Jul 12, 2010

Vocabulary Lesson

Hooray my son got to use a vocabulary word at dinner tonight.
'Mama, that's one of my vocabulary words!' he exclaimed, with sparkles in his eyes.

This is a kid who has not been won over by school, until lately. Learning the tricky rules of the English language actually made him cry when he was in first grade. 'That's 'ph' instead of 'f?'' he'd wail? 'Why? This is just so mean!'

When he had to come up with five every-day uses for math in second grade, he struggled. If it weren't for his obsession with Yu-gi-oh cards which have points that have to be added and subtracted regularly, and if it weren't for the fact that he used allowance money to buy those beloved cards, he probably wouldn't have been able to come up with anything. 'What's the point of math?' He'd complain.

For him, school was just another big grown-up conspiracy. There were many. Like having to dress nicely for certain occasions, having to have a bed time (when it was clear the grownups were staying up later and having fun without him), and having to sit in the back seat of the car.
But this year, in fifth grade, it's all coming together. He got to use a vocabulary word at the dinner table tonight, when we first heard that that guy gone into the Holocaust Museum shooting.

'Why would anyone want to do that?' my eight year old daughter asked.

'Probably because he's an anti-Semite,' my son answered, before adding 'that's one of our vocabulary words.'

His class has been studying the Holocaust this month, on the heels of a unit on bullying, and one on slavery, and at one point, thanks to O Ambassadors, a former child slave from Africa came to his class to speak about his experiences, and last week some Holocaust Survivors shared their stories . He's become passionate about Emmett Till, and Anne Frank. And his own class has visited the Holocaust Museum in Manhattan several times this past month.

It's exciting to see what he's learning in class start to apply to the world around him. It's just so tragic that the history he's learning has become current events.

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