I had some really interesting conversations during conference time with my students' parents. A few wanted to know - just how hard should they push their kids? These are all students who are about the middle of the pack, or maybe upper middle. My answer? I basically told them it was up to them as a family. I said, as long as your child can write his/her name well, draw recognizable pictures, has mastered most of the letters of the alphabet (and hopefully sounds), and is strong with letters 1-10, I am happy.
As I think of my friends' families, and get to know the philosophies of my students families, it is so interesting (in a good way) how people choose to spend their time and what they value. One family I spoke with both work full-time in demanding jobs and have two children. My tip for them - follow your son's lead as far as trying to teach him to read, and just enjoy each other during your downtime. I know families who really push academics from a young age. I know families who also really emphasize sports. Another family I know spends a huge amount of time teaching their children (through words and example) about being polite, kind, and loving, respectful people.
I asked E what he thought our family's focus was? He thought briefly and gave the exact same answer that popped into my head : "Having as much fun as we can!" Although I later reflected that I'd like to add: building our relationships, since that is a lot of the reason we focus on having fun together.
Case in point. P had a 7 hour playdate on Sunday! I desperately needed some new things (see shoe post below), P was not in the mood to come, and didn't feel like shopping alone. Friends offered to watch her at their house while E and I ran to the mall together. Then when we picked her up, we returned the favor and took their son J back to our house. There is a pumpkin patch with a play area boasting 4 slides and bounce houses, so we indulged the kids for an hour.
You only live once! Now, off to do Monday!