(I finally set up my wireless again, so I'm totally upstairs while typing. This either rocks or sucks depending on how much computer time you figure I'll have...!)
Their mother hadn't sent Ana's vacation homework up with her, which meant I got stuck with it. That's all right, she just kinda plowed through it. (And yes, I *do* think vacation homework for kindergarten is silly, but I'm told
that the other kids in her class have parents who want MORE homework. The mind boggles
, let me tell you.)
One of Ana's homeworks (she only has three left for the weekend - the daily "what the weather is" picture, her "my favorite thing I did this week" picture and two sentences, and a math set (they're working with coins) that she didn't want to finish) involved rhyming words. There were four words in each row (in four different rows), three of which rhymed. This was pretty badly done as the non-rhyming word always made a minimal pair with a rhyming word - bug, rug, and rag, for example. It would've been more challenging if they hadn't. But I digress.
The final row had these four words: pin, pen, ten, hen.
Can you see the problem with that? Say the list aloud. If you automatically figure out the problem, gold star! If not, go here
. As it happens, I
have the pin-pen merger. I think I must have gotten it from my dad, as neither my mother nor sister has it and they used to tease me about it. (Because I didn't get enough of that at school, guys?) I remember sitting in speech (therapy) lessons as a kid, the only year I had actual instruction
in those, working it out in my head how weird
it was that there was no short-e before n, even when it's written in that way! I literally don't hear it when other people say it unless I'm listening for it, and I feel as though I'm twisting my mouth unnaturally to produce it myself.
So when I saw this I listened with great interest
to see what Ana would do.
She carefully read the words (didn't have to sound them out!), and as soon as she got to pin and pen she stopped. Read them again, the whole list. Frowned. Sounded each word out carefully. "Connie, they all rhyme!"
So what do I do? Do I tell her to ignore her instincts and fill out the words that look like they rhyme? That's what she used to do when she was three. Do I let her fill out all of them and look like she didn't get it at all? I compromised by telling her that there's a good reason
they put four rhyming words there, telling her to fill them all in, and writing a note to her teacher explaining this. Then, she she was done, I explained the pin-pen merger and talked her through the steps of a simple linguistic survey. We're totally
stopping family members to see who has it and who doesn't today!
This isn't the first time I've had a language quibble with Ana's homework. Once she had to do "initial sounds that match" and one of the examples was a P word with a "pan". Except that I generally say skillet, and she generally says skillet, and when we don't say skillet we say frying pan. But she breezed right through that without a thought, proving that she understands very well how to do worksheets.