When I work on Singapore Math with Younger Daughter, I always have her read the directions out loud. For some reason, Sing Math often uses the word "altogether", as in "How many stamps do they have altogether?" (The curmudgeon in me wants to point out that "all together" would be more correct, but let's let it ride.) Anyway, YD consistently tries to read "altogether" as "together".
Me: "No, it isn't 'together'!" Read all the letters in the word."
YD: "So what? It means the same as 'together'."
This is exactly the kind of thing Whole Language advises; if the kid says "pony" instead of "horse", that's OK, because the meaning's about the same, right?
But of course, there are no two exact synonyms, and there are all kinds of contexts where it might really matter what word was chosen. If YD comes across a sentence like "Jude Law was in the altogether", I want her to appreciate it, or at least READ IT CORRECTLY.
Argh! I swear that kid is on her way to a PhD in Winding Mom Up.