March 20, 2019

Harvard Study Shows the Dangers of Early School Enrollment

Harvard Study Shows the Dangers of Early School Enrollment

Every parent knows the difference a year makes in the development and maturity of a young child. A one-year-old is barely walking while a two-year-old gleefully sprints away from you. A four-year-old is always moving, always imagining, always asking why, while a five-year-old may start to sit and listen for longer stretches.

Children haven’t changed, but our expectations of their behavior have. In just one generation, children are going to school at younger and younger ages, and are spending more time in school than ever before. They are increasingly required to learn academic content at an early age that may be well above their developmental capability.

In 1998, 31 percent of teachers expected children to learn to read in kindergarten. In 2010, 80 percent of teachers expected this. Now, children are expected to read in kindergarten and to become proficient readers soon after, despite research showing that pushing early literacy can do more harm than good.

In their report Reading in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose education professor Nancy Carlsson-Paige and her colleagues warn about the hazards of early reading instruction. They write,

When children have educational experiences that are not geared to their developmental level or in tune with their learning needs and cultures, it can cause them great harm, including feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and confusion.

Read the rest of the article here: https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/harvard-study-shows-dangers-early-school-enrollment?fbclid=IwAR1iQ7v0x9HdKDztrqqxoVBjEDMPVH6RzkV5oZcMRcJMY20gIzkVwe4bQAQ


Needing help for your home schooling journey: 
http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

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What’s to blame for the rise in ADHD?


What’s to blame for the rise in ADHD?

Researchers point fingers at TV, genetics, overdiagnosis 

Getty Images fileSome scientists say watching TV could lead to an increased risk for ADHD, while others argue that genetics and other factors play a bigger role in the development of the disorder.

By Victoria Claytonmsnbc.com P

When most of today’s parents were growing up, the common wisdom about television viewing was not to sit too close to the screen or you’d go blind. There was relatively little in the way of children’s programming: Sesame Street, which turned 35 this year, was in its infancy and there were a few cartoons, as well as Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Rogers and Romper Room.

How times have changed. In the years since then, children’s programming has exploded. Now whole networks are devoted to young viewers.

And, interestingly enough, something else has exploded: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, a behavior condition that now affects from 4 percent to 12 percent of U.S. children. ADHD is characterized by the inability to focus, listen, and complete tasks and schoolwork. Many children are medicated to control the condition.

When it comes to TV, says Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatric researcher at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, concerns over eyesight should be the least of parents’ concerns. Instead, he contends that ADHD and the onslaught of children’s programming, along with DVD players and portable TVs that make viewing possible anywhere anytime, may very well be linked.

Study finds increased risk from TV 
Christakis is the lead author of a study published in the journal Pediatrics in April that suggests TV viewing in very young children contributes to attention problems later in life. “The study revealed that each hour of television watched per day at ages 1 through 3 increases the risk of attention problems by almost 10 percent at age 7,” says Christakis.

The study attempted to control for attributes of the home environment, such as cognitive stimulation and emotional support, but a key factor was left out: the content of the programs children watched. Christakis says this aspect should be studied in more detail at some point, but he maintains that it’s not the message of the program that’s likely the culprit — it’s the visual tactics used.

Christakis and others in the field, such as Jane Healy, an education psychologist in Vail, Colo., and author of “Your Child’s Growing Mind: Brain Development and Learning from Birth to Adolescence,” believe common programming tactics designed to capture a child’s attention can have a deleterious affect on brain chemistry.Advertise

Healy says overstimulation from rapid scene changes and other programming tactics may throw off the balance of the body’s catecholamine system, which is responsible for carrying communications between nerves.

“It has to do with neurotransmitters in the catecholamine system — dopamine and norepinephrine,” she adds.

Real life becomes slow and boring 
Children’s programmers use a technique called the “orienting reflex,” known as OR, to capture and keep a child’s attention. OR works in this way: If we see or hear something the brain doesn’t recognize as the correct sequence or a typical life event — such as a dancing alphabet or quick zooms and pans, we focus on it until the brain recognizes that it doesn’t pose a threat. The problem with watching too many programs that rely on OR is that real life becomes slow and boring by comparison.

“We think that with continued exposure to high intensity, unrealistic action, you’re conditioning the mind to expect that level of input,” Christakis explains. When the child doesn’t get the fast-paced input that television provides, he or she becomes bored and inattentive.Don’t miss these Health stories


“It used to be that as educators we talked about the ‘two-minute mind,'” says Healy. “Now it’s the 30-second mind.” Of course, having an extremely short attention span makes listening, problem solving and learning to read difficult.

Find out here: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5933775/ns/health-childrens_health/t/whats-blame-rise-adhd/?fbclid=IwAR1dP63ojNlGnXvZER9mWRfMoBDTYODRB4zs20IOLkkwEeTWDoYyu-_Cotw#.XIBYWi2B3BI

Why Genetics may play key role?

and

What’s a parent to do? 

