Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hidden Words

I have never been a teacher. This story is proof of that- and I feel certain my homeschool friends will get a kick out of it.

Jonathan is working on sounded out words. He loves to sit down and see how many words he can think of and write. Of course, he wants to do it with as little help as possible. One day this week, he was making his list of words. He was trying to sound out the word "bear" and I decided to explain that the word had a hidden letter in it. I really had no idea how to explain the "ea" sound and I was trying to get everything ready for soccer practice so "hidden letter" was the best I could come up with. I told him how to spell it and he said, "oh, that's too hard." When I went to review his list of words, he had "gat" on the page. I asked him about it and he said it was gate. I explained that there was letter at the end of the word you couldn't hear. He summed it up to a hidden word and then he corrected himself and said hidden letter. I didn't think too much about it as we went through a couple other words with similar issues for sounding out words. How do you explain the "ck" in "rock" anyway?
Now, fastforward to that night when the kids are all in bed. I am checking out the piece of paper Jonathan had been working on. I was gone for an hour or so before bedtime and it was obvious he had worked on his list of words with Daddy.

Seth comes over and says he was really caught off guard by Jonathan when he was working on his list.
(This is basically how the conversation went as I understand it.)

Jonathan: "Daddy, is there a hidden word in the word "grass"?
Seth: "Uhhhhhhhhhhh... yes, Jonathan but some words are bad words."
Jonathan [really confused at this point] "What?"
Seth: "There are some words that are not nice and that you shouldn't say. You spell Grass, G-R-A-S-S."
Jonathan: "Are there 2 S's?"
Seth: "Yes, Jonathan. Here's what it looks like." [He writes the word out.]
Jonathan: "Daddy! You said that was a bad word."
Seth: "No, 'grass' is not a bad word... you can write and say grass. I will have to explain bad words more another time."

Seth and I determined it is better to say "silent letter" instead of "hidden letter". That will be a lot less confusing for all of us!

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