In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.















Monday, October 26, 2009

Times have changed

Now that little man is 4 years old, we have started attending a kindergarten readiness class through early childhood education with him and he has started going to a pre-K class all by himself one day a week. Which will turn into 2 days a week after Christmas. He absolutely loves it. I am not sure if he likes school or riding the bus more.

It’s been a long time since I went to any kind of classes like this since my youngest is 20 and now in college. None of my children went to preschool because I didn’t really see the necessity of it since I did daycare and ran it like a preschool already. I did attend a kindergarten readiness class through early childhood classes with each of them, which we did enjoy but honestly that was more so I could actually get out of my house and talk to other adults, once a week. I made a lot of friends through this avenue and quite honestly they saved my sanity. Plus It was a place to learn parenting skills.

We started the parent child class in September. Honestly, I was a little worried because it’s been a long time since I’ve been around other parents and knew there would be a big age difference. Plus, little man had shown NO interest whatsoever in anything to do with school. We had tried to make him write his name, cut, paste…ect…the only thing he ever showed interest in and would attempt to do was painting. He refused to try any of it. I didn’t make an issue of it.

I wasn’t too worried because I had experienced this with one of my sons and various daycare children. I knew eventually he would do these things. My son did eventually learn how to write his name just fine and graduated from high school and is in his 2nd year of college.

When my kids attended this kindergarten readiness class they did things to get ready for kindergarten. like sharing, playing, music, walking in a line, some basic art things, following instructions, learning how to separate from parents…ect. All pretty basic.

Times have changed. I feel so out of it. First of all, I am like 20 years older then most of these parents. Second of all, what they expect these kids to know has definitely changed. They have to know so much more now. Just to go to kindergarten! How did I not know this? It feels like I am from the stone age or something. Thirdly, are a lot of children undisciplined and out of control or is it just me? Do parents no longer expect their children to listen, respect and have manners?

Thankfully, little man has now taken an interest in learning these things and we are working on these skills at home now. Slow but sure he is learning. Who would have known that I would be working on how to correctly hold a scissors or a pencil again? Who would have known that I would be teaching my husband how to help him with this? Such fun times. I’m not sure who frustrates me more at this point.

I’m not too concerned or panicked about this because I do believe he will eventually be able to do these things. Since this is all new for my husband, he is a little more concerned. Okay, a lot more concerned. My husbands daughter moved far away when she was very young so he never got a chance to do these things with her. He doesn’t understand the patience and practice it takes for most kids to do these skills. He also doesn’t understand that while some kids will have interest in these things, some will not.This is a whole new learning experience for him. Since I have been sick over the past few weeks, he has been attending the classes with little man. Which I think is a good thing.The first few times he came home from class he was pretty worked up about it all but I think he’s starting to calm down a bit.

My husband and I have been talking about how times have changed from when we were kids to when my now grown kids were young to the present.

My focus in raising young children has been disciplining and teaching manners, things of character development, morals, to be kind and giving, basic communication skills, reading to them and giving them a love of books and  importantly the importance of playing, using their imagination and being a kid.

I am worry about the lost art of the imagination and the ability to play without parents, a tv, computer or video game or some other device entertaining them. I’m not against these things but I worry about how much these things have replaced actually playing…with an imagination and actually interacting with other children in play.

I worry a little about pushing children before they are ready. I worry about letting children be children and all that they learn from playing. I worry that in our urgency to teach children so that they will be more advanced, we have left out some important valuable components.  I worry that in trying to teach children all these skills some of the important things, like listening and respecting have been left to the way side…and in the end hurts them more than helps them.

I also wonder about the seemingly lost value of discipline and teaching sharing, caring, listening, and respect…that is suppose to be taught by us parents. How even though most of these kids in little mans class could write their names, and cut with a scissors but could not sit down in a circle for 5 minutes and listen to the teacher. How disrespectful many of them are to not just the teachers but to their parents.  How many don’t know how to play or to share. How is it that their parents seen the importance of teaching them writing and cutting skills but not the importance of disciplining them? Or is it something they expect the teachers to teach them?

I know there is an importance to  learning how to write and to read. I know that knowing the colors and shapes and how to count and say the abc’s is of value too. I really do. I have no problem teaching those things to my little people. It’s just that I wonder where this is suppose to take us?

Does learning these things earlier mean the children of today will know more when they graduate? Does this mean that they will go from point A to point B much more advanced then those in the past?   What about the absence of discipline and moral teaching? Or the absence of knowing how to play without a computer, video game or some special device? Will the absence of these things affect them on their journey from point A to point B? And what affect will this have on our world?

 

21 comments:

Jan said...

