The Merits of Delayed Academics at Home and at School

This is interesting, in terms of what age kids should start school, what happens to kids with special needs and to gifted children in the present overly academic environment.

This is the headline of Deborah Orr’s article, “Children are sent to school too young in the UK. Special educational needs affect all ability levels. As other European models show, many children may be suited to less prescriptive learning – and a later start.”

I especially like, “There are many reasons why it’s not necessarily a good idea to get children learning in an academic way at too early an age. People tend to think that this puts more pressure on the less bright kids. Actually, it’s not terribly good for the majority of children – academically or psychologically. But, interestingly, it can be the brightest children who fare least well, when their natural curiosity about the world, and instinctive eagerness to learn about it, is institutionally curtailed in favour of prescriptive learning.”

Maintaining and nurturing my kids ‘natural curiosity about the world, and instinctive eagerness to learn about it’ is high on my homeschooling priority list and much better done at home I think.

“It seems like a ghastly dystopian vision, the idea that children are being forced into formal schooling too early, then being diagnosed with learning difficulties when they react badly to the straitjacket that has been laced around their intellect at too tender an age. This must be particularly awful for children whose intellect isn’t stimulated enough at home. Imagine. You find yourself in an environment where there are books and toys, other children to play with, adults who engage with you, then just as the possibilities of the world are blossoming like fireworks in your head, you’re told to sit down, be quiet, somehow silence that synaptic explosion, and concentrate on one thing to the exclusion of everything else. People in Britain don’t seem to understand how damaging our desire to get our children on to the three Rs as early as possible can be.”

I love Orr’s description of the situation, “straitjacket that has been laced around their intellect at too tender an age” and “…you’re told to sit down, be quiet, somehow silence that synaptic explosion” . I felt that both these situations were happening to my son at school and although I wasn’t worried about his academic achievement I was very worried about his happiness. He was miserable at school and now he is a much more confident person, much happier in his own individual skin.

Here’s to delayed academics!


About homeschoolingpenny

Hi and welcome! My name is Penny and I used to live in Bahrain but In November 2012 moved to Dubai and now we live in Granada, Spain! If you want to contact me my email is I recommend you start my blog on 'Day 1' but please enjoy whatever you dip into. 23 February 2012 marked the first day of no more school FOREVER for my two kids. Edward, who is nearly 10 had attended a variety of schools since he was very little. Petra, who is now 6, has never gone to school. On this date we decided Edward was never going back to school and Petra never would go to school. We hope to successfully homeschool from this day forward, although we would consider an alternative school as an option- if there was some amazing Sudbury or other really alternative school. Actually, I prefer the term 'home learning' than 'homeschool' because I don't like to think of school coming into our home. In fact, I hope to go further and guide/learn alongside, rather than teach, my kids using the 'unschooling' philosophy to instill a lifelong love of learning in them. We lived in the Middle East and now Spain all of which are very challenging places to home educate. This is an exciting journey that I used to blog about regularly, at first it was on an almost daily basis. Please join me on our travels and I hope we might be able to help each other out along the way. I certainly hope I can be a source of support and comfort and, in time, knowledge to all potential/presently participating homeschoolers/home educators/unschoolers. Good luck to us all! If you want to read about why I started home educating, why I pulled my son out of a 'very good' private school mid-term, how I felt at the very start and how my philosophy has evolved, please start from 'Day 1' of the blog. Please do post comments at the end of any days that you read. Your opinion is valuable and it's great to start up debate amongst other people commenting too, however old the post. Thank you for visiting homeschoolingmiddleeast.
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2 Responses to The Merits of Delayed Academics at Home and at School

  1. Angel Selden says:

    Thank you for posting this! I have believed this for awhile now, but it’s so nice to find research that supports it.

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