Wednesday, August 15, 2012


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.


  1. Doesnt believe in teaching spelling!?!?! WHAT?Good thing he has an aunt like you to get him educational games!

  2. I am a total grammar and spelling nut, so this makes me feel sick inside.

  3. Interesting. Is he in a public school? If yes, this does surprise me, somewhat. But if no, it really doesn't. There are a lot of alternative thoughts on learning that subscribe to not teaching phonics. I think it has something to do with not teaching "rules" that must be memorized, rather than understood how/why certain sounds, letters, words go together. I agree our education is seriously lacking in the US, but this may not be TOO out of whack.

  4. Ugh deleted my comment but suffice to say I'm flabbergasted. Where I live (GA) you pretty much have to spell in Kindergarten and exceed 800 words by the end of First Grade. So to have a 2nd grader who can't spell? Suffice to say I'd be yanking my child into a different school immediately because that sh** is ridiculous.

    1. My mom (Jeffrey's adoptive mom) promptly went out and bought some phonics workbooks for him. But I think it is ridiculous that she even had to do that!

      Lady... you need to link your e-mail address to your profile so I can reply to your comments via e-mail! We are missing out on some wonderful dialogue. :)

  5. this is hilariously awful.
    my nieces? they are 8. they correct my sister's spelling. not their mom. my OTHER sister.

  6. What?! How can you just not believe in something like that?! haha I think I need to start saving money now so my unborn child can go to private school!

  7. That is absolutely ridiculous. I don't see why a teacher has the option of choosing to leave something like spelling out of his/her curriculum though. I certainly wouldn't have been able to when I taught. Granted, I taught high school social studies in Virginia but we had very strict standards that we were required to teach. I'd assume Oregon would be the same.

  8. Isn't this amazing. My son is on second grade and is a whiz at math but not at spelling. I don't what the F we spend out tax money for.

  9. I'm going to add this story to the list of reasons why I'm going to be homeschooling my children. I appreciate your support.


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