‘Read! In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who Created-‘
(Surah Al Alaq, verse 1, the first Revelation)
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, my dear brothers and sisters.
I am currently reading a book ‘brain rules’ by Dr John Medina, a molecular biologist who studies the brain. His writing has given me an insight on how humans develop, more specifically the changes the brain goes through as we develop.
In ‘brain rules’, Dr Medina had came up with 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, which I will include later in a separate post. But what interested me most was Principle # 3, Wiring: Every brain is wired differently.
As I read it, I remembered what had happened to my own son, Adam, when he first started Year One:
He could not read.
The amount of backlash and reprimands I received from the school still astonishes me today. In our current education system, a child entering school who does not know how to read is automatically termed a ‘difficult’ or ‘weak’ student. I received notes and calls from the school complaining about how hard it was to teach Adam because he couldn’t read the textbook or do his classwork quickly enough.
But, I knew my son. Reading is a habit instilled very young in our family. Our children saw my husband and I read all the time as they were growing up so I knew that Adam could read, he just wasn’t ready to.
So, I held out from sending Adam to tuition to learn reading for 6 months but in the end, I caved in and sent both Adam and Daniel to a famous franchise reading centre. It lasted 3 weeks. I didn’t see any progress while they were there, reading Peter and Jane. So, instead of sending them to class, I did a U-turn and we went to the Zoo! They learnt much more from that trip than sitting in a classroom on a Saturday morning…
A month later, when Adam turned 7 years old, I came out into the living room to see this sight; Adam sitting with an encyclopedia in his lap, READING… Masha’Allah. I knew it! I knew that deep inside them, there was the interest, the desire to read but IT JUST NEEDED TIME. They had to do it at their own pace.
Both boys never started out reading from Peter and Jane or other learn to read set of books. They just picked up what they wanted to read and just read. Yet, we all know of the countless of children who were forced to read at an early age just because it is a entrance requirement into school. How many children now hate to read because they had to read at an age they weren’t ready to..?
I strongly believe that every parent should take the time to stop and look at their child and see how much are they naturally learning at their own pace and how much is being forced or spoon-fed into them? Why do we have to ‘keep up with the Jones next door’ when it comes to the development of our children? Why can’t we just let them grow at their own pace?
Let’s stop shortchanging our children and start giving them the education they deserve.
Allah knows best.