oxes and meese

Sep 17, 2012 by

I am working on cleaning out my email box (started with 25,000+ emails) in an attempt to save my computer from dying and I found this hilarious poem on the crazy English language. I can’t wait to read it to Blythe and Keziah – they will die laughing!

ONLY THE ENGLISH COULD HAVE INVENTED THIS LANGUAGE

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Then shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren’t invented in England.
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing,
grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?
Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend.
If you have a bunch of odds and ends
and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
in which your house can burn up as it burns
down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out,
and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And, in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother’s not Mop?

(I would like to add that if people from Poland are called Poles, then people from Holland should be Holes and the Germans, Germs.)

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fiar: the glorious flight

Aug 28, 2012 by

fiar: the glorious flight

We are having a wonderful school week so far. I think my kids are so ready for some order in their lives (and more importantly, for me to be fully present with them) that they are eating up our learning time. We started our Five In A Row read-aloud yesterday and thought The Glorious Flight has been on my shelf for years this is the first time I have read the famous story of Louis Bleirot who flew across the English Channel in 1909.

I am in love with this book.

1. It is so French. The sentence structure screams France (and while I don’t love France, I love books that exude a culture so thoroughly you can feel it).

2. Louis had gumption and determination and courage. My children need to be surrounded by examples of people doing hard things and not giving up the first, second, or gazillionth time.

3. Louis’ dream to fly became a family project.

Yesterday we read it and loved seeing Louis succeed at the cliffs of Dover. Today we read it again and found the English Channel on the map and talked about how Louis and his family could have given up when his first plane couldn’t fly at all or his fourth that moved around in circles on the pond or his sixth that got snagged on a rock. He could have given up after he finally got a plane in the air, but after just a few minutes would come crashing down, often injuring him.

But he didn’t. He persevered. He stayed true to his dream. He kept working and thinking and experimenting and DARING to do something no one had ever done.

Courage…we all need more of it.

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potw: kindness

Aug 27, 2012 by

We are back at it with our weekly poems. I love sharing inspiring thoughts with my children and challenging them to memorize them each week!

Kindness

Drop a stone into the water
In a moment it is gone,
But there are a hundred ripples
Circling on and on and on.

Say an unkind word this moment
In a moment it is gone,
But there are a hundred ripples
Circling on and on and on.

Say a word of cheer and splendor
In a moment it is gone,
But there are a hundred ripples
Circling on and on and on.

Good lesson for all of us, me thinks. Those words that escape our lips need to be full of kindness and encouragement, especially with our family members.

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book bonanza: lots of audios

Jun 26, 2012 by

book bonanza: lots of audios

We are spending a lot of time cleaning these days. Having a mama be out of commission for months on end has done a number on this already cluttered house. My children have tried hard to fill in the gaps for me, but quite frankly, what this house needs is ME! So, the last several days we have cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. We have rearranged the school room in our seemingly never-ending quest to find the most functional arrangement, we have started on the sewing room, are getting ready to tackle the storage room (do I have the courage?), and then the garage. Oh my, SO MUCH WORK! Yes, you should read those all-caps as screaming because that is just what I am feeling.

Anyway, during all this cleaning we have been listening to some great books and thought you might enjoy them if you are doing any big projects or taking some summer drives.

This morning we listened to Only Passing Through which is the story of Sojourner Truth. What a woman! I hope my children learned (once again) that God calls us to a mission and it is our privilege to step up to the plate with faith and do what He asks us to do. This story also comes in a picture book version if you would rather read it aloud.

Saturday we listened to Amos Fortune, Free Man. We must be in bit of a freedom mood, eh? Must be the time of the year to think about liberty and working for it for all of God’s children as was stated so strongly in The Declaration of Independence that was being drafted right about now 236 years ago. We loved the strength spirit Amos demonstrates again and again and his determination to make the best of his situation.

Now we are listening to The Land of Oz. I read the whole series to Blythe years ago, but haven’t revisited it since. Fisher decided he was interested in it and Blythe wanted to hear it again, so now we are immersed in Mr. Baum’s classic series of conquering our fears, serving others, and believing in goodness.

I can’t wait to listen to The Time Pirate which is the sequel to Nick of Time which was a huge hit with all of us a few years ago.

