Delaying Formal Instruction

Posted by Jen Garrison Stuber

Email of the Day:

I’ve seen you mention the importance of play and the delaying of formal instruction — do you have some links to the research out there?

Answer:
It’s worth noting that all the latest research indicates what homeschoolers have long since known (as the Moores pointed out in their works (_Better Late Than Early_) over 3 decades ago): children need to spend more time engaged in play, exercising their bodies, and being outdoors.  Here’s a smattering of those findings:

The Joyful Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland

The Decline in Play and the Rise of Children’s Mental Disorders

Delaying Kindergarten Until Age 7 Offers Key Benefits To Kids

The Gift of Time? Starting School Age and Mental Health”

Harvard Study Shows the Dangers of Early School Enrollment

Old Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills

When Less Is More: The Case for Teaching Less Math in School

How Finland Keeps Kids Focused Through Free Play

When This School Got Rid of Homework, It Saw a Dramatic Outcome

Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework (and Five Alternatives)

What Kids Need From Grown-Ups But Aren’t Getting

Four Things Worse Than Not Learning To Read in Kindergarten

The Play Deficit: Children Today are Cossetted and Pressured in Equal Measure. Without the Freedom to Play, They Will Never Group Up

Report: Requiring Kindergartners to Read — As Common Core Does — May Harm Some

Delay Schooling for Happier, More Well-Adjusted Children

Running Free in Germany’s Outdoor Preschools

How ‘Twisted’ Early Childhood Education Has Become — From a Child Development Expert

A Thousand Rivers: What the Modern World Has Forgotten About Children and Learning

Children Should Learn Mainly Through Play Until Age of Eight <–Look! Aligns with our compulsory attendance law!

Stanford researchers show we’re sending many children to school way too early

Dr. Michael Hynes Makes His Case for More Recess, Self-Directed Play and “PEAS” in Schools

The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children

Small Children Need to Run Around All Day

4 Things Worse Than Not Learning To Read In Kindergarten

There Is No Room For “Average” These Days. Here’s Why That Worries Me.

Two articles on the subject (which I was so glad to find, as they explained why I have this conversation dozens of times each May — I never could understand it — why do you want to start homeschooling now?  the year’s over in a few weeks, I would think as I helped families navigate into homeschooling) both by Peter Grey: The Danger of Back to School: Children’s Mental Health Crisis Plummet in Summer and Rise in the School Year   and
The Decline of Play and Rise in Children’s Mental Disorders

[May 2018] A new study confirms those initial findings:
Kids’ Suicide-Related Hospital Visits Rise Sharply

John Caldwell Holt’s _How Children Learn_, and John Taylor Gatto’s _The Underground History of American Education_ (which is available online here — the Holt should be no problem to get through the library) are other great resources.

Warmly,
–Jen