Thursday, July 15, 2010

Go Wide

One thing about having bright children is you are constantly trying to keep them challenged.  They move so quickly that stuff that keeps most children challenged for weeks bores the girls in days.  Stuffed away in cabinets and drawers, we have the books, puzzles and games to prove it.  They loved each one for a short time and then forgot about each one.  I was talking to a teacher friend about this and she said, "You need to go wide."

I really like this idea. 

A lot of people brag that their first grader is reading fourth, fifth or sixth grade books.  I understand why this seems like a good idea, but we don't want them reading books that are inappropriate for their age group.  While they can read the words, most of those books have situations and stories that are inappropriate for their age group.  It's true they can read the story, but they are not really grown-up enough to comprehend it all.  And, truth be told, I'm not sure I want them to know about all those situations and issues this soon.

Instead, to feed their curiosity, we're building on different interests.  The girls want to learn Spanish, so we have a book/CD set featuring Dora the Explorer.  While they feel like they are too old to watch the show, they like learning Spanish from her.  When they outgrow that set, we have the Hooked on Phonics series waiting.  They continue to be interested in nature.  We nurture that through books and programs.  The brunette twin came home from a program discussing invertebrates and what it means for animals not to have a spine. 

We have a piano now, which means we'll soon have piano practice in the house.  Of course, Daddy says the best time to practice is between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but I think the girls will practice on the weekends too.  After all, why should he miss all the practice entertainment?

The idea of "going wide" has a lot of appeal for me on several levels.  Most of all I like that it exposes the girls to a lot of different activities to support their interests.  I don't think being several steps above grade level in reading or math is the only measure of a bright child.  I think it includes the ability to solve problems, be creative and understand how different things work.  Going wide seems to fit with that philosophy, so we'll try it for a while.  At this point, there doesn't seem to be any downside to it.

1 comment:

Noelle said...

I'm so glad to see this post. I'm pitching an art history/appreciation curriculum to my daughter's school (a music-based arts academy) and have been starting to waver a little. But you're right, why shouldn't we "go wide"? Elementary school art doesn't always have to be tissue paper and cotton balls!