Sunday, March 6, 2011

Is my child advanced?

Or is my child's learning delayed? If you are a parent, you know you have asked either of these questions once if not a million times.

I do not have a child-development or anything 'child' related degree so I really am not an expert on the subject, but with my third and youngest child entering kindergarten this past fall, the 'development schedule' has been on my brain often, and my ears (really, it is my eyes) perk up when I see that someone is 'talking' about the subject of whatever it is that we group all things developmentally related.

Ian, our youngest, has been developmentally much different from Audrey (12) and Isaac (8). Ian didn't really start to formulate 3 word sentences until he was three years old. He has never much cared for structured learning of his colors, letters or numbers.

Did that make me worry? Of course. Especially since Audrey and Isaac were talking in complete and complicated sentences at about 18 months. With Audrey and Isaac, we have never been concerned about grades or their ability to learn according to the state's schedule. However, because both of them are incredibly social, we have been more concerned about them abiding by the rules of conduct within the school system.

Ian is our timid, social introvert. He likely has not spoken more than 1000 words all of this school year in the classroom. Which means, if he is learning - and he is because we can see it at home - it is difficult to measure it by the state's standards.

I worry about his reading... but then I read studies that seem to refute the merits of early reading. Why is it that we always think earlier is better?

I worry about Ian not being even close to tying his shoes... but then, I meet a 7th grader who also doesn't know how to tie his shoes, yet he was the most helpful, willing, selfless, well-spoken middle schooler that I have met in a long time. I don't know about you, but I find those qualities more important than the skill of artfully tying a string to hold your shoes on your feet. And, I thought it was pretty awesome that his Mother didn't make up 100 different excuses as to why he couldn't tie his shoes. (Someday, he will have to learn to tie his shoes, me thinks. And, he will.)

In any case, what prompted me to even write about this is was this article by Blossom. Yes, the Blossom. She apparently knows what she is talking about with all of those letters behind her name.

Let me say this before you make the jump to read Blossom's post... with most things in life, as parents, most of the time, we want our children to meet a certain standard (this is different than succeeding) so that WE, the parents, look a certain way to our peers, the other parents, and the educators around us. We believe that our children are a reflection of us.

They are... but they aren't. And, it is important as parents to realize when it is important and when it is not.

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