On Friday, with Frankenstorm and the possibility of days of power outage looming, I printed out some worksheets for my kids, to keep them occupied for a short while.
This morning after breakfast, even though we still have power (so far), Alex pounced on his stack of worksheets with glee. There are a couple of things I'd like to share with you about that experience.
Alex and I got up just a smidge before seven; it's currently 7:40. Which means he ate breakfast and worked through his sheets in less than 45 minutes.
Before he ate breakfast, I helped him design the face for his jack-o-lantern, since I'll probably be carving it while he's at his dad's. At the bottom, I wrote "Alex's pumpkin" just so I wouldn't accidentally throw it away. He said, "What's that?" and I challenged him to sound it out. The possessive on his name didn't throw him at all. Then he looked at "pumpkin" and said, "Pum. Pump? And kin. Pump. kin. ...Pumpkin! It says 'Alex's pumpkin'!" That's right. My four-year-old is sounding out two-syllable words. With encouragement, but no actual help.
Two of the sheets involved identifying a picture and then drawing a line from it to one of three letters identifying its first letter. He needed some help figuring out what some of the pictures were -- there was a mole, which he didn't know, and a canister vacuum (he's only ever seen uprights) -- but once I'd told him what the thing was, he didn't hesitate for even a second in identifying their starting letter.
The sheet I thought he might have a hard time was in identifying not the starting sound of a word, but its vowel sound. It showed three pictures, and all the letters for the word except the vowel sound. The first one was "bat", and he filled in the A without much hesitation. The second one was "cat", and that went just as fast, because he knows about rhyming. The third one was "witch", which is a much more difficult word to read, but Alex apparently had no trouble completely ignoring the whole "tch" confusion and focusing on the actual problem of figuring out the sound. It took him a little longer than the first two, and he wasn't as certain of his answer, but it still didn't take him nearly as long as I'd expected before he looked up at me and said, "...I?"
And a final observation: After he finished his worksheets, he went straight to the computer and loaded up an educational website. While I've been writing this and helping Penny with her sheets, he's played some time-telling games, some sorting games, and some counting games.