I came across this article shared by a fellow mum in my SAHM group and just like it so much! Coincidentally, the title of the article is 'What should a 4 year old know?' and hey, my Benjamin is 4 years old this year!
Excerpt from the article on what should a 4 years old know:
1. She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.
2. He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn't feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.
3. She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.
4. He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he'll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.
5. She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she's wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvelous. She should know that it's just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that-- way more worthy.
Now my point is, I do sometimes worry my 4 years old boy is slow in learning things (I'm homeschooling my kids by the way...) and although I keep reminding myself each child is different and unique, do not ever compare my child with others but you know, somehow you can't help it when you hear/see other parents sharing their kids' achievement in so and so (worse if their kids are younger than yours!)
There were times I was having doubts whether I'm taking it too slow and easy with my child's progress, or should I hurry him up or just maintain the pace, I mean, as a homeschooling mum, I am not referring to any syllabus yet (again, my children are just 4 years old and 1.5 years old) and hence the doubts and worries whether I'm too slow and etc. But if I'm following other preschools syllabus/guidelines, wouldn't I be forcing ourselves to stay competitive or on par with other children?
It doesn't help when you are staying in a country that is pretty competitive, where parents eagerly (or to put it in honest words, can't wait to) send xtheir kids to school so that they get an early head start on education. I once read an article (sorry, I can't seem to find that exact article anymore, the closest I got is this) that parents in our neighbour country send their children to kindergarten/pre-schools as early as 3 years old and their kids even have exams at that age! 3 years old!
Now that is definitely something I do not want to happen to my children. I want my children to play as much as they can while they are still young, not to be burdened by exams, syllabus, stress, competitions and so on. Not at that young age, no!
To be honest, I didn't even attend any preschools or classes or playgroups or music lessons etc... I started my kindergarten at age 6. Before that, I pretty much roamed around freely in my neighborhood area (back then it was really safe and we don't have any fears walking around alone or anything)
So what I would normally do is to on and off knock some sense into my head and keep telling myself to focus on what my kiddos are great with, well, in terms of other things other than academically wise. Be it manners, language skills, imagination, social skills and so on. And yes, I definitely need to increase more book readings to my kiddos!
Well, if you followed my Facebook page, you will sometimes see me posting videos (or Youtubes clips) I took of my kiddos showing me where is so and so countries on this world map of ours in our playroom. Don't get me wrong, I teach them the countries only because they are related to our relatives who stays in Sweden, Australia, Japan or went to Hong Kong for holidays, or Canada for further studies and to some of the shows my kiddos watched (Lilo & Stitch in Hawaii, Captain America in United States). You can watch some of the videos I took of my kiddos' learning using the world map here and here.
Now back to the question of the day... what should my child know? Well, like the excerpts from the article, I want my child to know that he/she still has loads of time to play and just enjoy being a kid for now! We'll take it one day at a time and learn through play and no pressure or stress in learning things!
(First time I jokingly asked Ben to draw a face on the balloon and he did it!)
So what do you think? What should your child know?