Friday, July 20, 2007

Just Where Are Those Wild Things?

There's an interesting essay at Education World called One Teacher's Pitch to Be Emperor of Education. Chemistry teacher Dr. Richard Chempleau's "first two imperial acts would be to fire one-third of American teachers and then to give every parent a one-question quiz."

"Next, every parent of a 2-year old would have a one-question quiz, and they'd all have to take it at the same instant. I know too much about cheating, of course. The question would be "One Fish, Two Fish"? Any parent who didn't write "Red Fish, Blue Fish" would be required to sign a Universal Release of Liability and Parental Promise Not to Whine Statement. Parents who can't spout Dr. Seuss or Mother Goose, but who can name ten movie stars, professional sports players, or rock idols, are ruining their child's future.

They can't give their children the first four years of life in an impoverished educational environment, then expect the schools to fix all of their mistakes. A parent is the first and most important teacher their children will ever know, but most parents never spend that magical time with their child on the sofa. The TV should be off, the book is open, and their child is captured for life by the rhythm of a nursery rhyme. Four years watching reruns or ball games hardwires the future student to expect entertainment, not education, from 12 years of school."

Read to your kids, folks. From the day you bring them home from the hospital to the day they ask you to stop. It doesn't matter if you think they're too young to understand the words. You're building a bond between you that will last a lifetime and starting their education out on the right foot, too.


Crimson Wife said...

I don't believe it's all environmental influences. Any parent with more than one child knows that temperament places a large role too. My oldest has been very interested in books from infancy. She developed an obsession with the alphabet at 18 months, learning all the letters and their sounds. On the other hand, she's never shown much interest in puzzles or math.

My 2nd is the complete opposite. The only books that interest him are touch & feel or lift-the-flap books and then only briefly. However, he's very advanced when it comes to things like doing puzzles and using the shape sorter.

I wish that my DD would show more interest in math and my DS more interest in books but like the old saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink!

The Princess Mom said...

Thanks your for your comments, Crimson Wife! Personally, I think environment has little effect on raising one's IQ. My kids certainly never had the "benefit" of Baby Einstein and watched plenty of "junk tv" and it hasn't hurt them any.

I think the author's point was that environment can lower IQ. If you refused to follow your children's interests and only let them play sports, for example, they may not develop intellectually as much as if you read to your daughter and play math games with your son. The idea is to expose them to as many different kinds of stimuli as possible, including Dr. Seuss, and then let them show you where they want to go.