Do you ever wonder if your child will lose out if you don't get on the prep/drill bandwagon?

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Registered: 05-18-2005
Do you ever wonder if your child will lose out if you don't get on the prep/drill bandwagon?
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Mon, 08-13-2012 - 9:28am

My son's G&T class has a mixture of Tiger Parents and kids whose parents just roll with their kids' intellectual proclivities.  We're starting to see classmates' families around again after a summer apart.  I'm floored at the level of academic drilling some of the parents have put their kids through over the summer.  Some have been tutored through most of the upcoming year's curriculum already.  One kid's mother made her do dozens of book reports on top of math cram school.  (These are kids aged 6 or 7).  I've been bucking this trend.  My kid went to an ordinary Y day camp with lots of active time.  He reads his head off on his own initiative (including history and science topics), but I certainly haven't made him memorize the times tables yet.  I am occasionally beset by niggling doubts, that my laid-back style can cause him to fall behind his classmates.  Opinions?

Gwen

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2010
A lot of choirs and orchestras for children that I've seen are not equipped to deal with musically gifted children. And when they are split into beginner/advanced, then prior exposure is pretty much the only criterion.

I have no musical experience and can't even read notes, but I'd guess that a lot of it has to do with the communal nature of making music- the entire ensemble is only as strong as its weakest link, theoretically.

When small children need to audition for an activity which is seen as purely recreational, that may lead to other difficulties as well. I've heard a good deal from parents opposed to their children auditioning in any form until well into their teens.
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Registered: 05-13-1998

I think an issue is that as a society, we are pushing kids to be "serious" about their activities younger and younger. In my area, we have a wealth of enrichment for kids. You can find a class or workshop on anything but in most cases, you are either a beginner in an activity or you are advanced and it's your single focus. There is not a place for a kid who is, for example, too strong a player for AYSO soccer but does not want to go "club" and commit 5 days a week to practice year round (and travel almost every weekend.) At least AYSO will still offer programming as a child ages no matter their ability but other activities, do not. If you aren't a certain level by age 10 or 11, you'll find it very difficult to participate. I think this trend drives parents to private lessons and coaches along with encouraging their kids to pick a focus much earlier than they should have to. 

I'm very glad there are these higher level programs but find it disturbing that the middle ground is dissapearing. A kid should be able to like art, be good at art, get decent instruction in are without have to decide at 8 that they want to be an artist. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2010
I don't see much of that here - at least in terms of having kids choose and specialize early on. What I do see is that parents expect their kids to win in all categories of life, and that kids end up expecting the same. The "fun" element ends up being completely lost in translation.
Here most kids participate in a variety of activities. Sports are taken very seriously and coaches require kids to subordinate the scheduling of all other activities to the demands of soccer, skating, gymnastics or field hockey. But most other areas are fairly low-key.
One of DD'S close friends is a participant in a high-powered sport and trains six days a week. Her mother had to be very assertive to get the coach to agree to "allow" her child to participate in a another after-school activity that was important to her.
Balance is a real juggling act if you have a child who is profoundly gifted in a non-academic area. In our case having only the one activity (violin) would be extremely counterproductive. But then again, I've taken the attitutde from the very beginning that if she's going to do this, then only on her terms and in a child-friendly manner. It's shocking to see how hard violin kids are pushed to achieve to the exclusion of just about everything else in life. I understand the insecurity that parents feel when they think that everyone else is doing it, so how can their own children be achievers without the same kind of momentous pressure? At the same time, mature artistry has a lot to do with experience in the ups and downs of life - all ares of life, not just the sterility of a violin class.
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Registered: 04-09-2006
Ha...I haven't been here for days and just responded to another thread with the "music is not a competitive sport" notion...only to find out it was already discussed over here!

Deborah
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Registered: 02-21-2003
I've never done any drilling with my kids or pushed them to do extra work, even though they've been in a full-time gifted program since grade 4 (they're now in grade 11 and 10) and a lot of the parents are Tiger types. My kids are doing fine, but they're not getting 95 averages like some of their classmates, and it doesn't bother me at all. Given my kids' natures, drilling or pushing them beyond their natural inclinations would backfire in a major way. I've pretty much let go of any expectations of what they'll do after graduating high school. They both want to go to university, but what they'll study or what careers they'll pursue is 100% up to them.

F.

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