Parenting, Unschooling

Let Them Play!!

Posted by Lexi Smith

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It seems like every time I turn around, people are putting their kids in school at an ever younger age. When I was little, kindergarten was a gentle introduction to schooling and some kids might have gone into pre-k beforehand, but it wasn’t necessary. Nowadays, kindergarten is becoming more and more like 1st grade and pre-k is almost a necessity if you want your kid to have a gentle introduction to schooling. Heck, pre-k 2 and pre-k 3 are even becoming more common.


I can’t even imagine my 2 year old in school. She just seems too young.

“Play is the highest form of research.”
– Albert Einstein

When did our society become so obsessed with putting our kids through more and more school? Even amongst fellow homeschoolers! I don’t even know how many times I see complaints from other moms in some homeschool preschool groups wondering how to keep their kid’s attention on their work because they just keep wanting to play. When we ask how old these kids are, I see anything up to 3 years old.
And I mean anything.
As in someone once said their 9 month old had too short of an attention span for the activities she was setting up and wanted advice.

9. Months. Old.
NINE MONTHS!!!
WHAT?!
I can’t even begin to process how that could possibly be a thing. At 9 months, they are content with simply exploring with their senses. Why do you need to make an activity out of it?
Maybe some of you will think I’m a hypocrite because I post articles about different activities, but I didn’t start having more structured activities until I figured she was old enough to actually enjoy it, and I certainly don’t force it if she doesn’t want to do it.
Why?
Because she’s a little kid. Remember that for kids, play is indistinguishable from learning. If you try to push sit down learning, especially before they are ready, all you are teaching your child is that play and learning are separate things, and they will start to think of learning as work that they don’t want to do.

“It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”
– Albert Einstein


I don’t know about you guys, but one of the big reasons I have decided to homeschool my children is to foster a lifelong love of learning. Forcing them to do sit down lessons at an age where they learn best via hands on experiences is not the way to encourage this.
Now, I am saying to never do sit down activities with your kids? No! Just follow your child’s lead on how long to make it last! It’s that easy.
Sometimes, we won’t do any sit down learning at all for days, or even weeks, at a time, but I still see leaps in her understanding of colors, shapes, numbers, letters, etc. Other days, she’s the one that chooses to do sit down work and will ask for me to get some stuff for her to do. Just yesterday, my 2 year old was coloring letters and pictures of corresponding objects for an hour or so. She was even asking for me to put more for her to do.
It’s very difficult for children not to learn when they are in a world that surrounds them with things to possibly learn. Let them play! Learning will happen naturally.

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