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StartingOver
06-30-2011, 03:19 PM
I have always been in the earlier camp. Nothing is scheduled, nothing is required. But when I provide a learning rich environment, my children naturally want to learn. This idea hasn't failed me. My older children all survived my preferences, and even enjoyed homeschooling. The little ones are soaking up information as fast as I can get it to them. And requesting more each day. My youngest son is now 5, and will have some daily required work. My three year old does more than he does daily though. :D

I know it won't work with all families. But for some of us there is no other way. Homeschooling starts from birth. It is a life style for me one that started many years ago.

Just follow your little ones cues, keep it no pressure, and watch them blossom. Be sure to let us know how they are doing too. Those of us with young starts often feel left out, or are uncomfortable speaking up.

Shoe
07-01-2011, 12:40 AM
Well said, Jana!

farrarwilliams
07-01-2011, 09:23 AM
I guess to me it's more that both camps have it wrong. People who have kids who naturally took off early don't seem to get that every kid doesn't. Or people who start academics early seem to think that people who don't are lazy or cheating their kids of important opportunities. But similarly, the people who actually hold children back from learning, such as in Waldorf, where some hardcore Waldorf people don't "allow" a child to learn to read until they're 7 (or lose their baby teeth!) also seem to be handing down judgement on those who introduce academics early - as if they're ruining their kids' love of learning.

So, yeah. We do a "learning rich environment" like you said, Jana. Though when my kids don't get something I always try to step back and tell myself how they have plenty of time.

StartingOver
07-01-2011, 09:40 AM
Farrar, I tell anyone who asks me about little ones, to go ahead and try it. But also be ready to put it on a shelf and wait a while. I would never push my little ones, all that does is cause frustration with mom/dad and child. Each child is an individual and the beauty of homeschooling is that we can customize their education to fit each one perfectly.

dbmamaz
07-01-2011, 10:30 AM
Yeah, it shouldnt really be 'camps' - the problem is that its so hard to listen to your child and REALLY hear what they need. Sometimes ppl need a really strong push in the direction that they subconciously know they need to go . . . its ESP hard, i think, when you have a kid who is a late bloomer. I mean, if your kid is reading early, its hard to construe that as a negative (unless you are in public school). But if your kid is a really late bloomer, there starts to be a lot of pressure that you MUST DO SOMETHING. Tutoring, testing, pressure, discipline. I think thats the real need for the 'better late' philosophy - a way to help parents see that its ok to be patient w kids who are REALLY NOT ready for academics until they are 8 or 9.

Jilly
07-01-2011, 10:44 AM
. . . its ESP hard, i think, when you have a kid who is a late bloomer. I mean, if your kid is reading early, its hard to construe that as a negative (unless you are in public school). But if your kid is a really late bloomer, there starts to be a lot of pressure that you MUST DO SOMETHING. Tutoring, testing, pressure, discipline. I think thats the real need for the 'better late' philosophy - a way to help parents see that its ok to be patient w kids who are REALLY NOT ready for academics until they are 8 or 9.

This is so true. My oldest son did not really take off in academics until 9. He struggled with reading, writing, spelling, math. It was all so hard for him, and it didn't help that everything came so easy for his twin sister. I panicked for a while thinking something is wrong, but then I got some great advice from a veteran homeschool mom who told me to just relax. I am so thankful for that advice. I stopped pushing and just kept reading to him and exposing him to different subjects. I followed his lead, and by the time he was 9 his reading and math took off. This year he became a confident writer. In many ways he is more academic than his sister. He loves to read, he spends hours doing math, and he writes willingly on his own. It had been a joy to see him grow in this way.

farrarwilliams
07-01-2011, 11:16 AM
Yep. Well said, Cara.

jess
07-01-2011, 11:52 AM
I have one who only really started reading at 7, and another who started at 4 (that's not quite accurate, but the now 4.5 year old is about where the now 8 year old was at 6), so I'm out of luck with both approaches! :)

naturegirl7
07-01-2011, 04:35 PM
I too had a similar approach- lots of open ended, gentle learning opportunities starting from birth. Encourage creative play and expression vs electronic toys - that sort of thing. Promote a love of learning and exploring. Very child led. Very effective here.

