Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Don't Upbraid Us; We Aren't Being Facetious

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Don't Upbraid Us; We Aren't Being Facetious

Article excerpt

TONJA FLANNERY of St. Peters would like a few words from me. Six, to be exact.

She wrote me this letter:

"I have an 11-year-old son, John, enrolled at Immaculate Conception - Dardenne School. My son is in the sixth grade. His reading teacher is notorious for challenging assignments. The present assignment is called the Eagle Words project. Each child was given a list of 30 vocabulary words. My son must define each word, use it in a sentence and find the word in context. Context includes newspapers, magazines, books, television, and regular conversation. The hardest part of this assignment is finding the word in context.

"As you can see, this assignment must include some parental involvement. Even with the mothers helping each other out on some of the words, we are still missing six. That's why I'm writing to you. I'm wondering if you could sneak these six words into your columns between now and March 10. The six remaining words are: Dregs, facetious, mien, promontory, upbraid, and voracious."

Sneak them in? Tonja, it would be easier to sneak Bill Clinton into Republican headquarters.

Those words are pretty noticeable. As you've already discovered, they aren't used much today.

If this letter was from John the sixth grader, I'd tell him to do his own homework. It builds character. No columnist helped me with my homework when I was growing up, and it made me what I am today: mean and nasty.

But the letter comes from John's mom. I have sympathy for parents. They have a heavy homework burden these days.

Sixth grade is a lot harder than when we were kids. There's more history, for one thing. Tonja said she's had to help her son study for "geometry. In Social Studies, we learned about the origins of Islam, and for science, the kids had to create a submarine that would float and sink and float again."

Tonja said she and the other mothers found many of the 30 words in the Readers' Digest and the Post-Dispatch. "We found DELVE and NICHE and a couple more in the Post-Dispatch. …

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