I am often perplexed and confused with the idea that kids have to learn specific things. I, also, often wonder who came up with the topics to be taught to children at specific ages. It seems that these things have changed over time and sometimes change from school to school. So what do children really NEED to learn?
Before deciding to be a homeschooling family, I assumed there were some valid reasons for teaching kids topics and skills at certain ages. But the longer we homeschool, and now ultimately unschool, I question whether it is all just a best guess or a mere race to the top of downloading as much information as possible in the limited amount of time kids are in school. And yes, it seems they are in school forever and for longer and longer hours all the time. But, if what teachers tell me is true, up to 90% of the time spent in school is mere crowd control in elementary grades and not much better as children get older. That would mean that in a 6 hour day of attendance in school only 35-40 minutes of that is quality instruction or teaching. So indeed, it is a limited amount of time.
Kids are instructed, or taught, reading and math earlier and earlier. This despite their incapabilities to neurologically read across a page, without stress, or understand and I mean really understand, not just memorize, abstract concepts. And this push to teach the basics takes away the time for kids to learn experientially and freely. To learn without pressure or stress. To enjoy the process.
So why is the push to get kids into school earlier and earlier? Is is doing more harm than good? I think so and I think it is time to push back, to defend childhood.
Do you think I am off base?