Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's the rush parents?

Being a child these days is really tough. First, as a baby the clueless child is send to enrichment classes to tweak his/her brain and senses then it is more learning through other artificially induced activities. Why are we doing this? Have we forgotten about learning the natural way? Nowadays children are forced to do accelerated learning which means learn as many things as possible in the shortest time. Many parents complaint that they did everything possible for their children and yet they do not perform as per their expectation. Most parents directly or indirectly equate achievements/performances to academic results. 

Why? Peer pressure? Desire of the parents? Family pressure? Pride? Oh gosh... I can go on and on!

When I was a new parent, I did the same. Wanting my child to learn more and faster, looking at all the enrichment classes available. I fell for it. I did use flash cards for a while and even wanted to sign up for some left brain right brain training for my boy! But hey, these things only works for some and believe it or not, there were a few I tried and what they did were activities you can do at home for free! Education business is very lucrative. A business is a business no matter how well-meaning a person may be. Marketing gimmick and all the so called researches to back up their claims (some proven but many were questionable because of the limited people involved in the research) are getting more aggressive. I am also in the education business. I have seen things. 

Anyway enough of that. I want to focus on natural learning. One of the best way for a child to learn is by experiencing the real thing. Don't have to do it artificially. Do it for real, let them play with kitchen utensils, cooking together, gardening, picnics, travelling and etc. As they experience real situations, they learn more as oppose to artificial means like flashing cards of objects and expect them to remember. Which is more effective? 

One of the most effective way of learning is to read to your child regularly. Start reading to your baby. He/she may not be able to tell you that he/she is learning but believe me, your child is. Your child absorbs the language flow, vocabulary and many more as these will form the foundation for his/her future learning. This is learning in context. If your child refuse to sit with you while you read, it's alright. Continue to read while your child play quitely by your side. It's not going to waste, instead your child is indirectly learning. Repetition is the key for young children. Many parents complaint that their children are not reading enough, don't like books. Well, you will have to cultivate the love for reading from young! Make it a routine. With older children, have lots of discussion about what you read to them. This builds vocabulary, comprehension, narrating and summarizing skills (a foundation to creative writing) and also general knowledge. 

Invest in good books. If you can't then the public library is your best friend. Reduce enrichment classes and use the money and time to DIY.15 to 20 minutes is all you need to start with. Instead of watching TV, pick up a book and read to your children. You also get to bond with your children and that is quality time. It's all about perseverance and determination. Don't expect instant results but given time, what you get is definitely worth it. 

Sometimes it scares me to see parents investing huge amount of money on 'systems' to enhance their kids' IQ, EQ, memory and etc. It's crazy. Seriously what is the use if your child can read at 2? memorize the entire multiplication table at age 6 or do mental math at record time? Do these abilities translate to useful skills in their later years? Relax! Let your kids be kids and let them enjoy their childhood. I am glad I am no longer brain-washed into thinking that all those 'enrichment' are necessary for my child. Now I enjoy our learning journey the natural way.  


Montessorimum said...

Good write up and I can't agree more!!!

I used to be a bit kiasu too as a new parent, now it is relax and chill and follow the child's lead. A happy an stress free mother leads to happy kids. And I am pretty good at not letting my peers to influence me in their way of "educating" their children anymore. Just stay focus in what I think is right for my children and have faith in them. I am just a facilator.

LittleLamb said...

I agree that we should not rush and let the natural set in. However if i m preparing for our local education, then i need to beef up a bit, otherwise he will be lost/bullied or maybe abuse in school. If one have the opportunity to provide alternative education, of course i certainly agree to let the child unleash his own potentials.

Leona said...

Some days...i feel like succumbing to the pressure of all this enrichment classes for my kids. At the moment, Ryan goes to ZERO extra classes..(except taekwando)...and I feel guilty. Esp when after speaking to a parent ..and she tells me she sends her kid to this class and that class.
But some days...i feel exACtly with what u said. Alot of these classes are playing on parents weaknesses and making money out of it.

Anonymous said...

unfortunately many parents are unwilling to spend time with their children on reading and other hands-on activities - they would rather pay for their kids to be occupied with enrichment classes.

BabyBooned said...

well said! needless to say, i feel the same way ;) my son is super-playful and hyperactive, he gets labelled and criticized all the time by teachers and family and friends! he doesnt sit still for more than 15 minutes and while it's tempting for me to pass the baton over to various teachers and extra classes to lift him up in his studies, i've decided to teach him myself, through daily activities that we do together. we read fun, informative books.. we watch fun, informative stuff online and on tv.. i keep him occupied everyday with different physical activities (the park, swimming, jogging, hiking, digging, gardening, crafts, cooking, cleaning, etc!!) ... it is so exhausting sometimes but i dont wana succumb to society's expectations of what he should be and how he should study. in the end all that i hope for is that my kids will be able to live good, fulfilling life and be independent and take care of themselves. lets just pray we're doing the best we can for our kids! hehehe..