Teaching My Children to Read, or How I Torture Myself

Last night I was tortured subjected to  entertained by Curious George has he sang  Jenny at the top of his lungs. (You know Jenny,  the highly annoying  eighties song sung by Tommy Tutone. I bet you even know her number. That’s right. 867-5309. You’re welcome.)   He loves to sing, and he usually sings songs his big sisters and the Handy Man have been listening to while he was playing in the vicinity.  I feel his musical education has been completed now. He can sing with Johnny Cash, Imagine Dragons, Pink and AC/DC (there is little more disturbing than a four year old singing along to AC/DC, unless it is a four year old singing solo AC/DC.)  Mostly, I have Star Child to thank for this. I can blame her, even though she is away at college, as she is home often enough to keep the musical education alive. (She and Boy 4 were home over the weekend, and our musical education was again refreshed.) I use the word education loosely. I would much prefer that my younger children were listening to this semester’s classical music selection, but since I have not actually been able to implement that since week one, the children are left to their sisters’ playlists. (We have kept up with art, Shakespeare, and Plutarch, though, so I am not feeling too badly about this.)

Note to self: Make an appropriately educational playlist.

Today was a milestone day. Lil’ Adventurer made it to step 6 of the Raceway in his Sing, Spell, Read and Write curriculum. We are now in the Short A book. I love this program, but sometimes I wish we could skip the part we are currently doing, which I could call “the cure for insomnia” it we did it at night. Since we do it in the morning, I simply call it “I really wish I drank coffee” hour.  Yes, I have actually nodded off during the short vowel books.  You can give me grief about this, but I suspect that every mother who has ever taught her young child the fundamentals of reading has suffered through dealt with the fact that young children generally read S…L…O….W….L….Y.   We are reading thrillers like “Nat had ham. Al had jam.”  I really look forward to the “ough’  book…you know, where we learn that thought and bought rhyme, but that through and enough don’t.  Because English is a funky language, and even the natives have difficulty learning it. Lil’ Adventurer has already learned that short A makes a slightly different sound when paired with m and n. (Go ahead, try it. Very slowly, say “bat”. Now, say “ban” or “bam”…hear it?) He has also learned that some words are just naturally rule-breakers. They steal the sounds of other letters, like the word “has”, which sounds like “haz”.  Yes, English is tricky.  If I had not already taught four other children how to read, I might get discouraged when he gets frustrated. Experience has been a great solace.


Curious George has been singing the phonics alphabet song. If I can get him through the letters, I may be able to subject myself to two daily doses of  “I wish I drank coffee” hour. I am not sure if I am that brave. It may save me time later to have them both on the same level, but the thought of two hours of phonics every day is just a little daunting.

I know my homeschooling friends can relate.  And that is all for a happy Tuesday afternoon. Have a great week!

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