I’ve been stumped on what to write recently. I worry writing about politics and social justice issues is too depressing. I consider writing about homeschooling, but we haven’t been doing any particularly creative projects recently, just plugging along at the basics. There are a million funny wonderful moments I wish I could share with people but don’t for fear of intruding too much upon my children’s privacy. I will share just a little of those silly moments. One of my sons said the other day that he hates poetry. I don’t for a moment believe it is true, but what I found cute is that no sooner than he said it then he added: “hey, that’s a linking verb with a subject complement, but if I said ‘poetry sucks’ that would be an action verb predicate.” So even though, if asked what they are learning these days, my children would likely as not reply that they are learning nothing, I know it isn’t true.
We are using the Michael Clay Thompson curriculum for learning grammar. The material is playful and easy to present. At times it feels too shallow and simple, with its large open spaces on the pages and playful characters. Yet it explains the meaning of grammar in a way that I have not seen any other books or curriculum do. The types of words are not just categories to remember but clues to understanding the structure and meaning of the sentence. Just as we have playfully dissected the structures and conventions of picture books we now do the same to sentences. “Oooh, that prepositional phrase modifies the object of the other prepositional phrase.” When I give him dictation sentences to write that are too long he asks that I stop “peppering them with so many modifiers.”
The children have spent lots of time outside building forts and bike riding. I helped them with a fort one of the days and was delighted to hear them discussing the different types of wood. Willow and popular make good support beams or for weaving in and out, but birch branches don’t since “they have strong bark but are all just loose fibre inside.”
Other than that, what has been happening here? Well, the kids and I watched the silly train-wreck episode of Kitchen Nightmares that has spawned such internet talk and we had long conversations about the challenges of accepting criticism gracefully, as well as some conversation around the issue of whether to trust a review or not, and how situations can be misrepresented. Does the fact the restaurant has been in business for six years mean it cannot be quite as bad as the show makes it out to be? Then I find myself wondering about the implications of things like this going viral. How does one rebuild ones life after that sort of internet fame?
I’ve been writing a fair amount on facebook recently, and feeling like I must be too argumentative. I’m the type of person who will google random things I see on facebook. Boy missing – let’s google that. Okay, this one was true, four months ago, but is out of date. Claim that the death rate goes down when doctors are on strike? Has anyone researched that? Let’s see…. Then while reading Death Sentences: How Cliches, Weasel Words, and Management-speak are Strangling Public Language by Don Watson I came across the phrase “as though the pursuit of truth still matters.” The phrase is like a golden key unlocking me from my own guilt. It explains me. To me the pursuit of truth still does matter. It matters tremendously, and that’s why I want to constantly examine the meanings behind what is being said. Others may be content with this privatized thing call opinions, I want to take each opinion and candle it like an egg to see what is inside it. I don’t have superpowers. I’ll be wrong way too often, but I still want to keep looking and acting as though the pursuit of truth still matters.