Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

April 28, 2013

A word a day can foster happy little belletrists

GOSHEN — Summer is coming, and, with it, what some people see as the season for “brain drain.” Schools, even home schools, most times are out over summer, and our textbooks sit silent under a thin layer of dust while we’re at the beach, in the garden or singing in the minivan on the way to a national park.

“Brain drain” is not a fair assessment of what happens over summers at our house, though. In fact, in some ways I’m convinced we learn more when we’re telling stories around a campfire or careening down a water slide than when our noses are buried in our books.

Still, to silence that nagging, “Are you sure they’re learning enough?” question that plagues organic homeschoolers like me, I plan to inject some reading-and-writing book work into our summer days. Somewhere between swimming and ice cream. Maybe. If we get to it.

Seriously, here’s one fun way I hope to do it. Every day — or, rather, whenever I remember — we’ll learn the meaning of a new word. Then we’ll use the word, maybe in conversation, maybe in written form.

I just now signed up for A.Word.A.Day at www.wordsmith.org, and I’m eagerly awaiting my first word to show up in my e-mail inbox tomorrow. I looked in A.Word.A.Day’s archives and found beauties like “cogent” and “bromide,” which I’ll need to find ways to use. There’s even an entire section of words derived from bodily fluids — a student nurse’s dream — featuring lovelies like “salivate” and “lymphatic,” words with which I’ve been acquainted, but never really intimate with until recently working in the hospital.

If you don’t use the Internet or just prefer a different way, open most any book, close your eyes and put your finger on a page. Then learn the word closest to your finger.

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