Preparing For School

My idea of preparing the kids for school is talking to them about it (almost incessantly, now) and telling them how much fun they’re going to have and how many new friends they’re going to make (or find). And, of course, getting them clothes, shoes, and so on.

Apparently there’s other stuff I should be doing with them that I haven’t been doing. This was brought home to me recently, in conversation with another mother who has a three-year-old daughter, who will also soon be starting school. “I realized that I have to start getting her ready for school,” this woman said, “so I went and bought the ABC book and I’m trying to get her to learn that.”

I didn’t say anything to her, but I thought to myself, “Oh my goodness! Lady, you and I can never be friends.”

I mean… Getting your almost three-year-old to mug up on numbers and ABC before school!?

The kids already know their ABCs and 123s, and they even know part of their A-for-apples. But. They get it all wrong! They routinely leave out QRSTUV from the alphabet, they jumble up their numbers, and often go, “…5, 6, 7, 8, ten o’clock…” And as for A-for-apple, they usually go “B-for-ball” and then use B-for for everything all the way from pussycat (which should be C-for cat, not C-for-pussycat) to zebra.

And so what? They’re kids, they should get things a little jumbled up. It’s what makes them so adorable. After all, how many people do you know who will solemnly say, “Baba is sleeping, don’t disburt him, ok!”

They have the rest of their lives to get it right, must we start pressurizing them from now?

And besides, if we have to teach them everything at home, what are schools for?

Oh, I forgot. The twins are going to be attending a Montessori school: schools are for playing with toys. I wonder what this other mom would think of that idea.

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21 Responses to Preparing For School

  1. Supriya says:

    :-)don’t forget the onetwothlee of the 17 month old sibling of the said girl. πŸ™‚ Such a family of super achievers.

  2. doug H says:

    I’m with you.

    Reminds me of a true story of a couple of researchers who decided to use their son as an experiment to create a genius. They started exposing him to letters while he was still in the cradle.Hung them over his crib.Had him reading fluently in 5 languages by the time he was four, etc.
    He grew up to be the worlds smartest janitor.

    They’d forgotten that there’s more to life than learning stuff. They’d taken away his childhood and left out the love.
    Here kids don’t start school until kindergarten, at the age of 5. Mostly they play games and learn how to interact,in a rudimentary way, with other children.Then comes 1st grade and the playing stops.Sitting still in a chair all day felt like being in prison. I like your system better. Three is an age of learning, of course, but 3 year olds learn more through playing than being force-fed information.They have a million questions of their own, which need to be answered. The questions come spontaneously. They come when playing, when exploring the world in which they find themselves. They need guidance, but they also need their creative sides to be nurtured; their questioning to be encouraged.They need to know that they’re loved, unconditionally.
    They don’t need to be coldly programmed like little future-achievement robots.

    I could never grasp why all schools weren’t set up like Montessori. I think they present children with the best model for spontaneous, natural childhood development.

    And I think it’s great that you’re not forcing things on them, at that tender age, which would only rob them of some of the most valuable lessons of childhood.

    They can catch up on the alphabet later.

  3. 101dreams says:

    This post just made me smile πŸ™‚

  4. Prakash says:

    Sure, but when will they disprove theory of relativity if they do not start early πŸ™‚

  5. Prakash says:

    Hot off the press (yesterday) – this runs in the family

  6. sudarshan says:

    I chanced upon your blog and found it very informative. The event blogs are striking enough to have a feel of the event, so, I would like to have a little chit-chat on your blogging interests. And even we are coming up with an event on startups on June 6th in Bangalore. So, can I have your contact details? Looking forward to hear from you.

  7. doug H says:

    Prakash has a good point. If you want them to come up with a Unified Field Theory, you may want to begin gently introducing them to the basic’s of quantum physics before too long.

    (That Nobel prize brings with it a bucket of pocket change, I’m told.)

    Chuckle. But seriously, did you know that Alf Nobel, (in who’s name and with who’s endowment the annual Nobel peace prize is given out) was the inventor of dynamite?)

  8. Siri says:

    I dont know why, but I’m getting all excited about the twins going to school. They will love it and will hopefully get totally tired out…Good luck!! πŸ™‚

  9. poupee97 says:

    Prakash/Doug: If they have genius in them, it will out, sooner or later. Besides, I don’t mind if they just become the world’s greatest violinist/tennis player/singer/mountaineer/photographer or whatever instead πŸ˜€ Or even if they don’t become the world’s greatest anything, for that matter…

  10. poupee97 says:

    Sudarshan: what events?

  11. doug H says:

    Mika, that was sort of my point. The best way to “raise” children (imo) is simply to encourage them when they do something well and try to keep the criticisms to a negative. They’ll be what they’re meant to be, and you’ll love them for whatever that turns out to be.

