Friday, June 21, 2013

Better Late Than Early, part II

"(A child) will learn the most by doing what he enjoys most, and he will enjoy most what he is able to do best."

That's another great quote from the book I'm reading, "Better Late Than Early"  which made me come back and want to write some more about this great little book.

There are many theories about when the US education system started its deep decline as it began to to systematically fail the American children. But in my personal experience and lifetime, I felt the nose-dive happen when President Bill Clinton started talking about his "information superhighway." As a result of this dangerous technological trend, my biggest fears have been realized. This is where Mr. Clinton's highway led. The "education dark ages" we are living in today.

At that early point in my teaching career, I truly felt the first pinches of the irresponsible pedagogical assumptions of the government, and the beginnings of the trend to de-localize and federalize American education. To me, sometime in the early nineties, we stopped listening to the child experts and local communities, and started listening to big government know-nothings when it came to what is best for our children. Perhaps the coincidental surge in cable and TV viewership at the same time period might have helped this happen without us noticing too much. Then came George Bush's "No Child Left Behind," and that put the last nail on the coffin which our current president continues to hit with his golden hammer.

The authors of this very old-fashioned book insist that TV is very detrimental to a young child's eyes at the early stages of development (under 8). They made me feel that I must now rethink even the very limited amount of time my son watches TV because of this new revelation. Luckily, the book also offers many logical and practical ideas and activities as an alternative to TV. It offers simple skill-building that engage children and nurture their development rather than current misguided  Ipad learning practices which retard the development of children's eyes, emotions, and positive sense of self.

I'm very grateful for what this book has given me so far (still reading, so watch out for a BLTE part III). Apart from the useful wisdom it offers, it's also given me more insight into the history of early education and the big mistakes made over time which brought us here. It's so filled with wise science and child-development expertise and little wisdoms that I'm beginning to feel a certain attachment to it, like some people are attached to a holy book. I can compare my response to this book to the first time I read Gibran Khalil Gibran's The Prophet. Both offer a depth of vision, and so much comfort at the same time, that I can read them over and over. Even though they are outdated in some ways, they remain timeless literature. 

Since my son is now approaching the age of 4, I was particularly intrigued by, and almost made a spiritual connection with, an excerpt from the Chapter "Age 4 to 7" (sneak peek below) This excerpt perfectly illustrates and practically predicts the experience I had when I tried to put my fully home-schooled child in a full-time Montessori preschool. I sighed deeply as I read, finally making full sense of why our schooling plan lasted only three weeks before my gut instinct told me to pull my son out and get back to exploring more home-school. He simply wasn't ready to fit their box, and now I can better see why.

I'll definitely be returning to this book during the many times in which I need assurance that I am not alone facing instances of self-doubt due to outside pressures. Dr. Moore and his wife do so well to put me at ease and assure me that what I'm doing is all so worth it. I'll definitely be reading more by the Moores, so,

stay tuned...

P.S. If you haven't already heard, the Kanyeshians named their newborn compass "North West." Please keep her in your prayers.

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