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5933775/ns/health-childrens_health/t/whats-blame-rise-adhd/?fbclid=IwAR1dP63ojNlGnXvZER9mWRfMoBDTYODRB4zs20IOLkkwEeTWDoYyu-_Cotw#.XIBYWi2B3BI

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

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DELAYING SCHOOL MAY PROTECT AGAINST DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS

From: RaisedGood – Parenting by Nature

I was my son’s age when I started school, which at four and a half years old, made me one of the youngest kids in my class.

Luckily, I was a child of the ‘80’s when kindergarten wasn’t the new first grade and the academic pressures on kids were dwarfed by modern standards.

But, times have changed. We’ve moved on and become more sophisticated. Modern kids, it seems, are more advanced. They can read and write and add and subtract at younger ages than ever before, with one friend telling me recently that second graders are mastering computer coding. Seriously?

It seems as though we are so preoccupied with whether we can teach (or train) a child, we’re not stopping to ask if we should.

With kindergarten on our family’s horizon, it is assumed by friends, family and strangers that our son will be starting his academic career in September. But, if motherhood has taught me anything it is to question everything, to remain open-minded and make informed and proactive choices.

Because, government policy doesn’t necessarily reflect the psychological and developmental needs of children and rather than moving at my son’s cheetah speed, they tend to be slow to react when scientific findings run counter to cultural expectations or popular opinion.

A 2015 study titled, The Gift of Time? Starting School Age and Mental Health found strong evidence that delaying kindergarten by one year provides mental health benefits to children, allowing them to better self-regulate their attention and hyperactivity levels when they do start school. The effect was long-lasting, virtually eliminating the probability that an average eleven-year-old child would have an ‘abnormal’, or higher-than-normal rating for inattentive-hyperactive behavioral measures.

This is powerful information, yet public education policies in western nations fail to evolve.

Read more here:

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

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How Books and Television Affect Your Brain Differently, According to Science

Go to the profile of Melissa Chu

There’s a perception that books are good, while TV is bad. Spend a day curled up with a book and you’re an intellectual, but spend a day watching your favorite show and you become a couch potato.

Similar to how candy gives you cavities and sun tanning is bad for our skin, it’s common knowledge that reading books is good for you. It increases your knowledge and makes you think. Watching television on the other hand kills off brain cells.

But why is that? Why can’t watching TV be just as educational as reading a book? For example, does watching the show Game of Thrones lower your intelligence, while reading the books does the exact opposite?

After all, there are all sorts of books. Some good, some poorly written. The same applies to shows as well. Is the situation as simple as categorizing books as good and TV as bad?

What Science Says About Books and Television

In 2013, a study was performed at Tohoku University in Japan. A team led by Hiraku Takeuchi examined the effects of television on the brains of 276 children, along with amount of time spent watching TV and its long-term effects.

Researcher Takeuchi found that the more TV the kids watched, parts of their brain associated with higher arousal and aggression levels became thicker. The frontal lobe also thickened, which is known to lower verbal reasoning ability.

The more hours of television the kids watched, the lower their verbal test results became. These negative effects in the brain happened regardless of the child’s age, gender, and economic background.

In the same year, a study was done on how reading a novel affected the brain. Gregory Burns and his colleagues at Emory University wanted to see the before and after effects of reading based on fMRI readings.

College students were asked to read Pompeii by Robert Harriss, a thriller based on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy. The book was chosen due to its strong narration and a dramatic plot based on true events.

After reading the novel, the students had increased connectivity in parts of the brain that were related to language. There was also increased activity in the sensory motor region of the brain, suggesting that readers experienced similar sensations to the characters in the book.

photo credit: Janko Ferli?

There are also long-term effects from reading books. Reading keeps your mind alert and delays cognitive decline in elders. Research even found that Alzheimer’s is 2.5 times less likely to appear in elderly people who read regularly, while TV was presented as a risk factor.

Six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by 68 percent, according to researchers at the University of Sussex. Reading beat out other relaxing activities, including listening to music (61 percent), drinking tea or coffee (54 percent), and taking a walk (42 percent).

Why These Activities Have Opposite Effects on Us

So far, reading’s looking pretty good compared to television. We can see that it calms the nerves, increases language and reasoning, and can even keep you mentally alert as you age. TV, on the other hand, has the opposite effect.

But we still haven’t gotten to why that’s the case.

Let’s look first at a study on how preschoolers and toddlers interact with their mothers during TV viewing versus reading a book.

The results found that watching TV resulted in lower amounts and quality of communication between the mother and child. During an educational TV program, mothers made few comments to their children, and if they did, it was unrelated to what their children said.

On the other hand, reading books together increased the amount and level of communication. Mothers were more likely to ask their child questions, respond to their child’s statements and questions, and explain concepts in greater detail.

