|Two five-year-olds, with two very different |
school years ahead of them
"I was happy as a child with my toys in my nursery. I been happier every year since I became a man. But this interlude of school makes a somber grey patch upon the chart of my journey. It was a unending spell of worries that did not then seem petty, and of toil uncheered by fruition; a time of discomfort, restriction and purposeless monotony."
It's funny how, so quickly, the tables have turned.
The other day I went with a friend to pick up some backpacks and school supplies at a military event.
She started talking about how her son - just three months older than Hunter, but in first grade due to California's December 2nd cutoff date - is likely going to have a difficult time at his new school's lunch period. Which is twenty minutes long, from class dashing to the cafeteria to cleared tables and ready to head back to the grinding room.
There were a lot of other demands of the first grade that she was loathing about.
At once, I thought, Wow. I'm glad my son doesn't have to go through that every day.
Yes, I'm sure Hunter could handle it. Just like millions of other kids do every day. Lines, bells, sitting, waiting, transporting, homework, peer pressure, tests, stress. The works. He'd somehow manage the jungle.
But is that the point? Is that what's really best? What ever happened to childhood?
"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
Benjamin FranklinI've never, quite understood, how the same person who will condemn you for teaching a tiny child "academic" concepts at an early age, never had a second thought about throwing a child into an academic rat race once the child reaches the magic age of five or six.
You are stealing his childhood, so they say. Why can't you just wait until the first grade. There is plenty of time for academics, later.
But I'd rather, for my own son at least, start early.
No, not start the rat race early.
But start learning early.
And then, by the time he reaches first grade, not say that his childhood is magically over.
Not essentially say, "You've had your fun, now your new life purpose is to study for the next thirteen to twenty years."
I'd rather make learning playful, make learning part of real life.
Teach him things. Teach him big things, while he's tiny, while learning is still easy and fun.
So that when all of his other five-year-old friends hop on the big yellow bus for days full of waiting, busy work, waiting, busy work, waiting, busy work, that Hunter can still be playing.
So he can say, "Yes, I spent my preschool years with duplos and presidents and swing sets and math.
I learned how to read while learning was still a game.
I learned to love a great many interesting and wonderful things while my wonder was at its highest.
And now I'm not in a race to catch up and keep up.
I'm just filling my hungry appetite for knowledge.
I'm living and learning, in real life, with my childhood still ahead of me."
"Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little"
Hunter is 5 years, 4 months old