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What subjects do you wish you had not wasted time on when kids were little?


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I know, lots of controversy here, but we battled tears, lots and lots of tears (mine and his) to struggle through reading with ds(13) and it was terrible. I didn't push it with the last 3, approached it with a "no big deal" they will read attitude, stuck with our program at a very slow pace, and when it clicked, it just did. I have great readers, who may have read several months later than he did, but actually enjoyed the process.

 

I made a HUGE deal about science with In Depth study...waste of depth and lesson planning. Keeping science and history alive, light, full of good books,is the way to go. They'll be plenty of time for in depth drawings and study after 3rd grade :)

 

Finally, although we work from wb, math games make learning much more exciting, memorable, and instill a love of learning. Wished I played more games with the older two.

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I wish I had not started my oldest off with textbooks and computer programs. Poor thing did not have all the lovely one on one time that his siblings had. I would ban workbooks too. Instead I would use a salt or corn meal box for letter formation, lots of narration practice with gobs of great books that the kiddo likes. I personally do not like ANY grammar before 3rd grade and R&S 2 orally in third.

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I'm glad you asked this question. I am torn between feeling like the grammar stage is such a great opportunity for memorization and drill, but on the other hand it can get to be so much academic focus when they are just "little kids." I'll be watching this thread with interest.

 

Two things I will comment on, although my kids are not very old. I think math is most easily understood "when they are ready to get it" and I think creative writing can wait until they are older. Even learning to read seems to come at different times for different kids. My 5yo was totally uninterested in anything "schoolish" for months. Recently something clicked in him and now he wants to learn! It's so fun watching them grow!

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I've not actually gotten far enough to know, but lately I seem to be coming across alot of "wait 'til they are older" advice. Aside from the Moores "Better late than early" advice, I've also recently heard a seminar by the Bluedorns (of "Teaching the Trivium" fame) who don't recommend teaching arithmetic until age 10 or later:eek:. I'm not sure I have the courage to wait quite that long, but the convergence of all the advice from the experts has convinced me to slow down alot.

Also, Charlotte Mason recommends little to no grammar or much "seatwork" until nine years old. There does seem to be a general agreement among many that something happens at 9 or 10, and that waiting is more effective than trying to overcome biology. Now I just have to convince my state (which requires testing) that I'm not neglecting my child's education...:lol:

 

P.S. The people listed above do not advocate leaving the child completely to their own devices until age 10, but doing lessons informally and not "seatwork/workbook" style. Lots of reading, talking explaining, and hands on type learning.

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I am glad we didn't try to push geography. I handed her a simple geography workbook two months ago and she's figured out latitude and longitude and all of that just fine.

 

I wish we had done a little more science than we did (it was the thing that we never got to in previous years) but I'm glad we didn't actually manage to do what I was attempting. It would have been too much emphasis on it for 1st & 2nd grades.

 

Same with history - it got put off less often, but I'm glad it did some, because our history is more balanced than I had originally planned.

 

I'm glad I didn't push writing beyond copywork and what she did in other subjects (grammar, etc) until 3rd grade. It's one of her favorite 'subjects' now and it wouldn't have been otherwise.

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I wish I hadn't spent the time on Shurley English with my son in 1st grade. I also wish I had skipped Critical Thinking Company books when he was in Pre-K/K. I also wish I hadn't spent all last summer working through Rewards Intermediate reading program. I suspect I jumped the gun and he was not ready for the program because none of it stuck with him.

 

Lisa

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What things can they pick up just as easy, if not faster and better, at an older age?

 

Husband converted all the kids' video into mp3 format and put it in all the kids' mp3. I had several videos of me teaching all of them to read and boy was I a monster. So, with my 4th dd, I will not hurry up and force reading on her. It seemed like teaching phonics was a lot easier when they were 5 at least. With my first one, I attempted to teach reading at 3 1/2, and that was very, very sad to watch. I should have just enjoyed reading to ds, going outside for walks, looking and pointing at everything around instead of zealously starting school at such an early age. Regrets indeed.

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stuck with the 3 R's of reading, writing and math and viewed everything else as "enrichment". I wish I hadn't attempted formal history or science until about 4th grade and then began the 4 year rotation formally. I wished we had also spent more time out in the world taking advantage of the various museum and national/state park programs and events available to littles. We did some of this but not enough.

