Why You Are an Expert by Kindergarten

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Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers makes a strong case for needing 10,000 hours of practice before you become great at anything. That's a lot of time, but not that much. A prominent educator recently shared that it took him about five years to really become a fantastic teacher. My mother-in-law saw the connection first; that's 10,000 hours!

If you ever had a substitute/part time/volunteer teacher, you may relate to the frustration of this fictional kid (thanks, Mrs. C). There's something about experts that make them more effective. Gladwell argues that it's, in large part, the 10,000 hours--or five years of full-time practice--they have under their belt.

Five years?

What struck me is that five years is about when kids enter Kindergarten (some of us start a bit later, other children get going earlier). So that means that right around the time you're becoming an expert in your kid, many families farm them out to another institution where the "real experts" can take over. And there absolutely are some phenomenal teachers out there. But as my little sister recently pointed out: When you choose to keep kids around, they aren't an inconvenience. And though there's always more to learn, you've invested far more than 10,000 hours in your child.

You're an expert.

"But I haven't been teaching for fives years," you may counter.

That's not entirely true. Your children can probably do a great many things you taught them to do: Eat with utensils, tie shoes, walk, talk, enjoy picture books, recognize a few colors (I still have trouble with some of these... chartreuse?), and more. So, sure, you may not have 10,000 hours teaching math yet, but that's coming.

You are an expert. And the more you do this, the better you'll get.

So... get to it! Still considering your homeschooling curriculum options?

Check out Sonlight. <smile>

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

P.S. Reminder: The Rosetta Stone sale ends tomorrow.

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