• December 25, 2014

Parents struggle with educational choices

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Posted: Friday, October 4, 2013 4:30 am

My son is getting close to his third birthday and the time to begin thinking about his education is rapidly approaching.

Unfortunately, my husband and I have yet to come to an agreement. I am partial to a private school setting, while my husband is leaning toward public school.

Having attended several private institutions during my formative years, I’ve experienced all the advantages that come with it.

I believe the structured environment, smaller student population, individual attention and endless resources helped me secure a healthy education.

My husband worries that private school creates a sense of isolation from the outside world.

He believes that the “authentic” atmosphere in public school would better prepare our son for real-world situations.

Although the school debate might continue for the next two years, there’s another pressing issue more relevant to our son’s current age.

Since birth, I questioned how we should handle his primary education. While many people believe that traditional learning tools — books, pencil and paper — are the most effective, I have seen evidence to the contrary.

At a very early age, we began to add the My Baby Can Read learning system to my son’s daily routine. The system consists of several educational materials including books, flash cards and DVDs.

At 9 months old, he was able to properly identify body parts and respond to certain words and phrases. Months later, he was singing along to the nursery rhymes and repeating the vocabulary. His knowledge continued to develop.

The older he got, my husband and I wrestled with whether or not we should introduce him to cartoons, fearing television would become a crutch for him.

So we carefully selected the programming he was allowed to watch, for a certain length of time, and made sure the shows incorporated more learning than amusement.

We found a number of TV shows, outside of PBS programming, that engage him through learning and hold his attention.

Shows like “Dora the Explorer,” “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and “Little Einsteins” focus on a number of basic and advanced cognitive skills.

So whenever we do sit down to read a book together, my son already recognizes the content without any of the frustration.

Judging from his peers’ skill levels, I believe our methods have put my son ahead of the curve in many ways.

Our next step is to incorporate computer and online learning programs into his daily routine.

There’s no question that we are in the age of technology and I, for one, am embracing these advancements. I say we should ditch the conventional ideals associated with learning and open our minds to the possibilities that this modern world affords.

Of course, I’m not endorsing overindulging our children with technology, nor do I believe that books should be a thing of the past. But it has been proven that the more we advance technologically, the smarter we become as a people.

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