 

I see way to much stress and focus on curriculm "programs" on this board. I suspect that many of these programs end up on the shelves and in the closets collecting dust. But to each their own.:001_smile:

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What things can they pick up just as easy, if not faster and better, at an older age?

 

When I was in college I double majored in child psy and elementary ed. I was very interested in cognitive development and did almost all of my undergrad research on that topic. What I learned fascinated me and has stuck with me. It is completely and totally politically incorrect and contrary to the modern educational "push."

 

Research shows that dramatic play (dress-ups, pretending, imagination) develops higher level cognitive function and that pre-school academics does not. It is all lower cognitive brain function.

 

I do zero academics with my little kids. With my extremely hyper #2 child, I didn't do anything with him until 1st grade. He started 1st grade not knowing a single letter and still managed to finish 1st grade reading books like Charlotte's Web.

 

K-2 in our household is limited to the basics of letter formation (k), simply phrases/sentences (1), simply copywork (2), phonics, reading, math, and nature studies.

 

I have never regretted that decision and I am incredibly thankful that I read all that research way back when.

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What things can they pick up just as easy, if not faster and better, at an older age?

 

I read Summerhill when dd was an infant.

We have taken it slow the entire time and I have no regrets at all.

I do wish for more patience but that is ongoing and a life issue more than school.

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I knew enough to pace things to the child, and they've done beautifully. I had one that did a lot of read-alouds, science, and drawing in PK-1st while we sort of plodded along with phonics and math, and one that begged for academics at age 4 and couldn't get enough of it. Personally, I peg age 8 as the time to up the academics for most children based on my own children and those I've taught in co-ops. IMHO age 10 can be too late if they have an undiagnosed learning issue that needs to be addressed earlier, but your mileage may vary...

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I see way to much stress and focus on curriculm "programs" on this board. I suspect that many of these programs end up on the shelves and in the closets collecting dust. But to each their own.:001_smile:

 

Sometimes the teacher is just as or more important than the curriculum. ;)

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I see way to much stress and focus on curriculm "programs" on this board. I suspect that many of these programs end up on the shelves and in the closets collecting dust. But to each their own.:001_smile:

 

Some of us aren't terribly imaginative without prompts and the programs provide that. If I want to know stuff, I head for the library. It's so much more convenient to have a library at home!

 

:)

Rosie

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with the first one - I wish I had not tried to do Latin before 3rd grade, I wish I had waited on Classical Writing until 4th grade, and I am very glad we did not waste time on grammar any sooner than 3rd/4th grade. And while I enjoyed SOTW early, I would not have stressed as much over covering so much material in the first few years. With child 2 I have kept it much simpler for the first few years, and it has made all the difference.

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IMHO age 10 can be too late if they have an undiagnosed learning issue that needs to be addressed earlier, but your mileage may vary...

 

:iagree: and I also completely disagree with the supposed "experts" on waiting till children are older before getting into the business of educating them. When you consider how much more children knew at younger ages 100 so years ago compared to the illiteracy we have today.:confused: My mother, who is over 80 years old, only stayed in school until 6th grade. Her reading, spelling, writing, penmanship, etc., are outstanding. Much better than the average high school graduate nowadays. Her only weakness is the higher maths like Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2. But, she can do regular basic math like a pro...and with only a 6th grade education!

 

I also agree with GVA in that I have no real regrets with my youngest except wishing I had started CW earlier, and found a good Latin program earlier. With my older two....yeah, lots of regrets. I had no notion of a Classical Education back then and we flipped and we flopped all over the place. :D They are doing fine in college though, so their flippin'-floppin' education served them fairly well, I guess. ;) I definitely wish I knew back then what I know now though.

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urpedonmommy - does your state allow portfolios? It might be a way to "slow down" and not have to test....although, you may find out that your child can still pass the test with the "percentile" the state recommends. Our kids seem to know more than we give them credit sometimes!

 

I personnally have found that my younger kids "get it" much easier than my older one does. Ds was in a private school until 3rd grade. Then I had to fill in the blanks with him.

 

I have found that if they are ready to do more - do more. If they are not, slow down.

Edited by bearnpurple
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No particular subjects, but I started homeschooling when my kids were ages 7 and 9 and I suffered from feeling my younger was always behind and needed to catch up, and that my older, being bright and capable, should be pushed ahead and doing more advanced stuff. (after all, aren't most homeschoolers advanced, I thought? )

Both approaches backfired.

