"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

19 July 2006

Choices and Exclamations

Summer is time to choose next year's home school curriculum, the most frustrating part of the process (after, of course, the part of getting the kids to buy into it). Back in the dark ages when we began, at a time when few non-missionary families were yet teaching at home, the choices were pretty simple: A Beka, Bob Jones, or the public school texts. We'd supplement with biographies and so forth, of course, but the basics required little time.

Now the choices seem endless and quality is difficult to judge; reviews abound, but which ones are trustworthy, which reviewers share my particular perspective on what makes a good text? As is the norm in all things found in large supply, most of the options are not worthy -- but how to glean the gold nuggets from the abundance of pyrite -- and accomplish anything else with one's limited time?

Reading the hundreds of product descriptions and reviews is excruciating in itself, but many of the catalog writers seem to think that exclamation marks will make their products more appealing. I am tempted to declare a boycott of any catalog that uses more than two of these awful marks on any given page -- but then I find a significant financial savings on something I want, sigh, and continue. Because! these books! are the cheapest! that you! can possibly find!

Argh. It's enough to make me want to send him to public school (where he, too, can learn to use exclamation marks every time he's too lazy to find the words that will create the emphasis he wants.)


Cindy said...

Another thing! that I find annoying! is the use of bold lettering in the middle! of a sentence for apparently no reason! at all!!!

I really like this post. It makes me grin and feel smug. (I don't get to do that very often.)

alaiyo said...

Ah, yes, I'd forgotten the bold face! Glad I could help you out -- everyone should get to feel smug now and then!

(Note: use of exclamation marks is deliberate and appropriate because it's informal and personal writing. :)

Cindy said...


If you hadn't have added that last note, you'd've agonized over that exclamation point all day, wouldn't you?

alaiyo said...

You know me all too well! :)

Megan said...

I like this post very mcuh because it maks me fee l smug two and i rite better than my fourth adn fifth graders and still use ecslamation points so there

alaiyo said...

You are hilarious, Megan! Thanks for the laugh!