Beyond mothers and their children, it’s not just an issue of the quality of the TV program or the book. It seems that the nature of the activities themselves is what’s causing the differences.

Television is designed to be…

Read more here: https://medium.com/@melissachu/how-books-and-television-affect-your-brain-differently-according-to-science-34ca8be1493?fbclid=IwAR2CstTUXv5QH4v9Y9RqbEZEkVijm5CJ2on5W081zaqXx3KVhAT6mU6PfsU

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

 

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How Early Academic Training Retards Intellectual Development

Academic skills are best learned when a person wants them and needs them.

In my last post I summarized research indicating that early academic training produces long-term harm. Now, in this post, I will delve a bit into the question of how that might happen.

It’s useful here to distinguish between academic skills and intellectual skills—a distinction nicely made in a recent article by Lillian Katz published by the child advocacy organization Defending the Early Years.

Distinction between academic and intellectual skills, and why the latter should precede the former

Academic skills are, in general, tried and true means of organizing, manipulating, or responding to specific categories of information to achieve certain ends. Pertaining to reading, for example, academic skills include the abilities to name the letters of the alphabet, to produce the sounds that each letter typically stands for, and to read words aloud, including new ones, based on the relationship of letters to sounds.  Pertaining to mathematics, academic skills include the ability to recite the times tables and the abilities to add, subtract, multiply, or divide numbers using learned, step-by-step procedures, or algorithms.  Academic skills can be and are taught directly in schools, through methods involving demonstration, recitation, memorization, and repeated practice.  Such skills lend themselves to objective tests, in which each question has one right answer.

Intellectual skills, in contrast, have to do with a person’s ways of reasoning, hypothesizing, exploring, understanding, and, in general, making sense of the world.  Every child is, by nature, an intellectual being–a curious, sense-making person, who is continuously seeking to understand his or her physical and social environments.  Each child is born with such skills and develops them further, in his or her own ways, through observing, exploring, playing, and questioning.  Attempts to teach intellectual skills directly inevitably fail, because each child must develop them in his or her own way, through his or her own self-initiated activities.  But adults can influence that development through the environments they provide.  Children growing up in a literate and numerate environment, for example—such as an environment in which they are often read to and see others read, in which they play games that involve numbers, in which things are measured and measures have meaning—will acquire, in their own ways, understandings of the purposes of reading and the basic meaning and purposes of numbers.

Now, here’s the point to which I’m leading.  It is generally a waste of time, and often harmful, to teach academic skills to children who have not yet developed the requisite motivational and intellectual foundations.  Children who haven’t acquired a reason to read or a sense of its value will have little motivation to learn the academic skills associated with reading and little understanding of those skills.  Similarly, children who haven’t acquired an understanding of numbers and how they are useful may learn the procedure for, say, addition, but that procedure will have little or no meaning to them.

The learning of academic skills without the appropriate intellectual foundation is necessarily shallow. When the drill stops—maybe for summer vacation—the skills are quickly forgotten. (That’s the famous “summer slide” in academic ability that some educators want to reduce by keeping children in school all year long!)  Our brains are designed to hold onto what we understand and to discard nonsense.  Moreover, when the procedures are learned by rote, especially if the learning is slow, painful, and shame-inducing, as it often is when forced, such learning may interfere with the intellectual development needed for real reading or real math.

Rote-trained, pained children may lose all desire to play with and explore literary and numerical worlds on their own and thereby fail to develop the intellectual foundations for real reading or math.  This explains why researchers repeatedly find that academic training in preschool and kindergarten results in worse, not better, performance on academic tests in later grades (see here).  This is also why children’s advocacy groups—such as Defending the Early Years and the Alliance for Childhood—are so strongly opposed to the current trend of teaching academic skills to ever-younger children.  The early years, especially, should be spent playing, exploring, and developing the intellectual foundations that will allow children to acquire academic skills relatively easily later on.

In the remainder of this post, I review some findings, discussed in earlier essays in this blog, that illustrate the idea that early academic training can be harmful and that academic learning comes easily once a person has acquired the requisite intellectual foundation and wants to learn the academic skills.

Read more here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/201506/how-early-academic-training-retards-intellectual-development?fbclid=IwAR2XQIbKqM6sekcsQNPuaNVmXBT0kfHwgUJeNE0NNhBvvp8ZD7pvfpL9nlI

also in the link above is:

Example 1—Benezet’s experiment showing the harm of math training in grades 1 – 5

Example 2:  Preparing for the math SAT, at Sudbury Valley School, after no previous study of math

Example 3:  How unschooled and Sudbury-schooled children learn to read

Read about these there Examples here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/201506/how-early-academic-training-retards-intellectual-development?fbclid=IwAR2XQIbKqM6sekcsQNPuaNVmXBT0kfHwgUJeNE0NNhBvvp8ZD7pvfpL9nlI

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

 

 

 

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