The Miseducation of Xavier

As an educator I am ashamed to say that I am guilty of letting the tablet teach and babysit my son. I know all the studies that say too much screen time is bad for them, but its so easy, and he enjoys it; so its one less thing I have to fight about. He watches cartoons on Netflix and Hulu as well as playing games on ABC mouse, but mostly he watches YouTube kids. I don’t understand his fascination with it but, it keeps help quiet, and some of its educational….right.

Next month is his 3rd birthday, and I have sworn to kicking it into high gear to make sure he is prepared for Pre-K and ultimately Kindergarten. At this point he can recognize most letters, numbers 1-10 and a few beyond, basic colors, and shapes. He also can understand simple Spanish commands and know some basic phrases and numbers. This is on account of his teacher at the home daycare he attends being Hispanic. She speaks to the kids in Spanish, they sing songs, and do activities to learn Spanish. I would like to keep him there long enough get a good start on being fluent and continuing him in a duel immersion program when he starts school. As a teacher I know I have to do more with him than just what he learns at daycare and later school. I can’t be a hypocrite, I have to be the parent I wish my students had.

Don’t get me wrong, it not like I haven’t done ANYTHING with him. Since he was a newborn I’ve read to him every single night. I know that is a big factor in him developing fluency and literacy skills. We used to do puzzles and flash cards all the time. As he has become more active and sometimes his behavior down right unbearable, I’ve settled for just keeping him subdued. He has a table that he uses in the living room for eating mostly, but it flips up and he can draw on it. Sometimes I give him one of his coloring pages and some crayons and he’ll color.

I have to do right by my son and offer him the same opportunity for advancement that I had. My mom is a teacher too, and she was a BEAST at making sure we had the tools we needed to succeed. She taught me to read by the time I was in Pre-K. Now being that she is an elementary school teacher, she has more skill at teaching reading than me, but I know I can do better. My goal is to create interactive games for him to play, so he can learn as well as get some of his seemingly never ending energy out. I’ve seen a bunch on Pinterest, now its time to stop pinning and start doing. My goal is to spend 30 minutes-1 hour with him each day on some kind of educational activity outside of our normal reading.

It is my responsibility to set the foundation for his education. I already feel guilty for the slacking I’ve been doing lately, hopefully its not to late to make up for lost time.

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15 thoughts on “The Miseducation of Xavier

  1. Please do not feel guilty. We put way too much pressure on ourselves. It should like you have a plan and it’s not like you haven’t done anything to encourage his learning. Take a deep breath and embrace what he has learned and keep it moving. You are doing great! Now, I have to take my own advice too, lol 🙂 It’s so easy to get caught up in what we are not doing versus what we are!

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  2. My son’s tablet entertains and babysits him and he’s 8. I don’t feel bad about it either. He’s in a French Immersion program where he speaks fluent French and is on honor roll. Nobody’s perfect and we do the best that we can. Our boys will be fine.

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      • No problem. Yep, I got him enrolled in a French Immersion program through my school district. It’s free. He’s doing amazing and I just do the best that I can do with making sure that I’m balancing his needs, wants and wishes. He loves his tablet and when there are behavioral issues we take it from him. He hates that. But, that works for him. Taking something he loves away as opposed to whopping him.

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  3. You are a good mom. A little too good, maybe, but if we had more parents like you focusing on getting the child ready for the world of education, maybe we wouldn’t need all these government mandates to get our kids on track.

    As good as your intentions are, don’t fall into the trap of over-educating, over-immersing your child in school activities. Playtime is just as important to learning as reading is. Focus on bringing up a well-rounded child not just a brainiac. Let him find the joy in learning. Don’t force it on him.

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  4. I have a two year old, too, but aside from screen time, I try to give her opportunities for arts and crafts rather than “educational” goals. Knowing letters, shapes, numbers, and colors just seem to come naturally. I would rather my daughter be a creative, outside the box thinker first and foremost when it is most natural for her (at this age) before concerning myself with reading skills. So don’t feel pressured or feel too bad that you use screen time, too…I’m sure that’s where my daughter learns all those nursery rhymes.

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    • I agree I should focus on helping him be creative and like learning vs drilling him. It’s hard to not get into that mode when you think about how fast paced school gets. But now that you mention it he learned what he knows without being “drilled”.

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  5. It’s never too late. That much I truly believe! Meanwhile, I think your new approach to find active educational tools for him will prove to be successful. Although my son is younger than yours, he is on the go all day long. I have decided to create hands-on activities that are short enough to keep his attention. Then what I do is rotate through the activities and spread them throughout other energy-burning activities. As a mom of a son, and former teacher, this has been what has helped me to feel like I’m giving him the tools while allowing him to use up the energy that he naturally has within himself. Best of luck!

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  6. Don’t feel bad. I use to feel the same way with my kids and I have a AA in Elementary Education. Right now my daughter is in Special Ed, which has helped her progress from 1-3rd grade. My son now is having problems with math instead of reading, which was the reverse issue last year problems with reading great at math. My kids too love their tablets and YouTube kids…lol I put a lot of educational programs and the ones they use at school to do at home. My kids have a lot of energy all day long until bed.. it never ends hahahah! I noticed they learn best by doing hands on things and using technology. However, I have recently just limited their time on the computer because I don’t want them to get use to doing that all the time. Over time with patience and consistency you will be fine.

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  7. My son is five and tablet baby sits him too…..it’s addictive because its interactive I think. But moment I step in to play with him , tablet takes a back sit. Moreover we are in a world which is impossible to imagine without technology…I am on my whatsapp, facebook and blogs then why are we expecting our kids to limit screen time when we can’t. I think kids learn more with observation than with words.Also screen time is a reality of today’s world. So dont worry too much about it. Fact that you are thinking about it is awesome. My son went through a phase of not living without ipad to tiring out of it on his own….I think just make sure you expose him to all kinds of new things and activities

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