My sons are far more "nerdy" than my daughter and became much more attached to electronic forms of entertainment at a much earlier age. They spent plenty of time playing outside as children, though, and pursuing other avenues of play and imagination (there is no longer a glass globe surrounding the light fixture in The Young One's bedroom; it was shattered by a plastic sword during a particularly enthusiastic moment as a knight quite some time ago). Like you, I don't object to the computers and video games - television has never been much of a problem because we simply have never really watched that much o fit - as long as computers and video games are kept in their place: they are NOT a freaking babysitter, and are certainly not a parental substitute.

I'm also one of the "older parents" - most of The Young One's friends are oldest children and their parents are 10 to 15 years younger than me - and it makes me wonder, too, what has happened to manners and discipline. There is NO WAY my kids would get away with some of the behavior I see displayed by other kids...and my kids KNOW it, too.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I think it is a shame the push towards early literacy. Personally, I think it makes kids not like school. Kindergarten is supposed to be fun.

Then when I get them at grade 10, a huge majority of them say the y hate reading...

The discipline thing? Totally agree. Lots of spoiled, unmannered kids.

Buckeroomama said...

I love this post. You've just verbalized my own concerns, although I am guilty of "joining the race." Living where I do, where toddlers barely 2 years old have to attend interviews to get into kindergarten, where 2-year olds are already attending classes 5 days a week/3 hours per day --unaccompanied, where parents have to prepare "portfolios" for their children as an almost requirement (though they say it's optional) for school application, where new moms get asked whether they have signed up their 3-month old baby for a school, where conversations between moms center around what extra-curricular activities your children are signed up for and how many, etc., I have succumbed. I do hope, though, that I am somehow providing some sort of balance to the madness that is the "race" we have here.

Brian Miller said...

poignant post...loosing imagination is scary...we try to encourage it as muchas possible with our boys...we help in the art class and try to create time at home to do the same...morals and values, i think we cant let the school teach those...it will have to come from home. we have run into some pretty bizarre things with our oldest now in 1st grade. having someone at home to talk them through it is priceless...

LPC said...

You are so right in my opinion. My kids went to the same hippie grammar school that I did. Meaning, literally, pottery was as important as history. They didn't have to be reading until they were 7, although very very basic stuff began in 1st grade. They had no problem whatsoever at their college prep high school, and managed just fine at their Ivy League university. And, and, they were less anxious than many of their peers who had been driven and driven and driven. Don't get me wrong, they are not perfect, I'm hardly a perfect parent. But I thoroughly second your approach.

Bogey said...

Lori, you sure do worry a lot for a parent of 5 young adults who grew up to be rather exceptional human beings...don't you think? Environment plays a key role in the nurturing and upbringing of children. Considering your past life experiences, do you not think that you are better equipped than most of the parents you met at Little Man's school? I do. In fact, I believe you could teach them a thing or three. Some parents have this notion that it is up to the school system to raise their children. I don't think so. The basics begin at home and I think you have created a marvelous template that any parent would be proud of. Not only that, but think of the input from the Aunts and Uncles surrounding Little Man. I do agree however, that todays parent has quite a struggle with disciplining their own children. Things, it seems, have gone to the extreme from when I was a kid. We knew who controlled the roost and minded ourselves accordingly. Today, the shoe is on the other foot. If a parent openly disciplines their child/children in public, they have the eyes of the world on them and they are terrified to do anything for fear of having Child Welfare hounding them. And so, what is a parent to do? They are handcuffed. Patience, tolerance,guidance, love and a lot of understaning would be necessary in todays world. Good luck Lori, but I know you have all that you need at your fingertips.

Bina said...

First of all, I think discipline has been left by the wayside by MANY parents. It amazes when I see how some children act and how rude they can be!! And no matters, at all. It's really kinda sad cause I always picture these kids as trouble makers when they get older. Why wouldn't they be? Heck, they get away with everything NOW, so why not think they can later?

We got sent home notices at the beginning of the school year that TN has a new curriculum and more is expected out of children in every grade. It will be harder and faster till the kids catch up with ... something, I can't remember. And math is going to be pushed, BIG TIME!!! My daughter seems to be doing just fine, and honestly, the more she has to do the less time she has to talk and get in to trouble. She just can't sit still and be quiet for very long. BUT, she has the BEST imagination! I've even had friend comment on how well she plays alone and how creative she is. I've tried to raise all four of my kids in a way that MAKES them learn how to entertain themselves and not rely on me to constantly entertain them, and I can see a BIG difference in my husbands kids and mine. His are quiet, don't really DO anything, and his 13 year old daughter has to be in the room with him at all times. They never played outside, rode bikes, learned how to climb trees, make anything. It's really very sad.

Dang, I guess I could go on and on! LOL

Bina said...

