Ho-oked on Phonics

Spelling has never been my forte, or at least that’s what I’ve come to believe.

When I was a wee tyke running amuck on a school playground which was next to the corn field which was next my house in southern Idaho, “Phonics” became the new state-mandated teaching curriculum. I know this, because my parents said it didn’t work. “Sounding out words won’t get you anywhere. Why can’t you memorize spelling words like we did?” And with every missed word on a spelling test, “See? Phonics: it’s not going to get us anywhere.” I’m sure it had nothing to do with being bored out of my wee little mind with spelling and wanting to do something more entertaining, like trying to figure out why the wavy borders on the bulletin boards could never  match up. And phonics offered the bonus of learning the skill of interpretation. English can never truly be quantified or qualified, but (yay post-modernity) it can be interpreted.

And now: my children get to hear about Common Core. “Oh no! Common Core will be the death of common sense in education!” Because as a parent I actually knew what type of curriculum was used before? As long as their papers were filled more with pencil marks than red pen marks, I called it acceptable. Now it’s true that I have *no* idea how to help my kindergartener in math (“See, Mom, you break these into the number bonds!” Hmm: breaking and bonding don’t seem like actions that should be coupled. It looks more like Mathematical Reorganization, a concept my Type-A self can fully support), and I have yet to see any lists for a spelling test. BUT thanks to my handy dandy phonics-based education, and tendency to Make The Things Fit, I could understand this offering of creativity on the first read.

An expression of both right and left brain thinking, in my opinion. “Then ho” says Common Core — or phonics, or any number of tricks to help us with the oh so difficult skill of communication — doesn’t work? 😉

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