    Children are like young flowers. You watch them budding, but you can’t tell what the mature flower is going to look like. I was agreeing with you that the lady who was trying to fit her children into a box of her own design (by teaching them the alphabet at age 3, which will only put them into a state of boredom when the rest of the children are learning THEIR alphabets) is the wrong way to go. πŸ˜€

  12. doug H says:

    ps- I was just being sarcastic about them discovering a Unified Field Theory, a problem that Einstein spent the last years of his life trying to discover with no success.

  13. doug H says:

    (Unlike the lady pushing the alphabet on her 3 year old, who will probably be DISAPPOINTED in her child if he doesn’t grow up to solve the problem.)

  14. andaleebwajid says:

    Oye!!! School starts on the 3rd right? πŸ™‚

    I couldn’t agree with you more on this. And I haven’t even taught Azhaan ABC…or A for Apple or anything. I wonder if I’m really going off to another extreme! He can identify objects and everything but I am leaving the teaching for school to do. Let them do it their way!

  15. andaleebwajid says:

    And Siri (Sorry Anamika for posting this here!) Where have you been? Can’t access your blog at all!

  16. poupee97 says:

    Doug: Don’t worry, I understood your first comment. πŸ™‚ But, hey, there’s every possibility they will find that Unified Field Theory… Einstein who? πŸ˜€

    As for that woman, I believe she was an early bloomer, so has similar aspirations for her kids. There’s no evidence of her “bloom” left, if you ask me, sadly for her. (Now I’m being my catty best!)

  17. poupee97 says:

    Andy: We were told that the entry level kids join in a week later, so that the other classes have all settled down by then. Makes sense. Saboor probably starts on 3rd, right?

  18. mrwhatzit says:

    Hey, one thing I find curious. You’re children are just returning to school, while here they’re preparing for a 3 month Summer vacation…
    In the US, the 3 hottest months of the year are June, July, and August; the tradition of giving them (and their teachers) a 3 month break came from the days before the invention of air conditioning. It was felt that it would be just too hot to learn anything. And now it seems to simply have become entrenched as a custom. But I’m wondering if they have the same system in India. Three months off during the hottest days of the year? If that were the case, then March, April, and May would be the hottest months of the year over there. (Or, “here” if you happen to be “there.”) Is that the case? Or do you maybe have school year-round, with maybe just a slight break around the end of May? Or several week or two breaks spread out every 4 months or so? Maybe it’s equally hot year round if you live in Southern India, so that might make sense. Are the schools air conditioned? As far as I’m aware, ours still aren’t.
    Ok, sorry, too many questions. Let me try to keep it simple: do your children get a 12 week “Summer Vacation?” or not? (ps-Vacation is American for the British/Indian word “Holiday.” I think. The word “holiday” in America has a slightly different connotation, usually referring to a national day off; whereas “vacation” usually refers to a particular family taking paid time off from work, often to travel somewhere.)
    Where was I? I didn’t get enough sleep which explains my delerium. Time to prepare for work. It’s 5:30 AM here now, which, with daylight savings time having kicked in means that its probably 5PM at your house, Mika. Or 4PM, I’m not quite straight on that, but pretty sure it’s one or the other.
    Did I ask a question earlier? Was it about how to get out of going to work because I need to get more sleep?
    If not, it should have been. Good Night πŸ™‚ ….

  19. poupee97 says:

    Hey, Doug: slow down. Grab a mug and let me pour you some coffee. πŸ˜€

    Ok, about summer holidays (here “vacation” is mainly corporate lingo, and pertains to taking time off to go somewhere, not used in connection with school holidays): We have a two-month break, which up North mainly covers May and June. Down South, it’s April and May. These do correspond to the hottest months. Plus, we have several other, shorter breaks: Christmas and New Year (winter break); October (Dusshera break); March (end of school year, when kids finish writing their exams and wait to be promoted to the next class).

    No, schools are not air-conditioned. That is, I believe one or two exceptional (and elitist) schools are, but on they whole they are not.

    4 p.m., going by the time stamp on your comment. πŸ˜€

    Does that answer all – or at least most – of your questions? Hope that coffee helped you to wake up. πŸ™‚

  20. doug H says:

    Thanks for the info., Mika. ( I had to give up drinking coffee a few years ago – something about my blood pressure or something – which is ironic cuz I deliver it for a living, and the result is that if I don’t get enough sleep I simply NEVER wake up!)
    Thanks for the offer though:D
    Ok, so you’re 10&1/2 hours ahead of Chicago time. Until we move the clocks back an hour in November, at which time we’ll be 11& 1/2 hours behind you. (That is, if I’m remembering which way we turn the clocks and when.)Let’s see, how does that reminder go about which way to turn the clocks? Is it “Spring forward, Fall back,” or “Spring back, Fall forward?”

    My delirium continues in either case. Thanks again for the clarifications:D

  21. poupee97 says:

    What? No coffee? No wonder you’re like that (see your previous comment, if you’re wondering what I mean). πŸ˜€ Well, you have my sympathy. How about tea, then? (A vastly inferior beverage in my opinion, but I suppose there are those who differ.)

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