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How important is it for children to learn specific subjects/themes/concepts as early as possible?<br>
And if it's important at all, why?<br>
If not important, why?<br><br>
Just curious what other homeschooling mamas think, and their reasoning behind it. I just became aware that some folks (well, at least school teachers and officials, and probably most of the population) figure that if a child doesn't possess a certain knowledge by a certain age, they will either never acquire it or they will be somehow "backwards" until they do, like they're missing out on something crucial to human existence. It's sort of the reasoning behind mandatory testing, or any kind of testing for that matter. My question specifically is: what is it that I'm missing out on that explains why children need to learn, for example, how to read by age 7 (or whatever age is currently the reading competency deadline in America), how to multiply by age ?, and so on. Is there some educational expert that once decreed this be the case, or is it common sense?
 

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absolutely not important. John Holt said someting like "childhood is not a train on a schedule. if you are 'late' for one station, this does not mean you will be late for the next."
 

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IMO, not important at all. People have a lifetime to learn and exercise those skills, but in comparison childhood is very short. I think kids should be allowed to just be kids. Carefree and lots of time to just play, play, and play. Learning whatever subject/skill is fine as long as the child expresses interest. But it doesn’t need to be pushed.<br><br>
I also believe in letting children learn at their own pace. Everyone is so different I don’t believe in learning such and such by whatever age. I think that putting pressure on children to learn within a certain time frame just kills the natural love of learning. That sucks…<br><br>
JMO.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kmamma</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How important is it for children to learn specific subjects/themes/concepts as early as possible? If not important, why?</div>
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It's not. As kids get older, academic things are easier for them to learn, not harder. For homeschooled kids who are "late bloomers" and learn those keys skills that schools get so hung up on a little later, it is because they were learning other things earlier. Schools and testing pick a few things to make a huge deal over, and then ignore everything else.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I just became aware that some folks (well, at least school teachers and officials, and probably most of the population) figure that if a child doesn't possess a certain knowledge by a certain age, they will either never acquire it or they will be somehow "backwards" until they do, like they're missing out on something crucial to human existence.</td>
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If a child is in a traditional classroom, then that is at least sorta true. If the teacher assumes that all the children can already read and then makes assignments based on reading the chapter and answering the questions in the back, the child who can't read is really stuck -- they can't do assignment and there isn't any instruction for them on how to read. The same age child at home, on the other hand, can be read to, taken interesting places, and have their own unique needs met when it comes to learning to read. In a classroom their isn't time to meet unque needs, so the kids need to be as much at the same place as possible or they are just left out of the learning process.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Is there some educational expert that once decreed this be the case, or is it common sense?</td>
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There are studies that show if kids <i>at school</i> haven't mastered certain reading skills at certain grade levels, they will most likely fall behind in all subjects and not catch up (I can't remember where I saw these) BUT there aren't any studies on homeschooled kids. Many, many homeschooled kids are "behind" in one subejcts, and then suddendly catch up and surpass their schooled peers.<br><br>
I think many people assume that kids can only progress one "grade level" in one school year. That just isn't the case. My older DD went from a grade one reading level to about a grade five reading level in 2 months. One of my friends' son did a similar thing in math. People have a hard time understanding or accepting this, so they fear what will happen to the child who falls "behind."
 

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Not important. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Not important, usually.<br><br>
I think the confusion comes because for some things, there are critical "windows", and after this period it's more difficult, if not impossible, to learn them. For example, a child who doesn't learn a primary language - any language - by the age of 10 or 12 will probably never become fluent in a language. Of course, it's very unusual for a child to not be exposed to a langauge at all... the research done on this has been done on "feral" children and children like <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2112gchild.html" target="_blank">Genie</a>, who was so neglected that she really had no exposure to language until she was 13, and developed a large vocabulary but never became fluent in a language<br><br>
There also tends to be a window for learning to form certain sounds... babies begin by babbling all sounds but soon lose those not used in their native language, and it can be very difficult to relearn them correctly.<br><br>
Other than those rare cases and maybe a few others (that I can't think of at the moment), I say no, and I agree with Linda that children who learn skills later will generally learn them much more quickly.<br><br>
Dar
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kmamma</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My question specifically is: what is it that I'm missing out on that explains why children need to learn, for example, how to read by age 7 (or whatever age is currently the reading competency deadline in America), how to multiply by age ?, and so on. Is there some educational expert that once decreed this be the case, or is it common sense?</div>
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<span>I think the thing you're missing out on is being a mindless believer of experts without questioning things. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> Seriously though, so much of all that is just tradition that's come about from tradition that's come about from traditon...<br><br>
I've seen children learn to read, for instance, at a wide range of ages, and those that learn later didn't go on to have harder times scholatically at later ages.<br><br>
In fact, I can think of the daughter of a friend who didn't learn to read until almost nine in spite of the fact that she was working really hard at trying to learn both in school and at home. Her mom was really worried - she had read voraciously to her children from the time they were tiny, and she coudn't imagine what the problem could be. Then the girl suddenly took off reading, and she became a top scholar who ended up with a scholarship to Amhurst College, where she's really thriving.<br><br>
The oldest son of David and Micki Colfax (authors of Homeschooling for Excellence and Hard Times in Paradise) who went on to get a scholarship to Harvard and graduate on the Dean's list from the medical school didn't read till after he was nine. Others teach themselves to read when they're two. It's just one of those things.<br><br>
I remember an educational consultant telling me there's a window for learning how to tell time - she thought it was very important to be able to tell time by a certain age - 5 or something - whereas I thought it was ridiculous. Uh...my son learned tell time perfectly well, thank you very much, even though he didn't learn at an early age. I hate all that stress they lay out over these things. - Lillian</span>
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kmamma</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How important is it for children to learn specific subjects/themes/concepts as early as possible?<br>
And if it's important at all, why?<br>
If not important, why?</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
As early as possible? Not at all. However: while there are only a few true critical periods (primary language, attachment, eyesight, hearing, etc) I believe that there are times when a child's mind is more receptive to learning some things than it is at other times. When a child shows an interest, demonstrates an ability and a desire to learn something, I think that it would be neglectful not to teach them, regardless of their age. As often as I see statements like "if a child doesn't learn to do x by age y, they'll never learn" I see statements like "the average child will not be able to understand x until they're y years old, so avoid teaching x to them at all costs." I've got the same problem with both statements: every child is different. Some children will be ready, willing, and able to learn x at age y, some will do it earlier and some will do it later. The world probably won't end either way, but I don't think it's any more fair to make a child wait for some arbitrary age before you teach them x than it is to say they have to learn it earlier.
 

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I agree but at the same time not meeting times should be looked into. This doesn't mean worried about but make sure there is no underlying reasons that a child can't/isn't learning.<br><br>
I am more of the better late than early camp, but I do think some people do harm to their children and miss critical things that can matter.<br><br>
Example, my son wasn’t writing or writing well. So he was “late” writing. Why? Because he had/has a fine motor skill issues. This is something that would/did inhibit him learning the things he wanted to learn.
 
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