Phil and I went to dinner with my mom and Jeffrey not too long ago. Like any normal 8 year-old, Jeffrey wanted to get Mongolian food. I would have wanted a Happy Meal, but to each his own they say.
As entertainment while we waiting, my mom brought a spelling game that Phil and I had bought for Jeffrey last year when we visited the House of Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusettes. Basically you roll some dices that have letters on them and try to spell as many words as you can, hopefully with as many letters as you can. Like any responsible aunt, I thought this educational game would be perfect for Jeffrey who (at the time) couldn't spell to save his life.
We discovered while playing this game that Jeffrey's method was to simple try and replace either the first or last letter of the word to create a new word. He was never able to actually see the word from just separate letters. So we started giving him hints.
Me: When you go camping, what do you sleep on?
Jeffrey: A pull out couch
Ok... there are only 6 letters. How on earth would you spell "pull out couch"?
My Mom: When you are older, you'll need one of this to support your family.
Jeffrey: Lots of money.
He's got it all figured out.
Phil: What is on the end of your foot?
Jeffrey: Running shoes
Me: No. Under your shoe, on the end of the foot.
Keep in mind that he can see all of the letters at this point.
Jeffrey: Socks (which there were hardly any letters for)
Me: No under your sock...
Jeffrey: OH!! Toe!
So he starts to spell it. T. O.
Jeffrey: There it is! Toe (spelled without the "e").
And that is when it hit me... my nephew could not spell toe. Could he spell foot? No. Could he spell job? No.
What the CRAP?!?! He is almost nine and he can't put together 3-letter words?!?! When I asked my mom about this, she said his second grade teacher didn't believe in teaching spelling. No spelling tests. No phonics based learning. She said they would cover that in the 3rd grade.
That's like saying you aren't going to add for a year. It makes no sense.
You know what? For the next year, I am done counting money. I'm just going to start handing out wads of cash and hoping I can get it all sorted out.
So in theory, Jeffrey could learn his multiplication tables before he learns to spell "table". I wonder why our country's education ranks poorly internationally? Big mystery.