Tuesday, November 20, 2018

CURMUDGUCATION: Should Your Three-Year-Old Attend On-line School?

CURMUDGUCATION: Should Your Three-Year-Old Attend On-line School?

Should Your Three-Year-Old Attend On-line School?

The short answer is, "No." Or maybe, "Hell, no."

You may wonder why the subject even needs to be discussed, and the short answer to that is, "Because somebody's already doing it."

By now you've probably heard the new old saying that kindergarten is the new first grade, with academic learning that used to be a staple of 6-year-olds now pushed down to 5-year-olds. We can blame that on many factors, including the parental desire to give their child an extra competitive edge, but arguably this is yet another problem we can blame on Common Core Standards. Some of the worst problems with the standards are found in the earliest grades, likely because of the use of backwards scaffolding-- the standards writers decided what a high school graduate should be able to do, and then just worked backward from there ("If we want them to bench-press 100 pounds in 12th grade, then we should start with 5-year-olds bench pressing 50 pounds and add 4 more pounds every year"). It seems logical, as long as I completely ignore the developmental capabilities of small children.

The demands of the Core and Core-related testing has panicked many school districts into getting students started on academics sooner and ignoring what we know about the developmental capabilities of littles. Now we frequently hear noise about 5-year-olds not being ready for kindergarten, which has put the pressure on the Pre-K providers. In Florida, where huge numbers of littles are deemed "not ready for kindergarten," pre-K providers have been threatened with losing funding if their "graduates" can't pass a standardized kindergarten exam.

Never mind that everything we know says this approach is wrong. Much research says that early academic gains are lost by third grade; some research says that pre-school academics actually make for worse long term results. If most of your 5-year-olds are not ready for kindergarten, the problem is with your kindergarten, not your 5-year-olds.

Turning to technology does not help. A study released earlier this year by the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine, found that most "educational" apps aimed at children five and Continue reading: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Should Your Three-Year-Old Attend On-line School?