Monday, July 13, 2009

My Life as a Spelling Bee Contestant

Our girls are learning to read. They made the connection between letters and words, so now they understand that you can put letters together to make words. At first I thought this was so cute. Now I feel like I live in a never-ending spelling bee.

Every day we spell new words. And, I have to explain the whys and hows of spelling. Have you every really thought about the English language? It's really a bit of a screwed up mess.

Today I had to explain why there is a PH in elephant and not an F. I had to explain why there is an "i" in receive. We talked about the silent "e" at the end of words as a signal that the vowel should be said with a long vowel sound.

I have to spell words in my head before I say them out loud. I realize how dependent I am on spell check's magic. Many, many times a day I question my ability to spell an every day word with an unusual spelling. This is in part because I don't thnk about how to spell these words too often and in part because I'm usually doing something like merging into traffic or stirring something on a hot stove when the girls decide to ask me to spell the complicated word.

I do realize this will help them in the long run. I know that this connection between letters and words helps them read and comprehend. I get it, really. Their preschool teacher last year thought it was so cute when the girls would ask her to spell something in class. She raved about how they remembered every word and could spell them back to her days later. I'm sure it was cute because she only had them in class three hours a day. I have them 24-hours a day. It's not so cute when it happens all day, every day.

The worst part is when I am distracted in the middle of spelling a word. Then I have to start all over again. By this time the girls are impatiently asking me to hurry up so they can ask me to spell a new word. Okay, maybe the worst part is when I have to spell a word twice because I misspelled it the first time. For days after that they girls say, "Are you sure Mom? Are you sure you spelled it correctly this time?" No, that doesn't get old too quickly.

I think this is some kind of cosmic revenge. A while back, I worked for a medical association. Whenever I ran across a new word, I would ask the doctors to "spell it, define it, use it in a sentence." I needed to figure out how to take the complicated medical word and turn it into something normal people would understand.

Now the girls are trying to figure out how to spell words and use them in sentences. Somewhere the universe is laughing.

1 comment:

pehpot said...

yes there is so much on teh English language, one time my first born was asking why we read banking with the g but when it is spelled it has no g...

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