Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer Schooled: Oh My Goodness Edition

My 12 year old son has a summer assignment: Read and Annotate Oliver Twist. No, not the Disney-fied movie featuring adorable animated dogs and cats, but the real, honest to goodness 450+ page novel.

From my English major days, I remember that Charles Dickens wrote in serial form, publishing chapters in newspapers. His audience eagerly awaited each installment. London was abuzz. The See Household? Not so much.

Before you feel give me too much sympathy for having to shepherd my child through this miserable summer experience, I must confess I used to assign 16 year old students the likes of Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Eyre to read over the summer. Looking back, I can't believe I inflicted those works (my faves, natch!) on rowdy, hormonal 16 year old boys.

Payback is hell.

And speaking of hormonal boys, Oliver Twist, known for its extensive vocabulary, unwittingly illuminated a new one here in the See household.

I popped the Oliver Twist audio cd in the car yesterday, hoping to help get our Dickens mojo on, and within moments, Jake was laughing uncontrollably. Pleased that he had turned the corner and was now a Dickens-lover, I asked him what was so funny.

Bad decision.

We replayed the segment in question. Turns out there's a character named Charlie Bates. Who was referred to 4 times in a row as... Master Bates. Yep. Which to a 12 year old boy, and perhaps a 41 year old mom, is pretty funny stuff.

Problem is, my 10 year old was in the car and needed some 'splaining. Let's just say Molly learned a new word today, something her mom didn't hear about until she read it in Cosmo in at LEAST 10th grade.


Advanced curriculum these days, I suppose.


Elisa @ What the Vita said...

HAHA oh gosh! I wonder if the guy talking on the audiotape had problems giggling as he said the name...

I assigned Jane Eyre to my class once. Never again...

Katy Engle said...

Oh man that's too funny.

Whenever I was assigned that type of reading, I'd for sure try my darndest, but I inevitably quit before the reading the whole enchilada. That's when Great Illustrated Classics came in handy, and other graphic novels...and Wishbone (a delightful PBS show that you'll have to Google if you're unfamiliar!).

Seriously, if he's having trouble, skip the pain and agony and go with an illustrated version. As long as he has some exposure to Dicken's english and understands the plot and character development, we're good! Right?

Somebody back me up here.

Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

Our high school quarterback was named Chris Bates, and my English teacher ALWAYS called him Master Bates. I have a feeling that Chris didn't take any English classes in college! :)

Autumn Vangor said...

You make me think I can handle parenthood!! Your stories about your kids are so hilarious and wonderful!! Thanks for making me smile while at my office!


Amber aka: AmBam, Amborghini, Ambular, BerBer, and Bambi said...


Anonymous said...

OHHHH, HILARIOUS!!! I would have spewed diet coke all over the windshield, or perhaps wrecked! Ha!
I almost didn't pass 8th grade for such an assignment with Pride and Prejudice. I HATED Jane Austin with a PASSION until I got into high school. Now I'm an addict and I love the movies {just not with Keira Knightley. Bleck}.
The teacher reassigned me {we all had different books for the project} Watership Down. I never finished that book, don't know how I managed to finish the assignment and don't know how I made it past 8th grade English.
I'm happy to say that evil teacher didn't completely squelch my love of reading. I still like bunny rabbits and Beatrix Potter. But I will steer clear of anything written by Richard Adams. Just out of spite, y'know.

purejoy said...

Oh, and Katy… great suggestions. I'm with you 100%

And Anna, my blog today has the fruit of your spray painting tutelage/inspiration.

K A B L O O E Y said...

Anna: 10th grade? Wow, I hope you've made up for lost time...

Ann Imig said...

Master Bates.

Dickens as the very first Bevis and Butthead.

Too funny.

Karen said...

That is too funny!

Susie - Walking Butterfly said...

Haha! Love it! It's already been an education.