By the way, my youngest is 6 and I'm 45, so I know about being the oldest parent, but I never let it bother me. I'm rather proud of the fact that I have a 23 & 21 yeard old, AND a six year old! LOL

Busy Bee Suz said...

It sounds like you raised (and are raising again) your kids much like I did. I always stressed the importance of manners and respect, but also using our imaginations during playtime.
I see a lot of out of control kids in the world...and even know a few of them. I honestly don't know what parents are thinking (or not thinking) when it comes to their kids...they need to be the first priority and no tv/computer can replace play time with your family.

Jeannie said...

I was home with my kids years ago - we didn't have to do anything to get them ready for school. However, teachers always commented on how much general knowledge my kids had over others. I never set out to teach them specifics - I just explained things to them when they asked or were confused. My kids were also more polite than many. It's tough for parents with kids in daycare to get certain concepts across. Daycare is essential but I'm not sure they instill good values - just basic skills.

SciFi Dad said...

While I agree with you that in general there is less emphasis on things like discipline and rules now than when I was a kid (I'm probably too old to be your son, but I'm not old enough to be your "peer" per se either), that doesn't mean that some parents aren't still teaching it.

Sometimes we (my wife and I) feel alone against the world that is our tiny corner of the universe; everyone else seems so lackadaisical about structure and respect and things that we consider basic cornerstones to building a decent human being.

All we (you and I) can do is make sure that we put well-mannered, polite, and compassionate people into the world and believe that they can do enough to make great change.

queenofphrump said...

Oh Lori, I feel your pain. Every part of this post concerns me. Somehow it all works out right?

Joanna Jenkins said...

I am worry about the lost art of the imagination too! And I wish MORE parents focused on manners- That's becoming a lost art too.

I agree with your approach to parenting!

xo

Buckeroomama said...

Lori, please do hop on over to my blog for a couple of bloggy awards. :)

Riahli said...

Wow I absolutly love this post. This is how I feel exactly. It's really frustrating, what the majority are focusing on with children now days. Disney recently got in trouble for "lying" to parents about the Baby Einstein videos. They are calling it the great Baby Einstein scam. Turns out that TV, no matter what's on it isn't good for children under two...took some people by suprise I guess. I was just watching my boys playing in the back yard yesterday and cooperating with each other, sharing and learning outdoors as they played, and it really warmed my heart. I try to keep my preschool program in my childcare very hands on and fun while teaching them the basics that I feel are important at that age like sharing and caring, listening and being respectful. Sounds to me like you have your focus in the right place, keep up the good work, your kids are lucky! :) Oh and I am one of the "younger" parents, and I am also shocked by how a lot of the parents my age let their kids act. My focus seems to differ from a lot of my peers though, so no suprise there!

Natalie said...

Hi Lori, i could have written every word of this. It gets me down too. I spoke to a consellor about it, and she said " That it would be harder for children with morals, but that the world needs them, for next generations to learn from." My kids are often the odd ones out, because other children around are somewhat feral and undisciplined. I have found that there are still pockets of lovely children out there, and just remind myself that 'like attracts like' and it will all work out in the long run. Hugs to you darling.xx♥

Deb McCann said...

Wow, you always were an amazing writer especially when you took up 2 pages in my high school year book.:)You said it in this post. I teach religous ed in Manannah and work at the middle school in Litch and we have to entertain now more than ever to keep their attention. They get bored so fast and really don't know how to use their imaginations or maybe they don't have them anymore. Remember how we use to play house for hours in the pasture and our house was just boards laid out on the ground to make pretend walls. Or the hours we spent in the woods by the river making up games and just having a ball. Life was so much simpler then. I don't know about you but I miss that.

Jason, as himself said...

Amen! Kids in K do things now that second graders did when we were kids. Seriously.

That being said, I think it all evens out in the end. As long as the kids have learned good social skills along the way.

Life with Kaishon said...

I think that you are wise in your hands on approach at home now that you know what will be expected!

In Pennsylvania we do not have kindergarten readiness class at all! Every child just begins school at age 5. You don't have to have attended any classes previously!

I loved Kindergarten. I hope your grandson will as well. We had a big boat that we could play on. And we had snack time and story time and so many adventures. Life was grand in kindergarten : )

Snappy Di said...

I see MANY children without manners or respect for adults. From a very young age they are allowed to disrespect, and when another adult tries to teach them how they should act many parents take a belligerent stance towards the adult that is trying to make a positive change in the child's actions. I know you will raise these children to be loving and thoughtful adults. Kudos to you!

Di

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I think your little guy will do just fine. He is learning from you the important skills in life - those that will carry him far beyond the school room.

My boys may not be the best students, but they can look you in the eye, shake your hand, and have a conversation. Also show up for work!

(My middle son didn't read or write until 3rd grade. Graduating from college next May.)