We send kids to school at 3 years old, we expect them to learn things that we ourselves didn’t learn until we were 5. As a Mom I have looked at my youngest and thought, he doesn’t know his alphabet yet?! What have I done wrong?! Josh, he knew his alphabet before he could say a full sentence (literally!). Why is one kid learning and the other one isn’t? What did I do differently?!
Then I thought back to my days as a school girl. I HATED school, I was terrible at it and got easily bored and frustrated by the lessons I was supposed to learn. Was I stupid? Not at all! Was I made to ‘feel’ stupid… most definitely! Why? All because I learned differently. I could read a chapter about science 10 times and walk away without a clue as to what I had read, but if I did an experiment on the exact same thing I could tell you all about it. I was a hands on, visual learner in a system built for readers and listeners. Joshua, like his Dad before him, is a reader and listener where as the Kaper is more like me.
Today at Kaleb’s school, I noticed that they had made a mistake (see above photo) when painting an alphabet caterpillar on the ground where the kids play. You hop from A to Z, from the tail of the caterpillar to his face; hopping from A to Z on a caterpillar in the playground is much more likely to teach Kaleb the alphabet than sitting him down with a book about it. Does it matter ultimately if the order of that caterpillar is wrong? Who decided where the Y goes anyway? Why can’t the D be the last letter of the alphabet, and the Q be the first? Who chose the right and the wrong way to teach, and to learn? Now. Please, don’t get me wrong. I believe that there is a rhyme and reason to things and that we should teach our kids the alphabet properly, not because I think it makes a difference in how they will eventually learn to read but because I think he will be made fun of or look stupid if he were to recite it wrong, or God forbid he one day chooses to be a painter and paints a school yard with the giant caterpillar and the letters are in the wrong order. 🙂 I guess my point is… will learning things differently really change the scope of what they learn, or, could it be, that if we took into account how each child learns individually we could actually teach them more, bring more out of them, teach them how to learn, not what to learn. I hope I am making sense here…
Let me say this. I was speaking with a Mom last year who was frustrated because her daughter was being taught the answers, answers to be memorized and known but she was not being taught how to come up with those answers on her own, she wasn’t being taught how to learn, how to think, just what to think. By taking religion, politics, social issues out of the classrooms, by leaving no room for open discussions (for fear of being non-politically correct) kids are not learning HOW to think for themselves, how to articulate what they think, how to listen well to other opinions and share their own opinion in a safe and free way. We have kids who are being told WHAT to think, WHAT to learn, how to behave to be ‘normal’, we aren’t teaching them HOW to think or learn.
Let me also say that I believe that the home is a valuable space for this, I am not ruling this out. I just wonder at a society so bent on freedom that it is actually the exact opposite of that. As a Christian my thoughts and views often ‘offend’ and therefore I am the one who is ‘wrong’ or not ‘politically correct’, I am the one who often fears sharing my opinion because I will most likely be viewed as wrong. (Not that God called me to be politically correct, nor comfortable for that matter. I was called to live for him, worship him and serve him. That’s it. Not to judge or abuse, not to hate or placate.) As a society we have set into play a new system wherein we are not ‘tolerant’ of anything but what society says we should be tolerant of. We tolerate certain things but we don’t tolerate the ‘other opinion’ on the matter at hand. We say we accept ALL, but we don’t do we? If we are truly honest with ourselves.
So, wow! From a mistake on the playground to politics in the space of a few paragraphs. This is what happens when you give a Mom too much time to think in a day. 🙂 I would love to hear the opinions of others on this.
I want to raise my boys to learn how to clearly state their thoughts, to hear what others have to say and listen without judgement yet stand firm by their own convictions. I hope to raise my boys to learn HOW to learn, however it works best for them, I want them to be able to ‘figure it out’ and not just recite it by rote. I hope that one day, when they are older they will be able to say what they think without fear, that the tides will change where we aren’t ruled by ‘correctness’ but live in true freedom.