Ditching the Teacher’s Manual

by | Essays

Sometimes, the things we request and are requested of our children don’t make much sense.

In one meeting with our DEM (Direction de l’enseignement à la maison) representative, she asked about our goals and some of my son’s achievements. She was trying to get a grip on his cognitive abilities. ⁣

After I explained that abstract concepts are still tricky for him, she asked if he understands that within seasons come certain holidays and events. No. He does not understand this. But, also, it doesn’t matter. ⁣

In the wider focus, reciting that Christmas comes in the winter season and that Halloween comes in the autumn is just nonsensical. ⁣

Yes. We celebrate the holidays.

Yes, we talk about the seasons.

Yes, we hang out in nature and talk about the changes, the colors, the temperature, the scents, etc.

But, no, I won’t have my son recite the days of the week or the months and seasons of the year for the sake of listing them. The concept of time is abstract and very difficult to understand out of context.⁣

We sing about the holidays and chant about the seasonal changes and read rhymes about both. But, you will never catch me drilling information into my son that is meaningless.

Just because it shows up in a teacher’s manual doesn’t mean it’s necessary to learn.⁣

What do we focus on?

Putting on a winter coat, differentiating between boots and shoes, and signing COLD when he is feeling a chill.

My son notices the change in season and adapts accordingly because these things matter to him. ⁣

Does he care today that Easter comes in the spring? No. He’s concerned with the holiday lights he sees across the street because this is happening now, and this is what matters to him now. ⁣

The DEM rep was taken aback when I said, “But, it doesn’t really matter.” I explained our focus and the bigger picture.

Be aware of the skills you are building with your child.

Are the goals coming from a meaningful place, or are they on some government form intended for classroom instruction? ⁣

Don’t spend too much time with your nose in papers—filling in boxes; do spend more time in real-time with your child.

Some details don’t matter.⁣


More Resources

Continue reading my essays, activities, and case studies for supporting the education of disabled/chronically ill and neurodivergent children.