Buckets of tears are shed the first two weeks of preschool and kindergarten for many children who are going to school for the first time.
At least that’s what a school principal once told me.
I believe her because I remember shedding my own tears my first day of school. The fear of being left behind by my mother, in a room full of complete strangers, was more than I could fathom at the tender age of four.
And four is old on today’s standards. Many children today are even younger when they leave home to attend their first day in preschool.
The question I pose is why do we, as a nation, do this to our young? Why in the face of our children’s fears and protests, in the face of our better maternal instincts, do we consider it necessary to remove them from our homes and leave them in the care of perfect strangers in the name of education?
Contrary to our national custom, many experts would argue, and do argue, that young children are better off at home. Actually, they never quite say “home” because that would be politically incorrect. What they say is that early education may be harmful to children for a variety of reasons.
If that’s true, which according to evidence it is very much true, and if we put our children into school programs for early education then, in the face of the research, shouldn’t we not put them into these programs?
Why put them into a program they don’t need? Why pay thousands of dollars every year for preschools when they can stay home and engage in the real thing?
There’s no need for early education at such young ages as much modern research has proven.
Harvard’s most recent study shows that children who are on the young side of the cut-off date when they enter school have a 30% greater chance of being diagnosed with ADHD.
Anyone who knows the basics of child development will not be surprised by this finding.
Consider that educator Raymond Moore published similar, if not more alarming findings, in the 1970s after conducting a large-scale research program that was federally funded.
Yes, the federal government funded his research.
Move forward some years, and we also had psychologists like David Elkind who began publishing books that warned parents about the dangers of a too-early-education.
“Early ripe, early rot,” as the saying goes.
Yet for almost 50 years our government has ignored the very research that it funded. It has ignored the warnings of child development experts, and instead, we’ve been led to believe that our children need a “head-start” to get ahead.
Ahead of what?!
And now, 50 years later, institutions like Harvard’s are catching on to what our government has known for 50 years: schools are not the best place for young hearts and minds.
Will it be another 50 years before the government and the corporate world acknowledge the glaring truth that young children are better off at home, so, as a country, we can make it possible for mothers to stay at home like they once did?
Our children have the right to enjoy a normal childhood like the kind I and every other child had before President Johnson introduced his “No Child Left Behind” act in 1965 and that every president since has endorsed in one way or another.
Fortunately, we parents can take the matter of raising and educating our children into our own hands, especially in the face of government incompetencies and corporate greed (there are some big corporate names behind the early education business).
If fact, if I may dare to say as much; we must take matters into our own hands!
We have to ask ourselves at what expense have we bought into this early education craze? I’m not talking about monetary expense either. I’m talking about the kind of expense that money can neither buy nor fix.
I’m talking about the damage that’s incurred by forcing academic learning on children before they’re developmentally ready, the overprescribing of ADHD drugs, the increasing problem of mental and physical health problems, and the loss of literacy that is threatening our democracy.
One of the most striking changes I’ve witnessed in my lifetime, in addition to the aforementioned, is the breakdown of the family unit–the basis of any sound society– since the 1960s.
Have you ever wondered if the removal of a young child from their home in the name of education has anything to do with this?
John Taylor Gatto did. Here’s what he had to say:
It appears to me as a schoolteacher that schools are already a major cause of weak families and weak communities. They separate parents and children from vital interaction with each other and from true curiosity about each other’s lives.
Schools stifle family originality by appropriating the critical time needed for any sound idea of family to develop — then they blame the family for its failure to be a family.
He didn’t need studies or experts to tell him this. He worked within the heart of the system, and he saw first-hand what was happening, and he had the courage to speak out about it.
Allow me to do the same.
Our young children need us; they don’t need an education.
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Elizabeth Y. Hanson combines her training in holistic medicine, parenting coach certificate, plus 17+ years working in education to provide you with a unique approach to raising and educating your children.
A veteran homeschooler herself, she now has two homeschooled children in college.