Preschool or prep school?

Filed under: Preschoolers, Development/Milestones: Babies, Day Care & Education

kid graduateDo you and your partner argue about educating your kid?

We do.

My husband taught elementary school for nine years, and he saw a lot of kids who couldn't count to 10 or spell their own names in first grade. I know that shaped his views, but we still differ when it comes to just how prepared our three-year-old daughter should be when she enters kindergarten.

My style of teaching is organic – pointing out the letters on a stop sign or counting lemons as we load them into the grocery cart. My husband is much more intense, wanting to sit down and actually teach our wiggly girl to read and write and count to 100.

I tend to believe that kids today are pushed way too hard to be at the first-grade level in preschool. When did you learn to read? I was six years old when I read my first chapter book – and that was considered "advanced" in 1976. And guess what? I turned out to be a professional writer.

Try telling that to my Ivy League-educated spouse. He was an early reader and excelled in music, and his educational career is culminating with his current position as a doctoral fellow. He says it isn't just desire to learn that's important. Parents, he says, have to set high expectations to create high achievers.

Parents are pushing their kids so hard that smart isn't even good enough. Now, if your child isn't "gifted," he or she might as well just give up and plan for a career in panhandling.

When did "average" (or heck, even "smart") become such a dirty word?

There are plenty of things you can do to enhance your child's natural talents -- foster a love for words by reading to them, show them how the world is ordered with numbers. But academic preschools and elementary-school tuition bills that rival those of elite universities? Not for me.

Are they for you?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.