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Delayed academics support thread - Page 2

post #21 of 70
my daughter is 4.5 and we are completely non-academic. i totally get where you're coming from. i can tell my daughter is extremely bright and i have to fight the urge not to pull out curriculum and try to (intentionally, actively) teach her something. but she's doing so great without my meddling!

she has a spectacular imagination and loves to make up stories and songs. she taught herself how to thread a needle and tie a knot without ANY instruction. she flipped the pancakes for me this morning.

she's not great with other kids, but she loves, loves, loves adults and has fully developed relationships with our librarian, grocery checkers, and coffee shop baristas. i am very shy and would never have struck up relationships with them, but she talks to them all on a very adult level.

she knows all about homeless people and is very concerned about helping them. we put together kits of socks and energy bars and bus passes to give out whenever we see someone on the street corner - all her idea.

i like the idea of ongoing support for non-academics.
post #22 of 70
The4OfUs is a Heather, I'm going to assume that heatherdeg is a Heather, and I'm a Heather too! Great minds think alike... by which I mean our moms.
post #23 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post
The4OfUs is a Heather, I'm going to assume that heatherdeg is a Heather, and I'm a Heather too! Great minds think alike... by which I mean our moms.
post #24 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl73
The4OfUs is a Heather, I'm going to assume that heatherdeg is a Heather, and I'm a Heather too! Great minds think alike... by which I mean our moms.
post #25 of 70
We took a pretty laxed attempt at schooling. We just did what was normal in everyday life, read to all our children, and every now and then attempt something academic wise to see if they are interested/ ready. So my daughter (1st grade, 6.5 yr) mostly taught herself how to read last year, with minimal sounds of letters effort on my part. However, she had no desire for anything else at all, so I stopped trying. Come this year, we live in a state that tests for English and Math at the end of the school year, so I figured to at least put in an effort for those two subjects and taking it slow. The problem I'm finding is she is still having no desire and very much so resisting. While I would love to not push, how long can I actually do this without her failing the testing?
post #26 of 70
I'm a mom who said both "My 3 yr. old reads at a 1st grade level" and "My 6 yr. old can't read a word to save his life." Different kids, same mom! My now 7.5 yr. old didn't know letter sounds until 6, and we did start trying to teach him at 5.5 (the fall of his K year). He learned his ABCs and letter sounds that year and could read basic Bob books by 6.5. He did not write. He's now reading at or above grade level for a 2nd grader. Today he easily wrote a page full of grammar definitions (noun, pronoun, and verb). We didn't do preschool or home-preschool and very loosely homeschooled for kindergarten after a short attempt at public kindergarten. He did well in public 1st grade but is home again this year because we moved.
My 4.5 yr. old went to 2 years of preschool at his insistence and started K early last month. He loves it. I don't think there is any reason to start academics until 5 or 6 unless the child asks for it, and I don't think there's anything strange or wrong if they don't!
post #27 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunshineSwirl View Post
The problem I'm finding is she is still having no desire and very much so resisting. While I would love to not push, how long can I actually do this without her failing the testing?
I doubt that the test is going to expect a whole lot from a 1st grader. But you have months to go, and if you just play some fun games and do some activities that happen to involve a bit of math calculation, that should bring her up to whatever she'll need for the test, and then you can just show her when the time comes how to translate that onto paper in whatever way they might throw at her. And having lots of attractive books around that may capture her attention can keep words moving through. You could re-explain in the spring the need later for helping her get up to whatever they consider "snuff" there for the test - it shouldn't take long. Home Education Magazine has a lot of good articles for math that could help, and my own math page has links to articles and good web pages that can help. The Children's Picture Books site lists and reviews lots of good books. So does Chinaberry, and artist Jan Brett's site has lots of fun activities that could incorporate some reading in a natural way.

And even if her test scores aren't all that high, I'm sure she has company in that among lots of children who are in classrooms - I'd guess it's unlikely that anyone would try to stop you from homeschooling over low test scores.

