At the beginning of one of my favourite films (Dune) comes the sentence ‘A beginning is a very important time’. It’s different from the book version which reads ‘A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct’. Whether you prefer the book or the film (or perhaps for some reason you dislike both?) you cannot, as another theme in the story goes, fail to see the truth of the idea. On a sadly earthbound level, we must consider the way we ask our young children to begin to follow our ideas. Too pushy or too loose and we run the risk of them losing interest from the beginning.
As I have mentioned before, I practice reading and writing with my four-year old for 10 minutes in the morning. We really do set the timer on my phone, and on the whole we do stop when the buzzer goes. Part of the reason for this is not wanting to overload her with my good intentions by making her practice for more time than she is comfortable. I have been a bit pushy in the past and it backfired on me.
Another reason for the 10 minute limit is to give her the habit of doing just a little every day. Using a timer makes the process very easy. It also helps her to concentrate I believe, because she knows that I will not ask her to continue beyond the buzzer unless she wants to. Even then I often say no. If she can maintain this approach to study in the future it will make her a more effective student.
We will set the timer for longer study periods as she grows and her concentration and understanding of the work develops. For the time being I am concerned with ‘taking the most delicate care to ensure that the balances (in her approach to study) are correct’.