Friday, March 12, 2010

Dear New Oxford American Writing Thesaurus

Dear New Oxford American Writing Thesaurus,

This morning, our homeschool family was finishing up a writing assignment and we used the dictionary feature on our MacBook Pro to find a synonym for pitfall. Imagine our surprise and disappointment to open the thesaurus and read:

pitfall
noun
home schooling has its pitfalls: hazard, danger, risk, peril, difficulty, catch,snag, stumbling block, drawback.

Homeschooling? That's the best example you could come up with? Alienating 1,273,089 registered Americans who are the very people who still use dictionaries and thesauruses seems poorly thought out.

I'm wondering if when looking up a synonym for stingy we'll find a reference to judaism or when exploring intelligence we'll see, " Men exhibit greater intelligence than women". What other biases and prejudice should I expect to find within your pages?

Your example is offensive and does hard working families like my own a disservice.

Perhaps you need to look deeper into the homeschool movement. It stands to reason that if home schooled youth are courted by all the best post secondary institutions then perhaps this mode of educating is not as hazardous and rife with peril as implied.

Warmly,
Nicole

8 comments:

Carmen said...

What a cheek. Hope you are going to email them (or their publishers) this message too?

Alison said...

Wow. Nicole, you sure told them! Like Carmen said, I hope you are e-mailing them directly. I give you major props for homeschooling. I don't think I could do it. You go girl!

chksngr said...

This sentence alone validates that you are more than qualified to homeschool sans "pitfalls." It stands to reason that if home schooled youth are courted by all the best post secondary institutions then perhaps this mode of educating is not as hazardous and rife with peril as implied.

It is possible, though, that the editors and/or example writers of the New Oxford American Writing Thesaurus read and write at the statistical American average of an 8th grade level. Which, of course will mean that they have to look up words like "rife" and "peril" in the New Oxford American Dictionary. Or...they could be among the 25% of Americans who drop out of high school all together, thus be extremely envious of the post secondary education of which you speak.

Either way, what an example!

Sarah said...

you tell them, girl! what a strange example for them to choose.

in my experience, anyone who cares enough about their childrens education to want to homeschool them, with the huge amount of effort that entails, is probably going to do an excellent job

me? I'm one of the lazy parents who lets the public schools do all the work :)

Kathi said...

It's reprehensible that they used an example like that.

Good for you for writing a strong letter to them, which also served as a teachable moment for your children!

I do hope you get and share a response.

MaryEllen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MaryC said...

I certainly hope you send that letter. Then they will realize that stupidity has it's pitfalls.

Kas said...

You are so funny to post this. I applaud you for sending them that letter. High Five from the other homeschooling Bombshell.