Better to just work with where they are at and RELAX. No need to push. If a kid is behind, pushing doesn't help, and if they are ahead, well, pushing can hurt their enjoyment of learning. And just because they are ahead now doesn't mean they will stay ahead later when the work gets harder.

I felt if they got everything right, the work was too easy and they needed the next level. Not necessarily right.

My kids are overall average, one a little below in some areas, one a little above in some areas. They have their gifts, but they are not what is called "gifted" in any academic area.

So for me, I can't think of any subjects we did that were a waste of time, but I can think of programs I tried to use before they were ready, which didn't extend them, but instead turned them off. It's ok to just be at grade level. Part of the issue is that Australian kids start school a year earlier so the grade levels don't match up with U.S. grades. You live and learn.

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we were very laid back. I generally think kids benefit greatly from learning naturally, through interests, etc. We provided a rich environment from which they could draw information, opportunity, etc. And though I was mindful about exposing them to many things, I think I'd put even more effort into that if I had it to do over again. It doesn't have to be schoolish, but I have a better understanding of the ease it can be done and the benefits of doing it.

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urpedonmommy - does your state allow portfolios? It might be a way to "slow down" and not have to test....although, you may find out that your child can still pass the test with the "percentile" the state recommends. Our kids seem to know more than we give them credit sometimes!

 

 

Our state is pretty strict (PA). We are required to submit a portfolio every year, as well as testing in 3rd, 5th and 8th. Thankfully, children are not required by law to start school until age 8, so at 8 I can report him as a 1st grader if I choose, so by "3rd grade" he will be 10, and we will have had time to do the slower approach, hopefully.

 

The real question is...does Mommy have the guts and nerves to follow through and not push? I am relieved to hear so many people saying that they wish they would have skipped some of the more technical things (grammar, writing, etc.). I tend to over plan and try to cram every single subject in to every year. (Oooh, lets get the 3 year old studying logic! That sounds like a great plan, right? :D)

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And I'm a fairly pushy-academics type. ;) I think this is absolutely key though:

I knew enough to pace things to the child, and they've done beautifully. I had one that did a lot of read-alouds, science, and drawing in PK-1st while we sort of plodded along with phonics and math, and one that begged for academics at age 4 and couldn't get enough of it.

It's much more important to know your own child than to have a particular plan. What works beautifully for me I can guarantee will flop for lots and lots of others, and what works perfectly for someone else would definitely flop for us. If I had a second child I'm sure what worked for DS wouldn't be right for him or her either.

 

Within that, though, I think I can safely say that for a young kid I wouldn't waste time on any subject that isn't inspiring. That's going to be tremendously different from kid to kid (says she whose little one loved diagramming sentences... weirdo... LOL), but a lot of what you're teaching at a young age isn't the content but the attitude. What I wanted DS to come away with was that all of this was fascinating and useful information. We read books that we enjoyed, made interesting math connections, and checked out every library book about scorpions we could find. Several times. :ack2:

 

I think about it much the same way as I think about learning to swim... DS took swimming lessons every year from the time he was three until he was eight. It didn't make him a super swimmer, but it did mean that he was extremely comfortable in the pool, happy to go there, satisfied with his ability to get around, willing to try new swimming-related things, etc. I'm sure he doesn't remember a thing he was told in his swimming classes when he was three, but he has a generally happy association with the pool. It's a fun place. Now that he's older, we're considering a couple private lessons to improve his form -- something he seriously never picked up as a younger kid... Some would say that all those lessons were wasted since he's still not a graceful swimmer, but I think those lessons were what brought him to where he's comfortable now, and "serious" work can be done at this point that wouldn't be possible if he were new to the whole thing.

 

The same could be said about math, or science, or history. He doesn't remember everything he's read, or even most of it, but he doesn't think "eek! history!" and shut down. He's comfortable reading about history, he knows some of the tools of research, he knows he can write a little something about it, and now we can get to the serious work.

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I wish that instead of spending so much time and effort teaching my daughter how to read, that I had simply read aloud more beautiful works of children's literature to her. I wish I had fully realized how much more important it was to instill a love of reading in her, than to insist on certain reading skills by a certain age.

