@Geoff Bin In: I before E
Thank you so much! Would someone please give that gentleman a Knighthood?
That is the first time I have seen the rule set out in full in these fora - in fact anywhere outside homeschooling lists. I keep promising myself that I will do as you did whenever this topic arises.
That leaves only five exceptions: seize, weird, foreign, counterfeit, protein (plus neither if pronounced ee),
Down Under, we are subjected to cultural imperialism from both sides of the Pond, but have defaulted to US English (sorry Blighty!) for many decades.
The anti-phonics "whole language/look-say" brigade is dominant in the child-minding centres which masquerade as our education system.
The troops decry pure phonics with half of the I before E rule, and then loudly complain that there are so many exceptions that it isn't worth learning, so the English language therefore MUST BE a random mess (which they as experts have to fix up - HA!)
Nevertheless, parents still hear about and demand phonics, although it is not easy to find all 29 spelling rules (that's all there are!), and the requisite teachers of pure phonics to preserve the general orderliness of the English language.
<Sigh> Ah, even nostalgia isn't what it used to be! :-)