We went to PA last weekend for a little vacation, and I visited an educational store there. A woman who worked there said she was a former preschool and kindergarten teacher and asked if she could help me find something. I asked her about resources for teaching some specific phonetics skills.
When she showed me some workbooks that
were heavy on writing and drawing, I explained that I was looking for
something more visual since my son was young and didn't enjoy writing.
When she heard that Henry was three, she looked at me like I was crazy.
First she said that there was no way that he could really read. When I
assured her that he could, she acted like I was "hot-housing" (a term I
just found out about) or something, drilling him with concepts too
advanced for him. When I said that I only followed his interest,
teaching him when he asked to be taught and answered his questions about
reading, she said, conciliatory, "Well, it's not developmentally
normal. Pretty soon he'll just stop and then all the other kids will
At first I was baffled. Why didn't she just
show me what I wanted (and make a sale)? Why was she so invested in
convincing me that my son was weird, that I was crazy, that Henry
learning early and well was something to worry about, that it would be
fine because eventually he would fall back and average out?
know not all teachers are like this lady. There are certainly teachers
out there who see each child as an individual and do their very best to
bring out the full potential of each student in their care. But it made
me realize that sending Henry to school might subject him to
personalities like these, who want everything and everybody to fit in a
neat little box, those who see working ahead in the same light as
Homeschooling is hard. It will probably get a lot harder before we are through. But it's worth it to let my children learn the best way they can, whether that fits into someone else's timeline or not.