". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Learning Has Nothing to Do with Age

Evan started swimming lessons last week. He has taken lessons before and has some basic skills but is behind where most kids are by this age. This is largely due to the fact that we are not a big swimming family. Nor are we a big soccer family, a big baseball family, or a big [fill in the blank with the physical activity of your choice] family. We have always tried to have our kids do something physical, but jocks we are not and never will be.

For lessons we are going to a local swim school that offers classes during the day all year long. Evan is taking class twice per week. One of the classes is made up of him and three adorable, tiny little girls that barely come up to his belly button. When Evan and his classmates climb out of the pool to walk to the diving board it looks like a scene out of Gulliver's Travels. The other class has several boys that are a tiny bit bigger, but not much. In fact, Evan is by far the oldest child in the entire place both days that we go to class.

Evan has not uttered a single word of concern about being in a class with younger children. I don't think it has occurred to him that some kids might be bothered or embarrassed about the situation. I attribute this to homeschooling. He simply does not equate learning with age but understands that people learn at different paces and different times according to their readiness and their circumstances. This comes of growing up in a house where different-aged people learn together all the time and where it is not unusual for someone younger to be "ahead" of someone older. (Exhibit A: his mother, who is still trying to learn the Small Catechism that his brother and sister mastered years ago.)

Let's hear it (again) for homeschooling.


Susan said...

This is happy news on several fronts.

Have you ever run into situations where the organization will not allow you to sign up your kids because they're not in the expected age range. That drives me nuts around here. Maybe the introduction to soccer, or the beginning tennis lessons, or the first art lesson or whatever, they have an age range that's only a couple of years. And they won't let you sign up outside that age range. So yeah, if you don't sign up for the introductory level at age 4-6, for instance, you can't sign up at all, because later you're "Too Old" for it. Bah humbug.

Maybe I should print out your blog post and mail it to the city -rec director. :-)

Cheryl said...

Susan, where we have run into the age barrier is with team sports. Kids start on them so young these days that if you try to get a kid involved when he is 9 or 10 instead of 4 or 5, he is going to be way behind. I understand that you can't have 12-year-olds playing baseball with 7-year-olds, so I'm not sure what the answer is. Maybe a league for beginners or the athletically challenged? But there's probably not enough demand for that. One place we have not run into the age stratification is Tae Kwon Do. In our experience it is entirely based on skill. When Caitlin was taking it she had much younger kids in her class all the way up to adults. When it came time to do anything involving contact, students would pair off with someone close to their size. It was one of the things I really appreciated about Tae Kwon Do.