Every once in a while I catch my kids doing something that makes me proud.
Ok, that happens pretty often actually. What I mean is, every once in a while I catch my kids doing something that makes me really, really proud to be their Daddy, and reaffirms that Mommy and I must be doing something or other right.
So as I was getting ready to make the kids lunch today, just as I was about to call them over to the lunch table, I happened to notice what the girls were doing:
The Adrenaline Junkie, our three-year-old daughter, has been learning the sound values of the letters lately, to the point where she can sound out simple words--generally of three letters or fewer, with all short vowel sounds. And this has become a rather fun game for her. So the Pillowfight Fairy (age 5) occasionally, spontaneously (i.e., no pushing from Mommy or Daddy), decides that it would be a fun game to help the Junkie learn her phonics. The Fairy is a little like her Daddy: she likes to explain things in incredible detail.
So I sneaked up with a camera. Not quietly enough, of course; the moment you show up with a camera, your kids notice and start acting. Well, mine do anyway. But I told them to carry on. In the picture just above, the Fairy has just cleared the Magna-Doodle and is preparing to write the next word:
By the way, I highly, highly recommend these little travel-size Magna-Doodle toys, for parents who are trying to teach their kids phonics. You can write, erase, write, erase, and so on for thousands of cycles before the toy breaks, and you save a lot of paper. We found when we were following the Hazel Loring blend-phonics method (warning: PDF file) we found at Don Potter's website, that the Magna-Doodle was absolutely the right tool for the job. It is the exact modern equivalent to those chalk slates students used in the middle of the 19th century.
(Which brings up another question, that I ran across when trying to look up the links for this post: it appears that Fisher-Price is no longer making the original Magna-Doodle toys. It looks like they're now being made by some outfit called Ohio Art, and that Fisher-Price is instead making a different line of toys under its own brand name "Doodle". Anyone have any information about this?)
At any rate, you can see here that the Fairy is teaching her younger sister both about phonics, and about the parts of the body. Those that are easy to spell, anyway. I don't expect her to start teaching the Junkie about the duodenal epithelium anytime soon.
Then again, you never know....