sometimes I pick up this book when I have a spare minute. I snatched it from a friend’s to-be-thrifted pile and am always glad i did.

I don’t believe in heavily structured, teacher-directed activities at any age, but i think such activities are most damaging when forced on tiny children. Babies don’t need to have flash cards flipped in their faces in order to stimulate proper brain development. There have been experiments conducted which proved that rats in a natural environment learned more and had better brain development than those who were being trained by experts in an artificial environment. I doubt that God made human babies less capable than rats.
–Mary Hood , Ph.D.
As a mother I have changed dramatically in my approach to ‘teaching’ my children so much from when Naomi was born. I was terrified that I was going to hold her back in some way if I didn’t do my best to expose and ‘teach’ her things she might not otherwise learn. It’s a good thing I had her first, now she’s the only one of my children who will ever have suffered from the force-feeding of ‘nutritional brain stimulation’, but she’s always been good at shutting me down.
As with any vitamin, learning from the real food of life is the only REAL nourishment available. What my kids learn from exploring the world with open eyes is more than I could hope to teach them on purpose. So, now we only sit down for stories and short activities–there may be more ‘structured’ time as they get older, but I truly now believe that the BEST thing I can do for my children is promote a joyful and eager spirit towards learning, that’s all.
Giving them more freedom to roam, experiment, play, eat dirt, swing, dig, mimic, defy (to a healthy extent), get hurt even–the rest will likely take care of itself. Drew and I like to try and learn new things, demonstrating this is all they need.
I can say, in the experimenting I’ve done on child #1 and #2, no flashcards, no ‘Baby Einstein’, no constant 123’s and abc’s; they are excellent learners–it’s obvious, even in our 10 month old. Naomi, she is too, but I often wonder if the butting of heads we go through from time to time isn’t in part due to the throat-shoving I toyed with when she should have just been figuring it out for herself…

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