We asked her if she knew what “dial the number” means. She said no.
We then progressively went up through the children from youngest to oldest. When we got to Micah, he said, “Does it mean to enter a phone number into the phone and then press ‘talk'”?
Sarah was upstairs when we were asking the other children so she missed the whole conversation. Just a little bit ago, Chris and I were sitting here in bed talking about how funny it was that they didn’t know what the phrase meant and Sarah came down the stairs. “What are you doing,” she asked.
We said, “Oh, we were just wondering if you would know what ‘dial that number’ means.” She looked at us like we were crazy so I said, “What about ‘dial that phone number.'” She still looked at us like we were crazy and said that she knew it had something to do with the phone at least.
Now these are children who have scored out of high school level on their reading comprehension abilities and vocabulary. This just goes to show you that some questions are subjective no matter how “normal” you think the question is. In the past, we’ve also had to explain the meanings of the following words to our children:
purse – You can read more about this incident on my website when Micah was actually counted off on an intellect exam because he defined a very plain-looking bag as a “diaper bag” and then a “briefcase” at the age of five.
typewriter – They wanted to take this apart and see how it worked.
record – The first time we showed our children one of these, they asked if it was an old CD.
bottle – There was a time when my older children (when they were very young) didn’t know what bottles were. I stayed at home most of the time, we had several children in a row but they were all breastfed, they weren’t exposed to bottles. It was funny when I explained that some babies drank out of bottles. They thought that was the strangest thing in the world!
“called up to the principal’s office” – We heard this one recently when we were visiting a local public school. Micah and Sarah were sitting in the principal’s office and the secretary asked if they had been “called up.” They had no idea what she meant.
“in school suspension” – Some of these “school words” are starting to appear in the children’s books and the kids have no idea what they mean. I can see how a public school teacher might think a homeschooled student was “unsocialized” or even “backwards” if they came to school in say 8th grade and had no idea what some of these “school” terms mean, but again, like with the things listed above, these are cultural words, not words that everyone needs to know. Only people of a particular culture need to know them. I bet most children who attend public school wouldn’t have any idea what a “co-op” is either! : ) But I bet you homeschoolers do!
That’s all I can think of right now, but I know there have been other words that we’ve had to explain to the children. I think it’s very cute when the children (not just ours, but all children) don’t know a word anymore because it has kind of passed out of common use. It’s just as interesting to me as trying to explain a “mouse” to a 90-year-old that has never used computers or how your computer can catch a “virus,” but it’s not the common cold and people spread them on purpose.
Words are so much fun!
Sonya : )