“Mama! SHOW ME HOW TO WRITE 9!”
Said, 4yo Muhammad as we sat in the car to go somewhere. He had to yell because I was distracted and didn’t respond to him the first three times he asked me the same question.
I had to trace 9 with my finger on his brother’s back to show him how it’s written.
“So one line and a circle?” He reflected back to me.
“Yes, sweet boy.”
“Like P?” Piped Yahya, his twin brother.
I smiled. “Yes, similar to P but facing the opposite way.”
Like this? They both drew it in the air.
“Yes!” I confirmed.
They both smiled and sat back and started discussing the merits of 9 versus P.
We’ve had many similar conversations since they were about 3. They were also speech delayed so these conversations started later that “average” but they’re very frequent and always fun!
The attached picture also shows you the afore-mentioned Muhammad trying to read the letters on his placemat. Another frequent occurrence.
Why am I sharing this? Because every time we post in the group that children shouldn’t be forced to “study” and do academics... We get some version of the exact same question,
“But what about the schools? They won’t accept a child who can’t do xyz.”
We are NOT saying that your 5/6 year old won’t KNOW anything simply because you didn’t push it on them.
We’re saying, step back and FACILITATE their learning instead of forcing and they WILL still learn a lot.
Respectful parenting and mainstream parenting often have the exact same outcomes in terms of what we achieve... that is.. a 5yo who knows how to read and write their name, for example. It’s HOW we get to that end result that matters and is the difference between a brain developed with trust and patience versus a brain developed with fear and coercion.
No one is saying your 5/6yo should start school not knowing ANYTHING. I promise you... IF you trust them and give them time, they WILL 100% not only learn but be ahead of their peers at some point in shaa’Allah. The same is true for any aged-kid who’s seems stuck. Step back. Give space. Trust. They WILL catch up. Even if it takes an year. Or two. In the long run it’s not much time and absolutely worth saving your child’s learning abilities and love of learning.
How am I so sure about this? Because children were born to learn. They’re on the fitrah. My trust in my children is a testament to my trust in my Creator and His divine design.
Now it’s true that all children develop differently and some will be more “academic” than others.
Muhammad and Yahya are both four. Muhammad can write his own name, his brothers’, sister’s and parents’ names. He can spell a few different words as well as count farther than Yahya.
Yahya though, can recognize more letters than Muhammad. He also cracks the most hilarious jokes so his social skills are more advanced.
They’re BOTH very visibly just filled with the love of learning ماشا لاء۔
A little background- Even though they’ve been majorly “unschooled” (no structured learning from parent- only facilitation like in the example above)- they were in a play-based preschool program since age 3.. they attended for about 6-7 months before COVID started. Since then they meet their teachers once a week for 30 minutes online. The teachers read, play games and sing songs. These teachers have declared that the twins are both kindergarten ready الحمدللہ