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Monday, February 8, 2021

English in England, or how to teach English to a five year old.

Sorry about the long hiatus but we have been in lockdown, (again), and this time the schools are closed so we have spent lots of time helping homeschool our 5 year old grandson. This might seem like an easy job but I have found that as I try to help him with reading and writing, I am having to relearn English. Now let me clarify, I have been speaking English my whole life. Only one language, English! How hard could this be? Well, apparently there is the English I know and the English in England and while lots of words are the same, there is a whole range of words that I have never used and are common place here. 

 I knew I was in for trouble when I sang the ABC song with him. You know the one where you sing the ABCs and end with "next time won't you sing with me". As I was casually singing this song, a song I am well versed, I got to the end and sang, "X Y Z". I pronounced "Z" like zee. My grandson looked at me in confusion, almost like I had said a bad word and said, "zed". Right then I knew we were in trouble. 

 Not only am I confused on certain sounds and words but so is my grandson. He is learning each letter of the alphabet with an accompanying sound and hand gesture. When we got to the letter "y", he said the letter and then said, "like in yogurt" with a spooning motion to his mouth, only he pronounced yogurt like yagurt. I decided to ask a few questions to see if he knew what he was saying so I asked, "do you like yagurt? He replied that he had never had any. I asked him again, do you like yogurt? He replied that he loved yogurt. So somewhere out there, in this mystical land called England, there is this mystery item called yagurt that my grandson is still waiting to eat. 

Children's books have also been an eye opener. I am going to recite a book called, "SID'S NITS". It is a real book that my son brought home from school. Read the words and then you try and figure out what this means. (this does not apply to my friends in England who will obviously know what it means). 

 Sid's Nits 
Sid's nits 
Sam's nits 
Nan's nit 
It nips Nan 
It dips 
It is a mad din 
Nan's pan 

If you didn't guess, it is a book about hair lice. That is right LICE! it has action when a lice gets lose around the room where eventually Nan, (AKA Grandma), hits it with a pan. I know that you all want to read this book so I will provide a link.


The real victim in all this is my grandson. He is going to spend at least 9 weeks being taught reading and phonics by his grandma who speaks like an American. When he does go back to school he is going to have to relearn all the things I taught him but at the end of the day, I wouldn't trade this special time with him for anything even if sometimes our teaching/learning time is a din.