precious childhood

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The young remember most deeply…. When we are old and failing, it is the memories of childhood which can be summoned most clearly. – Dan Simmons

My children had the opportunity to watch Narnia 3 again recently, I couldn’t help but noticed how excited they were. They’ve read all the books in the Narnia series, so they really enjoy the movies too. My children are quite imaginative and adventurous, so stories like Narnia are among their favourites. I smiled to myself afterwards for I know how they would discuss the movie and the books at length and possibly imagine themselves in Narnia. They would also act it out during their next walk or play in the garden! This is how children ought to be like, all innocent and curious, not unlike my own childhood years several decades ago. I don’t know about you, but I often feel that the children of today are growing up too fast. Way too fast for my liking. I don’t blame the children, it is us the adults in the societies that we live in today who are responsible.

One might argue that it’s wonderful for children to be exposed to a lot of ‘adult’ stuff at an early age, they are more mature compared to their peers who are just ‘playing’. For example, a young child who is hooked on Ipad is considered more advanced than the one who enjoys playing outside. So is the one with a smart phone and a cupboard full of designer clothes, absolutely more sophisticated compared to those who are not exposed to them. Or that little girl who’s like a mini Barbie compared to the one who is not even aware of her appearance. Childhood is such a brief period in a person’s life compared to adulthood, why rush it? There will be plenty of time to be real-time adults, where you will be exposed to all sorts you sometimes long to be children once again. I believe that a happy childhood with plenty of adventurous play and imagination is crucial in a person’s emotional development. Children must be given the chance to be children for longer, so that they grow up into more wholesome adults.

But this is rather impossible when even formal learning at schools begins at such an early age these days. My 3 year old for instance is expected to attend full-time schooling by next autumn, I find this absurd. But that’s amazing one would say, she would be such a clever girl, already at school at 4 years old! Yes, if you have a one track mind and tend to follow the masses, that’s what you would believe. But having home-educated my children for a decade now, I know differently. Yes, it’s hard sometimes to go against the current, to do things differently from the rest of the society around you. People who do not understand just label you as a weirdo. But you have to carry out what you believe is right for you. I am grateful to have been able to home-educate my children; I let them develop at their own pace where they play, explore, read and learn naturally. I only teach them to read properly between 5-6 years of age, with hardly any effort at all. They would’ve been exposed to plenty of books by this age, and this would encourage them to learn to read at their own will.

The rest is history as they say, for once you have a passion for reading, the world is your oyster. I then start to teach them formally at the age of 7 right up to 12, throughout their primary school years. The one to one education they receive at home is very effective for them, they become more confident in themselves and their way of learning. And this enables them to attain a place among the best secondary schools available to them. This is how we’ve chosen to raise our children, I cannot stress how important it is to us that they have the best childhood possible. We want them to be able to look back and remember their happy formative years; carefree, innocent, curious, full of life, adventure and laughter. When adulthood eventually comes their way and life is filled with responsibilities and challenges, we pray they would be able to handle it well, for faith and love will keep them strong…

Let children be children! Precious moments, my little ones at the beach, Summer 2011

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9 responses

  1. That photo of your kids is too precious. I agree that kids now are growing up way too fast. The things they know and the way they act seems so foreign to me, especially when I think about how old they really are. Good on you to stand up for what you think is best for your kids regardless of how others in society might think.

    • thanks lillian, as i said it’s not easy sometimes, because everyone else in heading in the other direction! i’m fortunate to have a few like-minded friends here who also home-educate, we support each other and do group activities together, so we don’t feel ‘alone’, so to speak. main thing is for our children to feel happy and secure, and remain as innocent for longer!

  2. absolutely beautiful post. I dont have any children. but i have a niece who is 4 going on eternity and a nephew who is 1. the reason i say my niece is going on eternity is not for the above reasons you mentioned about children growing up so fast. but because of her natural intuition, her natural wisdom and most genuine desire to understand nature and play endless hours and find the most simplest solutions for what she considers to be random situations, not problems.

    children really are our future, as cliche as it may sound. I love how you are determined to do what it takes to build a sturdy foundation with love, understanding and natural timing for your children.

    i am fortunate to have been raised the same. Great post!

    • thats great moon, i’m so happy to hear it! yes, our children are certainly our future…i don’t plan to change the world, but I have been bestowed 4 children who are my responsibility, so i will make sure i give them my best…and hopefully they will do the same too in the future…

  3. Salam my dear friend,
    I am with you on this. Let children be children and let them grow at their own pace. When all my children’s friends and my friends’ children are sent for tuition classes [in order to prepare them for their upcoming exams sometimes years too early], my children just stay home after school reading story books, playing dolls etc. We would be coloring, story telling, playing games etc. And, they turn out all right and they are very close with each other and with my hubby and I.
    I truly believe that you and I are on the right track. [ high five :)) ]

  4. waalaikumsalam dearie, good to hear from you…wonderful to hear about how you raised your girls, our amanah from Allah right…it’s not what people think that matters at the end of the day…its whether we have carried out our responsibility the best we can…i’m fortunate to be able to home-educate here, don’t think it’s widely recognised in Malaysia…although I have read about a group of people doing it in KL…