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Your Child's Reading ability

  1. #25
    Lolipop is offline Registered User
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    May 2007
    Hong Kong
    Yes I agree Linda, and indeed Lily and I have a full 'fun' academic schedule throughout the day that promotes academic learning in all areas. I find leaving a child to play on their own and not spending time with them 'teaching them about the world' just as abusive as force feeding academic studies to them. But like you I find the learning in local schools in Hong Kong to be unrealistically 'harsh' (not really the right word but can't think of better) - especially for young toddlers (2-4yr olds).

    I am not judging anyone, indeed I have a lot of respect for parents who love their children enough to spend time with them every day teaching them about the world. I have always spent a lot of time with my daughter reading, drawing, playing in the park, playing make believe dress up and everything else, and through that she is a smart kid (and will definitely be reading by the time she is 4yrs). But, I think that a lot of parents in this city do feel pressured into a certain academic standard for their children - even when they are just 2 yrs old! I don't know where it comes from, but I do think it can put a strain on children's true learning (which is not just academic). I also think that unlike any other city in the world a lot of parents here do not have time to spend with their children (although I am sure they would like to) so they try to look for quick fixes to get their children up to this very high achieving standard - flash cards is lets face it quite a quick fix! In fact the beauty of flash cards is anyone can do it - even the helper.

    On the other hand though, because I do have a 'smart' kid, at 36 months old she does actually thrive in the 'harsh' environment of a local school (in an international class) because it is so academically orientated! So now we are moving to a different country I worry that she will not get the same challenging environment that she seems to love so much ...

    I guess, in a nut shell, when it comes down to it, it is about the children, and finding what truly makes them happy.


  2. #26
    Bubbly is offline Registered User
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    May 2006
    Hong Kong

    Well said Linda & Lolipop. I agree totally with you. To me, it has always been 'do what you think is best for your child and do not judge other'.

    Lolipop, I am sure your child will do well and adapt well whereever she goes! Good luck with the move.

  3. #27
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung
    READ at 12 months???? most kids can't even talk by then! how can they possibly read??

  4. #28
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung
    ps. i know a fellow english tutor that has a mother force feeding her 4/5 year old daughter vocabulary now because she "won't have time to learn it later on"

    i have no problem with children learning, but many in this city forget that a child's main work is PLAY!!! THAT'S how kids learn! they learn through interaction. they learn problem solving. they even learn physics/structural engineering (think centre of gravity when building a tower!) the only difference is that they can't say, "you see, mother... if i place the block too much to one side, the whole tower collapses. this is because i haven't figured out the correct centre of gravity upon which the whole tower depends."

    please, let your kids be kids for as long as possible! they have 2 decades of schooling to look forward to...they will have a whole lifetime of learning, IF you teach them a love of learning and instill in them a hunger for knowledge and a "child-like" sense of curiosity!

    good luck to all mothers out there. we are all doing the best we know how.

  5. #29
    loupou is offline Baby Guru
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    Mar 2003
    New Territories
    Hi all,

    Disjointed ramblings below.


    Ends and means, ends and means. You cannot separate out ends and means.

    People say that they want a child who will be successful & happy - but what do they mean by that? One culture or one parent's idea of success could be completely opposite to another.

    In some cultures at some times - having a child who grew up to be a celibate contemplative was the height of success, because that was the greatest thing a person could do.

    However, for many people in most parts of the "developed world", if their son or daughter now says "I am going to live secluded and take a vow of chastity, poverty, and obedience" the parents would go "Oh, no!"

    Why are some parents so worried or concerned about academic success for their kids?

    Because they see the limited spaces in the universities, and they see education as one of the primary methods of social mobility (which it has been in Chinese society since Imperial Exams began in the Han Dynasty). They want their kids to have a "better" life than their own.

    Or, they may be worried because they attribute their own financial or social success in life to their education and the friends and connections they made in the schooling and fear their children will not be able to replicate this success ("fear of falling").

    There is also the concern that children are a mirror of their parents. If one's child does well in school and goes to a "good" university - it reflects well on the parents (they must have done things right!).

    In the USA (where I am from) - many parents are concerned about their kids' athletic prowess. The energy and devotion that the parents and communities bring to watching the young people's athletics is somewhat similar to the way that in Hong Kong, the newspapers and television stations cover the HKCEE and A-levels results.

    So, where I grew up, what is a "happy & successful" young person? Often, the one who gets picked first for the ball teams, the captain of the team, the "starters" on the high school basketball or football (US rules) teams.

