Times have changed.
My son is 9 years old. He is in Grade 3.
And for three/four years now he has been writing in a mysterious cryptic code that I don’t understand.
I think he is planning something big and I don’t know what it is. To make matters worse he is writing this at school. I’m worried, as this might be the first step of developing a new language where he takes over the world for his own evil purposes.
And God help us all if he succeeds.
They say serial killers start by killing small animals like ants and mice. With my son, he is starting small, and applying this creepy code to his spelling words. Look at this image from his Grade 2 spelling workbook:
You see? You see my point! What is this code???
Maybe world domination and serial killer analogies is a bit over the top. Perhaps a little bit of jest, just to get your attention.
So, let’s make this clear. What is in the image is great. It’s really exciting.
I have great conversations with my 9 year-old-son about his spelling and use of phonograms. As we speak, he enquires about new words he hasn’t heard of before. As we watch television he’ll ask about a word that has popped up on an advertisement and then explains why the word ends with an ‘e’ to create the second sound of ‘a’. This phonogram code has really started to deliver results in his spelling, and he is well on the way to becoming a highly competent and literate lifelong learner.
I hope that if my son is confronted by something academically challenging in the future, he will hopefully learn about it and understand it before he dismisses it completely.
It reminds me of one of my favourite moments in The 40 Year old Virgin delivered by Kevin Hart in his wonderful cameo. As a disgruntled customer, he is wanting a better price for the speakers he wants to purchase.
The shop assistant ignores the ridiculous suggestion that the 5-year extended warranty will be on ‘the house’ and says:
‘Now you’re being condescending. You’ve been warned alright, now let’s move on amicably.’
Kevin Hart retorts:
‘Check this out. First of all, you’re throwing too many big words at me, and because I don’t understand them, I’m going to take them as disrespect. Watch your mouth. And help me with the sale.’
As you can imagine from the tone, an argument escalates. With my son’s exemplary work in literacy so far, I hope I don’t need to worry about him being told to ‘watch his mouth’ for using too many big words!
As a parent, I love the way my son comes home and shows me his homework and class work. But I really appreciate seeing the foreign tasks like phonograms, where he gets to explain his learning.
And here comes the lesson part of the article!
What is your child doing at school?
They don’t come home with homework? That’s okay. Create a system.
Monday – English Workbook
Tuesday – Maths Workbook
Wednesday – Science Discussion
Thursday – Drama Discussion
Friday – What skills did you learn in Physical Education?
Don’t wait for it to come. Be proactive and start having conversations. Why does it stop at Primary School? Be involved. I don’t remember learning what my son is learning in Primary School, because things have changed. School is not the same as we remember it. Just because you have been to school doesn’t mean you know what happens in class. I have been into an operating room, but I don’t know how to be a doctor.
Be present and in the moment. And watch your mouth.
Literacy Learning Specialist