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I'm glad you asked this question. I am torn between feeling like the grammar stage is such a great opportunity for memorization and drill, but on the other hand it can get to be so much academic focus when they are just "little kids." I'll be watching this thread with interest.
:iagree: :confused1:

 

No particular subjects, but I started homeschooling when my kids were ages 7 and 9 and I suffered from feeling my younger was always behind and needed to catch up, and that my older, being bright and capable, should be pushed ahead and doing more advanced stuff. (after all, aren't most homeschoolers advanced, I thought? )

Both approaches backfired.

Better to just work with where they are at and RELAX. No need to push. If a kid is behind, pushing doesn't help, and if they are ahead, well, pushing can hurt their enjoyment of learning. And just because they are ahead now doesn't mean they will stay ahead later when the work gets harder.

:iagree: :chillpill: :thumbup:
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When I was in college I double majored in child psy and elementary ed. I was very interested in cognitive development and did almost all of my undergrad research on that topic. What I learned fascinated me and has stuck with me. It is completely and totally politically incorrect and contrary to the modern educational "push."

 

Research shows that dramatic play (dress-ups, pretending, imagination) develops higher level cognitive function and that pre-school academics does not. It is all lower cognitive brain function.

 

I do zero academics with my little kids. With my extremely hyper #2 child, I didn't do anything with him until 1st grade. He started 1st grade not knowing a single letter and still managed to finish 1st grade reading books like Charlotte's Web.

 

K-2 in our household is limited to the basics of letter formation (k), simply phrases/sentences (1), simply copywork (2), phonics, reading, math, and nature studies.

 

I have never regretted that decision and I am incredibly thankful that I read all that research way back when.

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

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When you consider how much more children knew at younger ages 100 so years ago compared to the illiteracy we have today.:confused: My mother, who is over 80 years old, only stayed in school until 6th grade.

 

There isn't a direct connection between her knowing more in 6th grade and starting formal academics earlier. I would even venture to guess that she started later & came out ahead.

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I have no link or reference for it, (I found it years before I had a website or kept track of what I found where) but I read a valid statistical study (I worked as a statistician in the Air Force, many studies are not that well done) that looked at children who were taught to read early and their outcomes, they stayed ahead and were better off their whole school career.

 

From the time I first started tutoring in 1994, I have read all kinds of studies and PhD dissertations about reading and spelling, but I have only started keeping track of their titles and links for them recently, at first I was just reading them for my own benefit to better help my remedial students. I have found in general that what scientists come up with and what educational specialists come up with are two different things, as a former scientist and statistician, I go with what the science says! (But, I go with with what works. I try out all kinds of different things with my students and use the research to guide me but use what works.)

 

I've found with my remedial students that it's better to remediate them early. I also have found recently a 4 year old that had some sight word guessing habits from being read to and teaching herself to read a few words based on that. It took a few months of painful phonics work before she stopped guessing, her 3 year old brother found the phonics easier than her at first, now she's doing fairly well.

 

I started teaching my daughter to read at 3 1/2 because she started guessing at words from being read to. My son doesn't like to be read the same story over and over for the most part, and when he does, doesn't mind if you make up your own version of the story, so he's not yet picking up bad habits. We'll try a bit of phonics with him this year, and then again later if he's not ready. (Webster's Speller, of course!)

 

My daughter loves to be able to read and it has been very helpful to have her able to read things for me and read books to her brother. (If I'm busy doing something like driving or cooking, she'll read things to me. Since completing Webster's Speller at the end of K, she's been able to read adult level instructions--basically any general reading, anything except things written by lawyers or complex medical documents.)

 

I wasn't planning on teaching chemistry in 1st grade, but I love RS4K Chemistry, and I've been amazed at how much my daughter has enjoyed learning about with it and how much of it has carried over to other fields--weather is the last thing I can remember, every other page in the weather book had something that was better explained if you know what atoms and molecules were and how they worked. So, what would seem like "useless" knowledge for a 1st grader has been helpful for her and has improved her ability to enjoy reading about other subjects that she wants to learn about. (We did the weather book just for fun, not for official school.)

 

I can think of 1 thing I'm glad we waited on--shoelaces! She just learned to tie shoes this month, ironically for shoelaces on a bunny she just got that came with little tennis shoes and little shoelaces.

