Monday, September 12, 2011
Pushing too Hard?
Last spring, I read the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. Based on what I had read about the book, I expected to be appalled by the mother's actions and the way that she pushing her children. However, as I read the book, I realized that I can connect with her. One of the main reasons that we have chosen to homeschool is to ensure that Abigail receives the best possible preschool education. We want her to constantly be challenged with activities that are at her learning level. We don't want her educational lessons to be based upon her age, but instead be based on her abilities. The desire to challenge her often means that we push Abigail to learn things that are hard and that other children don't learn until kindergarten or first grade. We expect her to work hard every day and don't tolerate laziness or silliness during preschool. It means that I drill her on her letters and on counting and that I include "learning activities" in almost every aspect of our day. It means that sometimes she misses out on playtime because we are doing her "preschool work". It also means that when she fails at something that I think she should be able to do, I get frustrated with myself and sometimes with her. While I fully believe that the world is a child's classroom, I also believe that structured learning activities and frequent challenging "assignments" are very important in helping a child reach her potential. So far, Abigail has not seemed to mind her "work" and often gets up in the morning asking to "do school". However, part of me wonders if that will soon change. Will she one day resent me for making her "miss out on childhood" or will she thank me for teaching her and helping her to become a smart, hard-working woman?