Sounds of Happiness

Klara runs around the house with the kids who are staying with us, shrieking loudly that they need to find a monster and his two bean boxes. I have no idea what that means but nothing makes me happier than the sounds of Klara running around with a group of kids.

I’m honestly ready to move the zoo and the circus into our house to achieve this result.

At this age there’s absolutely no activity more educational and developmentally crucial than being together with other kids doing unstructured, unplanned, unsupervised activities. When puberty hits, this will start to change. But learning to be around peers is learned between ages of 2 and 12. And people who miss out never really catch up. I speak from experience here.

The funny thing is I know I’m preaching to the choir here. I don’t think anybody on this blog would disagree with what I’m saying. But you folks have no idea how alien this approach is to a lot of people who have fancy degrees in education. They’ll talk your ear off about “academic readiness” and “educational outcomes” of toddlers.

8 thoughts on “Sounds of Happiness”

  1. I honestly wish that as a young kid that instead of school, I’d been able to just go to a place where I could play with other kids and not have to sit through classes, do homework, etc. Like if this imaginary “kid center” existed I’d prefer to send my kids there and take care of the educational stuff with a few hours of homeschooling a week. I never learned anything at school and the “educational” portion was a complete waste of my time, which would’ve been better spent socializing or reading/learning on my own. You talk about sending kids to school over homeschooling because of socialization, and I suppose it is the lesser of two evils, but I found there to be way too little opportunity for socializing at school (and I was in elementary school about 20 years ago; I’m sure things have changed for the worse now.)

    I do think many kids and families benefit from being taught math, science, reading in school and wouldn’t propose eliminating it, this is just my personal experience. I come from an educated family who instilled a love of learning in me (and a baseline level of knowledge that was higher than whatever grade level I was in.)

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  2. I work with people with fancy degrees in education. They talk my ear off about the need for play and socialization, and the importance of developmentally appropriate activities in school rather than pushing for academic readiness too early.

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    1. Then who is it that creates the current structure of schooling? Who cuts down on recess, assigns mountains of homework, makes recess dependent on homework, puts 9-year-olds in detention for missing 3 homework assignments? Who writes the textbooks? Who writes the curriculum?

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      1. Some of it is (at least locally) divisions among educators. And part is state regulators that don’t listen to the education people— we are at the moment fighting a losing battle against state govt people who are trying to solve the teacher shortage in all the wrong ways. And part seems to be different regionally– we have been locally eliminating homework and adding more recess, and have a ban on losing recess as a punishment for anything.

        And sorry for the duplicate post.

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        1. I urgently need to move to your region because when I hear about small kids being put in detention over stupid homework, I boil over. We have a kid staying with us who had choking episodes of unknown etiology, so she missed school. But still she has to do a the missed homework or she’ll be in detention. And it’s not helping her health to sit bent over homework all day. It’s literally all day! I’m observing this right now.

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          1. That is appalling and shouldn’t happen anywhere. And aside from the obvious cruelty, all the research says that elementary homework is counterproductive— very little affect on learning, and negative on attitudes toward school and learning. Or so my friends in education tell me.

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  3. It must vary a lot by region. I work with people with fancy degrees in education. They talk my ear off about the need for play and socialization, and the importance of developmentally appropriate activities rather than a premature focus on academic readiness in a narrow sense.

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