I turned on the weather this morning, and listened to the “lovely” music while I brushed my hair. Ian, now 4 1/2, breezed in like a dust ball attracted to the static and stared at the TV for a moment. He said, “Mom, it’s going to be seventy-five.” I leaned out from the bathroom to peek at the screen, and b’gosh, he was right. He’d said plenty of big-sounding random numbers before, but had never read them. I tested him with four more numbers. Eighty-three. Yep. Ninety-one. Uh huh. Fifty-four. Wow. Eighty-eight. Yes! How did you do that? When did you learn to do that?!
My best guess is: Thank you, Schoolhouse Rock. It’s been looping in the van for weeks now. Just when I start to get nervous about homeschooling, wondering how I’ll ever get him to pay attention to these “boring but important” skills, he shows me that his curious mind will do most of the heavy lifting. I just have to be ready to look up the answers and pounce through the open door.
Ian has also been self-directed in practicing reading skills. He practices reading letters he sees, and writing letters he knows. We play letter sound games, such as, “What is something that moves, that starts with the letter ‘C’, or “…that starts with the fff sound?” Sometimes, when reading a story, I’ll read a page and then ask, “Which word on this page says ‘dog’?” and then we’ll strategically hunt for the word. Most recently, he has combined letters together and asked what they spell. Some recent examples:
Ian: Mom? T-L-O-O-K. What did that spell?
Me: Umm…tlook…but that’s not really a word. If you take off the ‘T’, it spells “look.”
Ian: Mom, I wrote letters. What word did I write?
Me: Huh. That says ‘oil.’ Did you know you were spelling ‘oil’?
Me: Really? Are you sure?
Ian: Mom, what is P-O-R-N-L?
Mom and Dad: Mwah-ha-ha-ha! Giggle gigle. Snort. It’s (Composing selves, before responding in unison) ‘pornal’.
Mom: But that’s not a word. However, C-O-R-N would be ‘corn.’
While sitting here, I just discovered a cool mom tip. I can get five minutes of white noise peace by putting three boys, a vacuum hose, and a rice- and cereal-covered floor together in the same room. Cool.