I bought Gavin the Grolier Logico Piccolo series a year ago and we have been working on it on and off. Although the recommendation is to do two cards from one topic a day, I usually let him choose what he wants to do and how much he wants to do. If he doesn’t want to do it, I don’t force the issue. I have noticed that the best time to get him interested to do it is when we’re out and there are no other options, because children who are bored would rather do something than nothing.
Lately, Gavin’s been very focussed and he has been completing one folder (16 cards) per sitting. He takes it as a challenge because he wants a new folder and I find that I’m the one telling him it’s time to stop while he insists he just wants to do one more. If he keeps this up, we’ll need to get the Maximo series soon.
When I mentioned it to hubby, he raised a concern I am sure other parents would have. If our child is too advanced, will he be bored at school? This has been one of the arguments against early childhood education – if you teach your child too much too early, he will be bored at school. Personally, I think this is the most ridiculous argument ever – to hold your child back from reaching his full potential because you are scared he will be bored at school.
Our children’s learning potential will never be as great as it is now in their earliest years of life. To squander these years just because we’re afraid they will be bored at school simply addresses society’s fears, not the problem. Not utilising these years would be like not giving our babies colostrum in the first three to five days after delivery because we think the breast milk to come will be adequate. Sure breast milk is good, but colostrum is even better. Likewise, learning later in life is good, but early learning is even better.
Yes, I think it is a problem when your child is bored at school because the material being taught does not stimulate him sufficiently. But the answer is clearly not to stop teaching him at home especially when he is the driving force for his learning. As a parent, it is our duty to help our children reach their potential, not to cut them down because society deems it necessary in order for our children to conform.
This is one of the arguments for homeschooling – you can follow your child’s pace and you are not restricted by a set curriculum. So whether your child is ahead or behind his peers, it doesn’t matter because your curriculum is tailored specifically for your child.
What happens if you aren’t going to homeschool your child? What can you do to ensure that your children’s needs are met in the school environment? The problem with the school environment is that it only reaches the children who fall in the middle band. This is where the choice of school becomes important. Parents need to communicate regularly with teachers to monitor their child’s progress at school. If your child is ahead, what is being done to make sure he remains engaged? If your child is behind, what is being done to reconnect with your child?
In the latter case, I believe the problem lies not with the child but with the environment. Children are individuals who approach learning differently. Just as some individuals are audio learners and some are visual learners, some children, for example, need tactile stimulation to learn. The children who do not approach learning in the “conventional” manner will be the ones who are viewed as less intelligent when this may not be the case.
Sir Ken Robinson wrote about Gillian Lynne who was performing so poorly at school that her mother took her to see a doctor to enquire about her daughter’s constant fidgeting and lack of focus. After hearing her case and observing her reaction during a “test”, the doctor explained to Gillian’s mother than Gillian was a dancer. Gillian’s mother sent her to dance school and after that, all her subjects at school began to improve.
We have heard that movement is important for brain development. For some children, especially, movement is essential for learning. Without movement, they can’t learn – as in Gillian’s case. It wasn’t that she needed to move in class to learn, but she needed an outlet for movement – a place to go where she was given the freedom to move, such as dance school. This highlights the importance of exposing our children to a variety of subjects, not just the ones we deem important for life.
Sir Ken Robinson highlighted in his book that many schools have been phasing out the “less important” subjects. Subjects like art and music have taken a back seat to academic subjects and it is affecting our children’s overall development, particularly, their creativity. He talked about the subject hierarchy of importance. Not only are music and art lower down on the ladder, but there are hierarchies within these subjects. For example, learning an instrument is higher up on the ladder compared to dance and theatre.
In summary, I think it is important to ensure that our children are exposed to a variety of subjects at school – even the “unimportant” ones. It is also essential that we communicate regularly with our children’s teachers to monitor our children’s development at school. And if our children’s teachers are disinterested and/or our children’s needs are still not being met, then perhaps it is time to speak to the principal or to find a new school.
If you have any other suggestions on what can be done to address this issue, please share them in the comments section.