Wednesday, January 30, 2008
In their own time...
None of our kids have gone to preschool. Not that I don't believe it can have it's benefits... it was just a personal preference. I didn't have any worries about socialization in our house, and I wasn't in a hurry for academics. In a way, maybe it's some sort of selfishness on my part. They are going to spend so many years in school, I like having them home with me for those first five years.
So when Margaret started Kindergarten, we soon received a note home from her teacher addressing some concerns. Margaret was 'the only child in the class who hadn't attended preschool' and Margaret 'didn't know all her letters'. Both Fitz and I being teachers, we laughed at the note, and tossed it (bad, bad parents!) We have a house loaded with books, and we read to the kids plenty. We weren't worried about Margaret, we knew she would read when she was ready.
About a month after this note, I was in my room folding laundry and Margaret was sitting on the floor in there with me. She picked up a book that was on the floor and started reading it out loud. The book was The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton. I listened to her for a minute, and said "Margaret, that's a really hard book!" She said (with all the sarcasm a 5 year old can muster) "Uh Yeah..." I said "Do you understand it?" and without hesitating, she replied "This guy's really confused about God." Which is a fairly accurate summary of the book.
Nowadays, we are so quick to lump kids together, to streamline education and get everyone at the same level... simply because they are the same age. It can make things more efficient, but it can also hold some kids back, while crushing the confidence of others who might not be there yet. Aside from this incident with a new young teacher, we have been very lucky with all our kids. We love our school system, and have had some amazing teachers over the years, who have encouraged our children at whatever level they may be.
And all this brings us to a ten year old girl, curled up in a rocker, totally absorbed in Fahrenheit 451.