Thursday, September 3, 2009


Refusing to take the fall for the sugar fiasco from earlier today if it wasn't actually my fault, I pulled the teacher's manual out to reread the lemonade instructions. "Now that you've sliced a lemon, consider making a glass or pitcher of lemonade. Try mixing two cups of water, three tablespoons of lemon juice and eight tablespoons of sugar."

Somebody really should teach me how to teach (or at least read).

While we're all laughing at the imperfection of today's class, let me share this little tidbit with you. The reading/phonics curriculum I had chosen for Abby came in too late to incorporate it into our first week of school, so we're just getting going with it. The first few lessons emphasize that regardless of where your child is academically, you should start with the basics -- as in the ABCs. Abby's been saying the alphabet (and recognizing letters) for quite a while now, so I thought about just dismissing the book's suggestion. But in the end, I decided Day One of the new curriculum was not the time to decide I was smarter than the teacher's manual.

We started by singing the Alphabet Song. A B C D E F G...on and on we went. Yes, Abby sang the middle section from L to P in the typical, slur-it-all-together, sloppy fashion of most four-year-olds, but I didn't think anything of it. Then we walked through the written alphabet letter by letter just to ensure that she knew her stuff.

All was going well -- until...H I J K L M O P.

I said, "Oh wait, honey. You missed one."

She repeated, "H I J K L M O P."

I giggled a bit and said, "Abby, you forgot to say the letter N."

"I know, Mommy. N's not in the alphabet."

I just sat there and stared at her. And she stared back.

"Abby, N is a letter in the alphabet. It comes right after M. Listen to me sing the Alphabet Song. ......LMNOP...... Did you hear it? L. M. N. O. P."

"No Mommy, N really isn't in the alphabet." She wasn't being disrespectful...she just felt strongly that what I was telling her was absolute hogwash. As far as she was concerned, I might as well have been trying to convince her that she had a banana sticking out of her nose. She just wasn't buying it.

What followed was hands-down the most ludicrous and maddening conversation I've ever had in my life.

Have you ever stood there staring at a tree, trying to convince the person with you that the tree really is there? Well, I guess I haven't either, but I have sat in school (of all places) with my child, both staring at the alphabet, trying to convince my wise pupil that the letter she sees right in front of her face actually belongs there.

Unfortunately, my reaction to extreme ridiculousness (is that a word?) is to laugh. And the more she pleaded with me to believe that N wasn't in the alphabet, the more I laughed. I'm usually perfectly capable of holding it together in front of the kids (as in today when Josh asked Jack if he had pooped in his pants, and he sang his response, "Yes, poop in my pants today. Poop in my pants tomorrow, too." So much for potty-training.), but the absurdity of our conversation not only got my giggle-box turned over, it violently jerked it upside down and dumped all of its belly-laughing contents out on the floor.

We finally hit a point that I simply couldn't take it anymore, so I took the next logical step, and we called Josh at work to have him convince Abby that N is in the alphabet. Josh took a very analytical approach and said, "Abby, is N a letter?" She agreed that it was. "And isn't the alphabet a collection of all the letters?" She affirmed that point as well. "So, then, if N is a letter and the alphabet is a collection of all the letters, doesn't that mean that N is in the alphabet?"

"No sir, Daddy."


I knew I had officially reached my Nonsense Discussion quota for the day, so I did what any self-respecting homeschool teacher would do at 3:00 in the afternoon -- I told Abby she couldn't have her snack until she agreed that N was in the alphabet.

Don't judge me, people. You have no idea how crazy that conversation was making me!!!

I'm sure you're woNdering how school has goNe siNce theN. ThaNkfully, Abby aNd I have come to aN agreemeNt that N Not oNly exists, but that it's a vital letter iN the alphabet, aNd she's slowly iNcorporatiNg aN extra member iNto her previous idea of a 25-letter setup.



Anonymous said...

Tell Abigail that NaNa would be so sad if there wasn't an N in the alphabet to spell my name -- all three of them!
NaNa, aka graNNa or NaNNy

Pam said...

You cracked me up today, Allison (and Abby, too).

Angel said...

welcome to homeschooling..... :)

Anna said...

oh my. i have laughed and laughed about this! told paul and my mom too! i love josh's logic and your final solution! i suppose i'd be sad too if there was no "N" in the you all! aNNa

The Taylors said...

Hysterical! What's even better is that I totally made lemonade with Braeden last week when we read Lentil. We are DORKS!!!