter's bitter!
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit o' better butter
Will but make my batter better."
So she bought a bit o' butter
Better than the bitter butter,
Made her bitter batter better.
So 'twas better Betty Botta
Bought a bit o' better butter.


James and Jonathan rolled on the floor guffawing at their poor, tongue-tied mama. Then they asked me to read it faster. "Can you read it as fast as I can run?" "As fast as Rosy can run?" "As fast as a zebra can run?"

Each time, I went a little faster. But when the demand for cheetah speed was handed down, I was already out of steam, so I just went zebra speed, up an octave. And motorcycle speed? Up two octaves.

The boys collapsed in a heap on the carpet, clutching their tummies, and as I watched them, smiling, I thought, "This would be considered disruptive in a classroom setting... and I would be missing it..."

That's why I love homeschooling.