Have you ever taken the time to actually sit down and watch a toddler? They’re fascinating little people. They have this extraordinary gift of being able to find something to do with any object they come across. Granted, they’re not always things we want them to do, but their plans are usually ingenious just the same.
Ask any parent of a preschooler about their little one and they’re bound to tell you multiple stories of how their precious children manage to get into everything. Besides that, there are the constant questions: Why is the bee on that flower? Why is that flower pink? What do worms eat? Are worms bugs?
Besides being avid little explorers, small children are also little geniuses. They teach themselves how to crawl, then walk, and then talk with nary a single formal lesson.
Sorry, Rosetta Stone!
As wonderfully amazing these kids are, have you ever noticed what happens once that child turns school age and heads off to school? The questions die down, the “getting into everything” decreases, and your once future adventurer is now perfectly content sitting in front of the TV all day after coming home from school.
Most parents chalk it up to growing up, and while that certainly is a part of it, have you ever wondered if maybe there was a little more to it?
Isn’t it strange that it almost always seems to happen like a switch once kids start attending school everyday?
As a mother of 7 kids who spent at least some time in school and 4 more who have always been home/homeschooled, I can tell you with certainty that there is no magic switch once your kids reach a certain age. Children don’t stop being curious because of getting older; it conveniently happens once they start regularly attending school. I have personally witnessed this in the lives of my own kids.
5 Reasons Your Child’s Curiosity Ends with School
1- Precious time for exploring is taken away in lieu of spending 6 hours behind a desk.
Most kids are excited at the beginning of the new school year. They’re happy to wear their new clothes and shoes, carry their new backpacks and lunch boxes, and show off their cool folders and binders. After a week or two, though, these new possessions lose their luster and kids will start to yearn for their summer days at the pool, at the park, playing kickball, and wading in the creek. Instead, they now have to face at least 30 hours a week for 36 weeks of the year in a building that holds them back from getting out there in the real world and learning about real things in real life– and not something between the pages of a textbook.
2- Their once endless questions soon begin to go unanswered.
Teachers have an impossible task ahead of them. They’re expected to manage a classroom of 20-30 kids for 6 hours every single day, and provide them with a quality education.
Let’s give a hand to teachers everywhere. I don’t know how they do it.
Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of having such a large number of children is the inability to answer all of the things that these kids want to know. I realize that if it’s related to the lesson, their answers are more likely to be answered. But more than likely, they’re not, so those questions may well be pushed to the side.
Thank you to Still Learning Something New for this awesome meme. This cartoon clearly says it all.
3- Their interests will always have to come “later”.
When kids are at home and something grabs their attention, they usually have the freedom to do what they need to do to pursue it. This just can’t happen in a school building. Imagine a boy who tells his teacher he wants to learn about snakes. We’ll get to that next semester. Volcanoes? Lucky you! You’ll be learning that next year! Greek mythology? Sorry, buddy. You’ll have to wait a few years until you can take that as an elective in high school.
As an adult I get frustrated if I have to wait to do something that has caught my interest. The prime time to learn something is when you are interested in it…not six months later when it finally shows up in a lesson plan!
It’s no wonder then that a great many school age children stop pursuing their own interests- they’re so used to having them pushed aside that they don’t even bother anymore.
4- They’re either bored or overstimulated all day long, everyday.
I know that seems like an odd combination, but it couldn’t be more true. Each day school students are bombarded with papers that need a parent’s signature, special assemblies, homework assignments, unruly classmates, and a ringing bell every 45 minutes, or so. As if that weren’t bad enough, they’re expected to sit still and be quiet through most of this and feign an interest in whatever the teacher is presenting, which 9 chances out of 10 will never be retained as actual knowledge.
Is it any wonder that all they want to do is veg out on the couch when they get home?
5- They get too used to being given an education.
Hear me out on this. Isn’t it about time that we stop trying to give our kids an education and just let them take one for themselves? Everyday in school they’re being told what is important and what is not important without ever taking into consideration what the child actually wants to learn.
I’ve heard the analogy many times that children are empty vessels that teachers need to fill with knowledge.
That couldn’t be more false!
Children are already filled with knowledge before they ever enter school. Knowledge that they learn from their parents, friends, family members, neighbors, TV, books, and, most importantly, themselves.
And the travesty is that many kids grow so used to being told what to learn that they begin to believe the empty vessel nonsense and no longer bother trying to explore things on their own.
This isn’t what I want for my kids. I want them to dive full speed ahead into whatever topic they please because that is the key to learning.
Curiosity should be encouraged. Not crushed.