The more your child actively uses his mind when he's young, and the more he continues to use his mind as he matures, the smarter he'll become.
We know that the brain is an ever-changing organ. It can weaken from misuse or neglect, and it can also become stronger from the right kind of use.
You want your children to stay into the habit of using their minds as they enter the school years. One of the ways you can help your child strengthen his mind is by providing him with good literature to read when he's older.
Parents say things like, "Well, he only reads comic books, but at least he's reading!"
As John Taylor Gatto once said, "Teach your children to grow up to be readers of more than the daily newspaper."
Comic books are fine for comic relief on occasion. Maybe you're on a road trip or flying cross-country; this might be a time to let your child read a comic book or two or three.
It’s probably prudent not to let comic books work their way into your home though.
Comic books will make his mind lazy because the dialogues are simple and they're full of pictures which help tell the story. When it becomes time to read challenging literature, he won't be able to tackle the vocabulary or follow the longer and more complicated sentence patterns.
He'll complain to you that the book is "boring."
It's not boring; he just hasn't learned to read well. Please do not let him blame the book!
Great books expand the mind and help us to understand the complexities of life and ourselves. If we replaced the department of psychology with a department of Shakespeare, we'd be off to a good start in improving our colleges and universities.
The inner workings of the mind and heart are there in his plays.
Once you get used to the language, Shakespeare is no more difficult to read than authors such as Tolstoy or Dostoevsky.
The ability to read great literature is what you want for your children. You want them to be exposed to the great ideas of Western thought that take us all the way back to Ancient Greece.
John Taylor Gatto was very in support of reading great books. It's where he got the seeds for many of his ideas.
I said there was one thing you need to do to increase your child's intelligence, but as I was writing this, another occurred to me, so there are now two things.
The two things are homeschool your children and expose them to great literature. I say homeschool because, sadly, your children won't get the kind of education they need in public school.
And with a lousy education system comes a dumbed-down people.
Let me share one last thing with you; it’s a poem by Emily Dickinson:
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
Have your children memorize Emily Dickinson's poem, and supply them with the kind of books that let them travel lands away!
You can join the Smart Homeschooler Academy waiting list to be notified when enrollment opens again for its signature course: How to Give Your Child a Private-School Education at Home.
Elizabeth Y. Hanson combines her training in holistic medicine, “Love and Leadership” 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.