If one were planning to home school their son or daughter, what age would one start? I know that in China, some children start into school before they are two and have picked up a second language by the time they are three. The schools here start at age five; I suspect that a child may do better if they start a formal education sooner.

Thoughts anyone?

asked 24 Sep '09, 21:30

Mark's gravatar image

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Learning starts as soon as your child is born. Right from the beginning, just talk to them, expose them to language, two if you want them to be bilingual. Sing songs that teach body parts, animals and animals sounds, numbers, letters, colours. Learning doesn't have to be formal and can always be going on.

I'm hearing from my neighbours with children who have just started school in the last couple of years that by the time their kids started Junior Kindergarten (age 4 in Canada, 3 if they have a fall birthday) they were expected to be able to write their name, say the alphabet, and know their numbers at least to 10.


answered 25 Sep '09, 02:19

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Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 06 Sep '10, 14:24

Children need to be around other children from 24 months onwards. Playgroups or creches both part-time or full time provide such an enviroment. Children play,learn and also learn to share and be part of a group at the same time and those exposed to these enviroments are better adjusted to attending Junior Kindergarten.

We discovered this with our daughter and were able to see a clear difference between those children who had attended playgroups and those who had been at home. Those who had attended some form of playgroup, were distinctivley more social and confident.

"Homeschooling" could also be refered to what takes place during the time when you are home with your child. The programmes you watch, the activities that you do together and the things that you talk about during the early years will be a form of education.


answered 25 Sep '09, 08:08

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accept rate: 19%

edited 07 Sep '10, 14:17


"Children need to be around other children from 24 months onwards." - Citation required. :)

(25 Sep '09, 09:44) Scott ♦♦

Whoops. ! It is my experience that 2 year olds enjoy being in an enviroment with other children, particularly with controlled acivities dedicated to them. I have also been able to see and compare how children with fulltime carers or nannies develop socially, and the difference was quite remarkable. Depending on where you reside I think the enviroment also helps you make the right choice.

(25 Sep '09, 10:24) Emi

You can start doing exercises with your kids when you feel they are ready to understand what you are trying to teach.

My husband and I started working with our daughter on the alphabet, recognizing the letters, when she was about 2 1/2. We could write out any capital letter and she would identify it by the time she was 3. She'll be 4 in a few days and can already spell her first and last name (my userid shows our last name, many adults have trouble with it).

Basically, if you think your kid can handle learning another language or reading or algebra, go for it. And let us know what worked and what didn't.


answered 25 Sep '09, 00:12

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

As far as a child learning a second language, young childrens' mental pathways are more capable of learning languages than adults, so that isn't much of a surprise that children in China have learned a second language at such a young age.

As far as home schooling, it really depends on what you call schooling and the capabilities of your child. What you have to remember, and what is difficult for parent's to understand at times, is that your child may not be capable of grasping what you are trying to teach. It varies from child to child obviously, but concepts just can't be taught any earlier than they are, so starting school earlier, won't necessarily net an advantage in regards to learning information. Math is a really good example of this, young children may be able to count, but most don't understand fractions at that time. It's not a "why don't you just try harder problem" it really is an inability to understand it before a certain age (I can't remember the exact age which most children are able to learn fractions).

There is an excellent book I would recommend called Einstein Never Used Flashcards.


answered 25 Sep '09, 14:27

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If I were to homeschool my child, I would probably start teaching them basic things such as: colors, ABCS, Numbers, etc when they turned 3 (Preschool age). That way you can start slow and then work your way up each year. This will also get them used to listening and following simple instructions earlier than later.


answered 26 Sep '09, 06:11

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Melissa 1
accept rate: 15%

@Scott: Apparently I can't answer to the answer like you just did. I guess it's part of voting.

As for the "back it up". Well I can't back it up by citing X number of studies on the subject but I thought the mirror example illustrated the point quite well. The smaller kids actually just couldn't recognize themselves in a mirror, but with time, every child will be able to do it. No forcing them to sit in front of a mirror once a week to make them "learn it" required. Btw., a quick Google search for "when to start schooling at home" reveals http://school.familyeducation.com/home-schooling/preschool/40727.html as link number 2, which basically says what I said though, with a quote and pointing to appropriate books.

To quote from there: "I used a quote in a homeschooling article: 'Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.' Yes, you can send your son to preschool and beyond. He can be made to memorize lots of facts and figures. But is this true education? Has he learned to love learning? Read 'How Children Learn' or anything else by John Holt [...] Let him be a kid, exploring, building, and having fun. In a short time, you and he will discover what he's good at, and what he loves to do. And when that happens, you won't be able to hold him back! That is true learning.".

I btw. said what I said based on what my mother told me about (my) education and small children, whenever I told her about what I saw other kids had to do at home, like working through pre-school learning books with their parents and stuff like that. To "prepare them for school". She was a social worker. One of the most important facts she always stressed was to let kids be kids, let them play and figure things out on their own (time). Sure you can nudge them in the right direction. My mother for example used to read "Was ist Was" ("What's what"? http://www.wasistwas.de/) to me for bedtime. I was fascinated by it (my discovering what I'm good at) and especially with the books about history I always read dates and numbers, while my mother read the text. However I was free to get anything else read to me and actually started reading completely on my own with Donald Duck comics. That's proper nudging. Our neighbor's kids had to sit through learning sessions to learn the clock or numbers etc. at home.

The same thing does not only apply to small children. It goes on later in life. I know from personal experience in my family, how bad it can be if parents tell children what they need to be good at, what they have to choose as their career path etc. Seen that a lot in university too, where people just weren't cut out for the subject their parents made them choose. They all dropped out after a few semesters. My parents on the other hand always made it clear to me, that I am absolutely free to choose what I want to do and I studied the subject I wanted to study. Which I discovered on my own, through playing (computer games) and then tinkering with the computer because it interested me. And when something like that happens, when children find something they love, don't hold them back and let them learn.


answered 11 Sep '10, 00:39

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Alex 3
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@Alex thank you for backing up your earlier post. Relating information you learned from personal experience or were told/taught by a parent/physician or other professional is acceptable, we just want you to let us know where you heard it so that others know where it is coming from. In the future you can simply edit the original post to make the changes.

(13 Sep '10, 21:20) Tammy ♦♦

From what I have been taught, do not try to forcibly home school your children. Letting them go to school when they're supposed to is totally fine. Let them play and have fun and teach them some numbers etc. but don't do it in a "home schooling" way. I.e. don't sit down with them every day at the same time and try to teach them something specific for an hour or so.

As other people already said, some things, children just don't grasp at all at certain ages. It's just like recognizing themselves in a mirror. I remember seeing a documentary, where they followed small children to study these things. Even when the children recognized themselves in the mirror, they were still not able to remove something attached to their shirts, which they only saw in the mirror. They still kept touching the mirror to remove it. Really funny and illustrates the point I think.

A personal example: I learned the alphabet in school and I turned out to be just fine (started school some time between the ages of 6 and 7). Sometimes I think certain things in math should have been taught earlier in school (post-primary school math, which in Germany is the first 4 grades), as I had no trouble with the math itself but at some point puberty just got in the way :)


answered 09 Sep '10, 01:24

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Alex 2
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edited 13 Sep '10, 21:21

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Tammy ♦♦

Hi Alex. We appreciate the personal comments in the last paragraph, but do you have any evidence to backup the statement in your first paragraph? Please see our back-it-up principle for more information on what I'm talking about: http://moms4mom.com/back-it-up

(09 Sep '10, 01:51) Scott ♦♦
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Asked: 24 Sep '09, 21:30

Seen: 7,132 times

Last updated: 13 Sep '10, 21:21