Educating the Six Year Old

Right now, we have a six year old in our house.  She is sunshine and joy.  She is laughter and happiness.  She is strong-willed and persistent. She is giggly and goofy.  She is fidgety and struggles to pay attention to what we are doing in our home.

Some days we sit together and do workbooks.  Some days we watch You Tube videos.  Some days we take fantastic field trips (and not so fantastic ones).  I am sure that, most of the time, there is learning going on.

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Recently, the other children in the house have been finding her frustrating.  We’ve been reading Aesop’s Fables for Children.  Each day I’ve been reading five or six fables and the children have been supplying the morals.  It’s really become quite the competition for the children.  They all supply their morals, and then compare each other’s morals to see whose morals they think are the best.

Ellie has opted out the competition by picking one of the other children after each of the fables and saying, “I agree with______________.” This makes all the other kids incredibly irritated as no one like little sis “stealing” their moral.

It frustrated me too until I came across this quote from General Patton:

If everybody is thinking alike, somebody isn’t thinking.

After reading that, I was a little embarrassed by my uncharitable thoughts toward my six year old.  She’s always seemed a little behind the curve in mental maturity, and I think she’s just a late bloomer in attention and interest. For some of the children, it’s taken more time to develop good habits than others, and she’s just developed more slowly. And it’s okay.

I realized that she probably doesn’t have the words to come up with a “moral” for each story.  My seven year old, who is truly academically bright, struggles with finding the right words sometimes.  When she compares her thoughts to those of my ten or twelve year old, it’s no wonder that she chooses one of them to copy with each moral.

By the way, if you haven’t ever read Aesop’s Fables to the children, it’s a really fun thing to read. We’ve had a delightful few weeks reading the morals and responding to them. If you were to get the Milo Winter version that we’ve been reading through, it uses the older language for donkey as “ass,” and reading that with older children listening along has provided much by way of hilarity for them. It wasn’t an issue when I read it with all young children, but this time it was a little bit of an issue.  You might want to head that off by choosing to modernize into donkey or you might not.  Totally up to your family’s preferences.

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