August 29th, 2012
At school, Miss Mouse is starting work on phonics. I’m interested to see how this goes because I’ve realized that she currently has virtually no grasp of the concept. Oh, she knows her letters and can spell several words (her name, mom, dad, nana, etc.) but she doesn’t truly understand the sounds that the letters make.
Every week, her class focuses on a different sound and one way that they reinforce that sound is to have a sort of show-and-tell on Thursdays. Each child is asked to select several small objects that begin with the sound of the week and bring them into class to share.
This week was “M” as in “Mouse.” How perfect! We scoured the house and packed her bag this evening with two magnets (one of Minnie Mouse), a stuffed moose, and a glass of fake milk from her kitchen. Oh, and a picture of her brother whose name is not actually Buggie. Shocking, I know.
The exercise is supposed to be a learning experience for the kids, but I discovered quickly that it will also be a lesson for the adults in the house in – “let the kid do her own work, people!”
That’s right. The parental penchant for taking over their child’s project has already manifested itself in our house. It was really hard to avoid it. My folks and Josh and I all got really into finding “m” words around the house. I happen to dominate all games of Scattergories and I really wanted Miss Mouse to bring interesting things to class. (Don’t judge me.) So I tried to entice Miss Mouse into picking the marigold necklace worn by our porch elephant. Or perhaps maracas. Josh suggested musical instruments, while my mother tried to explain that her play steak was, in fact, meat. Dad was in favor of sending a map.
But here’s the thing. Those words aren’t particularly meaningful to Miss Mouse. Sure, it was good to talk about them to reinforce the letter, but the odds of her remembering that the flowers (as in “f”) were really marigolds wasn’t good. She doesn’t actually know what a map is. And as far as she’s concerned, that painted chunk of wood in her kitchen is a steak, thank-you-very-much.
So we eventually chilled out and let her pick her own items with only gentle guidance (like a reminder that baby doll does not, in fact, begin with “m”). I think she’ll grow into the exercise as the months progress and it’ll be fun to watch her start looking for more challenging items. But for now, she’s just thrilled to be bringing Minnie Mouse to school.