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Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:52 pm
I would like to discuss early academics for preschoolers. I've seen many folks for and against formal teaching of children under the age of 3 and 4.
Personally, I feel it's up to the parents to observe and recognize the pace of the child. In our case, I am formally home schooling my dd since she was 2.5 (we began this past January). I noticed the need to expand on the informal teaching when, one day, she knew practically everything on the flashcards we were using. She knew the letters, numbers and big/small. This is when I started to research curriculum and started setting up her classroom.
During the past two months, she is definitely thriving. She enjoys seat work as much as she enjoys projects. Several times I ran out of worksheets to do because she asks for more after we are done with the lessons. She has even cried when I had to end school because the baby started crying!!
This past week, she started learning German. Once again, I noticed that she was properly using Spanish phrases and counting to 10 in Spanish from watching Dora the Explorer! She asks to watch her German videos even when we are officially done watching them for school.
So the point of this is, I think if your child shows interest, then pursue it. I'm not pushing her, I go at her pace and do new things when I notice that there's something she would like to explore. Some children aren't ready and some are, it's up to the parent to recognize this. As long as your not pushing an unwilling child, I see nothing wrong with early academics.
Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:38 pm
I think that sometimes people jump into homeschool head first, going full throttle on children who are not ready. This leads to burnout for both the parent and child.
This is why, when asked, I usually tell people to see where the child leads them.
I know too many people who are now totally against homeschool because they went about it the wrong way and ended up having to send their kids back to public school.
These are the people who always have something negative to say when HS comes up in conversation.
Obviously if they couldn't pull it off, how on earth can anyone else.
I agree as long as nothing is forced on a child then formal teaching( in small doses) is fine.
Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:22 pm
Children learn naturally. My two year old likes to side on the stool beside his sister (at the kitchen island) while we do kindergarten together. He is learning at his own will, at his own pace, from simply listening in.
Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:34 pm
I don't see any reason to hold back a child who is interested in learning more. I think what is important is to follow a child's lead.
Some children will want to go, go, go for a few years and then slow down. We need to be willing to slow down (or back off completely) when they want/need us, too. Some children won't be ready to start formal learning until later. That's okay, too. Some children express interest in certain subjects and will be capable of doing certain types of work, but won't want to go full speed ahead with it.
I think it's important that we evaluate our motives in how/when we school our children. Are we doing what's in their best interest, or are we doing it to show off, prove something to others, make ourselves feel good, etc.?
We also have to consider whether or not the time spent doing worksheets, watching educational videos and other types of activities would be better spent chasing butterflies or running around the park. Free play and imaginative play are very important, but are often overlooked nowadays.
Early education will be handled differently by every family, and I think that's fine as long as the child's best interest is being served.
Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:04 pm
Well said, Jazzy!
Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:24 pm
Seems like a lot of people agree that early education is fine. I was just wondering because I've read posts were people are totally against introducing curriculum to young children.
Some things to Jazzy -
I like your point on what our motivations are. I personally want to do the best for my child and provide all the opportunities for her to explore her interests. I think home schooling is also the best option to do this with. I am thankful that we are a home schooling family!
I agree with your point on free play and imaginative play. Just to clarify my 1st post, I was talking about doing a formal education in addition to free/ imaginative play. To me, those should be incorporated into a child's life even if you aren't educating them formally.
Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:28 am
I am one of those who doesn't do formal education until 1st grade. However, this is a personal choice and I think that every parent needs to make that decision for themselves. If someone asks I will always recommend waiting until at least 1st grade though.
This being said that doesn't mean that I don't teach my kids before 1st grade. My youngest is 1 and can identify the letter "A" and "B". We have magnet letters on the frig that he plays with while I cook dinner and when he does I always have him find A and B. He knows where his nose, ears, eyes, and mouth are. He can get the color balls we ask for out of his ball pit. We teach everyday, just not in a formal, sit down, here are your books kind of way. We teach, until 1st grade, through play, fun, going outside, videos, or reading a book to them that they have picked out.
There is sooooooooo much more to learning than getting a book and sitting down for "school lessons" and just the opposite of what the original post was talking about I see a lot of people pushing for early learning and getting way to serious about school when their kids are just 1 or 2. I think people need to slow down and take time to smell the roses. Kids are only kids once then they grow up and move out. So enjoy them while they are young and don't always take life so seriously.
But that is just my opinion.
Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:56 pm
I think the original post was insightful and correct in saying that you must go at each child's pace and understand when they are ready for what. I, for one, was a homeschooled child who thrived on worksheets from an early age. But my 3 year old daughter is my opposite in many ways and she would much rather work on the computer or be outdoors. Putting a worksheet in front of her is frustrating and annoying to her, so I have put them aside and concentrate on finding ways to engage her without stifling her natural tendencies.