The eldest has been in the preschool room at the germ factory for a while now. Every week they do a different phonic and we get a sheet home to practice writing that particular letter. Most weeks we do it but he refuses to hold the pen properly and is often more interested in writing out his name (which he’s been able to do legibly for several months now) or a full class list…

More recently he’s taken a keen interest in reading for himself. Entire books not just odd words. It’s a natural extension of his obsession with how things are spelt. Yet with each passing day I’m not sure who’s getting more frustrated with the phonics!

We’ve got a set of flashcards with one for each letter and a corresponding one with a picture. Slight issue that neither the toddler nor I knew what some of the pictures were supposed to be, but a lesson in solving by process of elimination and we dealt with that.

Then we moved on to some spelling to see how changing just one letter could change a whole word.

Mat, cat, hat, bat

Cat, car, can… we’re making a great start!

Red, bed, ted… but why is it head or said?

Tent, sent… and then spell meant?

Wen (when), wot (what), wi (why) and I begin to wonder if the bulk of the English language is actually the exception and what worth phonics have. The toddler, as far as I can tell, is learning to read by memorising words and not decoding phonics; and who can blame him, he’s not yet 4 and already realised phonics aren’t working!

I strongly suspect this is only the beginning of the system insisting learning is done “this way”, the child doing it differently and the parent not understanding what the magical benefit of “this way” actually is.

At least the husband has stopped bemoaning he doesn’t know the phonetic alphabet. Whether this is because he’s finally done the same as I did at the start and learnt it only the toddler can assess…

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