For some, raising kids has become a bit of a competition between parents for bragging rights about who has the smartest and most advanced child.
Comedian Crystal Lowery is all for early education when it comes to her kids — but right now, she’s just not interested in making sure her five-year-old son has advanced reading skills when he goes to kindergarten. That’s because she believes there are much more important things for her little boy to learn.
In a post for her friends who are discouraged by parental competitions, she explained that while she and her partner read books to their son all the time, they don’t yet feel it’s necessary to teach him how to read.
They’re more focused on nurturing his kindness, creativity, happiness, and wonder for the world…
…and while on the reading front, he may not be ahead of his fellow classmates when he goes to school, he’ll just have different type of knowledge that’s no less valuable.
Check out what this mom has to say about her son and his reading skills below.
I’m not teaching my 5-year-old how to read.
Don’t get me wrong, we read him books all the time. We’ve imagined ourselves in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, and we’re 170 pages into Harry Potter’s Chamber of Secrets. We’re teaching him to enjoy stories, to get lost in characters.
But we’re not teaching him how to read. Not just yet. He’s too busy learning other things.
He’s learning how to be a good sport–how to wait his turn in Candy Land and not gloat when he makes it to the King’s Ice Cream Castle before his sister does.
He’s learning how to build. From blocks, to sticks, to Legos, he feels the weight of the different materials in his little sausage fingers, and examines the physical integrity of the various structures he has made.
He’s learning how to exercise. He chases the dog, plays tag, climbs on playground equipment, dances (well), and practices karate (poorly). He’s going to need his body for a long time, so he builds his muscles through activity instead of sitting at a desk all day.
He’s learning how to take care of his things. Through trial and error (oh, so much error!) he has seen what happens when he leaves a book out in the rain, or a lump of Play Doh on the table overnight. He’s learning that you can’t rough house with an 8lb Pekingese.
He’s learning how to be creative. How to draw his own picture books full of monsters, and how to construct an imaginary spaceship with Amazon boxes.
He’s learning about ecosystems. He looks at bugs, flowers, and thunderstorms. He sees how fauna and flora inhabit the world together interdependently.
He’s learning that the key to happiness is to focus on his blessings rather than complaining about what he doesn’t have.
He’s learning how to apologize. To overcome his own hurt feelings and to empathize with other kids when there’s been a confrontation.
He’s learning how to forgive. To understand that everyone makes mistakes, and that he can love other people despite their foibles.
He’s learning important lessons every day.
But he’s not learning how to read.
And though he may not show up to his first day of Kindergarten with “advanced reading skills”, he will come to the classroom with so much more.
The ability to try new things without getting frustrated.
The ability make friends, even though friendship can be a messy business.
The ability to listen to others and follow instructions.
The ability to problem-solve.
The ability to concentrate on a task.
There is so much our children learn that cannot be measured with a standardized test. And though someday his hours will be filled with phonics, and penmanship, and fractions, we aren’t worried about all that today.
Today he has more important things to learn.
Some people responded by commending Lowery…
…while others explained that kids can still learn and have fun.