Fasten your seat belt, tough love ahead: I’m sharing the truth because I care about your kids and their future. I know this is going to be hard to hear, but just because your 3 year old is teaching herself to read, or knows how to add already, she’s not a genius. I know compared to your sister-in-law’s kids, you child seems unusually intelligent, but if I had a dime for every parent who asked “which curriculum should I use for my advanced 3 year old…” I would be rich. True genius level IQ is simply not that common. By the time they hit 2nd grade, the genius will be at about the same level as an average 7 year old.
Study after study has shown that too much formal education, put on kids too soon, leads to attention problems and learning disabilities. A young child’s brain is busy learning so much; from logic and language skills to socialization and motor skills that you simply can’t force it into formal schooling, and not expect it to handicap the rest of their very necessary brain development.
Yes, they may be advanced in their math skills at 3 years old. But because they have so many other areas of development which need to grow, the math skill will level off while another area, such as relating to the larger world, building amazing creations out of boxes, or even musical abilities will take off and present itself as the current “genius” ability.
I understand the desire to give our children the best possible education. But when all the empirical evidence clearly indicates that starting formal schooling after age 8 or so is best for the kids, why do moms ignore it? Why do they insist on finding curriculum workbooks for their 3, 4, and 5 year olds?
Why are we in such a hurry to push our kids into school? I sincerely hope it is not in order to have bragging rights about how smart they are.
The alternative to doing school is allowing a child’s development to progress naturally by:
- letting them be children longer
- training them to obey
- teaching them to help around the house
- learning to play well with others
- including them as a valuable part of the family team
- practicing godly character and self-control
At first this approach is more difficult and time consuming for mom. It’s easier to sit them down with a work book, hand them a pencil, and ask them to trace the lines, color in the right answers, and learn their numbers by looking at abstract symbols on a page. At least for a while. Until they get bored and frustrated and can no longer keep up with the expectations of the “genius” label. Then they start to rebel. The kids learn to hate school and mom is frustrated and stressed over the daily battles.
I think the Christian homeschool movement is losing its way. The pursuit of good grades has trumped the pursuit of what is truly best for the children. We are falling for the public school idea of putting kids into formal curriculum at increasingly young ages and I suspect the reason is either pride, or a lack of understanding about the damage of early education. Don’t fall for it. Don’t make the mistake of putting school learning above allowing your child to grow at their own pace in all areas of development.
What do you think?