- Lillian
post #28 of 70
Op I noticed the same thing recently(and posted on my blog about it. ). I was looking to do more with my toddler (sadly neglected 3rd baby) and I started cruising some blogs looking for ideas. I was thinking like a fun art project or new finger play.....I came to blog after blog of hugely structured activities for toddlers, sorting, counting, abc, etc. Elaborate themes that included a lap book and ten tons of printables. Seriously when did toddlerhood become so complicated?? There was even "assessments". These were all ABC type skills to not like an ages and stages quiz. My youngest isn't even two yet! Plus some of these themes must cost a small fortune in ink, paper, and other supplies!
In my case I decided to go with book themes in a before 5 in a row style. The only reason I feel the need to do this is because she really is the sadly neglected 3rd kid. 1/2 the time she doesn't even get her own bed time story. Hiedi is really not appropriate for a toddler. So anyway our time is just fun toddler time, stories, songs, toys. NO AGENDA! It sounds like you are already doing that so go make apple sauce and stop worrying!

Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
I am not an unschooler, or even a homeschooler, so you can take my post with a grain of salt.


So, as perhaps the lone public schooler of young kids on the thread, I'm throwing my support your way too! Just let the be for these first handful of years! We never did any of the occasional familty activity worksheets in PreK or even Kindergarten with DS because it just seemed more focused and intentional than we wanted to be at that point, so we just had school be school and home be free.
post #29 of 70
Meetoo, it sounds like you have a plan in place, but if you are looking for more non-academic resources for a little one, i must post you to Lillian's AWESOME page that i post all over the place all the time. scroll down below the articles to see the activities: http://www.besthomeschooling.org/gateway/inted16.html
post #30 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by meetoo View Post
Seriously when did toddlerhood become so complicated??
This is what I keep wondering! What in the world is going on, and when did this madness begin? - Lillian
post #31 of 70
We're doing "delayed academics", I guess; I'm not actively teaching reading/writing or math, just letting my kids grow & learn from stuff around them (they're 3 & 4). They recognize their names on snack baggies, know some letters & can do some counting, have a good pencil grip when drawing - they know how to garden (planting, weeding, watering, harvest - why plants need fertilizer & water, & how they get energy from the sun), what plants/parts of plants are edible, how to care for our chickens, the life cycle of caterpillars (they have 2 pet ones right now!), a bit of cooking & measuring ingredients, they like to act out mixing stucco & mortar, & measuring bits of wood before "building" stuff with them, are working on sewing (my 4 year old, anyhow), a bit about anatomy (we looked at picture books about the circulatory system & took turns listening to each others' heartbeats, when their grandpa had open heart surgery last month), know a bit about red blood cells, white blood cells, the immune system & can tell a picture of a basic sort of bacteria from a basic virus (they recently had colds, wanted to know what cold germs "looked like" - & we'd talked about germs & bacteria before). They know a little bit about being on a planet, what the moon is, what orbiting means, & that earthquakes are caused by plates deep in the earth moving & shifting. They've seen & identified American flags, know there are 50 stars for 50 states, & that we live in the state of California. That people work for a symbol called "money" that can be used to exchange for goods & food, made or grown by others. We've grown cotton, & spun that & wool (which they know comes from sheep or goats, although our dog also produces spinnable fiber) to make thread & yarn, & they're involved in their Halloween costume sewing project. They both like to get out bird/bug guides & ID things from the photos - and I do a lot of story reading to them (my 4 year old will sometimes page through books & "read" them to her sister, telling her what's going on in the story from memory). They both make up elaborate stories together, acted out by their little toy animals & people. So, we're not doing anything particularly academic yet, but they're learning lots all the same.
post #32 of 70

small vent ahead

Quote:
This is what I keep wondering! What in the world is going on, and when did this madness begin? - Lillian
I sort of feel bummed when a cool thread goes from "Sweet! I think we are doing great!" to "We're great, but sheesh, how misguided are they?" I bet those mamas on the toddler blogs are not cracking any sort of whip over their children's heads or anything. If they are rolling letters with their playdough instead of making little pies, no biggie if everyone is having a good time.

