Skipping the academic focus and drills? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 06-03-2011, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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My toddler is 21 months and stays at home with me. I notice many of our friends' toddlers, especially those at daycare, are being sort of drilled on subjects like counting, the alphabet, counting, colors, and even things like state capitols. Is anyone else specifically NOT doing that? Before I had my daughter, I'd read research about how early emphasis on teaching actually narrows kids' habits of  creative thinking and problem solving. Besides, I figure what she doesn't figure out from context by age 4 or 5, she can learn in a more planned way if it seems appropriate.


I think it's really neat how she has already learned some counting, colors and other things that some kids are being drilled on, just by living.


Would love to hear from other parents taking this route, especially if you have BTDT!

Mama to a bilingual (Arabic/English) and cuddly 3 year old, and planning another peaceful homebirth in June.

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#2 of 6 Old 06-03-2011, 09:47 AM
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My DS is 25 months and trying to do drills with him is such a lost cause. He has his own mind and if he's not interested then I can forget it. I love that he is like that actually. He should be taking the lead on the things he's interested in learning. I talk about letters and numbers a little bit in the context of other things and he has picked up a little bit and is starting to get interested. That's good enough for me. He does know all the parts of a tractor and the name of almost every machine imaginable! He's such a boy! He loves books and learning about new things and has a wicked memory so I think he'll turn out okay.

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#3 of 6 Old 06-03-2011, 12:30 PM
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I agree with you. In my opinion, small children learn best through the natural process of "doing." My first DD was home with me until K, and she learned everything she needed and more. I just involved her n everyday activities, and did a lot of "narrating" what's going on ("It's time to cook the potatoes for dinner. Let's put them into a bowl. How many potatoes do we need? One, two, three." or, "What crayon do you want to use next? Oh, the green one. I like green, don't you?" etc.) We also read a ton of books and she learned to read on her own quite early.

I'm doing the same with DD2, who is 19 months, and she already knows her colors and shapes and is learning counting, just through playing and our everyday routine. I think as long as a caregiver is interacting with and engaging the child, and talking a lot as they go, there's no need at all for drills, worksheets, videos etc. and really they're probably pretty counterproductive.


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#4 of 6 Old 06-03-2011, 10:46 PM
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We do the same - lots of book reading, story-telling, singing, playing, working (house care, laundry etc.) but very little 'teaching' around here. I narrate, as grethel said, and I'm constantly amazed by what my daughter has picked up. She busts out amazing and entertaining words, like saying "I'm wounded!" or that her dolls are celebrating at a party, and seems to know her colours, many letters and numbers etc. but I wouldn't care much if she didn't. Most kids don't make it to elementary school without knowing their colours, you know? I feel like we're providing a rich learning environment with quality interactions, literature, music and play and that's WAY better than specific teaching or drilling.


One of my favourite quotes comes from Dr. Humberto Maturana. "Only love expands intelligence."

Wife to great guy and mama to 2 beautiful girls S Oct 15, 2008 and Z March 22, 2011
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#5 of 6 Old 06-04-2011, 07:16 AM
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21 months is so little!  we never went out of our way to teach our older boy these things, he picked them up on his own.  especially colors, those came pretty naturally.  MIL gave us some flashcards at some point, the box is still unopened.  silliness!  my littlest is somewhere between one and a half and two, is starting to pick up on things on his own.  "our geen plants!!!" is what he shouted when we looked out the window this morning.  he didnt learn geen (green) from a flashcard, lol!

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#6 of 6 Old 06-04-2011, 05:47 PM
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Yeah, we specifically do NOT do that.  BTDT (homeschooling my 7yo).  We believe in "delayed academics"... as in "don't push any academics on them until the 2nd grade year".  Unless they're itching for it, of course.  My son taught himself to read at 3yo and of course, has been interested in plenty.  We follow his lead.  He's above grade level in everything anyway.


Research shows (specifically in math) that starting early didn't produce any noticeable increase of knowledge or fluency, but DID--without question--show a profound difference in attitude toward schooling (in a negative way if you started in preschool).


The countries that spend these years focusing on the more Montessori/Steinert-ish stuff kick our butts in academic achievement later.  Self-care, keeping a neat living space, creativity, and social interactions--those are the focus until after 7yo for us.  So mine will actually go to a Montessori in the fall (she'll be 3yo in early Nov.) but only because I found one that doesn't have a punchlist of activities for them to finish by the end of the week (some do!) and accepts her without being "bathroom independent"--so they are TRUE to the pedagogy.


I'm rambling.  Sorry. redface.gif


ETA:  LOVE this perspective on what littles should be learning:

Heather - Wife 
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