One of my BFFs sent me a blog posting this morning that ruffled my feathers. Now, I am sure that was not her intent, but the Dragonfly was diagnosed with pneumonia and I have not been getting the most sleep these last few nights, no needless to say… my Grace bucket is pretty empty. I really should have tried to make it to Mass this AM, that would have helped. But I digress. You can read the blog posting here and what follows is my email response to my friend, which in hindsight, I thought would make a good blog posting. I did change some names and locations to protect the innocent, but the meat and potatoes is the same. Enjoy!
Some interesting points therein, and as a former teacher I’ll admit it was a little hard to read it and not get my feathers a little ruffled. I think the author has some valid points, but there are also some broad generalizations that may or may not be true. She claims that children who enter school early do not excel, I beg to differ. I started formal schooling at 4 (in a German Immersion environment, no less) and if I may say so, I think I excelled pretty well. Sure, I am not a world leader as Washington or Churchill or an astronaut like Sally Ride, but I’m not doing to badly for myself! 🙂
I will agree that preschool is for socialization. It’s glorified play with structure mixed in. Before starting school, the Bear knew all of what the kids are “supposed” to know by the end of this year. The author may have a singular world view that all families are structured as hers and therefore would benefit from delayed education/ homeschooling. But I can tell you, from the stories that my SIL tells, formal schooling helps those who need it. She is a kindergarten teacher and the children in her classes run the whole gamut, from those who know all of their letters and corresponding sounds and can count to 100 to others who cannot differentiate between a letter and a number. She also has a large number of ESL children that she teaches (Spanish and Hmong.)
I truly believe that the best option for my family is formal schooling, but I am also one of those parents who refuse to wear blinders and is *gasp* involved in my child’s education. Last week, The St. Louis Review (a Catholic Newspaper) ran an article about a girl in the Diocese of Knoxville (TN) who, with her mother, got involved after Planned Parenthood ran a presentation at her public high school without parental consent, among other issues.
Maybe the author’s view is that early childhood education has no merit, and again, that it her opinion but it’s such a broad issue that there is no one way. My nephew is either somewhere on the autism spectrum or he is just learning delayed. They are not sure. My brother and his wife are living in a very economically depressed area. Both parents are working at low-wage jobs but having only a HS education, it doesn’t leave many options. Their parenting (when their son was home from DayCare) was to plop him in front of SpongeBob (this was from birth on.) As a result their son, at 37 months, is functioning more at the level of a 20 month old. He started going to “school” (HeadStart) this past November and he is slowly improving. So who is at fault? Well, obviously his parents because anyone should know that an infant needs more parenting than the TV, but if not for formal education for this child, where would HE be?
I admire those who chose to homeschool or delay the education of their children. I think it’s a great thing to do, it’s just not for our family and to imply that somehow NOT homeschooling or delaying education is harmful to a child is dangerous. What would be more accurate would be to say that remaining uninvolved in your child’s education, not knowing their friends or what they are doing… that’s a danger.
So I am curious what you think?