Huge Secret to discover the best time to teach

HUGE Secret To Discover the Best Time to Teach Your Child

Have you ever had a child who didn’t seem to be ready to learn something when you first tried to teach him? Or, have you had a child who was ready to learn something BEFORE you were ready to teach him? What is the best time to teach our kids various skills?

Huge Secret to Discover the Best Time to Teach Your Child

There are books FILLED with information about what to teach your child in various years of their schooling. Some people cling to these books for the comfort of knowing that they are teaching their kids information at the proper time. But is it possible that these books are doing more harm than good?

Our schools are even set up on the premise that all kids should learn certain skills at specific ages. In my opinion, that is a bad idea! Our kids are all unique individuals with various strengths and weaknesses. Some kids are ready to learn how to read at age 3, while others aren’t ready until closer to age 10. Some of our kids are blessed with excellent hand-eye coordination and are able to learn to ride a bike or even use power tools (with Dad’s help) at young ages, where other kids struggle in this area and are unable to learn until much later. And some are never able to get the hang of using them at all!

Pushing Kids vs Waiting Until They’re Ready

Rather than relying on a school administrator or a book to tell you when to teach your child various skills, consider observing your child to determine when he is ready to learn them. For instance, many experts tell parents that they can and should potty train their child at 1 1/2 or 2 years of age. This works for some children. However, many moms struggle and beat their heads against the wall for a long time to try to train their young toddlers when if they would have just waited until the child was ready, they would have saved the whole family a lot of grief.

I know that this was true with potty training in one of my son’s instances. We tried and tried to train this son, to no avail. It was an excruciating process. We rewarded and punished and begged and trained but this son resisted all of our efforts. It got to the point where we were very concerned that this son would NEVER learn to go on the toilet.

Huge secret to discover the best time to teach
Fortunately, we stumbled onto an educational computer game for little kids that this son ADORED. We let him play it for a few days and then genius struck. We said that big boys go to the bathroom on the toilet. And only big boys could play this game. That’s all it took. Our son was now ready to be trained. He put on big boy underwear and never looked back. He never had any accidents. Not even at night. And we never had to remind him to use the toilet. He was instantly trained once HE was ready.

This also brings up a huge point. Not only do our sons need to be ready physically but they need to be ready mentally and emotionally as well. Once this son saw the benefit of being potty trained, he jumped on board and the process was painless.

HUGE Secret To Discover the Best Time to Teach Your Child

Knowing When to Ease Up

Another example is teaching cursive. I worked with my boys diligently on trying to teach them cursive writing. Neither of them wanted to learn how to do it. Practicing was always a chore. They did it but their hearts weren’t in it. After several years of struggling to get them to write in cursive, we figured they knew it well enough to get by and started letting them print again. I figured I always print when I’m taking notes and they would probably be the same way.

After a few years of not using cursive and not really being able to do it very well anyway, both of my boys pretty much lost the ability altogether. How depressing!

So, imagine my surprise when one of my sons came up to me this summer and said that he wants to re-learn cursive writing this year. Be still my heart! And you know what?!? I’ll bet it sticks this time because he is the one who wants to learn it.

When is the best time to teach?

You can make this case for just about every subject. Reading would be the one subject that I think kids should master as soon as they are able; however, some kids struggle in this area and don’t learn to read until they’re much older. Mark Hamby, the owner of Lamplighter Publishing, says that he didn’t read his first full book until he was in his 20s.

And George Winston, one of my absolute favorite piano players, didn’t learn to play the piano until he was in his 20s, either!

Huge Secret to Discover the Best Time to Teach Your Child

My husband and I have been concerned because one of our sons isn’t wanting to do much with math but, we console ourselves with the fact that he can get himself caught up in that area if he really wants to.

I took a homeschooling high school seminar with a mom in our area and she said that she allowed her kids to fall behind in certain areas but told them that if they ever changed their mind and wanted to pursue those subjects in college or for a job, they’d have to put in the work to get themselves caught up.

And that her son did that exact thing. He was hired by a computer company and his math skills were deficient. So, he pushed himself to complete several years of math in a few months to allow him to pursue what he wanted to pursue.

So, when is the best time to teach something? The absolute best time is to teach it when our children are ready to learn. We can’t always wait until they’re completely ready but keeping this principle in mind will help us over the long haul. If we can help our kids to learn about things that they are passionate about, we will be sure that they will actually internalize that knowledge rather than just being able to check it off our list that we’ve “taught” them something.

Question: Have you found this to be true? Do your kids learn better when THEY want to learn something rather than when WE want them to learn it? Please leave a comment below.

