How About Waiting for Essay Writing Until Around 14 Years Old?
I get this question a lot about our Essay Course: When should they start?
Well, it really depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you want to rush ahead and demonstrate how great you are doing in schooling your child…or…you want to rush ahead and show how naturally gifted your child is, then I’d start in about 3rd grade!
However, there is another way to think about it. Why not grow a child who has two attributes in life (?):
It is really tough to get a child to be confident at something before he/she is ready. Just imagine insisting that a child should be able to dunk a basketball before puberty. No matter the effort, the ability ‘ain’t there’ to really compete at that level.
Well, essay writing is much the same. THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS, but basically most kids don’t have a fully developed cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is kind of necessary for more abstract thought. Frankly, Einstein figured out his basic theories at around age 16. Could he have pulled it off at 14? I’m guessing, “NO.” It’s just necessary to have the brain to do certain kinds of brain-work.
So, what about essay writing? Well, most kids aren’t ready to write formal 5-paragraph essays when they are 11, 12, and even, 13 years old. So, if you try to ‘make’ them write formal essays when their brain isn’t ready, what chance do they have of BUILDING CONFIDENCE? I say, “None, zero, zippo.”
Why not wait for The Essay Course (with The Writing Course www.advanced-writing-resources.com ) until they are more ‘ready’ for it?
Instead, try this—
Start writing informal opinion papers. Have them write a paper on WHAT and WHY?
What – Do you believe about _________?
Why – Do you believe it?
Don’t worry about the exact 5-paragraph form, topic sentences, perfect review of the points…blah, blah, blah.
Just get them growing in their confidence! Your young child is probably not going to be a great essayist just yet (defending their opinion on profound matters). Why not just get them ready until the brain kicks in? If you’ll wait a bit, then they will be ready to write essays and excel in the process. Start too soon, take your chances.
You’ll be happier, they’ll be happier, and in some indirect cosmic sense, I’ll be happier too! 🙂
Off to learn,
Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand