Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Color or Colour?

Several years ago when I was homeschooling my oldest son, I used to read blogs that dealt with homeschooling a child with Asperger's.  One of these blogs (the name escapes me) was written by a woman in Scotland.  One morning as I was reading her blog and drinking my coffee, my oldest son peered over my shoulder.  All of a sudden, he started pointing out words that were “spelled wrong” - words like “colour”, “neighbours” and so forth. 

Not wanting to dampen his enthusiasm for discovering misspelled words, I gently explained to him that this blog was written by someone from Scotland, which uses UK English not US English, and therefore, these words were not spelled wrong.  This took a moment to sink in and I could almost hear the hamster on the wheel.  Then began a short debate:

    “Oh, so I can spell 'color' two ways: c-o-l-o-r and c-o-l-o-u-r.” 
    “Sorry buddy, but if you spelled it c-o-l-o-u-r then it would be wrong.” 
    “But you said...” 
    “It's not wrong in the UK, but it's wrong in the US.”
    “But what if I wanted to live in the US and spell it c-o-l-o-u-r?” 

Thinking he had me cornered I said, “Well, then you have to move to Canada.”  “Canada?”  The hamster began spinning again.  This led to a very brief discussion of why Canada spells like the UK and why the US doesn't.

It's memories like this that help me to remember the positive aspects of homeschooling: that a 7 year old actually noticed a slight difference in the spelling of a word, which led to a brief discussion of three different countries using the same language (more or less).  While I don't regret putting him back in school, there are times when I miss homeschooling.  This is his third year back in public school, and after a rough start in third grade, he's doing pretty well now in fifth grade.  He is very good at spelling and he knows that he shouldn't spell “color” as “colour”.  At least, not until he moves to Canada...traveling there by RV of course.  :-)

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