I recently wrote an article about being freaked out about the expectations for my daughter, at four years old. She has not even been four for a month, and I have been told that she is far behind her same aged peers. She should be able to work out patterns, count to ten, and be able to write her name. Also, she should be able to read simple words. All of this, I was told, she will be expected to know by the time she enters kindergarten, and really, preschool expects she already know how to do it when she comes in.
Talk about shell shocked. As a parent, we try to do everything for our kids. We want to make sure they have every advantage that we can give them, and like any well-intentioned mother, I thought I had been doing that. She knows her colors. That’s good, right? She can count to six. I know it’s not perfect, but… good enough? Apparently not.
The good news is that with a December birthday like she has, we have more than two years before she will be entering school. I can do a lot with that time. While the woman who gave me this happy news seemed doubtful that my child would be able to qualify for a good school with her being behind currently, I am not going to buy into that. We have two years! She can learn so much in that time, and will without my teaching her anything, which I have already started. We are working together twice a day for twenty minutes each and I intend to do that five days a week until school starts.
I know my daughter is smart, I have seen that many times. While it hurts when other people don’t see it, it doesn’t change my opinion of her. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I think we are pushing kids too hard, and rushing them to grow up. A friend of mine has an eight year old daughter in the magnet program. She told me that all her daughter does is homework. Even on the weekends, it is rare that she gets to play with her sisters. I, for one, think this is a terrible trend! Now, there’s nothing wrong with a little homework, but for goodness sake when do kids get to be kids?