Okay, vent over.

One thing that I love about homeschooling on my own is the absolutely amazing field trip group that we have recently joined. We are totally going beyond our comfort zone with these guys and finding cool places that we would otherwise never have discovered. Today, my 6yo went bouldering at an indoor rock climbing gym. This is a guy has always had an intense fear of falling... from the mini-van door! He was totally scrambling up rock faces today, and he wants to join the gym! We had an awesome discussion about facing our fears while honoring our boundaries. I'm so happy that we've made the choice to clear out the schedule to have time for these kinds of explorations.
post #33 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by yllek View Post
I sort of feel bummed when a cool thread goes from "Sweet! I think we are doing great!" to "We're great, but sheesh, how misguided are they?" I bet those mamas on the toddler blogs are not cracking any sort of whip over their children's heads or anything. If they are rolling letters with their playdough instead of making little pies, no biggie if everyone is having a good time.

Okay, vent over.

.
Well, for me I'm beyond the place where I really care how others parent(i truly do not mean this snarkly ). Provided they are not abusing their kids I think it's all good. Personally, I do believe doing that much structure with a toddler is insane (for the mama too!) and just not necessary. I'm sure there are women that love that kind of thing though and that is fine for them.
My only issue is, I have read about a lot of women online like this OP, where they feel like they are failing their toddlers/preschoolers if they don't do letter of the week or whatever. I think that is a real shame! I can't think of a single thing a toddler/preschooler needs to know that they can't learn from simply being involved in moms life. That is all i was trying to say. I did not mean to be judgmental.
I think my issues and Lillian's is more this idea that toddlers need an education. KWIM? I noticed it in other circles too. Like it used to be kids stayed home until K, then came pre-k, then preschool... Where does it end? I know in the old town I lived in the kids started in playgroup until about 2ish then they move to the pre-preschool to get them ready for pre-school to get ready for pre-k, then pre-k to get ready for K. Where does it end?
I guess my point is, there comes a point where it's not for the child it's for the parent (think play group for a 6 month olds). Same with all these activities. Most kids, (kids whose parents care enough to blog about them and post to message boards about them and worry incessantly about them anyways ) are all going to know the same basic things at age five(numbers, letters/sounds, basic math skills, maybe reading maybe not, etc). So it comes down to, do you enjoy creating Montessori activities for your toddler? Do you like printing things and planning? Does it make your toddler happy?Does your preschooler enjoy workbooks and work sheets?etc etc If the answer to all these is yes then by all means rock on. If the answer to any of them is no then there is no need to worry. Your child will still learn all they need to learn before kindergarten.
post #34 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by meetoo View Post
Well, for me I'm beyond the place where I really care how others parent(i truly do not mean this snarkly ). Provided they are not abusing their kids I think it's all good. Personally, I do believe doing that much structure with a toddler is insane (for the mama too!) and just not necessary. I'm sure there are women that love that kind of thing though and that is fine for them.
My only issue is, I have read about a lot of women online like this OP, where they feel like they are failing their toddlers/preschoolers if they don't do letter of the week or whatever. I think that is a real shame! I can't think of a single thing a toddler/preschooler needs to know that they can't learn from simply being involved in moms life. That is all i was trying to say. I did not mean to be judgmental.
I think my issues and Lillian's is more this idea that toddlers need an education. KWIM? I noticed it in other circles too. Like it used to be kids stayed home until K, then came pre-k, then preschool... Where does it end? I know in the old town I lived in the kids started in playgroup until about 2ish then they move to the pre-preschool to get them ready for pre-school to get ready for pre-k, then pre-k to get ready for K. Where does it end?
I guess my point is, there comes a point where it's not for the child it's for the parent (think play group for a 6 month olds). Same with all these activities. Most kids, (kids whose parents care enough to blog about them and post to message boards about them and worry incessantly about them anyways ) are all going to know the same basic things at age five(numbers, letters/sounds, basic math skills, maybe reading maybe not, etc). So it comes down to, do you enjoy creating Montessori activities for your toddler? Do you like printing things and planning? Does it make your toddler happy?Does your preschooler enjoy workbooks and work sheets?etc etc If the answer to all these is yes then by all means rock on. If the answer to any of them is no then there is no need to worry. Your child will still learn all they need to learn before kindergarten.

