Asynchrony & The Right To Learn, Part 1

If you are new to Minds On Fire, I recommend starting with True Confessions — it cuts to the core of what I’ll be exploring on this site.

Last night, my wife was reading aloud to us from A Wrinkle In Time when the following passage, spoken by five-year-old Charles Wallace Murry, stopped my heart:

“I really must learn to read except I’m afraid it will make it awfully hard for me in school next year if I already know things. I think it will be better if people go on thinking I’m not very bright. They won’t hate me quite so much.”

It spooked me.

You see, I learned a few weeks ago that my mother pretended to not know how to read when she entered kindergarten in 1932. “I thought there was something wrong with me. Five-year-olds don’t know how to read. None of the other kids could read. I didn’t want anyone to know. In first grade, there was some sort of contest on the class bulletin board to encourage kids to read. Kids would put up a card for each book they read. Kids were adding a card every week or two. I … Read the rest

True Confessions

I have become a real bore at parties. (Ok. True confession: I’ve always been a bore at parties, but I’ve recently upped my game.) I can’t stop observing and commenting on the ways that our educational system lets down kids that are different-minded or out-of-sync with their peers.

If a child’s development is out-of-sync with their peers, it matters.
It does.
If it’s really out of sync it REALLY matters.

I told you: single-minded bore.

While it seems to be all I talk about some days, I hadn’t even heard the phrase “asynchronous development” until a few years ago, when my now seven-year-old son was four, and my wife and I were trying to figure out what to do about kindergarten. While we support public schools, our local one was near failing. So, we were exploring our options and had found a couple of schools we liked.

I assumed all that was required to satisfy a kid’s educational needs was supportive parents, high-quality teachers, and a school with decent resources. School is, by nature, boring. Get used to it. Whatever weaknesses a school has can be compensated for later.

I had completely forgotten my own troubled history in one … Read the rest