Fun Words

Chris was reading a book to Hannah tonight and someone in the book told their child to dial a phone number. Hannah just looked at Chris so he paused and said, “I bet she has no idea what that means.” We decided to check.

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 : )


2 thoughts on “Fun Words

  1. It is so weird to me to realize my daughter has no knowledge of riding the bus, “homeroom”, or even group projects, except the ones they do at church. She didn’t even understand homework when I tried to explain it to her. She said, “you mean they work all day and still have to take some home?” Yep, that was what I thought!! Great story, that is cute.


    • I love your response. How funny! : ) We have so many similar conversations with our children and it took us forever to convince them that we weren’t lying about the fact that children get on the bus after sunrise and sometimes don’t get home until it’s almost dark. Where we live, especially in winter, they have to catch the bus as early as 6:30 and sometimes don’t arrive home until around 4:30. It starts getting dark in the winter by 6:00 so one day we went to the doctor or somewhere VERY early in the morning and showed our children how school kids were waiting for the bus. We were out ALL day long and that evening we saw the children coming home and it was about 4:20. I told them to imagine that they had to be out every day just like we had that day, except every day they would get up that early to go to school and come home that late. They just couldn’t imagine being away from us that long. I was pleased that their immediate concern wasn’t for themselves, however, but it was more for those “poor little children” who didn’t get to see their parents all day. We are very blessed to be able to homeschool and I don’t ever forget that. : ) Thanks for writing!


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