It's the PS interloper again. Oh, and thanks for the warm welcome, too.

I totally agree with all of the above. I have a friend I remember having a conversation with when our firstborns were about 3, and she was talking about setting up a desk and doing "school time" every day with worksheets and readers because 3 or 4 of her friends where she lived's kids were almost reading on their own and "knew a lot more" stuff than hers did. And I asked her, "by the time they're all 8, is it really going to make a difference if they started reading at 4 or 6? What benefit are they going to have if they knew their letters, numbers, and colors by sight by 2 or 5?" Basically, if you have an engaging life with your little kiddo, they're going to pick up on the academics when they really need them and are ready for them, and by about 3rd grade or so everyone has pretty much levelled out (with the obvious spread out of abilities). I just don't get what huge benefit is conferred with a kid reading at 4 vs 6, or writing sentences at 3 vs 5. IF the kid is into it and asks to do it that's one thing, but if it's part of a whole "thing" set up by the parents as a formal/planned thing to do regularly and the kid isn't really interested, then....well, meh.

This is NOT to say that I think you shouldn't count steps when you're climbing, or point out colors when you're walking around, or letters on trucks or working things into daily life in a natural, unforced way so that the kid absorbs stuff that way....it's the setting up areas for purposeful academic learning for kids under 4, and feeling like it's going to give your kid some big advantage in learning or life that I don't get. I don't get "working" on things for kids to learn them earlier since it all evens out for the most part in a few years. Obviously gifted and challenged kids are exceptions to this, but for most kids it's 6/ half dozen IMO. I don't think anyone is misguided or inferior or whatever, I just don't think it's going to do what they think it might do for their kid, and I'm bugged that society has reached the point and is reinforcing that they feel like they *need* to do anything for their kid at this age/stage to give them a leg up already. Just let them be kids and work fun stuff into your daily lives, unless they're pulling at your leg to specifically show them how to spell or read.

But uh, likely preaching to the choir here.
post #35 of 70
Sometimes it is hard to decide if people are bragging becasue they are proud of thier kids, or bragging because they want to hurt you to make themselves feel big (or whatever)
A child can be taught at any age sure, but do they grasp what they are being taught. Are they bored? Do they even care?

My dd did not start grade one until after she was 7. Big deal. I wanted her to be grounded, have a childhood she could remember (with fondness), and to LOVE and be ready for learning. Some people look at her (or me a bit funny) when they hear how old she is and the corresponding grade is much lower than the norm, but when I explain why I made the choice I did, most people are in very strong agreeance and like the idea.


I remember my first nanny job; my dd (at just 2yrs) was older than the child I was nannying. The child's mother was so friggin competative, and the weird thing was, is that I was so obviously not.
She would make her baby spell words like cat and her name over and over and over. She would force her to do puzzles, then she(mother) would want me to watch her dd do the 'tricks' and the mom would smirk at my dd the entire time. It was so wierd.
I would watch and think 'but even a monkey could be taught to that' i she is just parroting what she has been shown.

