Our son Shelton, age 5, has been eavesdropping on his sister's (age 8) school lessons for three years. He has been known to answer her math, history, science and especially spelling questions while playing trucks or Legos™ in the next room and as a result, he was reading and doing math by age 4. Because my husband is in the military, Shelton also pays close attention to people's ranks and titles. A few days after his sister had been reading to him about General Washington, I asked her to recite the preamble to the Constitution. She had trouble at some points and he spoke up, filling in the next word for her. When she finished, Shelton came over and told me he was having trouble with his preamble. When I asked what his problem was, he replied, quite seriously, "Mom, I don't remember Sister studying about a president named 'General Welfare.' Who was he?"
— Faith Walker, Virginia Beach, VA
That misguided pizza
My girls were just 5 and 3 years old, and we had only recently begun our homeschooling journey. My oldest daughter was very much interested in the human body, so were studying the different parts of the body and their functions. I never excluded my younger daughter from these studies, and she seemed to be enjoying the lessons. However, in an acute attack of insecurity one week, I began wondering if they were actually learning ANYTHING at all.
During a meal at a local pizza house, my younger girl began to choke a little. She coughed and sputtered, then finally took a deep breath, sighed, and said, "Mama, that piece of pizza tried to go down my trachea instead of my esophagus!"
My fears were laid to rest.
— Patricia Hefti, Bryan, TX
A phoenetical approximation
When I asked my 6 and 7 year olds, "If the letters (a) and (e) are vowels, what is a (p)?," both of them hesitated. My not-quite 4 year old must have sensed this was his opportunity to shine and he blurted out before anyone else could answer, "Consagnant!"
— Bonnie Rabic, Lakeland, FL
Missing parts of speech
Our 4-year-old Josiah played nearby while I was teaching our 10-year-old son how to pick out prepositional phrases in sentences. I was delighted at Matthew's first successful attempt and shouted out with strong emphasis, "You're right, Matthew! 'Behind the bookshelf'' is the prepositional phrase!"
As we excitedly poured over our sentences looking for more prepositional phrases, Josiah came running to me and asked with wild eyes, "What's behind the bookshelf? I didn't see anything!"
— Tiet Parsons, Arlington, TX
Between the many language studies conducted in our home school—Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, and English—verb conjugations are frequently heard.
One day, I thought our 3-year-old preschooler must be picking up on this. We were talking about the UPS truck down the street, when Matthew began chanting, "You PS, I PS . . . "
— Paula McQuitty, Laurel, MD
Little pitchers, big ears
Our 7-year-old son Kevin and I had a simple dialog, not knowing 4-year-old Kristen was listening.
Kevin: "Is this a free country?"
Kevin: "Is this a free state?"
Kevin: "Is this a free city?"
Kevin: "Is this a free neighborhood?"
Kevin: "Is this a free house?"
Mom: "I guess so."
Kevin: "Then kids can do what they want!"
Mom (laughing): "Well, kids don't count!"
Suddenly, Kirsten (in all seriousness), broke in: "Yes, they can! 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 . . . 30!"
— Ginny Rosentrater, Salem, OR
No rules in cursive
When my little brother Joel was 4, he announced, "I'm going to write a report on birds."
Ten-year-old Neva laughed sarcastically. "Okay, how do you spell the?"
Unconcerned, Joel replied, "Oh, I'm gonna do it in cursive."
— Shawni Pederson, Agua Dulce, CA
Ancient Egyptian punctuation
Last fall our family enjoyed learning all about ancient Egypt. We were so engrossed in the topic that during grammar when I prompted my first grader "every sentence begins with . . . ," she responded, "Every sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a pyramid."
We fell apart laughing, and I still often get pyramids at the end of a sentence!
— Jennifer Eaton, Scarborough, ME