Edited by ElizabethB
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I just couldn't figure out why oldest dd did so poorly at any creative writing assignments in grades 1-4. I thought we had to do that sort of thing because that's what her peers were doing in school. I'm glad I finally read WWE and decided to try copywork, narration, and dictation with younger dd.

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There isn't a direct connection between her knowing more in 6th grade and starting formal academics earlier.

 

Very true, but goodness, had her parents waited until she was 10 to start math or put her in school, she'd have only had a year of schooling. Yikes. ;) Has nothing to do with today's k-12 child, I know.

 

I would even venture to guess that she started later & came out ahead.

 

Quite possible as I don't think she went to kindergarten. But I also know that school was far more rigorous back then than it is now. All one has to do is look at old school books and what children were taught then, compared to today. Children ARE capable of learning many, many things. While I do not believe in pushing a child when they are not ready (example: my 7th grader is not ready for pre-alg despite how much I wish he were), I also don't think one should not teach something just because Mr. or Mrs. So-in-So "expert" says not too. :glare: I say, go for it...teach it the best you can...if they only pick up a portion of what is taught, they have at least learned a portion. If they are not ready at all, then set it aside and come back to it the next year. But to not even TRY to teach something and instead say, 'Well So-n-So expert says to not teach math [insert subject of choice] until 10, so whew! I don't have to worry about that for several years.' Ack! To me that's crazy! :confused:

 

My very opinionated opinion, of course. ;):lol:

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I say, go for it...teach it the best you can...if they only pick up a portion of what is taught, they have at least learned a portion. If they are not ready at all, then set it aside and come back to it the next year. But to not even TRY to teach something and instead say, I don't have to worry about that for several years.' Ack! To me that's crazy! :confused:

 

 

 

I am a wait till later type of educator, but not age 10. ;)

 

I think the vast majority of Americans believe that the key to educational success is a great pre-school academic program and long academic days starting in K.

 

It simply isn't validated by research. While there are the few Einsteins that read young and do keep zooming on ahead, the vast majority of kids can learn in a few weeks what takes yrs to accomplish in pre-school. Kids that have never been exposed to academics can quickly catch up to their peers.

 

I know b/c it is precisely what I do. My kids don't know how to identify letters or numbers in symbols prior to K. (though they do know how to count, etc b/c it is simply part of life). But my kids learn their letters and numbers in days and can jump into reading quickly. It hasn't impacted them at all.

 

I think that is the main argument of the better late than early crowd. Push all you want when they are little, but very few of those being pushed will get very far or become pullers. But, when they are older, very often they grab the lead and take off.

 

I do agree that 10 is too late. I think 6 or 7 is fine. I guarantee you that no one of the older generation started academics prior to that. K was not the norm.

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I guarantee you that no one of the older generation started academics prior to that. K was not the norm.

 

Actually, there were Dame Schools that taught reading as young as 3 in the 1700's and 1800's (and 1600's? I'm not sure how far back they went.)

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dame_school

 

There are extensive quotes about them Geraldine E. Rodgers' "History of Beginning Reading."

 

Not all children are ready to learn to read at 3, however.

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I often felt odd around other homeschoolers because I wasn't doing K with my 5/6 year old. I started her with 1st grade when she was 6. I was made to feel like I was "delaying" academics!

 

I don't subscribe to the "better late than early" idea any more than I subscribe to the "better early than late" idea. My dd wanted to learn to write when she was three, so I taught her. She wasn't ready to learn to read until she was nearly seven, so I didn't push it.

 

As a rule, I don't hold with blanket statements. ;)

 

Tara

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I think 6 or 7 is fine. I guarantee you that no one of the older generation started academics prior to that. K was not the norm.

 

:iagree: I am not at all an advocate of forcing your 4 yo to read. I didn't have my children attend pre-school, in fact, don't believe in pre-school. I did start them in K at home, but it was fun stuff...not rigorous brow-beating academics. :D

 

My issue is with all the delayed academic 'experts.' Wait until 10 to begin math??? Wait until 7th grade to introduce English Grammar??? Those are both just crazy to me. Crazy, crazy crazy. :lol:

 

I am also very much against school beginning at a younger age and lasting all day. I worked in a ps for a while and I think if they would just eliminate all the politically correct propaganda the govt thinks the schools need to teach, and drop the endless school assemblies that are a complete waste of time, and all the half-days where nothing really gets done anyhow...and get back to letting teachers TEACH...they would find that kids could learn a whole lot more in a shorter period of time. ;)

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I have no link or reference for it, (I found it years before I had a website or kept track of what I found where) but I read a valid statistical study (I worked as a statistician in the Air Force, many studies are not that well done) that looked at children who were taught to read early and their outcomes, they stayed ahead and were better off their whole school career.

