A few weeks ago, Princess & I were at one of the neighborhood schools, and I noticed a sign on the gym door -- "Parents are responsible for there own children." Obviously (well, obviously to me, anyway), "there" should have been "their". I asked my daughter to read the sign, which she did. I then asked her if she noticed anything weird. She said, "there is spelled wrong; it should be t-h-e-i-r." That's right. Another parent overheard me, and quietly applauded my efforts to use an everyday situation to teach my daughter something.
Maybe it's just my own ability to perfectly spell just about anything, but common mistakes like this one irritate the crap out of me. I find them everywhere. Do people just not care? Do they really think that spelling & grammar are not important? Do they have a good job? Did the person or persons doing the hiring even bother to read their applications?
To me, two of the worst offenders are: those in a school or teaching environment, and those in the journalism field. It's one thing to misspell some obscure word... but most of what I see is just pure laziness.
Since Princess was just starting learning her letters, I have taught her how to spell properly. Grammar came soon after. Granted, I don't have an English degree; nor have I ever been a newspaper editor or a writer of any sort (unless you count blogs). You can view me as a grammar Nazi, if you want, but arguing with me doesn't make you less wrong.
As a courtesy, here are some common spelling errors and the correct way to use these words:
(1) There - location. Their - a possessive pronoun, as in "their house". They're - shortened version of "they are".
(2) Your - a possessive pronoun, as in "your house". You're - shortened version of "you are".
(3) To - in the direction of, or toward. Too -- also, or in addition. Two -- the number 2.
There are, of course, MANY more (for reference, if you find yourself commonly using the wrong version of a word, save this site to your Favorites: http://www.grammarbook.com/english_rules.asp and scroll down to "Commonly Confused Words" -- very helpful).
My point, though, is that there are many teachable moments in life. NO conversation should ever be a one-time conversation. Whether it be something as simple as spelling & grammar, or something a lot more serious (like sex and drugs), talk to your kids, talk to them often, and try to practice what you preach!