Debunking Myths

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When it comes to teaching children, there are various schools of thought. Don’t listen to any of them. (Just kidding)But seriously, if you take nothing else from this please understand one thing: You CANNOT depend on the Education system to adequately educate and prepare your child. YOU must invest time and effort in your child’s education if you desire him or her to be successful.

Top Ten Myths

Actually, the first 3 years of life are a period of exponential growth in all areas of a child’s development. Neural connections that are used are strengthened while those that aren’t are weakened or die out completely. Children undergo 85% of their brain development before the age of 5. Therefore, their experiences and overall development before they even enter kindergarten can determine their ability to develop higher cognitive functions. Said plainly, both prenatal and childhood experiences and exposure influence long-term brain development and long term learning capability. The chart below illustrates how  neurological development occurs over time.

Brain_development

  • If you have already seen the chart in myth#4 or you are aware of the depressing rates at which African American and impoverished children are failing in education readiness then you know that you cannot afford not to. That said,  I realize that we all have varying priorities and varying degrees of income disparity so the vast majority of resources I recommend are either free or very low cost. I also recommend that you seek used resources first as an option for any non-workbook items. Finally, here I also rate items honestly based upon cost, entertainment value and educational value, in order to help prevent you from spending money needlessly.
  • If you can read, then you can teach your child. Not only do I provide some step by step guidance here but I also put numerous other resources at your fingertips, all it requires is some commitment from you.  If you still are uncertain about your ability to educate your child then at the very least consider purchasing videos that help teach your child to read and continue to facilitate any desire to learn. And once your child has reach an age appropriate level, find help through mentorship programs like Brothers Big Sisters, where many educated professionals are available to provide your child with additional guidance.
  • This is one of the biggest myths going around. Sadly, we cannot rely on the school system as a primary source of education. Students are often pushed ahead even after failing the most basic concepts of their current grade level.
  • To illustrate, check the web series  Questions where adults are asked basic questions like how many states are there, which they still answer incorrectly.
  • Key subjects like Black History, Personal Finance, and Life Skills are completely lacking.
  • Further, if you fail to educate your child prior to sending them to school, teachers are spending more time trying to bridge the educational gap than actually teaching students at their grade level. This is heavily reflected in school systems near lower income communities whose students start and stay behind those in higher income areas.
  • The chart below better illustrates where African Americans stand in relation to other races on academic readiness.kinder_ready_chartWhile the next chart illustrates how poverty also plays a role in academic readiness. Combining the two factors, African Americans students are at a significant disadvantage before they ever enter school. The missing factor that can solve this is parental involvement in the academic process in ensuring early childhood education.(1)kinder_income_chart
  • We all have busy schedules. I worked full time and went to school full time as a single mom so I know how hectic it can be.  But the time commitment is not nearly as significant as some may think. A solid 30 minutes of daily reading and learning time combined is sufficient for helping your child develop superior intellect. And during those times when you do not have the energy, use the videos and books as supplements. I want to emphasize that this should not be used as the sole education provider for your child.
  • Aside from reverting back to the point above, I want to also direct you to the niche school rating system There are numerous factors that make schools different. Since funding comes from property taxes, the amount of funding per child in poor districts is much smaller than the funding in wealthy districts and the overall impact can be devastating. Funding provides better books, software, resources, sports, and overall activities. If you live in a poor area, chances are your child is attending a poorly funded school. And if you live in a high crime area, chances are the best teachers aren’t staying. If you are unable to change your residence, your best bet is to provide supplementary instruction.
  • Children should focus on having fun but that does not negate that they should also focus on learning. Further, when you make learning fun, you kill two birds with one stone. The programs I suggest have been kid tested and approved for their entertainment value. There are some programs that my son and I did not particularly see eye to eye on but if he found it fun and it was educational, I wasn’t going to take that away from him.
  • Although starting early is ideal, it’s NEVER too late to influence your child and increase their intellectual prowess and develop a love of learning. Although 85% of brain development happens before the age of five, not all is lost if you fail to start after this. A child’s neurological connections continue to grow throughout life and every experience no matter how trivial excites certain neural circuits in the brain. Those that are consistently turned on over time will be strengthened, while those that are rarely excited may be dropped away.
  • If your child is above grade level provide additional challenges by putting him in the gifted program, skipping him ahead or incorporating topics like Greek and Latin root words, and SAT vocabulary.
  • If your child is at grade level, don’t risk complacency by allowing him to be average. Create superiority by getting books or materials above his grade level and tackling a page or two a day.
  • If your child is below grade level or having challenges in certain subjects its best to find materials to focus on specific subject matter, even if it is at a lower grade level. Spend time on weekends and during the summer to ensure that he can excel throughout the school year.
  • First, I implore you to never use this language and especially not around your child. Children need to be uplifted not belittled. Further, I ask that you remove any consideration that this is even remotely true from your mind. Children are smarter than we could ever imagine and grasp concepts better than we could ever know. Unless your child is developmentally disabled, nothing I promote here is outside the realm of possibility. In fact I hope that you achieve far beyond what I have done and can help to promote your own success stories.
  • Finally consider that academic excellence is not the only means of intelligence. We have seen gifted chess players, young polyglots, and artistic geniuses. Even autistic children have capabilities above our comprehension. It is necessary for us, as parents, as a community, to bring this out of them.
  • Sadly many people think that high school Is the time one should be thinking about college and that could not be further from the truth. If you intend for your child to go to college there are so many factors that you must consider.
  • Some things you must be aware of like uncommon vocabulary words are often not taught in school or spoken at home. These items require knowledge of Latin and Greek root words or a general overview of SAT vocabulary that is difficult to attempt to learn in the last 2 years prior to taking the test.
  • Financial considerations are also things that parents should consider thinking about at an early age. With the high cost of school and competitive admissions processes parents must be prepared to either supplement the cost of college with a savings plan or prepare their children to get scholarships or better yet attend early college while still in high school. Many colleges offer this program and students who have taken advantage of it often finish their associates degrees within the same time frame as they finish high school diplomas. An even greater benefit is that it is free.
  • Non-academic factors should also be considered at this time. Many colleges take community service, sports or club participation into consideration for admissions. Those who earn Eagle Scouts awards can even use this award towards career credit.
  • Nonconventional sports can be another consideration. Everyone’s child wants to be a basketball or football champion so there is always competition for scholarships, but what if your child instead excelled at swimming, soccer or lacrosse? There are numerous scholarships for sports that are not as mainstream, and often they have less competition. Just because they are not as heavily televised, does not mean they do not generate a fan base or high salaries.
  • Finally, state scholarships for academic excellence should be a consideration. If you are considering a move in the future, consider locations, which provide free tuition to students who excel in school. States like Georgia provide free tuition to students who obtain a 3.0 or above.

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