 

Concerning early reading.... You might know the answer to this. It was always my understanding that studies that correlate early reading with later academic success were comparing their subjects to students who did not have early exposure to lots of language in the home, i.e., children of poorer parents who do not have the resources or who were themselves not raised in homes where there were books and talk. I am thinking of a presentation I heard at a Race & Pedagogy Conference, where some statistics were revealed about the sheer number of words that children from poorer homes were exposed to before kindergarten. This is why programs like Head Start work. They give children exposure to language that they do not get at home.

 

(I want to put in a caveat here. I am talking very generally about families in lower income levels. Academics generally agree, the data does indicate, that academic success seems to align with income levels, not other factors. Our own family falls into the lower income bracket and my children are high academic achievers. So obviously there are exceptions, and we probably cluster on this board!)

 

My youngest did not learn to read until relatively late, but his vocabulary was outstanding, just by virtue of the fact that he was living in an extremely rich environment, lots of imaginative play, lots of reading aloud, lots of overhearing of sophisticated conversation. I don't have real data about this, but my instinct, based on what I know very vaguely about race, pedagogy and school programs & research is that teaching academics at an early age is successful because those children who get that kind of early attention are compared to children who are not living in a rich environment in their early years.

 

I could be completely wrong. Just wondering.

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I think this has been helpful, at least to take off some of the pressure if I don't do "everything" that "everyone" says. I have found that I would listen to one camp, do that, then listen to another camp and find out that I was doing it all wrong. I also found myself doing several approaches on one subject at the same time....ie if SWo is good, then let's do that and Phonetic Zoo, and Spelling Power. ACK!

So, no, I can not wait too long to do some things, but when they struggle with writing, let's say, at least I know that I CAN quit and come back to it later and maybe I won't have missed the boat entirely. maybe. hopefully.

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Concerning early reading.... You might know the answer to this. It was always my understanding that studies that correlate early reading with later academic success were comparing their subjects to students who did not have early exposure to lots of language in the home, i.e., children of poorer parents who do not have the resources or who were themselves not raised in homes where there were books and talk. I am thinking of a presentation I heard at a Race & Pedagogy Conference, where some statistics were revealed about the sheer number of words that children from poorer homes were exposed to before kindergarten. This is why programs like Head Start work. They give children exposure to language that they do not get at home.

 

(I want to put in a caveat here. I am talking very generally about families in lower income levels. Academics generally agree, the data does indicate, that academic success seems to align with income levels, not other factors. Our own family falls into the lower income bracket and my children are high academic achievers. So obviously there are exceptions, and we probably cluster on this board!)

 

My youngest did not learn to read until relatively late, but his vocabulary was outstanding, just by virtue of the fact that he was living in an extremely rich environment, lots of imaginative play, lots of reading aloud, lots of overhearing of sophisticated conversation. I don't have real data about this, but my instinct, based on what I know very vaguely about race, pedagogy and school programs & research is that teaching academics at an early age is successful because those children who get that kind of early attention are compared to children who are not living in a rich environment in their early years.

 

I could be completely wrong. Just wondering.

 

Yes.

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Yes, it is called emergent literacy. I'm sure if you googled it you could find tons of research proving that language rich environments are far more beneficial than academics for the pre-schooler.

 

I love you!

 

My question was super long, and you had the answer in two words! I will check that out.

 

On the preschool subject, however, I wanted to throw something out for folks to consider. I did send my oldest to preschool, but not for academics or even socialization. I do not have any family, and at that time had very little outside / friend support. I simply needed a few hours alone each week. I could get groceries, have uninterrupted time at the library, fold laundry in a quiet house, vacuum. I think our culture has changed so much in the last few decades that preschool meets a need for young mothers who have no family support. And he wasn't too damaged by the experience, either.

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My thoughts?

 

One can "push". This means using developmentally inappropriate means to teach something a child is not ready to learn (by the means used).