    If I want to raise a child who is a champion meditator, I guess I would start him or her out at 18 months practicing sitting still and quieting the mind. If I want to raise a child who is a champion contortionist, I would probably start him or her learning to twist into pretzel shapes at the age of 2 or 3. If I wanted to raise a champion ice hockey player - I would probably get him or her out on the ice at the age of 2 or 3. After all, don't all children naturally love to find quiet within, or stand on their heads, or glide on the ice?

    Of course, some will have a natural disposition that makes them better at meditating, acrobatics, or ice hockey than other children. As they age, they will also see if their own inclinations match their training. Others will always remain mediocre or at it, or burn out on it, or become good at it, but not really LOVE it. Others (very few) will become adepts and LOVE it.

    So, my hope for my kids are to raise people who are "well integrated" who understand and know their weaknesses and strengths. I want them to know how to do research and learn to ask interesting questions, because that has given so much pleasure to me (just like a golfer mom may want her kids to learn to golf, because it gives her so much pleasure).

    I want them also to have a strong sense of service and work hard to do good in the world, to help those born less fortunate (even, if they cannot afford the latest technological wonder or fashionable clothes). I hope to instill in them a strong conscience. So, this means I hope that for a good part of their lives they sit around examining themselves and seeing how they Fall Short & Fail & firmly resolve to do better. Nice mother, hunh?

    So, since these are my ends, the means I use to achieve them are different from a parent who wants his or her kid to get 9As in a big exam & play cello for the Philharmonic.

    Is my goal better than others? Sometimes I think so. Other times I think I'm just fooling myself & that it's no better or worse, just different.

    Ends and Means.
    Last edited by loupou; 09-23-2007 at 03:08 PM.

  6. #30
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung
    "help develop their children’s full potential not in sacrifice of their happy childhood deserve equal respect"

    i agree with you to a certain extent.

    how do you think those children feel when their parents end up on the evening news in hysterics because their child didn't get into the school they were hoping for???

    do you think that makes the child feel whole? loved for themselves? that there is more to them than marks and getting into the "best" school?

    or do you think that they are more likely to feel inferior? inadequate? unable to please mummy and daddy and therefore not good enough???

    growing up in canada, i can honestly say that i NEVER heard of young kids jumping out of buildings because they were afraid they hadn't done well enough in school.

    in my 12 years here, it saddens me every year to hear of these poor kids who felt so alone and so much pressure that the only way out of it was through a window!!!

    my respect of other's ways only extends so far....

    and to those parents that do push their kids to "succeed" remember, you only have this time with them once. you will NEVER get it back again!

    (this is not directed at anyone on this forum, just as a general observation.)

  7. #31
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
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    Jan 2007
    I think it's interesting that those 'for' teaching their kids to read early, doing flash cards etc seem to think that us 'for' learning through play and leaving our children to be children are 'against' education or our children doing well at school. I'm all for my children succeeding at school but for them to get good grades does not mean (in my opinion) that they need to be taught to read by 12 months of age. This insistance that a 6 month old or 2 year do this or do that every day so they WILL succeed is a bit bizarre and frankly naive. Your child may in fact learn to read early but this doesn't mean it will stop them from being an average student if they are not an academic all rounder or if they are not actually as smart as you would like them to be.

    I fully subscribe to the belief that the biggest reason parents want their kids to succeed is parental ego. Look how smart, athletic my child is = I am a good parent, I am a good person. It's the same for parents of babies who sleep through the night early or don't cry much. 'my baby doesn't cry = i am such a good parent'. Anyone who has had more than one child will know how ridiculous a notion that is. Not everything our children do is a result of what we do or who we are.

  8. #32
    Linda&Hanley is offline Registered User
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    May 2004
    HK Island
    To what extent do you agree that "those parents exercising their will to help develop their children’s full potential not in sacrifice of their happy childhood deserve equal respect"?

    If I'm to tackle this question, there are certainly a number of terms to define first. Among those important but vague words are ‘full potential’ and ‘happy childhood’. Of course we can’t take things for granted and assume that all children have equal potential in all areas. As such, ‘to help develop their full potential’ would be better interpreted as ‘to assist’ (instead of ‘to push’) them in areas that they show good potential. ‘Happy childhood’ is difficult to interpret as there could never be consensus among individuals. Yet what I can be sure is that parents who have expectations far exceeding the capabilities of their children and who force their children to take their value and judgment are ruining their childhood.

    I think what we as parents need to bare in mind is that the means we use may not result in the ends we expect. Opening windows of opportunities for our children should never be a sin. What matters is how much we accept our children as they are and how we show our love and understanding disregarding what the final outcome is.

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