You want to be a brain surgeon? Can you even spell brain surgeon?

News alert!  There are rules for spelling in English!  Who knew?!  It all seemed so random and inexplicable.  Well, it is random and inexplicable but not as random and inexplicable as I thought.  You can learn a lot if you go back to a 3rd grade spelling classes.

I should know.  Boy8 and I just spent about 57 hours straight on a single spelling lesson.  It was the longest spelling lesson in the history of spelling lessons and Boy8 and I are one second away from having our heads pop off from the sheer frustration of the lesson.  At least we now know why there are two p’s in apple.  Why couldn’t we have been born somewhere with a reasonable language like in Rome where they speak pig latin and you know how each word ends?  Eesh-shay.

And don’t even get me started on our piano lessons.  After 3 months of fruitlessly trying to explain to Boy8 how the lines and spaces on sheet music tell us the names of the notes, he finally told me, “Apparently I’m not a good boy, because I’m not doing fine.”

Every Good Boy Does Fine is a mnemonic to help you remember the names of the notes.  Mnemonic?  What the heck kind of spelling is mnemonic??  Oh, save me from the spelling lesson where we learn how to spell mnemonic.  And when did I ever say I wanted to grow up and be a teacher? I don’t remember ever saying that.  How did I end up spending 7 hours every single day teaching?

Here are all the things I’ve ever wanted to be:

1.  A clerk in a dollar store.  Yes, a dollar store.  I like dollar stores.

2.  A maintenance guy, because don’t you think you’d have a lot of job satisfaction as a maintenance guy?

3.  A truck driver.  Tooting the horn.  Bullying your way into the next lane.  Sleeping in the little alcove above your seat.  What a great life.

4.  A brain surgeon.  That was a short-lived desire and I read too many novels to be a brain surgeon.  When Barbetta was getting her Nurse Practitioner degree, she didn’t read a novel for three years due to all the studying she had to do. Yuck! I could never do that. Brain surgeon is off the list.

5.  A librarian.  Ah.  A librarian.  Who doesn’t want to be a librarian?  I never understood why Clarence was so distressed when he told George, “She’s just about to close up the library!”  Sounds like Mary made out pretty well whether George lived or not.  Lucky Mary.


Here is why there are two p’s in apple:

First, let’s look at the word with one p:


If there is only one p the word is Aaaay-ple and not Aaaaaa-ple.

But why?

It has to do with syllables.

First.  Split the word aple into syllables.  Whenever a word ends with a consonant-le, the consonant-le is its own syllable.  So we know to split the word at a/ple.

Ok.  We know how to say the “-ple” part.

But the “a” left all alone is an open syllable.  There is no consonant closing it–the vowel just dangles there.  There are rules about open syllables.  A vowel in an open syllable has the long sound.  It sound like it’s name when you recite the alphabet.

Think of hotel vs hot.

In ho/tel the “ho” is an open syllable.  There is no consonant closing up the vowel, so the vowel is long.  O.

But in hot, that’s just one syllable.  Hot.  It’s a closed syllable.  There is a consonant closing up the syllable.  So, now the vowel is short.  Hot.

Same thing with aple.  A/ple.  The A is open.  It says its name.  Ay/ple.

In order to close up that syllable without changing the sound of the word, you add another P.  Ap/ple.  Now the first syllable is closed and can make the short vowel sound.

Eight-year-olds don’t follow this sort of logic very well.  They get bored and start falling off their chair and doodling on their paper.

You can see why our heads just about popped off.


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