Sunday, November 19, 2006

Educating Children

Little Difster is an awesome kid. She's a total sponge when it comes to learning and I love it. Lately I've been spending more time on focused learning with her as well as our normal impromptu lessons about this that and the other thing. Keep in mind that she is not quite six years old yet.

A few weeks ago, I spent about an hour with her on counting coins. Like her dad, math is not her strong point but it's obviously something she needs to know and I think I've neglected it a bit with her. So I decided to play a little catch up with her on that. I had a pocket full of coins so I took them out and put them on the table. She already knew how much each coin represented so we skipped that part. She was a little frustrated at the beginning of the lesson but within an hour, she could add up any combination of coins I threw at her. After a little practice and some review drills, she can now do it in her head. This all came from an hour in concentrated instruction.

Just this evening I decided to pull out her dictionary and we flipped through pages and I had her reading some fairly difficult and unfamiliar words. For example, she read the word 'vocabulary' without missing a beat and then asked me what it meant. My reply was, "This is a dictionary, you can read the answer to that yourself." So she read the definition and she understood it. Great. For the next 45 minutes, her wee little brain learned added a bunch of new words to her vocabulary. Then something occurred to me; she doesn't know how to actually find a word in the dictionary for herself. After a respite, we sat down on the couch and I showed her how to find words and then gave her some words to find. She did great; I was really proud of her.

My point in all of this is not to brag about my daughter (which I am not loathe to do) but to demonstrate that it really takes very little effort to teach a child. An hour counting coins and 1.5 hours with a dictionary and she's got some knowledge that will propel her forward to the next level of learning.

You, as a parent have NO excuse not to educate your child. Don't trust the schools to do it; not even the private ones. And don't just educate them; teach them how to think. You can stuff volumes of information in to the head of a child but if he don't teach them how to apply it, how to reason things out and come to a conclusion, the knowledge is of no value. Furthermore, if you don't teach them to use the knowledge they have to serve God where they can, it's even worse. Knowledge must be heavily supplemented with virtue and with that we can hope to raise wise and godly children.

Knowledge alone is useless; it's only a starting point. Educating a child is the whole package; knowledge, virtue and reason. If you've been lagging behind so far, it's not too late to start.

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