But so many "Better early than late" approaches are NOT gentle. Like the baby reading programs, flash cards, etc. So structured and forced. So based upon memorization, not mastery and learning (but that is another topic!). I can't get behind forcing learning on a child at ANY age, but especially not when they are young.

Kylie
07-01-2011, 06:36 PM
Couldn't agree more Cara and Jill, I totally understand your point. I already mentioned in another thread that my DS is now really starting blossom...can't say I've relaxed about it all, but I am getting better and trying real hard to do that.

Stella M
07-01-2011, 06:41 PM
I think even if you are more in the better late 'camp', children are still able to be in a learning rich environment and learn from birth. It's a bit of a false dichotomy, imo.

I'm personally in neither camp - I just go with what each child is ready for - early, late, whatever - and I'm uncomfortable with super-late ( not reading at 12, that kind of thing ) - but children can certainly learn widely and deeply in a 'late' environment, just as they can in an 'early' one. Just ask the Finns!

For me, the issue, as always, is coercion. If you are holding a child back from reading because of an ideology, that's wrong. If you are pushing a child to start to read by 3/4/5yrs, that's wrong too.

Thankfully, as homeschoolers, we get to read the cues from each of our children and respond accordingly, remaining open to 'early' or 'late' as each child requires.

I feel the 'late' camp, as Cara said, has a definite role in rounding out our ideas of what constitutes normal. And I don't equate 'late' with lack of excellence, necessarily. Just as I don't equate 'early' with parental pushiness, necessarily.

StartingOver
07-05-2011, 01:19 PM
I hate the camp thing. I have been in both camps, I have had one very late reader, and an average readers, and 3 early readers as well as many other subjects. I see the early mom's get beat up all the time, even when they aren't pushing and shoving. I see the better late mom's get beat up, because someone believes they should evaluate the child. I wish more folks would understand that each child is an individual, and not worry about comparing children. Then it would be so much easier on us all.

Sorry if I sound bitchy, it has been a long tough week.

Melyssa
07-05-2011, 03:15 PM
We started early and I have no regrets. :-) I too often feel like I can't speak up about that.

Kylie
07-06-2011, 12:42 AM
Jana I have to agree, if we could just do what the child needs/wants and forget comparing what others are doing then it may not be such a huge issue.

I think in many cases it is more about parents justifying their stance, especially if they are feeling threatened or inadequate .....or to the other extreme, if they think others see them as pushy parents.

StartingOver
07-06-2011, 09:56 AM
We started early and I have no regrets. :-) I too often feel like I can't speak up about that.


Jana I have to agree, if we could just do what the child needs/wants and forget comparing what others are doing then it may not be such a huge issue.

I think in many cases it is more about parents justifying their stance, especially if they are feeling threatened or inadequate .....or to the other extreme, if they think others see them as pushy parents.

Either way you go, someone is going to say you are pushing, or lazy. Sigh.

Ariadne
07-06-2011, 11:18 AM
I think most of us are saying the same thing: don't force things. Provide ample materials and opportunities, pay attention to your kids, and follow their lead (for the most part). Get to know your kids well enough to understand when they need less or more from you.

JinxieFox
07-07-2011, 04:19 AM
We started early, because I knew that my son at 4 1/2 was more than capable of "doing Kindergarten" when his cousin, who is 7 months older than him, began school. Actually, we started even earlier than that, "doing preschool". My son loved every moment of those activities, including workbooks! He was ready for directed/focused learning...

...though he wasn't ready for certain things, such as reading. My former MIL would give me a hard time because my son wasn't reading yet. He suddenly started reading at the age of 7 1/2. I didn't push; I just gently introduced him to reading, and kept on working with phonics and reading books to him until he was ready.

So starting early did not necessarily mean I was pushing him. I was catering to his abilities and interests as much as possible, while still introducing new ideas and concepts. Personally, I love how children love to learn at a young age, and think that giving them plenty of opportunities to do so keeps them interested in learning in the future. :)

In the end, it's definitely a matter in which a family has to do what they feel is right for them and their children.

Kylie
07-07-2011, 06:33 AM
I also think that many that push for the later start are coming from a public school point of view. The kids are starting academics in school younger and younger and are missing out on so much valuable play time. I don't think all of that strictly applies to home schoolers.

Heck even our child care centers here have curriculums to follow now.