Can You Want Your Kids to Learn TOO Much?

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Your kid already knows how to do that?

WHAT?! My kid can’t do that yet!

It’s the never ending struggle internally, and sometimes externally, about how much OUR kid knows compared to the OTHER kid. Sadly it becomes a competition that surely OUR kids must be the smartest. Right?! He takes after me after all! QUICK – run home and start practicing those math equations!

Seriously though? I love my kids to death, and of course I want them to excel in both school and in life, but I don’t pester them with over-zealous education. It is OK with me if my son isn’t the first, or even the second or third one in his class to catch on to his letters, or to reading. Over-zealous education – is that even possible? YES! I am a HUGE supporter of educational values and offering your child adventures and experiences, but I am NOT a fan of forcing your kid to sit in one corner with his or her nose sniffing out math equations for hours on end. This has nothing to do with homework, this has to do with your child’s potential. A child that is offered an ecletic mix of experiences will fare much better (and enjoy it more!) than a child required to sit in a corner and memorize every fact from here to the moon and back. In all reality there isn’t much that I remember from elementary, middle, OR high school – but do you know what I DO remember? I remember the hands-on projects that I participated in in school. I remember the field trips and the history behind the locations we visited. I remember partnering up with other kids in the class and being proud of what we had come up with together as a team.

It makes me sad to see moms, and even bloggers, force feeding their kids an excessive amount of “education”. To me it’s on the same level as these state regulations that put all kids in a little box until they become simply a statistic on a test. I suppose the same type of extreme could be applied to almost any situation really. But the other day I saw a blogger who worked tediously with her 2 year old for weeks and made sure they knew how to read. Really? A two year old? Good grief! I certainly don’t want my kids to be turned off to learning new things simply because I’m a fanatic about pushing things on them! I know how to engage my kids in interesting activities and experiments that have been woven into a learning lesson. Or what about the parent that forces their 3 year old to sit down daily and complete a handful of worksheets. I’m not talking about coloring, I’m talking actual school worksheets. Is that REALLY necessary?

Life is NOT about the numbers or about how much you know. Sure that will help you get a good job and all that jazz. But life is about learning…..not learning numbers on a page but learning about others and how to handle difficult situations. Teach your kids how to help those less fortunate than you. It’s about balance. Provide them with access to personal learning opportunities such as a reading corner, art studio, or science center. So next time you catch yourself thinking “WOW my kid doesn’t know how to do that!” STOP! It’s OK! Every person and every child is different. Take your kids outside to play, or to a pioneer museum so they can experience something new. But please please please don’t fall prey to the “my kid is better than your kid” routine! Or for your child’s sake, the “we have to learn 5000 new facts a day so you can be smart” mantra.

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