Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Should my child use a thesaurus?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Should my child use a thesaurus?

    If my children have a difficult time coming up with variations should I allow them to use a thesaurus?

    #2
    We did Fable this year and I allowed my son to use a thesaurus. It was good practice for him to look up the words and think about what the word actually meant in context (as the synonyms in the thesaurus are divided up based on the meaning of the word).
    Central Ohio

    2021-2022
    5th year homeschooling - 5th year MP user
    DS 10 - MP 5A
    DS 8 - MP 2
    DS 5 - MP K

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by RachelC View Post
      If my children have a difficult time coming up with variations should I allow them to use a thesaurus?
      What age student and what level of Composition? Brainstorming these out loud together (with anyone who is around, parents, siblings, whomever) is another great method because the adults can help point out context as appropriate/not for the sense intended in the specific instance. The pitfall of the thesaurus is, of course, that you can end up with synonyms that do not fit.

      A variation of this method would be to have the student look up the word in the thesaurus but then have a brainstorming conversation out loud with you as they look through options for the best synonym.
      ​​​​
      Festina lentē,
      Jessica P

      2021-2022 • 12th year HSing • 10th year MP
      12th • AP Latin online, DE Calculus & Physics, HLN
      10th • HLN, Latin online
      7th • HLN & Home
      4th • HLN & Home
      Me • Third Form for Adults, MPOA; teaching TFL and co-directing @

      Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

      Comment


        #4
        Great points pickandgrin !

        Comment


          #5
          Ha! This is what I get for being stuck at the mechanic all morning! pickandgrin You all don't need me! These are GREAT points.
          But, of course, I have to put my own 2 cents in :-D

          Younger children can definitely use a thesaurus, but then need to process the context and applicability of the synonyms, after all, waterlines and sewers are indeed related, but should not be confused!

          However, children should eventually be "weaned" off of thesaurus, or only encouraged to use it for 1 or 2 options, not all of them, because only quickly listing one word synonyms will not help them progress and develop into good paraphrasers.

          To illustrate, "king" can be varied with "ruler" "monarch" "leader" patriarch" etc, but what if I want to say, "the head of the realm" instead? No thesaurus gives phrases for words, but phrases for words is a delightful step in variation. When students realize that it doesn't have to be "one for one" word replacement, the options for expression grow exponentially.

          Thus, "frog" can be not only "amphibian" but can also be "swamp jumper," "long legged croaker," or "the songbird of the marshes" if I'm feeling sarcastic) and many other imaginative creations as well.

          So, long story short, a thesaurus is a good starting place for kids who are stuck, but let's give them the opportunity to process the context and make sure the word is useful for a certain meaning, to come up with more words on their own once the get started, and to do more than "word swap" as they progress through the lessons.

          Comment


            #6
            Abigail Johnson I love the tip to go beyond one word synonym substitutions! My youngest little fellow is reaping bountifully from the long, slow years of me picking up ideas one post at a time here on the Forum. Ha!
            Festina lentē,
            Jessica P

            2021-2022 • 12th year HSing • 10th year MP
            12th • AP Latin online, DE Calculus & Physics, HLN
            10th • HLN, Latin online
            7th • HLN & Home
            4th • HLN & Home
            Me • Third Form for Adults, MPOA; teaching TFL and co-directing @

            Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

            Comment


              #7
              My small class uses a thesaurus after we have come up with at least two to three of our own ideas during Variation. We first find the right part of speech, then we read the sample sentences to find the right usage. I ask them to pick a favorite that works in the context, and we try it out in the sentence. It has really grown their vocabulary. As they've gotten to the end of the year, my students would rather NOT use the thesaurus, as it's much faster to get through the Variation just using their own imagination.

              Outside of the thesaurus (which doesn't help a lot with words like frog or bear), I tell my kids there are two ways you can go with nouns. You can get more specific, down to a name (Genus and species, or common name, like Kodiak bear), or you can get more general (fuzzy brown tree-climber or king of the woodland creatures). I've found in 4th grade (although I also have a 7th grader), you really have to lead the horse to water for these more creative appellations. Ask leading questions and give ample hints to get the student there: Is a bear at the top of the food chain or bottom? Are these bears "leaders" like tigers would be considered king of the jungle? This might net "president of the forest," or "the furry Aspen tyrant." Who knows?

              I also get a lot of use out of pantomime and charades for verbs. If we have a word like "walked," I will slowly walk across the front of the room, and they might guess "trudged, labored, ambled, journeyed, backpacked." Sometimes I give hints such as, "If we were in the wild west and I were walking, I might ______ (sidle, mosey, swagger). If I were out in nature, I might _______ (hike, tramp, wander, trek). Using these leading hints, my students usually think of a lot of new words out. Obviously, the context doesn't always work, but I have them copy them down so we have options when we get to Paraphrase. We talk a lot about the tone of our story, whether it's serious or light-hearted or even comical. The growth for the student comes in using the right word for the context.

              FWIW, after we were done with ATFF (All Things Fun & Fascinating), I cut the banned words section out of the back and taped it into the back of the CC Fable guide. We still replace all banned (boring) words with better ones, and there are a couple of great lists to replace common words like said, go/went, big, bad, and good.

              Mama to 2

              Spring start MP1
              Summer start 5A

              Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A, SC B, SC C,
              SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1

              Comment

              Working...
              X