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Uncle CHiN

Dear Uncle CHiN,

I am completely commited to the homeschool concept, and am interested in developing a plan for my daughter . . . She has all but mastered "Reader & Math Rabbit" at 3 years and 5 months and has the requisite curiosity to do more. Have you any suggestions?

Signed, Tot's Mom

Dear Tot's Mom,

No, I don’t know what comes after the "Rabbit," any more than I know what is on beyond "On Beyond Zebra." I do know that your instincts will serve you well, just as they have done up to this point. Continue to feed her natural curiosity and to support her explorations. "The canary in the mine shaft" is her attitude toward learning, and as long as she’s learning with a happy heart, you are doing well by her. So, trust yourself and trust her. You are both doing great, and if you just explore and grow alongside each other, your days will be eventful and uneven—but overall fine.

Guard against developing overblown expectations, however. Kids are quirky little imps, and they have a way of confounding their parents' fondest predictions and highest hopes. Your daughter may seem to have conquered every developmental pre-reading task, and yet it may be many months—or even years—before she actually begins to read on her own. Likewise, each and every child has a personal set of stumbling blocks, tasks or areas of achievement that will pose challenges throughout his or her lifetime. If you and your youngster run up against one of her hard-to-surmount challenges and you place too much stress on achieving success, you may put her in a painful position—wanting to please you, but unable to do so. This is the sort of scenario that is called "failure" and can leave permanent scars on a child. So don't hustle too hard, Mom, especially now when she is so young and tender. Just enjoy your time together. It will be gone before you know it.

Fondly, Your Uncle CHiN


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