Early academics Vs Imaginative play Vs Educational TV - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 04-02-2013, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,

 

I need some advise. It would be great if you guys can help me figure out what is right and am i doing something wrong?

 

I have a 3 year old who is very verbal. He loves his cars and can indulge in imaginative play with his match box cars. He absolutely loves his cars. He loves when i tell him stories or when i read to him. He does not read yet. Nor does he shows any interest in writing. But he plays plays and then plays some. He loves to watch you tube videos on cars but I allow it for only 30 min while he eats his food. I do tell him a lot of imaginative stories and about things around us. But he is definitely not into worksheets, flash cards and charts. When I try to teach him 1+1=2 and ask him to tell it back to me he says something silly like "1+1=fa fa"(it is hilarious to him) and laughs out loud. I also him a lot about opposites and rhyming words but I do it practically like when we are playing. Like "this is dry" and "that is wet. They are opposites". I don't get any specific flash cards or something.

 

I live in a extended family. My nephew on the other hand is drilled on addition charts, multiplication charts and other math concepts. Then he is shown some educational kid program mes like "Team Umizoomi". My son watches them too but I limit his TV time even if it is an educational program. Is this wrong. My nephew is border line autistic and has a good memory and is very clever because he even learns the multiplication charts and he is only 4 years old. He is not very verbal though and can't play on his own and always needs to be engaged and gets bored if he is not engaged.

 

My son on the other hand fools around making his own silly songs, playing imaginatively with his cars and all the time being verbal and keeps on asking questions. How can I get my son to be serious about academics. He always tries to be independent and when i try to hold his hand to teach him to write or use siccors he just snatches away his hand from mine and tries to do it on his own and gets frustrated that he can't do it and leaves it. How am i to teach him if he does this. 

 

But my sons teachers tell me he does well at preschool. No worries with him. Listens to instructions and lets the teacher show how to do things. Why this split personality with me at home?

 

Should i let him watch more educational TV or leave him  to play. Of course sometimes i interact with him when he plays and sometimes he prefers playing on his own with his cars. He is also very social and though not a very physical strong person he is active and likes to jump and run around.

 

I am only concerned about his academic interests or lack of. Should i also start doing charts with him. My brother in law , they get a lot of educational stuff/toys for my nephew and drill him on those. Should i also do the same. The only toys I get till now for my son are his match box toys/ Lego's and he is happy with them. 

 

Please let me know if I need to do anything more.

 

Thank you.

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#2 of 11 Old 04-02-2013, 01:36 PM
 
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#3 of 11 Old 04-02-2013, 03:38 PM
 
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I don't think that there's any reason to put any emphasis on early academics here, nor is there any good reason for "educational TV".  He doesn't need to be reading, writing or doing addition at this age, and he will discover those things as he's ready over the next few years before school, or not until he's in school, which is OK.  Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers should be learning through play and interaction with others.  There's no rush.

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#4 of 11 Old 04-02-2013, 08:31 PM
 
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He should play. "Educational tv" is more tv than education as all of the research supports. A child can learn random facts etc. but it actually detracts from true language art skills. 

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#5 of 11 Old 04-02-2013, 08:45 PM
 
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Imaginative play, hands down.  It what kids really need, and they really do learn a lot about the world around them through imaginative play.  If he was my kid I wouldn't even be doing any flashcards.  Life is a classroom, let the lesson begin.


SAHM to DS BuggaBoo blahblah.gif  12/07, and DD Doozer energy.gif03/10.  Sharing life with The Hubby since 01/05.

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#6 of 11 Old 04-02-2013, 08:46 PM
 
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I am reading a book called The Way of Boys by Anthony Rao that you might find helpful.  I'm only through the first few chapters, but it talks about the wide variation in boys' development and how our society's expectations of boys are a tad out of whack.  http://www.amazon.com/Way-Boys-Promoting-Emotional-Development/dp/006170783X  It has a lot of practical advice for helping boys develop socially and emotionally that you might find helpful.  Your child's imagination sounds delightful.  The academics will come later.  It sounds like he's great in preschool.  Running, jumping, and playing is his job.  He's 3.

 

You didn't mention reading to him, which I assume you do, but just in case . . . reading together every day lays a great foundation for future academic success.  Picture books.  Simple non-fiction books.  Books about cars.  Books he dictates to you (his stories) and then you read back to him.  

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#7 of 11 Old 04-02-2013, 09:12 PM
 
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Wow! You have described my DS to the T! Even down to giving you silly made up answers if you push him in something. My DS counts with make believe numbers all the time. I think it's great! Every kid is different. I would definitely not push the flash cards or educational TV - especially since he is in preschool. I think if you push it he will be more likely to resist it later.

