Posted by: whimsigal | August 24, 2007


Yesterday when we were leaving the grocery store, Iain and Ryan were discussing the word “broken”. For some reason, Iain felt inspired to spell it. Let me reiterate a point I’ve made here before, spelling has not historically been Iain’s strong suit. When he was in school, we would study for his weekly test and when he came home the next week with a 100, I would beam with pride and tell him how wonderful he was. Once he came home with a 40 and I freaked out on him. Not one of my best moments. I was embarrassed because I saw his failure on the test as a reflection on me. These were the days before Enlightenment. But Iain only got 100’s because he memorized the words for that one moment in time and they were forgotten once the test was complete. When we began school-at-home, it became evident that Iain didn’t understand even basic spelling and really didn’t understand phonics. Even then I refused to worry about it, feeling that it would come to him with time. Back to yesterday…

In the parking lot as I was loading the groceries into the back of my car, Iain was telling Ryan how to spell broken, “B-N”. He looked at me inquisitively, “Is that right Momma?”

“Well, not exactly. Those are two of the letters but you left out a couple. Want me to tell you how to spell it?”

“No, I want to do it. B-I-N?” Again I shook my head no but offered no more information than that. He said the word aloud, slowly, sounding out the syllables. “B-R-O-I-N?”

“That spells broin, honey.”

“Broken, B-R-O-K-I-N. Is that right?”

I said, “Iain you spelled it exactly as it sounds and that is wonderful! If you looked it up in a dictionary though it would say, B-R-O-K-E-N. Sometimes “en” and “in” sound the same.”

He was quite pleased with himself and I was relieved that I had been able to stay back and let him work it out and ask questions when he wanted help. Too many times I jump in and help when he doesn’t want it and it was fun to watch him work it out for himself. It is fascinating that, again as we have removed the narrow focus of learning only happening in school, his own natural curiosity has surfaced and he is more inquisitive than ever. I’m blessed to be here to witness it.



  1. You handled this beautifully, Evie!

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