Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Treating My Early Learner Like His Age, Not His Reading Level

Over the course of the past week or so I have had to be reminded: Early Bird is only 3 1/2 years old. I had to be reminded because most of the time he doesn't act like a typical 3 year old. He is interested and engaged, he has had a terrifically long attention span for over a year now, and he has been very verbal and articulate for over a year now. And he can read at a 1st/2nd grade level.

Since intellectually he is close to Builder Boy (who is doing 1st grade work,) I have a tendency to treat them very similarly, to expect the same things from both of them. But there is developmentally a big difference between 3 1/2 and almost 6. And I need to remember that.

Sometimes the asynchrony is cute. Like two weeks ago when Early Bird came to me saying "Wah, wah, I'm a baby! Hold me like a baby!" and then noticed the reading game I was printing out and proceeded to read the list of multi-syllable words like 'chipmunk,' 'rustic,' and 'insult.'

Sometimes it's not as cute.

Tantrums are starting to become a several times a day occurrence. I'm getting attitude like "I can't hear you," and "No, YOU go to time out," and "LATER, okay?!" Having a good vocabulary and being able to tell what it is he wants/doesn't like apparently doesn't mean that he's not going to cry and hit, too. I think part if it is he's not getting as much attention since we started school. And I haven't been teaching him anything new for a while. I was hoping he would tag along with Builder Boy and listen, but that's not working out. (More treating him like a 1st grader instead of a 3 year old.) I think he's bored, and maybe his emotional needs aren't getting met, either.

So I'm going to work on this. I'm going to try to re-start the bird school I had planned for him. I don't know where in the day I'm going to find the time, but I need to make Early Bird's education a priority, too. And I'm going to give him more holding and playing time so he's not feeling alone.

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth, this is where I live a lot of the time, too. Monkey is cognitively the equivalent of a much older child (somewhere between grade 1 and grade 3 depending on topics and issues), but he is still in the body of a four year old, and emotionally, he's probably stuck at a mid-two year old. Probably 90% of the time, he demands to be treated his intellectual age. The remaining 10% of the time, he's screaming, yelling, hitting and otherwise melting down. I have a hard time determining exactly what it is he needs, much less what level he needs it *at.* I'm, for the most part, trying to just go with it. If he's able to do what the lessons call for, great. If not, we'll break it up into several pieces and make whatever accommodations he needs to complete it - typically he will dictate instead of write, or I add in other things to color (he *insists* on coloring the Red Sea red, regardless of what the instructions may say to do ^_^ )... But I'm trying really hard to keep my driving need for paperwork* under control enough for him to have fun, learn a few things, and not develop a complex. I just keep hoping it works. o.o;;

    *We have had several instances of people calling Children's Aid (CAS/DCFS) on us for spite (seriously - our pediatrician directly called the social worker to yell at her for "pestering" us, when we're obviously a caring family, and to find someone to usefully harass), and as a result, I have a deep mistrust of The System, and while it is perfectly legal to homeschool and there is no paperwork required to do so, I personally need the paper to make sure that my butt is covered on the off chance someone calls on us again, this time for educational neglect.


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