Today’s blog is meant to be much more light-hearted than the Sink or Swim blogs of last week. But, behind the pomp and circumstance of what you are going to read, there is a serious message on how to improve a child’s ability to read, write, or perform math problems. There’s not a better time than now to get started. Let’s begin!!!
My youngest child who is 4 years old recently tore the cover off of a book. Obviously, if there are any librarians reading this, you may want to hide your children. Seriously though, the tearing of a book is a big celebration in the Thomas household and after reading this, you may seek to have your children tear a book as well.
People who have been reading my blog for a while know that I take education very seriously. One of the ways I educate is through various activity books. We have a quirky celebration though. When we finish the activities of a book to my satisfaction, the front cover is torn off and placed on a cork board for all to see. My youngest child just finished his first book. Not only was the cover torn; but there was an ice cream celebration as well. Now that the celebration is over, my boy has been clamoring to work on more things. (Guess he and I have a similar sweet tooth) I recognize though there’s much more to life than educational materials so I limit his work to about 15-20 minutes a day. The book he finished was a simple alphabet book where he had to learn how to write upper and lower case letters.
I recently read a book by Malcolm Gladwell called Outliers which I highly recommend. One of his chapters deals with education. His claim is there are glaring reasons why our educational system falls short of other countries. One has to do with economics. In essence, lower class families can’t expose their children to the same experiences as middle class families over the summer. Perhaps I’ll tackle that issue in the future but another claim was that certain other countries have longer school years. In essence, they get to practice the skills being taught longer than Americans.
Obviously, if one person practices more than another in any discipline, it stands to reason that over time, the additional practice will pay off. According to Outliers, “Americans typically go to school on average 180 days. The South Korean school year is 220 days long. The Japanese school year is 243 days long.”
From what I saw as a teacher, most parents don’t do anything academically with their kids over the summer. Therefore, anything I do in a one on one atmosphere with my child should help him in the long run. While 15-20 minutes may not sound like a lot of time; multiplied out over the course of the summer, it makes a big difference!
For those of you interested, the materials I use can be found at most bookstores and office supply stores. Any small amount of additional work you do can only help your child going into their next school year. I wish you all the best and hope one day you will email me to brag how your child ripped the cover off their first book!
This Friday, I’d like to write a blog based on one of your parenting questions on any issue you choose. On a former blog, I used to do this every Friday and it would consistently be the most read blog of the week. No question is too silly and I don’t use identifying information. I look forward to reading your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a terrific week!!!