On the other hand some kids really are ready for early learning, or need the structure of a school day at a young age. It would just be nice if it was all on a kid-by-kid basis without the competition for being the best.
post #36 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by yllek View Post
I sort of feel bummed when a cool thread goes from "Sweet! I think we are doing great!" to "We're great, but sheesh, how misguided are they?" I bet those mamas on the toddler blogs are not cracking any sort of whip over their children's heads or anything. If they are rolling letters with their playdough instead of making little pies, no biggie if everyone is having a good time.

Okay, vent over.
I think Metoo and I were both referring to the influences in society that are causing parents across the board - those with children in schools, and those who are homeschooling - to feel pressured to get their very young children started into academics. It's not a "we"/"they" thing - it's a widespread and powerful educational trend that really bothers me. And educrats are pulling younger and younger children into schools. But everyone is not necessarily having a good time - for years now, I've seen concerns pop up from concerned parents trying to get their little ones to cooperate with early education that's centered on the 3Rs, and others worrying about their young children who are in schools and are feeling stressed. This is a subject that's come up a lot among my friends who have older and grown children - and we're mystified as to what the hurry is and how this all started. Although one friend who's written some wonderful books about homeschooling commented the other day that it seems like part of an attempt to start children out early in life feeling inadequate and on the way to educational burnout that leads to lower expectations in later life. I don't want to get into a debate about that one - that's not my take, but I can certainly relate to the conclusion because I just can't figure out anything that makes sense of the trend. Again, this concern isn't about some homeschooling moms having fun with their children - it's about what in the world is going on that's making educrats try to convince us all that very young children should be pulled into school.
Lillian
post #37 of 70
Thanks for your post, meetoo. I totally hear where you are coming from, and I totally appreciate the good vibes. It's cool to acknowledge that someone who is doing things a bit differently from your own style is probably well-intentioned and figuring out what works for them too. I think I was reacting out of vibe I sometimes pick up around mdc... Just as some mamas wonder if they are doing enough academically, I sometimes sense that some are feeling insecure on the flip side. Mamas who wonder are they relaxed enough? Radical enough? Waldorf enough? Can they still be an unschooler if they don't watch tv? It's all hard enough without all the comparisons, you know?

I just wish I could give all those folks a nice pat on the back and tell them to stop listening to what other children are doing and just notice what your kids are up to, you know? Instead of wondering if we're doing things right by adhering to someone else's timetable, I wish we could just ask ourselves, are our kids happy doing what we're doing? Are they getting enough time to chill? Are they facing new challenges and stretching their comfort zone? Are they expressing curiosity? Are they feeling connected to others? Are they learning in ways that meet their needs? How can we have these things happen for our kids?

And the answers are so different for everyone.

Anyway, I do completely agree that if mom is feeling a sense of guilt or inadequacy or competitiveness, then perhaps a letter of the week program for a two-year-old is not such a great thing for anyone involved. But if mom's digging the whole program and 2yo is digging it, then no worries, right?

In the meantime, I'm finding the mamas posting on this thread to be very inspirational. I love the idea of my ds cleaning the chicken coop. I think my kiddos would love to know more about spinning and different wools. I totally LOVE the idea of making kits to pass out to the homeless, and my ds would love it too. We've also done many of the activities mentioned here, and the open exploration of real stuff, done in a playful way, connects my children more deeply to the "subjects" that we are learning more than any boxed curricula could manage to do. We need hands-on and out-in-the-world to make our learning really click. Which is not to say that I am not a curriculum junkie. I am, but I totally tweak everything to make it fit my kid. I cannot see making my child do a worksheet just because I want to finish it as written. That's just us.

