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[personal profile] farnam
This isn't going to be a science post. The science exists, its out there. Developental psycology has been working away for the last 200 years, and none of it suggests in any way that any 2 year old benefits from being taught to read. Some of it sugests that it might actually be quite harmful.

But no, this post isn't about that. Its about the idiotic  classism of the middle class parents who choose to sing the lalala song in thier heads when anyone points out the above, because they WANT to teach thier toddlers to read, and TOTALLY IGNOR ALL THE SCIENCE AND EXPERTS
who say 'please don't do it'.
Because somehow they can show that they are more intelligent, that thier progeny are more intelligent, by doing something so totally dumb? Honestly, how does that work? I can prove how intelligent I am by ignoring all given knowledge?
Its the same with maths. ALL science shows that maths learning is developmental, closely tied to a childs age. So *all* 3 year olds (short of MAJOR developmental delays) can be taught to recit times tables. NO 3 year old can possibly understand multiplication. Pure and simple. Teach your three year old to recite multiplication tables and what are you doing? YOU ARE BEING AN IDIOT! You are waisting your time and theirs on something with no poetry, no soul, no real learning potential of any sort. *At the right age* all other kids will catch up in a week what it took you a year to teach your kid. So was that really a year well spent? When you think of how many other things you could have been teaching your child? Things that ONLY a 2 year old can learn. Like the importance of a hug when your sad, and why sharing biscuits is more fun than eating them by yourslef, and how bridges are real but trolls are not, and mammy's fairy tales are more fun than the ones in books because her princesses kick ass, and after the corner past the lions in the zoo always come the llamas. Seriously, you want to spend THAT important time doing for months what a trained teacher can do in a week at the right time?

Conor at three could sort of read - some words - but mostly that came from knowing that story time was his favourite time of day. He also knew the order of every animal in the zoo, and had memorised the entire compound so he could always shout out the name of what was coming next. A few silly people had weak-kneed moments thinking they had encountered a genuinly psycic child when I had to stop and explain that the maternal relative had purchased a season ticket for us as a chirstmas present and we came every week. The child wasn't a genius (sorry, Conor). He just had a deep and abiding love of all things four legged and furry.
In addition, something he discovered totally on his own was the range of colours that existed. A social worker tested and recorded him on one rather strange occasion. She was mesmerised, I'd taken it for granted. Because it had just seemed like a normal part of my child, (of every child?) - the fact that at 2 years and 9 months he could name 30 colours accurately. The poor old SW had made the mistake of calling 'peach' orange, and Conor was quick to put her right. He went to his toy box, got a colour wheel he had made me read to him so many times, and correctly named 30 shades from it. She got her recording equipment out and made him do it again.
But the thing is, Conor as a baby loved colour, he found it on his own, he played with it on his own. he refused to paint or colour in - getting endlessly frustrated at his inability to make things life-like, but would mix colours from his paint pots, giggling away and crowing loudly at every succesful mix. I used to call him my little mad alchemist. This wasn't something I showed him, this wasn't something anyone showed him, it was HIM, aserting his own artistisc self, as he had every right in the world to do.

Now my wonderful, stupendous baby boy is finishing his BTEC, (in art and design, of course) and already has three uni offers (in animation, his life long dream) from, he tells me, the top 3 unis in the UK for that  subject. I watch him with our new born kittens, who are all on antibiotics as a precaution although only one was sick. He has taken over caring for them and is swift in giving the drops, and calm, and competent and caring as anyone could guess he would grow up to be, even seeing his little 2 year old self strapped in the buggy learning to love every single animal in the zoo.
I look at him now, at 18, getting ready for university, and I know all the more that letting him learn what he wanted to learn, when he was ready to learn it, was so seriously the right decision. We were trying to fill in Student Finance England Forms together yesterday, and took the decision that he needed to bring it in to college and ge the career guidance person to fill it in for him. Because we just couldn't. We kept arguing about the precise meaning of every question, where his very dyslexic mind was clashing with my very dyslexic mind, until we conceeded that this was written by muggles, for muggles, and needed to be filled in by muggles. He will always be dyslexic, and will probably always need help with forms. its not that he has any trouble reading - he doesn't - he was after all the best reader in his class at 4, and only today all household activity had to stop because he lost his Necronomicon ( which turned out to be a book. How was I to know? Geesh!) He just can't do forms.
He will still read himself to sleep with his necronomicon every night, but in part (in major part) because it gives him vivid dreams, vivid images, to animate in his waking hours. He will never do forms, he will never do phonics. End of story. If he had been forced into those things too early, too exclusivly, I dread to think how that could have stilted, stimied, totally stopped my artistic, creative, beautiful baby, who dreams in technicolour and gives off a magnetic attraction that makes the grumpiest cat or dog instantly compliant and affectionate.

Anyway- what am I actually saying? If any of my few friends on here suddenly found thesleves carers of a 2 year old, what I'm really saying is that - TRUST YOUR CHILDS TEACHER! They were selected from interview for sutability out of many, trained for betweeen 3 and 5 years, and KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. Its thier job and they are paid for it. Its your job to be a parent - to love - to take your little one out into that glorious technicolour world we live in, and start pointing out the joy. Which will never be achieved in stuffy rooms with flash cards.

todays post has been brought to you by one LJ post on the importance of books to babies (which I never actually answered- like so many things they are useful BUT REPLACEABLE because they don't suit all families, and no one should be guilt triped for not using them)
One gingerbeer thread on 'teaching my toddler to read' where every single teacher has pleaded with the mother to stop, but she and her cronies have ignored those posts because it suits thier particular middle-class snobbishness to keep going
and a bottle of echo falls white zinfandel. That was the yummiest part - but is sadly now empty.


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