Too Much Too Soon?

Taken from Practical Homeschooling Magazine #111


While the Obama administration is calling for more early formal education, in Britain, a “Too Much, Too Soon” campaign has started, calling for starting formal education later. Here are some quotes from Cambridge researcher David Whitebread, one of the campaign signatories:

“A recent letter signed by around 130 early childhood education experts, including myself, published in the Daily Telegraph (11 Sept 2013) advocated an extension of informal, play-based pre-school provision and a delay to the start of formal “schooling” in England from the current effective start until the age of seven (in line with a number of other European countries who currently have higher levels of academic achievement and child well-being)…

“[A] number of longitudinal studies have demonstrated superior academic, motivational and well-being outcomes for children who had attended child-initiated, play-based pre-school programmes….

“Studies have compared groups of children in New Zealand who started formal literacy lessons at ages 5 and 7. Their results show that the early introduction of formal learning approaches to literacy does not improve children’s reading development, and may be damaging. By the age of 11 there was no difference in reading ability level between the two groups, but the children who started at 5 developed less positive attitudes to reading, and showed poorer text comprehension than those children who had started later….”

For more information, check out the “School Starting Age: The Evidence” page on the University of Cambridge site at this shortened URL.

The Only Attachments a Child Needs

Published with Permission
Written by Dr. Brian D. Ray

• Little 4-year-old Tommy needs a play group.

• Mary must have a lot of friends or she will not know how to get along with others.

• Eventual adult psychological autonomy can be had only if teens are with other teens more than they are with their parents.

• Sam is with his family too much; he needs more team sports.

• The most important people in Suzy’s life are her parents and siblings;

that is not normal, and school would be better for her than home-based education.


I have heard all of the above claims and many more as I have testified as an expert witness in dozens of court cases across the nation. And I am sure that many homeschool parents reading this article have heard the same, and probably more extravagant, claims than the ones above. (I have too, by the way.)


I have searched high and low for empirical research that substantiates the claim that children and youth need to spend six to eight hours per day, five days per week, nine months per year together in schools in order to be healthy and successful as teenagers and into adulthood. It seems to not exist. (more…)