Thursday, April 27, 2006

You talk to a kid like that???!!!

Why do parents complain that their 5 year old is not learning the alphabet? These are well-educated parents. They aren't a single exception either. A five year old! Why would a parent treat a child like that and wait so long? The only explanation I can think of is this: they think it's the teacher's job.

I don't treat my child as an adult; a conversation with him is always a conversation with a child. However, I always push his limit just a tiny bit. Often, in conversation with him I'll introduce some tiny thing that only makes sense because of the way it fits with the rest of the conversation: a new word, a new integration, additional reasoning. I throw it in, and he usually "gets it". And I pause and give him a short commentary. It isn't artificial, it just comes naturally -- like if a ball was on the ground I might show him how to kick it.

A lot of our conversations are in the car, as he's being ferried to or from school. Here's a snippet from yesterday:

Z: So, daddy, is "Costco" the company and "Kirkland" the brand?
Me: Yes.
Z: What about "Kirkland Signature", is "Signature" a brand?
... ... 3 minutes of conversation snipped ... ...
Z: So, "Costco" is the company but it's also the brand?
Me: Yup
Z: And "Kirkland" and "Kirkland Signature" are just brands?
Me: That's right
Z: And "Kirland Signature" is like a sub-brand of "Kirkland"?
Me: You got it!

I'm proud of his capacity to understand and integrate; but, that's not my point here. Quite the contrary. I have many examples that demonstrate that -- intellectually -- he's a very average 7 year old. It is the dumbed-down kids who are abnormal.