When To Start Teaching Your Child: Hint- Right Now

November 10th, 2008 | By

I remember when I was a child. We would come home from school, change our “good” clothes, and head to the kitchen table to do homework. If you didn’t have homework, then my mother would make some for you. Often making me take timed math test or mock spelling test. And if it was sloppy, the whole paper was ripped and I had to start over.

I hated it, then. When I got into middle school, I began to understand why homework was so important to my mother. I was ahead in all my classes because my mother taught me in advance. When we were studying division, she was teaching me fractions. When we went to the zoo, she made us classify animals. While we were cooking, she made us measure and double the recipe. I began to appreciate her efforts.

I do the same for my daughter. While we are playing hide n go seek, I use different methods of helping her find me; making a sound, leaving a foot exposed, or hide in the dark and make her feel around. Then I ask her which one of her senses she used to find me. We have a relay race where each point is marked with the name of a planet. I ask her to tell me colors in Spanish.

I’m sharing this info because I got criticized for it. I was told, a child is a child and I shouldn’t try to push her into learning. I should wait until she is in school. This is her fun time. To that I say, get real.

I will always be my daughters’ main teacher. Not because I think I’m better than a real teacher. It’s because she is my daughter. It is my responsibility to make sure she gets off on a good start. And I take it very seriously.

During the election, I was constantly watching the news. My daughter hates the news, but she would occasionally watch with me, asking question along the way. Alot of things I just don’t know how to explain to her, but I gave her the just of how our political system works. One person, one vote, and the majority wins. Now we practice this when deciding our plans for the day.

We vote on which playground to go to. We vote on what vegetable to have for dinner. We vote on which area of the house we should start cleaning first. When we first started, my daughter was pissed. She didn’t like having to vote on everything. Then she got the picture when she never got what she wanted. So now, she comes to me in advance and tries to win my vote. I cleaned my room without you asking, will you vote to go to Chuck E. Cheese? I do.

And everyday, I try to create a new learning experience for her. Today, we are going on a nature walk. We are going to try to figure out why all the leaves are falling from the trees and why they change color. She also wants to know why their are so many holes in the leaves she finds.

This requires work on my part. I hate science. By far it was my worst subject in school. But I did my research so I should be able to answer any question she comes up with. If not, then we come back to the house and google it. She knows all the answers are online.

The Point

We all know the status of most public school systems; they are highly ineffective. We have to be the major force behind educating our children. We can’t wait til our children are failing then go to the school and complain. Waiting doesn’t benefit our children. They will remain behind while we are pushing for change. Then if change ever comes, they have to play catch up.

Eventually if they have dreams of going to college, they will be hit with the shock of their lives. They will realize they are not prepared for it. Yes, it may be a reflection of the school system but it is also a reflection on you.

I wrote a paper in high school about the “Scarlet Letter”. I hadn’t even read the book. I just listened in on the talk during class. I got an A on the paper. My mother sent the paper to my uncle, who read it and graded it a D, at best. My mother made me read the book and rewrite the paper. I didn’t get any credit for it at school but I understood why my first paper was no good.

So anytime I wrote a paper, I asked the teacher for her real opinion. That’s when you find the greatness of a real teacher. Give them a student that wants to learn. Give them a student that questions an A. Give them a student that doesn’t understand why they have to be graded on a curve. Then you get teachers that expect more of her students. And that’s what we need.

The want and need for education has to start in the home. Then the students can bring it to school. Then the teachers can do their jobs and not be over glorified baby sitters. Then we can get real change in our school systems because students will start to point out unqualified teachers.

So today, look ahead in your child’s school book. Read the novel your child is reading. Grade their paper before they turn it in. Make them rewrite if necessary. Yes, they will complain. Yes, they will be mad. When they get in high school, they will thank you. They will realize how you set them up for success and find it hard to let you down. Begin to teach your child right now.

Funny story……When I was in high school, there was a math teacher that hated me. I often corrected her and she didn’t like it. I missed her class on test day and another student set the curve. I had to take a make up test and scored a 98. She was pissed because she had to go and adjust the curve for everyone. Most of the students were pissed because instead of their B they got D’s. At the end of the year, the teacher had to give me a certificate for excellence, which she threw at me. It was the best reward I ever got.

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