 

One can "wait" until the child has sufficiently matured to the point where they are ready to use the formerly developmentally inappropriate means. But otherwise hang-back.

 

Or, there is a THIRD WAY. Where you feed their hungry little minds with exposures and experiences that are just suited to their age and their development. And inspire interest, and help build a mind from early-childhood. This, I believe, is the best way. And this includes a lot of time to play, but also times to think, and discover, and learn.

 

Bill

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Or, there is a THIRD WAY. Where you feed their hungry little minds with exposures and experiences that are just suited to their age and their development. And inspire interest, and help build a mind from early-childhood. This, I believe, is the best way. And this includes a lot of time to play, but also times to think, and discover, and learn.

 

Bill

 

Yes, I think some folks are misinterpreting the "better late than early" thing.

 

Even the Bluedorns don't say that you should just let the kids watch cartoons until they are 10. They don't say that kids can't "learn" until they are 10. Kids are "learning machines." It's just abstract symbols that can wait until 10, and they will speedily be absorbed by a child who has actually "experienced" math up until that point.

 

One of my kids had a kindergarten teacher who said that her class was full of kids who could count to 100, but not one of them understood that the symbol 3 stood for "more" than the symbol "2" -- except my child, who never had one ounce of "academia" before K.

 

Julie

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Yes, I think some folks are misinterpreting the "better late than early" thing.

 

Even the Bluedorns don't say that you should just let the kids watch cartoons until they are 10. They don't say that kids can't "learn" until they are 10. Kids are "learning machines." It's just abstract symbols that can wait until 10, and they will speedily be absorbed by a child who has actually "experienced" math up until that point.

 

One of my kids had a kindergarten teacher who said that her class was full of kids who could count to 100, but not one of them understood that the symbol 3 stood for "more" than the symbol "2" -- except my child, who never had one ounce of "academia" before K.

 

Julie

 

Julie, I just don't see that there are two choices. Either teach children things they don't understand, such a parroting a count to one-hundred without understanding it. Or, waiting till ten to understand "abstractions" (such as numerals).

 

Both these seem misguided to me.

 

Young children can understand abstractions, they just may require concrete or pictorial (or other) forms of modeling to "get" the abstraction. But it can be done, and done with joy and comprehension. And it is my belief this Third Way greatly benefits a child.

 

Bill

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Young children can understand abstractions, they just may require concrete or pictorial (or other) forms of modeling to "get" the abstraction. But it can be done, and done with joy and comprehension. And it is my belief this Third Way greatly benefits a child.

 

Bill

 

I guess I misunderstood your #3 then. I thought you were saying kids should have time to learn in developmentally appropriate ways. Instead, you are saying that you can teach academics early if it's done in the proper sequence?

 

I guess I should have matched up my thoughts with one of the earlier folks in the conversation, because I am of the view that what "can" be done isn't necessarily what "should" be done -- there is so much to do & to learn besides abstract symbols!

 

Of course I didn't wait until 10 -- age 5.5 or 6 was when all my kids moved into abstract symbols (and mastered letters and numbers within a few months). But there is a HUGE amount of learning that can be done without ever touching a pencil or a piece of paper -- folks have been educated throughout history using conversation and exploration, and some of the greatest geniuses of history rarely sat at a desk.

 

<sigh> I guess it doesn't really matter, since all the kids on this board have involved, excited, loving parents & how could they go wrong?! I just hate to hear about parents or children who beat themselves up because they are "behind."

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I guess I misunderstood your #3 then. I thought you were saying kids should have time to learn in developmentally appropriate ways. Instead, you are saying that you can teach academics early if it's done in the proper sequence?

 

I'm saying there are many developmentally appropriate things they can learn that may (or may not) be academic. And there are things that might be labeled academic that can be taught in developmentally appropriate ways. It not just about "sequence". It's about giving them means to understand, and often this involves moving from concrete examples to abstractions.

 

I'm just afraid when people say "academic" they are ready to by-pass the means children need to understand abstractions without the intellectual bridge they need to do so. But I do feel equipping them with cognitive skills that allow them to begin to think abstractly is preferable to waiting.

 

I guess I should have matched up my thoughts with one of the earlier folks in the conversation, because I am of the view that what "can" be done isn't necessarily what "should" be done -- there is so much to do & to learn besides abstract symbols!

