Oh yeah, he’s 4

My son has been doing a phenomenal job of initiating learning time, and depending on the day, he has a nice balance of math, writing, and reading. I’m trying to slowly prepare for the fall when we will start organized preschool at home. I need to figure out how to fit in sports, playdates, and learning time into his already full schedule of playing cars and trains, doing puzzles, and dancing to music.

After a few months of watching him flourish with math and learning to read with no expectations, I made my first mistake… I placed an expectation. He sensed the expectation from a mile away and immediately revolted. I made a chart of which subjects were most important, along with my goal for the fall for amount of time spent on each subject. I have been keeping documents of what I’ve been doing with him since he was 9 months old, but I’ve never made a goal with a timeframe!

Here is where we are right now:

One or two subjects per day of reading, writing, or math, lasting a total of about 45 minutes to an hour. I let him choose.

Here is a prototype of where I’d like to be by fall. I created an Excel sheet and froze the first three columns, so I can track actual time spent on each subject with the rest of the columns.

School excel

Our 25 minutes of school this morning mostly consisted of him throwing a tantrum and me holding him while he cried. So often he loves to learn and he pushes me to do school on days that I am completely disinterested. Some days, he sits and reads book after book to me while I clean. Other days, like today, I am reminded that he is only four. He is ahead on all subjects and when he does not want to have traditional learning time, maybe he just needs a day to be four.

Onward towards riding bikes and building Thomas tracks!


4 thoughts on “Oh yeah, he’s 4

  1. Okay. I have to jump in here. I was a gifted child. The most important stimulus to produce an educated adult is PLAY. Children need to play. Play teaches them every skill that they need for kindergarten. 30 minutes of Reading is what we did in 2nd grade, when we were 8 yo, not 4 yo. And 30 minutes of writing is far too much. Coloring with crayons develops the identical motor skills and cognitive skills WITHOUT crushing his natural desire to learn. Yes, he needs to know his letters, be able to say them (The Alphabet Song), be able to recognize them (blocks), and be able to write them – by the time he is 6 yo. Nothing is gained by pushing children, and much is lost. Playing is what grows the mind. Playing is natural. Playing is holy. May you be blessed in your efforts.

    • Thanks for your feedback!! 🙂 My son is not gifted. My son is average intelligence, average desire to learn. I wholeheartedly agree with you, play is most important for children, especially at age four. My son has an average of 14 hours of awake time per day. After eating and doing at the most, two hours of school, he has over 12 hours of play time. I took advantage of the sponge stage at 1.5 years and taught him to count to 100, and his alphabet in Greek, Hebrew, and English. So now, it’s time to move forward. I didn’t expect him to learn to read so quickly, but he started blending sounds the second time I taught him the lesson. I wasn’t going to teach him to write right now at all, but I got out of the shower last summer (age 3.5) and he had written his name. I had never even worked on letters. I am reading “The Well-Trained Mind,” which states that until first grade, you let the child initiate learning and you don’t force. It also states that by first grade, the child needs to be “reading and reading well.” So that’s my focus. As I stated, he initiates reading time and often reads to himself. I walk in a room and he has his learning books out (where he can sound out all the words) and is reading them to himself. He initiates math as well, as I had not planned on teaching him math quite yet. He makes his own equations for fun, and then answers them. Regarding the 15 min of writing, it usually takes him 15 min to write across one line. I am not pushing this area in the least. Motor skills will come when they come. Science is fun, it will all be experiments. The average child spends more time per day in front of the TV and with a screen in their hands than my son spends on school. My son does not play electronic games, we do not have TV, and he only watches movies maybe once a week when I’m desperate for a nap (I have an 8 month old who still wakes through the night). What I posted today was a prototype, as I do not know what preschool will look like for him. I am simply filling his mind with memorizable information, because his mind needs to memorize. Every child his age has memorized every cartoon character they are in contact with, so we know they are capable of memorizing educational material as well. One of my degrees is in human development, and I wholeheartedly believe we are undereducating our children. One of my teachers actually stated that public school teachers prefer that parents do not do any form of teaching children to read or count or they will be too far ahead of everyone once they get into school. I was astounded, and I do not plan on doing this. My child has a drive to learn. Until the age of 7 or so, children NEED to memorize…. So I am simply capitalizing on it and laying the groundwork for his later studies. I don’t push him, and I don’t do school everyday. I am using Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development theory to teach him; nothing is too hard for him. Thanks again, I love hearing people’s opinions! 🙂

  2. Wow. Education seems so complicated nowadays. To me, it does sound like your son is gifted. He makes his own equations! That’s so cool. I’m happy to learn that ‘Children need to memorize’. I have always felt that rote learning is underestimated. I look forward to reading more posts from you.

    • Thanks, but I think he’s doing what every other kid is capable of! I’m just glad he’s Type A like his dad and me because we have all these high expectations for our first kid! If he just didn’t care, there might be more of a problem!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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