After submitting home ed paperwork to our new district, I was feeling rather floored by what is often expected of a 9 year old child. Is it really necessary to subject them to coerced learning and forced memorization? Is there anything that a nine year old simply must know? Will they be a failure in life if they don’t learn to write in cursive or memorize the state capitols this year (or at all for that matter)?
I have seen a pretty awesome list floating around facebook on this topic as it relates to a four year old… here is my take on what is important for a nine year old to know.
You are loved without condition.
You are trusted by your parents… and you can trust them.
You have real choices and some autonomy in your life.
Your parents are always there with a hug, a shoulder to lean on, and an ear to listen. You may find yourself soon dealing with big feelings or confusion about life. Your parents are still there…. without judgement.
Your parents are also always available to you for help and guidance when it is needed.
It is so very very good to be unique. You need not strive to be just like your friends, favorite athlete, or band. “You are unrepeatable. There is a magic about you that is all your own…” ~DM Dellinger
Reading books will open doors to places you could never imagine. Read to learn of new ideas, new places, and old stories you have never heard. Read to stretch your imagination. Read so you will have an endless collection of Calvin and Hobbes to quote as needed. Oops.. that last part may only apply to my particular nine year old.
Math can actually be pretty cool and interesting. Learn it at your own pace and in ways you find fascinating.
Don’t forget to play…. a lot. And by play, I don’t mean soccer, baseball, basketball or anything else scheduled by a well-intentioned grown up. I mean play… on your own, with other kids, inside, outside, in the mud, up a tree, noisy, quiet, imaginative… it doesn’t matter. Life is short… just play!
Learning is an adventure. It is not boring busy-work done only during certain hours of the day. Dig in, get your hands dirty and learn something new. Experiment… it’s ok if you get things all wrong. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to learn.
Enjoy life… each and every awesome moment.
Well, there you have it- my “core curriculum” for nine year olds. What about long division, cursive writing, and everything else? Well, it will come, but they will learn it at their own pace and when it is important and relevant to them. I think the most important thing for us to know as parents can be summed up by one simple word: trust.