Huge Secret to Discover the Best Time to Teach Your Child

24 thoughts on “HUGE Secret To Discover the Best Time to Teach Your Child”

  1. Yes, when they are ready to learn! There’s a saying, “Spend week’s trying to teach your child their colors or wait until their ready and spend a few minutes….” or something to that affect. It is so true! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes, Yes and Yes Our children are individuals made by God for God’s purposes in God’s Time. That is why I decided to hs after teaching in public and private schools…I knew God through me could teach my boys what they needed to know for God’s work!!

    1. Michelle Caskey

      That’s wonderful, Lynn. Thankful that more and more parents are realizing this same thing. Thanks so much for the comment! 🙂

  3. Well said ! I am struggling teaching my 5 year old boy to read. It seems he can’t get the concept of a letter sound. And this makes me feel like a failure. And making me want to put him to school. Where more capable teachers are available. But then i realized that it will make no difference. He is not ready mentally. I realized it. He is good with math and so eager when we learn it. But it is so different with reading.

    1. Michelle Caskey

      I’m so glad you realized that, Susan. Yes, keep working with your son… gently. And you’ll be able to tell when he’s ready to read. All of a sudden it will click. Focus mostly on math and stuff that gets him excited about learning. Your son is very fortunate that he has a mom who is willing to work according to his timetable versus one who is going to try to force the issue. 🙂

  4. I love that homeschooling allows me to take as much time as I need with my children in certain subjects. It also gives me an amazing amount of control in shaping their interests and their passions. For example, my son was doing fine with the mental challenge of reading at ages 5 and 6; however he completely lost interest in learning this skill. We came to a dead stand still. I had to back up and look at why he was not interested, and how I might alter his environment to increase his motivation. I read to my kids A LOT. They also enjoy quite a mix of DVDs and Netflix programs, many of which are educational. My son had no reason to learn to read. I decided that he was going off of electronic entertainment, including educational shows. In addition, I would no longer read to him. He LOVED to hear stories, but he was content to use adults as a crutch instead of learning self-sufficiency. I did not resort to this as a punishment. I used it to show him how dependent he was on other people and how unsatisfying illiteracy is. He started making a serious effort in reading and is currently doing great with it. After a while I started reading to him again, and he got to have other entertainment sources back. My point is that as homeschoolers, we have a tremendous amount of control over what our kids are allowed to focus on and give their time and affection to.

  5. I very much agree, especially about potty training. My oldest was ready when he was 2, my girl was ready before 2 and I have a 20 month old now who I don’t think will be ready for a while yet. It’s a lot about individual temperament and their experience with things. Kids are just little adults and every one of them is very much their own person! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  6. It is so important for parents to be in touch with their kids skills and build them up. The world is going to everything to tear them down as life goes on. As far as teaching subjects they aren’t ready for, I know this isn’t great, but reading is one of those skills that is helpful for all subjects, there are so many books that help with math, sciences of all kinds, history and so much. It’s a matter of finding the topics that kids are interested in, and then picking things that focus on what they enjoy while adding knowledge. Just keep learning and teaching and building up… it’s all about loving your kids in the best ways possible.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing other’s thoughts.

    Marissa

    The Cozy Reading Spot is open

    1. Michelle Caskey

      I definitely agree. Reading is an important skill. Fortunately, there are ways to get around it until our kiddos are ready to learn it… Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  7. This post is exactly what I needed to hear. I try to match teaching content to my kids’ current stage of readiness, but then …. I get carried away by shoulds. My friends’ kids in a fancy private school are doing X, Y AND Z already! My kids then SHOULD be able to do it too, but they are not! Am I doing something wrong? It’s easy to get caught up in a web of comparisons, try to feed them what they are not ready for, and end up feeling frustrated and stressed. I know all too well that for learning to take place eager (and ready) mind sets the best stage, but I forget! So, thanks for the reminder! And thanks for sharing your wonderful insights with us at #LearningKidLinkup. I will be sharing and pinning!

    1. This is me. Thank you! My oldest learned to read on his own at age 4 from some phonics records (old 78’s!) that had been left in our house by previous owners. Eight subsequent children learned to read at an average age…and now I’m homeschooling my eight year old grandson and he is struggling. Just last week, though, he started copying words from game boxes, magazines, etc., and singing his reading lessons! It seems we have crossed over a huge barrier…and I am so relieved and encouraged.

  8. Is anyone else having trouble with Spelling?? My Grand Son is very good in math, and can read the books , but can not do very well on spelling test.

    1. Spelling and reading are different skills. Reading is Decoding words where spelling is Encoding words. Spelling skills often lag behind our child’s reading ability. What worked for my boys was to give them less words per week (we did 10) and to make practicing spelling words as fun as possible. I used to get words off of free reading lists on the internet and my boys would practice them using games on http://www.spellingcity.com. It’s free. Also, I told them that as soon as they were able to take the test and get at least 9 of the 10 correct, they could be done with spelling for the week. That motivated them to learn those words as quickly as possible. I hope that helps! 🙂

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