You can probably find these at your local library, but if not, they are all available on Amazon. What are your favorite audio books?

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fiar: katy and the big snow

Apr 24, 2012 by

fiar: katy and the big snow

I love this book. Today Fisher, Annes, and I curled up in my bed and read Katy and the Big Snow for the gazillionth time. We found all sorts of things on the map and Annesley cheered Katy on as she worked herself through the Geopolis snow drifts. Virginia Lee Burton created stories my children beg for over and over again and I love her for it. I would kiss her if I was anywhere near her. I remember reading The Little House to Blythe and highlighting all the sight words to help her learn to read them. I remember the first time I read Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel to Fisher and how his little boy mind latched right onto the idea of a big machine doing a big job and how he wanted to do big jobs too.

Reading to my children is one of my very favorite things to do. Infusing them with a love of literature, beautiful illustrations, and characters that speak to their hearts is a privilege I take seriously. I strive to surround them with books that will build their little souls into people who stand true, fight hard, and serve well. What are your favorite books to grow your children into their best selves?

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fiar: hot air

Feb 14, 2012 by

fiar: hot air

This week we are reading Hot Air by Marjorie Priceman. It tells the mostly true story of the first hot air balloon ride in Versailles, France in 1783. A chicken, sheep, and duck were sent up in the air and stayed up for eight minutes traveling about two miles. This particular book gives the background events and then makes up what could have happened to the three animals as they flew across the city. Fisher thinks it is hilarious and we think you will as well.

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there was an old lady who swallowed a fly…

Feb 8, 2012 by

there was an old lady who swallowed a fly…

When Annesley was two to three years old, this was her favorite song. She sang it over and over and over. She loved singing it for strangers at the grocery store, for grandparents, for the dogs, for everyone. She loved it so much that one year for her birthday her Grandma Dorothy gave her an old woman with a ginormous mouth complete with all the animals she swallows and that doll has been played with like no other. We like to sing it all crazy and dramatic like…probably because we are crazy and dramatic (you should have heard my voices last night during family read-aloud time!).

Did you know there are lots of hilarious versions of this story? I didn’t know it until I stumbled across one of them last year at the library. Since then we have been checking them out and giggling ourselves silly.

Today in Zing! I am going to read a few of them to my students and then each of us will write our own version. Doesn’t that sound fun?

Here are some of our favorites:

What are some of your favorite writing projects? What have you found brings out the creativity in your children/students?

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fiar: the red hen

Feb 7, 2012 by

fiar: the red hen

I love, love, LOVE the books that are recommended in the Five In A Row guidebook. We have thoroughly enjoyed all of them that we have done. However, I am not a rule follower of any type, so I like to pick other books for our FIAR books as well. This week, I selected The Red Hen by Rebecca Emberley (yes, of the Emberley family fame – she is the daughter of Ed and sister of Michael and has a whole host of other artists and musicians in the family).

Of course, Fisher already knows this story inside and out, but he doesn’t know this version of it (where the hen makes a cake instead of bread) and he doesn’t know this artwork (which pops off the page and is simply delightful) and I don’t know that the message of everyone-working-together-to-reap-the-fruits-of-our-labors together has really sunk into his heart (or made him the super-duper willing helper I want him to be), so we are reading this book this week with high hopes the message will change some I-don’t-want-to-help behavior. Of course, he doesn’t have any idea that is why we are reading it…we will be talking a lot about the art of the book and making Little Miss Red Hen’s Simply Splendid Cake.

If you are a FIAR family, what are you rowing this week?

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potw: habits of the hippopotamus

Feb 6, 2012 by

potw: habits of the hippopotamus

We started this poem last week, but only worked on it for one day and only for a few minutes. The play and a houseful of people were too much for me to keep up our regular schedule…so we are doing it again this week.

Habits of the Hippopotamus
by Arthur Guiterman

The hippopotamus is strong
And huge of head and broad of bustle;
The limbs on which he rolls along
Are big with hippopotomuscle.

He does not greatly care for sweets
Like ice cream, apple pie, or custard,
But takes to flavor what he eats
A little hippopotomustard.

The hippopotamus is true
To all his principles and just;
He always tries his best to do
The things one hippopotomust.

He never rides in trucks or trams,
In taxicabs or omnibuses,
And so keeps out of traffic jams
And other hippopotomusses.

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