C-A-T Spells Cat: No, It Doesn’t

It was an early day in homeschooling.  My kindergarten son was involved in a deep matter of universal existence, most likely involving scientific exploration of a Lego-nature.

My daughter, nearing kindergarten, seemed ready in my new-to-educating-ahem-for-real state to learn to read.  She had been curious about her brother’s lessons, so I interpreted curiosity as readiness.

She taught me a crucial educational lesson that day, which I wish to share:

No, it doesn’t.

Beginning at what was a logical place in the reading journey with my son, I announced quite simply, showing a picture so as to avoid confusion and to cement the concept:

A as in Apple

A says a as in apple.

(Now before you take my dear one’s side in the matter, I do want you to know, I did place the little sideways parenthesis above the sound of the letter to make the customary short-a sound.)

I repeated, as I knew early education would demand and my daughter’s glare seemed to beg:

“A says a as in apple.”

Quite clearly, quite firmly, my precious learner, so eager for knowledge announced:

No, it doesn’t.

(And her first alphabetical debate began.)

Yes, it does.

No, it doesn’t.

Yes.  It does.

No, it doesn’t.

Ok (the mama pressing on) B says b as in ball.

No, it doesn’t.

(Hmmm.  Maybe letters are meaningless to her without words.  I was flexible enough to admit this possibility, so I changed course a wee bit.)

“The sounds c, a, t spell cat.”


No, they don’t.

(Well, she knows her pronouns anyway.)

And so began Lesson One of Learning to Read.  Lesson Two did not happen for several days – or was it weeks?  Mommy needed to rest her brain and learn some new teaching skills.

No, she doesn’t.

Yes.  She did.

Addendum:  Said daughter is still homeschooled and completing her junior year of high school, as of this writing.  She recently received her first SAT scores.  Her best subject:  Reading.  And she just proved her progress, coming out to the dining room, looking at the computer monitor, and announcing, “Cat.”  Just like that.  Cat.

Oh, God is good!


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