My 5 year old son did not go back to school after the christmas break. His father and I decided that it was not in his best interests to send him back there. Our son, William is being educated at home.
Education means different things to different people. Politicians, employers, teachers and parents will differ in their views of what a good education is. In my opinion, a good education for a 5 year old boy is a well-rounded one, taught by a teacher who will give that child a positive introduction to formal learning. For a young child, learning should be fun, exciting and inspiring.
William started school as a bright, bubbly, talkative, inquisitive, well-mannered, kind and thoughtful, happy child. He enjoyed his first year, the reception class. But his enthusiasm for school and learning gradually diminished during the beginning of his second year.
When the class were put into reading groups to match their abilities, William quickly realised that he was not as clever at reading as his best friend. Although william is a very articulate, well-spoken natural communicator, who loves listening to and sharing stories, he hasn’t wanted to learn to read yet. I haven’t pushed him to read or been overly worried about his not wanting to learn. He is only 5! It is not that he doesn’t like books. I read to him every day, and he loves it.
His teacher spoke to me at the end of the school day once, and explained that William had struggled to read as part of the group that day. He struggled because he had forgotten many of the simple, two letter words. His teacher went on to say that William had required her whole attention, one-to-one teaching, for 15 minutes, and that this was not good. Not good! When did it become not good for a teacher to spend quality teaching time with one child at a time? My son was sent home with an extra book to read that day. TWO boring Biff, Chip and Kipper books to read that night!!
William did not attend a bad school, his teachers were not bad teachers, William was not a bad pupil. But, the current education system is a bad system.
William, a bright and inquisitive child who once had a desire to learn, found himself placed in a group at the bottom of the class, simply because he hadn’t mastered how to read and write. Had the class been divided into groups based on eagerness to learn, behaviour, communication and speaking ability, mental calculations and creativity, I have no doubt that William would have been placed in a higher ranking group, one more matched to his overall capabilities. I am not saying the my son is academically special or brighter than the average child. I am just unhappy with the way that young children are assessed in schools.
It has been well researched, and is widely acknowledged amongst education experts that children’s brains, particularly those of boys, are not ready to learn to read or write untill they are 7 or 8 years old. So doesn’t it make sense to stream or group children according to other abilities. Or not at all?
This process of grouping children according to reading ability lowered my son’s self-esteem and confidence to such a point that he unduly worried about not being good enough. He gradually became anxious about school, and really did not want to be there.
And, mainly for this reason, I really did not want to continue sending him there. So, William is learning at home. The three of us are just at the beginning of our learning journey. We have all embraced this wonderful opportunity to explore and navigate our way through education. The path that we have chosen to take, is one that does learning through doing, through observing, and through talking about our observations. During our learning journey we might not always follow the map entirely accurately, we may even discover new and unexpected tracks from time to time, or find ourselves completely lost on occasion. But, we will enjoy our journey.
Now, every day is an odd sock day!
- Creativity In The Classroom (teachingupstairs.wordpress.com)
- See How the Nation’s Leading Educators are Implementing the Common Core Standards (prweb.com)
- Homeschooled former egg farmer elected to represent ‘all options’ on Ohio board of ed (educationviews.org)