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SPRING FORWARD; LEARN AHEAD
By: Celeste & Dan Ezell | March 30, 2022
Last month our youngest turned five, a big milestone. Watching her big brother do math on Prodigy and Khan Academy, she wanted to start her own accounts. She’s been thinking a lot about kindergarten next year and imagining her life in a new school. We’ve encouraged her with sage prophecies about this time in her life, “When you’re five, you’ll try all kinds of vegetables.” And “When you’re in kindergarten, you’ll potty at school without mommy.” She completely believes us.
Then she asked for a car for her birthday…about 11 years too soon! So, we bought a used Mercedes Power Wheels off Craigslist for her to zip around in the driveway. I taught her to look over her shoulder when she goes in reverse and not to crash into the garage door. I figure it’s never too early to learn these valuable lessons. And she showed a new concern about my speed and routes from her carseat. Perhaps she acquired the drive to drive from her big sister!
A few weeks earlier, our oldest had asked for her first driving lesson. I’ve been dreaming of the day when I can send her to pick up take-out or drive her brother to the dojo. As she was nearing her 15th birthday, I suppose she was gearing up for this upcoming responsibility and freedom. I felt so proud of her courage and persistence as she circled an empty parking lot over and over for hours. She asked for a few more lessons over the next several weeks, and while tempted to put her off so I could finish my own lesson plans, I was determined to encourage her to be ready to drive as soon as it’s legal!
Even our son, a notoriously picky eater, recently branched out. All of the sudden over take-out dinner, he decided to try sushi and liked it! He tried roasted carrots the next day. Now he has a taste for everything we eat…almost. He is also developing his drawing skills, voluntarily taking out the trash and learning cello! He even spent hours during ski week break perfecting three piano pieces for Certificate of Merit with only a few tears.
It must be spring. All three kids are springing forward.
Evolutionary biologists proposed “punctuated equilibrium” to account for sudden spurts of speciation. Gradualism, the idea that species form over very long periods of change, couldn’t quite describe the quick changes observed in the fossil record. We’d like to think that our children grow and learn at a slow, steady pace, but that doesn’t always fit reality. There’s a reason we call them growth spurts. Learning happens in growth spurts too.
When I was little, I remember being frustrated by the words, “You’re too young.” Now that I’m the “queen mother,” I’ve made it a policy to never consider my children too young to learn whatever they are curious about. While innocence is something we honor and protect, ignorance isn’t. Children are never too young to dabble in a skill or retain an interesting fact. A third grader is capable of calculating a Riemann Sum because he knows how to find the area of a rectangle. Then when he learns it in AP Calculus as a 12th grader, it will seem familiar and less daunting. Kindergarteners can memorize skip counting songs before they’re really multiplying. If they can memorize every word of “We Don’t Talk about Bruno,” then they might as well learn to count by eights. And the whole family can enjoy a riveting episode of “Our Planet” together.
In fact, the Classical Model of Education asserts that children learn in the “grammar stage” through 4th grade. The mind is ready to absorb information, and they get a kick out of memorizing grammar rules, narrative histories and math facts. Everything is new to them, so they enjoy these discoveries and impressing others with their knowledge! The middle school years are described as the “logic stage,” when students are less interested in the facts and more interested in the “why’s” and “how’s.” They wrestle with cause and effect and the relationships between diverse fields of knowledge. They never tire of arguing about anything and everything. Finally, high school students in the “rhetoric stage” build on the knowledge they acquired in the grammar stage and the understanding they developed in the logic stage to application. They want to argue a thesis, convince someone, advocate a cause, teach someone a skill or create something entirely new.
With this in mind the goal for our little ones is to expose them to a buffet of learning opportunities. This knowledge will spring them into a successful lifelong education.
Celeste & Daniel Ezell are parents to three children who have attended, attend or soon will attend their accelerated K-8 Micro-school. They founded Chronos Academy to integrate all subjects to a timeline with creativity, music and making. You can reach Celeste by email at email@example.com. Follow Chronos Academy at @chronoscohorts or learn more at chronos.academy
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Book Picks: Spring Read >>
How to take Better Spring Break Photos Read >>
Mindfulness in the Making: No Mud, No Lotus Read >>
Rose-Colored Glasses Read >>
Spring Forward with Courage Read >>
Support and Protect Pollinators with Spring Planting Read >>
The Test Read >>
Welcome Community Partner: Chronos Academy Read >>