Too much is bad: early education's pains and problems and what we're up to

Key Words pointed out the Newsweek article: "The New First Grade: Too Much Too Soon? Kids as young as 6 are tested, and tested again, to ensure they're making sufficient progress. Then there's homework, more workbooks and tutoring."

As Dr. Moore has pointed out years ago in his "Better Late than Early" and newer authors' writings like "Einstein Never Used Flash Cards," too much formal education at children's early does more harm than good in the long run. And as the Newsweek article points out:
What early-childhood experts know is that for children between the ages of 5 and 7, social and emotional development are every bit as important as learning the ABCs. Testing kids before third grade gives you a snapshot of what they know at that moment but is a poor predictor of how they will perform later on. Not all children learn the same way. Teachers need to vary instruction and give kids opportunities to work in small groups and one on one. Children need hands-on experiences so that they can discover things on their own. "If you push kids too hard, they get frustrated," says Dominic Gullo, a professor of early education at Queens College in New York. "Those are the kids who are likely to act out, and who teachers can perceive as having attention-span or behavior problems."
My wife have been practicing low stress delayed academics with my oldest son. He was unschooled until 8 but even today most of his school time is "self-directed studies" (recess or unstructured study time to most people). His reading skills today (at 13) is pretty good to me and he is working on Saxon math almost at his grade level (few weeks behind the 8th grade level and rapidly catching up).

As I have blogged before, I was stressed out taking 2 schools at once (American and Japanese) such that when Japanese school was dropped, I felt so much relief [and my grades improved, too]. Seeing my sons grow rather freely yet still have basic reading and writing skills gives me reassurance that they are doing just fine. I don't need them tested to see where they are "placed" since such placement pegs them in a linear way [much like IQ tests] rather than as an individual with unique skills and learning abilities.

And I'm not afraid to learn new things with them, as we do it together: In fact, this week, we started boogie boarding: bought wet suits [Pacific water is cold all year around in SoCal] and boards for us guys [my sons and I] and went twice but I had a blast! Here I'm 42 and out of shape, so I didn't last in the ocean as my sons [they kept going for 1+ hours while I had to take several brakes]. In fact, the first day, I had to learn how to breath and not swallow salt water (grin). I did ride a wave all the way to the sandy beach so that was fun [my sons did so several times].

Over the next few months, I look forward to snow activity [at least skiing, if not snowboarding] and backpacking opportunities with my sons. Meanwhile, for today, I have to wait for the movers to arrive with our containers [we were suppose to unload yesterday but the containers aren't here yet].

Copyright 2006, DannyHSDad, All Rights Reserved.