Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Disturbing Theme

It has been about a month since some of families have sent their five year-olds off to kindergarten for the first time. I have been noticing a disturbing theme emerge.

From Montessori Free Fall: start with "Following the Crowd". Then, the story continues with "Things Just Got Serious."


  1. But... aren't you worried about socialization?


    Sorry, couldn't help myself.

  2. Thanks for letting me know you linked to my blog. I had read Jean's post earlier this week and actually left a comment!

    To Evenspor, I know your comment was tounge-in-cheek, but the decision to put PBug in school wasn't one we came to easily and it had nothing to do with socializtion.

  3. Sorry, Steph. I wasn't actually addressing the comment about your situation in particular. I actually do still read your blog and know you had your reasons for sending her to school. My comment was actually meant to address the general idea that most people still have that sending small children to school is a good way to socialize them. It has absolutely nothing to do with you.

  4. i pulled my dd from school last year after only 2 weeks and decided to keep her home for similar reasons . I was criticized by many friends . this year i get phone calls from those same mums asking how are we doing at home complaining how much their kids are struggling in school environment , asking my advice , praising how well tina is doing .
    to be honest with you , i am not sure what we are doing , i still couldn't follow any set curriculum , we are just enjoying eachother company , trying to make every moment special loving and learning .

  5. School isn't the worst thing. Parent's choice is a PARENT's choice, not those who are not involved. My own daughter goes to a traditional preschool, and I homeschool her off hours and weekends with Montessori. I have this whole world to show her (and her sisters) and I will do it with all the knowledge and love in my heart. We are in all ways a Montessori home. I think when people find what works for them and their children, they feel as though it needs to work for every home, and that is not true. Fact is, every home is different and our honorable role as mothers/teachers is to follow each child.

    BTW- every kid cuts their hair at one point or another, its certainly not 'school' that did it. Blame that one on the growing wonder and abilities of a practiced scissor user!

  6. When I read Steph's post I thought of our school year last year. My Daughter has wavy hair. She would try every morning to make it straight so she could look like her friend.

    I then read the post from the Artful Parent and it reminded me of the drawings that kept coming home. She would trace her hands like her friend. The drawing would have a ring and the finger nails colored different colors. Her friend could paint her finger nails and she wanted so badly to do it also.

    She would say things like "do you like my dress" "do I look pretty" and just spend time "doing" her hair and things like that. AT AGE 4.

    I am not homeschooling because of this reason but I do love to have my little girl back talking about other things.

  7. Hey guys! I want to point out that NO WHERE in my post did I say that this was a homeschool vs. school argument. I wouldn't link to a post of a blog I like and respect and use their post as an offsite criticism of their choices! I certainly am not accusing the school of cutting their child's hair!

    I am noticing here, and other blogs I didn't link, and from my friends and their children that they are having this disturbing issue with conformity and five-year-olds. Is this a five-year-old thing? Is it something that every child goes through at some stage whether they go to school or not? My boys are both under five, I don't have the answer. IS it a school thing? Let's start a discussion and maybe someone with older children can help these moms through it. And then I'll know what to do if it starts to happen to my kids and know what to expect.

    I will say I am glad that I'm not having to deal with it right now. But does that mean I've dodged that bullet forever?

    Jessie, I don't know if you were addressing me or other commenters but either way I'm not sure anyone said what you got out of it.

  8. I know that we have had trouble teaching Beeper that when Mommy and Daddy say one thing and friends say another that he needs to follow what Mommy and Daddy say. It appears to be a very difficult concept at this age.

    On top of that, many things I have read also seem to indicate that girls tend to have an especially big tendancy toward conformity and being "pleasers" from a very young age. Remember the BYU Mean Girls study?

    I know that you've read the Moores' book. I haven't gotten my hands on it yet, but this seems to be exactly the kind of thing the quotes I've read about 'positive and negative sociability theory' are pointing to.

    I am afraid I don't know what to do about it beyond limiting the time young children spend with large groups of their peers (which obviously not everyone can do). One of the articles I read on the 'Mean Girls' study did come with tips about what to do when the bullying starts, but that doesn't seem to be the case yet here:

  9. I just remembered a funny story that also demonstrates that this type of behavior doesn't seem to have age limits. I have a bloggy friend who has been sending her daughter to daycare/preschool ever since she was a baby. Last year, the blogger posted about how her daughter and the other newly potty-trained girls (I don't remember whether these were 2 or 3-year-olds) were already exhibiting the classic female behavior of "going to the potty in groups." It was like they had an instinct, even at that age that they have to do everything together.

    People are always saying that boys will be boys. It would seem the corallary is true. Girls (for the most part) will be girls.

  10. Sorry, one more comment - remember, this is the reason the Montessori method works so well in large groups (especially when there are older children who are already "normalized" to lead the way). Children, especially at a young age, are programmed to want to do what they see others doing. It's how they learn.

    (The exceptions I keep noting are cases like autism and some types of ADHD. Sometimes I think being socially unaware can be a blessing.)

  11. I would like to offer up another perspective. Our 4 year old daughter is precocious for her age and has been socially aware of differences in people's appearances since last year. This has led to some interesting discussions about people's hair and skin color. She wakes up every morning and brushes her hair to make it straight. She hates having her hair stick out. But when she saw her aunt get married last year, she was impressed by her beautiful curly locks and has asked me to curl it for her so she can be beautiful too. When she plays with older kids, she copies their mannerisms and even their speech patterns (which I'm not find of)! All of this was disconcerting to me at first because I wanted her to focus on inner beauty. But I've realized this is a developmental thing (although she's few years ahead of the norm). I think boys typically start caring about their looks when they are older, no?

    All the while, we are homeschooling so it leads me to believe while contact with peers may have an effect, it is also innate. By the way, our feisty, stubborn, independent-minded daughter (you'll agree if you ever meet her) can also be sweet and adaptive to her environment (different from people pleasers).

    All in all, I think these girls are just being girls if there is such a thing!

  12. Very hot topic. Evenspor just so you know I have the opposite here, my boy conforms and wants to conform and I have a girl that simply will do what she wants to do. I always thought it was a gender thing but now I always try to not stereotype as I have a girl that is not the typical sit down quietly and find something to do...oh how I wish LOL!!

    I also feel that alot is innate but for us by homeschooling we can keep these things at bay just a little longer (I hope). I think this allows the child to find some more of their own identity and not feel the need to so much to just follow the crowd and to do what everybody else is doing.

    But homeschooling certainly isn't for everyone and that is a given. :-)

  13. Just like Kylie, it's my Oldest son who tends to conform. My daughter, at age 11, has never cared what anyone else did or thought. She doesn't imitate behavior, dress, or play. They are both homeschooled, and very involved in community events, co-op, and homeschool field trips. It really just seems to come down to how they're wired; not as influenced by sex or educational choices as one might think.