I always try to go into my son's world as much as possible and really give him the tools to explore and develop the things he loves. He is also obsessed with cars so, even though we do minimal TV and I don't generally like movies for this age, I let him watch the movie cars. I am so glad I did. He's only watched it in bits and pieces a couple of times but it has opened up such a world for him! There are also very advanced cars books, retelling the movie's story, that I read to him now, much more than we watch the movie. Loves them and has really gotten him into books.
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#8 of 11 Old 04-03-2013, 11:04 AM
 
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His only job right now is to play - playing IS learning.  Let him be three!  Take a deep breath, stop comparing him to other children, put the flash cards in a drawer, and let him play.




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#9 of 11 Old 04-03-2013, 05:18 PM
 
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"My nephew is border line autistic and has a good memory and is very clever because he even learns the multiplication charts and he is only 4 years old. He is not very verbal though and can't play on his own and always needs to be engaged and gets bored if he is not engaged."

 

This is the part of your post that stuck out at me.  I think that through his play, your son is really setting a foundation for learning HOW to learn and how to direct his own learning.  I think that's invaluable.  You seem to be getting a lot of peer pressure from your extended family about early academics, but I really think that you should trust your instincts and let your boy play.  If your nephew is autistic, his needs and abilities will be quite different than those of your son.  It's okay for your priorities for your son to be different than those for your nephew. 

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#10 of 11 Old 04-03-2013, 08:31 PM
 
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I noticed that you have quite a few threads on education and developmental stuff for your little person. Have you done any reading on developmental stages, milestones, brain development etc? If not, you might find it reassuring to do some reading in these areas.

There is a series called "Your One Year Old" which has a book for each year. It is recommended a lot around here.

Also, as PPs have mentioned, I would really try to stop all comparisons with your nephew. Having autism means his needs and what is best for him are often going to be very different. Also he is 4. Even putting the autism aside, a year is a huge age difference at this stage of their lives and comparisons wouldn't help either of them.

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#11 of 11 Old 04-03-2013, 09:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katelove View Post

I noticed that you have quite a few threads on education and developmental stuff for your little person. Have you done any reading on developmental stages, milestones, brain development etc? If not, you might find it reassuring to do some reading in these areas.

There is a series called "Your One Year Old" which has a book for each year. It is recommended a lot around here.

Also, as PPs have mentioned, I would really try to stop all comparisons with your nephew. Having autism means his needs and what is best for him are often going to be very different. Also he is 4. Even putting the autism aside, a year is a huge age difference at this stage of their lives and comparisons wouldn't help either of them.

 

I remember answering a similar post you made, OP, late last fall.  Your family's expectations are completely out of line for your son's age.  You son is completely developmentally appropriate for his age.  Many of us have reassured you that there is no compelling reason to force a preschool aged child to focus on academics if they are not interested...and their lack of interest is completely normal.  

 

I'm fearing that your family's ridiculous expectations, and constant comparison to your nephew, is making you doubt yourself, when really, you need to focus on learning what is normal.  The book recommendations above are great, and I know I gave you a link to the PBS website that had age-appropriate milestones in my last post to you, but in case you didn't read back on that thread, here's my post from last time:  

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post

 

This, and/or if your have a pediatrician or group you can go to to get their "approval" that your son is FINE NOT DOING THESE THINGS.  OMG, I would not be able to deal with what your family is putting you and your son through.  I am sorry you both have to  deal with that.  :(

 

About as mainstream as you can get, from PBS, about 2 year olds: http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/two/index.html  , in particular:  " They also make a variety of scribble marks anywhere and everywhere"

 

For 3-year-olds:  http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/three/index.html ,  in particular:  "During the year, scribbles begin to appear more like letters and children may string several of these "letters" together to form mock words. They become aware of the uses for writing and may dictate words for adults to write down."  

 

Finally, for 4-5 year olds,..... almost 2 years OLDER than your child, they finally have this to say:  " Most children also are capable of writing some legible letters and know that writing goes from left-to-right and top to bottom."  

 

SOME legible letters.  At age 4-5.  NOT 2.  Not even 3.  Some kids do write letters earlier, absolutely - these are kids who WANT to (or are forced to).  Most kids don't, and kids who don't but play a lot and have their own things they're interested in are FINE.   My kids - who followed the milestones above almost exactly, but played a LOT with open ended things and had virtually no formal instruction on anything before they entered school, are now AHEAD of the curve in 1st and 3rd grade because they are creative and really know how to use their brains.  Imaginative play is CRUCIAL.    

 

Links for the importance of play:

 http://chronicle.com/article/The-Case-for-Play/126382/

http://www.education.com/magazine/article/play-preschool-matters/

http://www.greatschools.org/parenting/social-skills/1180-play-in-preschool.gs

 

Your family is expecting things of your kids that are almost 2 YEARS ahead of average.  WAY out of line.   I have to stop now or I may say something unkind.  Good luck!

 

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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