Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Childcare

I had a phone conversation today that really got me thinking. Without going into details, I just want to share my opinion, and maybe you'd like to share yours...

Okay, I want my kids to do well in life. I want them to be well-rounded, smart, kind, healthy, happy, the list goes on and on. I want to give them every advantage to achieve all they are destined to do and to be.

But I think my methods are falling out of style. More and more, I'm seeing children who are expected to learn and do things younger and younger. Babies listen to Mozart (okay, so I actually like that one, but you get the drift). Daycares are turning into preschools. Kindergartners go to school for a full day. (Don't get me started on that one. It isn't pretty.) In short, there is a lot of pressure put on kids - and parents - to achieve, in my opinion, too early.

Whatever happened to kids just being kids? Can't we just let them play? Can't we just let them learn at their own pace?

Okay, now for my confession: I have never - not once - sat down and taught my boys their colors. Or their shapes. Or their numbers. Or their letters. But guess what? They know them! In the course of our day to day life we do chores, cook meals, visit with friends, read books, play inside and outside, and spend a lot of time together. And my children learn. At their own pace, and without any of the pressure to do it someone else's way. I think sometimes parents get so focused on "teaching" their children that they forget to really "teach" their children.

I'm glad to send Jake off to school. He is loving it and I am getting used to it. And there does come a point where more formal education is necessary. Jake is definitely at that point! So I promise this little rant has nothing to do with Jake's kindergarten experience, or any public or private schools. It's just my thoughts on a phone call. That's all.

4 comments:

Cailean said...

I've heard many times that regardless of what school they went to or how early they learned this or that, kids turn out the same. I think the difference comes in the amount of time a parent puts into having fun and enjoying life, being creative, and showing love. And you definitely excel at that. So I whole-heartedly agree with your post. Amen, sister!

Laura Oler said...

I totally agree with you. I always figure my kids have plenty of time to learn their shapes, numbers, reading, writing, etc, without me trying to drill it into them. And I've found the same thing -- my kids have learned all sorts of things just through the day to day things we do. Our kids are lucky to have siblings to learn from, just by playing together. I'm not sure I like all-day kindergarten either, but Katia loves it, which makes it a little easier for me to handle. At least she doesn't get homework yet!

Cannon and Kassie said...

Jen, you are preaching to the choir. I live in the city that is famous or infamous for turning out overachievers. Every kid will have spent no less than $30000 on their education by the time they are in elementary. craziness. I never have taught my kids much formally either and Elyse does so well in school. I think that spending the day being silly gooses sounds fun and Camden is learning all about creativity! You are an awesome mom!!

Alicia said...

Ditto on that Jen. Play is a child's work...it's as simple as that.

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