Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Knew It - In Defence of NOT Teaching My Preschoolers To Read

Those ABC Mouse commercials with 2 year old kids learning to read always bothered me.  Don't get me wrong.  We have ABC Mouse and Miles loves it.  It's fun and it definitely teaches Miles a lot. 

But I've always though - WHY?  Why would we want to teach 2 or 3 year olds to read?  What good could that possible do?  If they know how to ready at 2 - won't Kindergarten AND 1st grade bore them?  Maybe even 2nd and 3rd!  If they are so advanced that they act up in school - how is that a benefit? 

We started ABC Mouse when Miles was 4 and 1/2.  It hasn't taught him to read, but it is useful.  Especially since we are homeschooling.  But we don't use it often.  In fact, if I'm being honest - we don't even do "school" every day.  Not yet.  We try to do our reading lesson every day.  But some days the kids are so busy playing together that I don't push school work. 

Kids learn through play.  We've been told that again and again.

This recent news article from the Washington Post points out this problem in schools --  "We are consistently seeing sensory, motor, and cognitive issues pop up more and more  in later childhood, partly because of inadequate opportunities to move and play at an early age."  "If children are not given enough natural movement and play experiences, they start their academic careers with a disadvantage. They are more likely to be clumsy, have difficulty paying attention, trouble controlling their emotions, utilize poor problem-solving methods, and demonstrate difficulties with social interactions."

So how is focusing on academics at such an early age a benefit?  Turns out, it might not be!  This study suggests that it all evens out in schools anyway.  Which makes sense since teachers have to teach to an entire class, and often cannot focus on the advanced students. 

But don't get me wrong.  If Natalie is interested in reading early - I will do my best to help her learn what she wants to learn.  But I don't plan on focusing on it.  I want to encourage play instead, as much as possible. 

I do agree that all children are different.  Another reason I want to homeschool.  We can go at our own pace.  I can tailor each curriculum to each kid.  More then public school will ever be able to. 
Which, for now, means lots of play with a little reading and math thrown in when we're not playing!

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