Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The least common denominator - Age or Ability?

Read this article and then we'll talk....


Ok, so why does this not surprise me?

I suppose spelling has been a pet peeve of mine for a long, long time. I can remember correcting other folks' spelling for years when asked to proofread something - spelling errors just seem to jump off the page at me. CKB can attest to this :)

My favorite comment at the end of the article:

"Must we always pander to the least intelligent and laziest?" asked another.

Isn't that the truth?

How often have you run across this in your life? Your children are always segregated by age, not ability. How often are children in public schools getting in trouble because they're bored? If properly challenged they might not be the "troublemakers" that they are labeled as being.

We are so blessed to homeschool our children. I don't have to limit Miss E to adding and subtracting just because she's 7. She has gone through a course in Addition/Subtraction and did beautifully and is working through a level that covers multiplication and fractions, perimeter and area. She is flying through it as well without hesitation - mastering the new concepts along the way and asking for more. How wonderful!

If she was in a public school, she would no doubt be BORED. She's also studying Botany, Spanish, Grammar for Grade 2 among other things.

Mr. E is 4. He is working through a Grade 1 level math book and not slowing down in the slightest. If he was stuck in a preschool with a bunch of other 4 year olds, I wonder what they would be "learning" - anything? He knows his colors, letters, shapes, has been reading for over a year now...I wonder...and please don't trot out the old cliche of socialization - he has 3 wonderful playmates that all get along well and learn from each other every moment of every day.

The same is true of Miss A and even Mr. A who talks so well and already, at 2, knows many of his colors and letters.

My point being - I am soooo tired of folks thinking that age is everything in young children - how about looking to their abilities for a change and challenging them? It is good for them! How about letting the parents decide if their children are ready for a new level of learning based on their experience (and expertise) with their children, not what age they are? If you have children, you know as well as I do that a newly turned 3 year old is MUCH different than a 3, almost 4 year old, however if the child is 3 at a certain date in the year, they must be with the other 3 year olds, and so on. Then, what of the older 3s? They're limited by what the younger 3s can handle. It's a shame.

I have to say, again, I am so thankful for the blessing that comes from teaching my own children and being able to customize their learning to what they're ready for, not what someone else THINKS they might be ready for based on their age at a particular time.


The Tile Lady said...

Your comments are very astute! When I was young I always felt like a misfit in school and wished I could be in an environment where I was taught in a way that reflected ME. MY abilities and interests. I remember telling my third grade teacher that I wanted to quit school and my Mom was going to teach me! I of course had no idea about homeschooling then, and, in fact, it probably would have been illegal. But, I remember that teacher laughing at me. And once I recall arriving in class late and while I was in the cloak room putting away my things the teacher asked a question and no one was answering, but I KNEW the answer! I realized if I had been at my desk I likely wouldn't have raised my hand either. There was something stifling for me about the audience of my classmates. I was unsure of myself, and of course my grades were not the greatest over the years. Once I left the stifling atmosphere of public school I began to want to go to college, and I have loved learning all my life. I am also an avid reader, which is one of the best ways to achieve a great vocabulary and (imagine that!) LEARN! But this little story testifies to the validity of the argument that there are very real drawbacks to the school system.

I applaud your efforts to TEACH your children! I know it is a full-time commitment, and in this day and time that is difficult. But look at how your children are thriving! Kudos!

Lok said...

Here here! (Or is it hear hear!?) ;-)