My grandmother was born in 1931, and she was one of the first people I knew to have a personal computer in their home.
She had memories of growing up in the 1940’s in Tennessee and her father not letting them have a radio. Being left behind was not an option for her.
Reading articles on the internet from all over the world was her hobby. She took painting lessons in her 60’s and 70’s.
Only now do I appreciate her desire always to be learning.
Most of it is Not That Hard
Call me crazy, but I never worried about when or how my children would learn their colors.
I don’t view this as a skill that must be mastered at three rather than four or they will forever be “behind.” I’ve just gone about my life, describing things in colors, and, so far, they seem to have picked it up without a concept book or worksheet.
While homeschooling, I’ve found that the amount of time a child takes to learn a skill is greatly dependent on their readiness. Trying to force a child to do something too soon will only lead to frustration for you and them.
Instead, take your time. It’s so much easier to teach addition to a 6-year-old than a 4-year-old. Concepts that an 8-year-old find difficult will be no problem when they’re 10.
Time and maturity can help us all.
What Are We Doing to Ourselves?
Our society seems to have bought into a belief that learning is all linear and uniformly progressive.
That the sooner we have children reading and doing math, the more we can cram in, and the “smarter” they’ll be.
We want them to be “college ready,” so they must be reading at 4 or they’ll never catch up, right?
Really? I feel my blood pressure going up just writing this. The stress and anxiety surrounding education in our society are palpable.
But My Child is Gifted!
They’re everywhere, these gifted children. I mean that everyone is gifted in their way. I agree with Penelope Trunk.
How many children are alienated by not having a gifted label bestowed upon them?
I was labeled as “gifted” in 4th or 5th grade. Am I gifted? I don’t know, but I did know how to do school, and there’s a difference. Without a doubt, my gifted label contributed to me carrying around a fixed-mindset for most of my life.
Do most gifted children live up to their perceived “potential?” No, so often they’re risk-averse because things shouldn’t be difficult, they’re gifted! They can’t fail; they’re gifted!
I’m not one to cling to labels of any kind because they mostly cause division and apathy. Instead, why not assert that everyone is “gifted” in something and may struggle with something else.
I’m not particularly gifted at art, but I do believe instruction and practice would help me to be better.
Is it Possible to Learn Nothing
I believe anything is possible, but this would be tough. I’ve always wanted to celebrate Learn Nothing Day.
My kids would think it was hilarious and I find it absurd, which is the whole point. When I think of all the things I have learned in my life, it’s clear learning never ends. Every day, I learn something new, and I am fascinated by something that begs me to dig deeper.
Today, we read the book Silent Night by Werner Thuswaldner. Reading this reminded me of the WWI Christmas Truce and before you know it, I was reading the kids this article on History.com. Share it; it’s fascinating.
They Have More Than 18 Years
There is plenty of time. It is not up to us to give them every piece of knowledge or skill they will need in their lives.
The world is forever changing, and I can’t possibly know what my 2-year-old will need to know in 20-40 years.
Instead, create in them the desire to know more, to wonder, to be curious.
Let them know it’s ok to not know the answer and give them the skills to find people who do.
Show them that life is full of interesting things to learn and because of this, richer.
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