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The One With the Jolly Phonics

02/10/2014 15:30 BST | Updated 02/12/2014 10:59 GMT

You know in my last blog I said we've all started school? Well we really have!

It would appear that I have to totally re-learn how to read.

For those of you who don't have children, or children at school yet, let me introduce you to the wonderful world of phonics.

Or to be more precise, Jolly Phonics.

Oh and they'll jolly... they are really, really bloomin' jolly!

Children are now taught to read by sounding out the letters in words to essentially de-code them and that unlocks the mystery of reading. It's ages before they actually learn the name of the letters and do 'a,b,c' etc, they just concentrate on the sounds first.

I have my reservations about this method, but every school does a form of it and it does seem to be working, so I've had to lay those to one side. Luckily the boys' school does use phonics alongside other reading methods, such as looking at the picture to help you tell the story, and good old fashioned memory, so it's not as sterile and I first feared.

In Jolly Phonics each letter sound has a song and an action to accompany it, and this helps the children remember what the sound should be. Of course this is perfect for the boy who responds well to learning through rhyme, music and games, rather than traditional methods of sitting up straight and looking at the blackboard.

Vintage Songtress, (who's son has also just started school), made a good point on Facebook the other day that once you've heard a Jolly Phonics song you can't un-hear it. She is so right.

I'm delighted the boy is obviously learning but two things are happening.

One, I can't get the songs out of my head.

Two, the boy, being the boy, is starting to get bored of the songs in their correct form and is riffing new lyrics to them.

As you can imagine this totally defeats the object, but he thinks it's hilarious.

One of the first letters you learn is 'a', with it's action being ants crawling up your arm, whilst singing the following, to the tune of 'Skip To My Lou',

'a, a, ants on my arm'

'a, a, ants on my arm'

'a, a, ants on my arm'

'They're causing me alarm'

Well I've had ants everywhere but my arm these last few days. The little blighters have been in every nook and cranny according to my son. I keep trying to tell him that ants on my feet, head, shoulders and boobies isn't going to help him practice his 'a' sound, but that wasn't cutting the mmmmmm for mustard with him.

I tried doing 'ants on my ankles' but after that I ran out of body parts beginning with 'a'. For a split second I toyed with ' ants on my a*se' but that was just asking for a trip to the headmasters office, so I didn't go there.

Would make a catchy song though,

'a, a, ants in the grass'

'They're nipping at my a*se'

My other problem is that I keep forgetting what the sounds should be. Every letter has it's own sound, and some like g have two, then there's double letter sounds like ch, oo and au.

Now I don't know if you remember how you learnt to read but I certainly don't. From the point I have any proper memories I could read so I've never given it much thought. I just know they didn't do it like this, thank goodness, because I would have struggled. Just pronouncing a 'nnnnn' is a feat of linguistic gymnastics.

So it's back to school for me and hubby learning the alphabet and how to read all over again.

I'm just pleased they haven't set him any maths homework yet.

I assume 1+1 still makes 2 otherwise we'll be screwed with that as well!