Friday, September 20, 2013

Our Crazy English Language and the Fun of Phonics ~ Homeschool Week Wrap-Up

We’ve had a taste of the crispness of fall, and I love it! J

In my life this week… It’s been a slow recuperation from the writers conference I attended over the long weekend. Extreme amounts of information, sleep deprivation, and excitement highs have made for a slow re-entry to my real world. I’m thankful for children who are fairly independent in their school work and who look after each other. J

In our homeschool this week… Phonics gone wild! The 7yo is almost to the last level of Hooked on Phonics and getting into some rather tricky words. Every time I get to this part, I marvel at how non-native speakers can ever learn our language.

Learning to read the words has always provided opportunity for vocabulary lessons as well. As they learn new words, they often ask me what they mean. Sometimes it can be a challenge to come up with a definition off the top of my head that they can understand! J And then how do you explain that “are” and “air” make the same sound but the words have different meanings and different uses? Here are some excerpts of our phonics time this week:

Me, pointing and enunciating: “Flare.”

The 7yo: “Flare.” Pause. “Mommy, what’s a flare?”

Me: “You know how on Gilligan’s Island they shoot the flare gun and it looks like a firework? That’s a flare, to signal for help.”

The 7yo nods.

Me, pointing and enunciating: “Bare.”

The 7yo: “Bare. Like the animal.”

Me: “No. The animal is spelled differently. This is bare, like uncovered.” I rub her foot. “Your foot is bare.”

The 7yo nods. Whew!

Further along the word list, I point and enunciate: “Fare.”

The 7yo: “Fare.” A quizzical look crosses her face. “What’s fare?”

Me, grasping desperately for an explanation: “A fare can be something you have to pay, like to drive over a bridge or use a certain road.”

The 7yo: “Or like the state fair.”

Me: “No.” I slide my finger to the word fair at the bottom of the page. “This is that kind of fair.” I slide my finger back to fare. “This word isn’t used much any more.”

And on it goes….. J

We’re looking forward to… My mother turned 81 this week, and we’re meeting her and my brother and his family for a celebratory supper on Saturday. Fancy schmancy! We probably won’t even wear our customary denim! J

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend!

How was your week?

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  1. Wow! This is so true about phonics. I always say the hardest ages to teach are the first three years. Kinder is the most difficult. There are so many basics to teach.

    I like how you handled it though. Like a pro!

    1. I agree with you on the most difficult age to teach, Rachel. Everything is new, so they have no reference point, no foundation.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Faith! I'm seeing her tomorrow, and I think there might be cake. :)

  3. We also had a taste of fall - it was FABULOUS! But, we just moved from Texas so when the cool weather came through the kids ran outside thinking it was going to snow :-/ Not yet...but soon.

    1. That's sweet! We're praying for a super-snowy winter. :)

  4. Ah yes...phonics. I actually think it's kind of fun, but it can be tricky. My first thought when I saw your comment about "are" and "air" was that they don't make the same sound. Which they don't as individual words, but they do in the words you mentioned. Nothing like a little more confusion in the spelling of the English language!

    1. I am so thankful for Hooked on Phonics and their differentiation of the sounds. By this fourth child, we don't use the CDs much any more. :) But their sequence is so logical that every child has understood without any hair-pulling difficulty. Thanks, Jacqueline!

  5. I agree!!! Our language is hard. When is it read or read or tear or tear???? Strange!!!! Glad I know it and not have to leann it now. Hahaha!! I just wish people could get there, their, then and than right when they are writing.

    1. Yes, I love those images that go around on Facebook and Pinterest. "When I comfort a grammar nazi, I say there, their, they're." I think we'll be coming to read/read and tear/tear in these last few weeks of Hooked on Phonics.


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