 

I'm in no disagreement that there are other things to be done other than learning "abstract symbols". Of course there are. I'm all for using "concrete" examples to make concepts plain. But that doesn't mean "no abstractions", only well understood abstractions after concepts are solid.

 

Of course I didn't wait until 10 -- age 5.5 or 6 was when all my kids moved into abstract symbols (and mastered letters and numbers within a few months). But there is a HUGE amount of learning that can be done without ever touching a pencil or a piece of paper -- folks have been educated throughout history using conversation and exploration, and some of the greatest geniuses of history rarely sat at a desk.

 

Well for sake of example, when my son was late 3 he started "solving" simple equations using Cuisenaire Rods. What plus what makes what isn't an abstraction if you have two sets of rods that make the same length.

 

Take two rods and ask: which is longer (or "greater") isn't an abstraction. The child can see it. Throw an inequalities card (>) into the mix and you have a abstract symbol, but one they already understand conceptually. They just need to lean the symbol (just like = or +). But this is not taxing, and getting kids to compare length values I think is an age appropriate way to begin learning math.

 

There are a myriad of other examples I might use.

 

 

Where I think they could go wrong is to believe they have to choose between two flawed approaches. And that only two choices exist. Push, or wait. When there really is a third way.

 

Bill

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Concerning early reading.... You might know the answer to this. It was always my understanding that studies that correlate early reading with later academic success were comparing their subjects to students who did not have early exposure to lots of language in the home, i.e., children of poorer parents who do not have the resources or who were themselves not raised in homes where there were books and talk.

 

....

 

I could be completely wrong. Just wondering.

 

You're not completely wrong. That is part of the statistical problem I was speaking of, there are a bunch of different ways to mess things up statistically. The study I was talking about did not suffer from that, it had a good control group and was correlated to race and income. It also did not look at children who taught themselves to read (who are in a whole other class by themselves) but instead looked only at children who were taught to read early. It was done at least 20 years ago, maybe even 30, I have looked for it but have not found it again. I did most of my research in the UNM library. I did find one Ph.D Thesis I remembered and was able to re-read it recently to make sure I was remembering things like I thought I was! (Spelling as a Correlate of Reading Ability in Underprepared College Freshmen)

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Julie, I just don't see that there are two choices. Either teach children things they don't understand, such a parroting a count to one-hundred without understanding it. Or, waiting till ten to understand "abstractions" (such as numerals).

 

Both these seem misguided to me.

 

Young children can understand abstractions, they just may require concrete or pictorial (or other) forms of modeling to "get" the abstraction. But it can be done, and done with joy and comprehension. And it is my belief this Third Way greatly benefits a child.

 

Bill

:iagree:

 

And much shorter than I could have said it!

 

I can teach short, though! And do, especially for a younger child. But, even my older students get breaks at least every 45 minutes, and as soon as 15 to 20 minutes if they need one. My adults get breaks at least every 55 minutes (or as needed, some of my upper elementary students have better attention spans than some of my adults.)

 

Different children also enjoy different things. I'm starting my son with math earlier than my daughter...he's showing an interest and wants to learn. He wants to spell a bit, but isn't interested in sounding out words yet--and, since he's not learning bad guessing habits, I'm not pushing it. My daughter wanted to learn to read at age 3, but wasn't interested in math. She was interested in puzzles and a bit of Cuisenaire Rods. At 4, I only do fun things unless requested. For K, I did mostly fun but very short and as fun as possible.

 

There is also the question of what is going into the brain or not. You can teach for 5 minutes when they're ready to focus and get a lot more learning done that teaching for 90 minutes when you have had no recess all day after a long day of school.

 

(The first remedial class we had was right after school. On days with rain and really cold weather, they got no outdoor recess and did not learn a single thing on those days. Luckily, it was only once that it was bad enough weather all day long--usually they got at least one outdoor recess on mildly bad weather days, that was enough that they could learn some. And, we made them run around for a bit before our class regardless of the weather. Due to red tape related to the 5 minute snafu, there is no way for them to cycle through the cafeteria for recess, they are mandated in the number of teaching minutes, not the number of learning minutes. So, even though they would learn more math if they cycled through the cafeteria for recess and did 20 minute of running and 10 minutes of math, this is not an option. Instead, they get 30 minutes of math after sitting all day long and no math goes into the brain.)

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