----

Okay, I got interrupted while typing, and when I went to preview I saw that others have also posted after meetoo. Lillian, I respect your posts here a lot, so I do want to take the time to respond specifically to your observations. I'll be back later. As a quickie, I just want to say that while I agree with you about the general trend, I'm not so sure that the opposite message that I sometimes hear is helpful either. How often has someone on these boards mentioned that there should be no academic content to home life until age 7? I'm equally baffled by that message. What gets defined as academic? Is that going to be the same answer for every kid? Right now, I'm LOVING what Bunny Slippers wrote:

Quote:
On the other hand some kids really are ready for early learning, or need the structure of a school day at a young age. It would just be nice if it was all on a kid-by-kid basis without the competition for being the best.
post #38 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by yllek View Post
As a quickie, I just want to say that while I agree with you about the general trend, I'm not so sure that the opposite message that I sometimes hear is helpful either. How often has someone on these boards mentioned that there should be no academic content to home life until age 7? I'm equally baffled by that message. What gets defined as academic? Is that going to be the same answer for every kid?
I think what you read around here is more along the lines of it not being necessary to do formal studies early on rather than that there should be none. The only people I've ever heard insist that there "should" be no formal studies of certain kinds, rather than that it isn't necessary, were Waldorf teachers in one of the schools that was known far and wide for it's rigidity. As far as what gets defined as academic, that's unfortunately something that varies - which is why I generally try to avoid the term. But I think it gets clarified over and over that people who feel this way about early studies are aware that some children ask to learn certain things early on, and that no one is objecting to facilitating that for them.

I'm especially exhausted tonight - it's been a very hard week involving the news of the suicide of an close friend's son (not a homeschooler, but I don't mean to imply it matters), and a nasty back injury that's just clearing up, so I'm off to bed. - Lillian
post #39 of 70
I'm so happy to see this thread, and I feel so inspired by all the things you all are doing. I live in an area where the state offers free preschool, so very few of us opt out of preschool. The transition for my daughter seeing many of her friends go to school has been rough on us, and my daughter started saying that she wanted to go to school to "learn" things. Freaked out and second guessing myself, I broke out BOB books and Teach Your Kid to Read in 100 Lessons, both of which she hated. So, I've stepped back to where I was previously, waiting on the academics.
post #40 of 70
I'm sorry to hear that you're having such a tough week. Truly. I hope your friend finds some comfort among her loved ones. How heartbreaking.

As for your observations about educational policy and the direction schools are taking... you'll get no argument from me. Trends in early education are... well, misguided at best. I'm at a loss to explain it too. I have my ideas, but they're just as polemical as your friend's, probably.

My personal response to the educational trend that you were describing is to homeschool. We just don't participate in that whole system. My little girl is 3 now. When ds6 was 3, we went to a sweet little parent participation play-based "preschool" one or two days a week, did library story time, and met some friends at a couple of organized playgroups. The rest of our time was spent exploring, running around, reading books, building stuff, etc. I also did not and do not believe that highly structured and "academic" activities were particularly necessary for my kids. These days, however, ds is chomping at the bit in some areas and delayed in others. Thank goodness we are able to make learning work in a way that works for him.

I think we have similar ideas about what experiences we might choose for young children. What I was commenting on earlier was not your stance on general educational policy, but what I took to be a snub on some individual moms who were excited about what they were doing with their kids and wanting to share on the Internet. Would I choose to do lap books and assessments with my two-year-old? Uh... probably not. But to each their own. They know what their kid is capable of doing far better than me. They are also probably hoping that their readers take whatever ideas work for their family and drop the rest. Perhaps a few are fueled by a sense of competitiveness. That's a shame. I hope they tune into their kids then.

To the extent that I misunderstood the intent of your comment, I do apologize. I guess I feel a little sensitive to what I perceive might be a judgmental attitude. Being a homeschooling mama is tough enough, you know? But since no judgment was intended and I clearly misunderstood, well, strike what I said.

-----

On another note, my son has just recently expressed an interest in earning more money to buy a special toy. We made up a job list and worked together about what each job might be worth. He's totally psyched to get some dusting done today and earn a buck. I'm feeling pretty proud of his initiative and goal-setting. And I'm not even going to turn it into a math lesson (even though it's killing me not to).
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