The Home School Court Report
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Cover Story
Safeguarding sovereignty

An inside look: UN's Special Session on Children

Special Features
State of the States

Regular Features
Active cases

A contrario sensu

In the trenches

Freedom watch

Notes to members

Prayer and praise

President's page

HSLDA social services contact policy

Across the States
State by State

O  N     T  H  E     O  T  H  E  R     H  A  N  D
a contrario sensu
A distressing phonics lesson

Seven-year-old Asher was struggling with a phonics lesson on syllables. I asked him to read a particular word, putting the stress on the first syllable. He tried several times without much success. I repeated, "The stress is on the first syllable." He responded, frustrated, "No, the stress is on ME!"

— Edna Johnson, Marietta, GA

A matter of perspective

One day when my younger brother Alex was just learning how to read, he was getting one of his school books, entitled Home Tutoring Manual, for Mom. As he walked back to give it to her, we listened as he sounded out the words on the cover: "Home Tor-tur-ing Manual."

Casey Tiren, Germantown, MD

Pronunciation v. comprehension

When Tanya was in first grade, she was reading C.S. Lewis's book, Prince Caspian, to her mom. As she concentrated on pronouncing the words, the story line became a bit difficult to follow. She stopped reading mid-sentence.

Tanya: "So, what's new?"

Mom: "You mean, in the story?"

Tanya: "Yes. I wasn't listening."

— Naomi J. Hannay, Mohnton, PA

20/20 phonics

Our 8-year-old son had never been to an eye doctor before. At his first visit, he jumped up into the chair and the doctor dimmed the lights. "Read the line on the wall," the doctor instructed, referring to the projected chart on the far wall. My home schooled son, ever being reminded to sound out words he didn't know, began, "GL-NCIK, G-LINK…"

— Mary Goodale, Lordsburg, NM

An extinct reference book

My husband heard about a 3rd grade class who were using a thesaurus in their lessons. Impressed by this, we decided to include a thesaurus in our 9-year-old daughter's lessons but, we were curious if she knew about this book. My husband asked Zoe if she knew was a thesaurus was. Zoe paused, looked at him, and seemed to be searching for the correct answer. She then proceeded, "You mean a dinosaur!"

— Heather Chivington, Wildomar, CA

Wrong word sensation

Our son Luke enjoys using big words, but, in reading them, he doesn't always take the time to sound them out like he should. When he looked at his test results and noticed his low mark in punctuation, he exclaimed that he didn't do well in "pronunciation." On his 9th birthday, he was reading aloud a card that had all kinds of complimentary adjectives about him like wonderful, awesome, and stupendous, which he read as "wonderful, awesome, and stupidness." The time that takes the cake, though, was when he read an instant breakfast flavor called strawberry sensation as "strawberry sanitation."

— Kathy Rothrock, Sprakers, NY

Good readers want the whole story!

As our 8-year-old daughter Abigail was doing her language arts lesson on identification of verbs, subjects, and adjectives, she read the sentence, "Seven terrified children sat there motionless."

Exasperated, she blurted out, "Mommy, I just don't understandwhy they don't give more details, especially for a reader like me!"

— Julie Thomas, Roanoke, VA

A legal operation

My first grade daughter, thrilled with her reading progress on a second grade CD English program, suddenly paused. "Mommy," she complained, "some of these words are too big for me to read!"

She pointed to the computer in frustration: "What does this say?"

I looked at the screen and sighed as I read the familiar words aloud: "This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down."

"But, Mommy!" she panicked, jumping out of her chair. "I'm finally getting this! Please don't let them shut this down!"

I was about to explain what the words meant, when she came to a conclusion of her own. "Oh, but they can't. Right, Mommy?" She smiled with relief and proudly finished, "'Cause it's legal to learn my letters at home!"

— Mary M. Canniff, Tracy, CA

Send us your story

We are looking for humorous, warm anecdotes and true stories illustrating that home schooling is the best educational alternative around.

All material printed in the Court Report will be credited, and the contributor will receive a free HSLDA publication of his choice. Submissions may be edited for space. Mail to:

Attn: Stories, HSLDA
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, VA 20134