Sunday, April 14, 2013

Review: Your Child's Growing Mind

Mike Samuel recommended Your Child's Growing Mind to me, and while it was a good read, it's written in a verbose fashion, full of useless anecdotes that don't reflect research findings, with the interesting research findings almost deliberately obfuscated.

For instance, in the section on enriched environment, she notes that lab rat studies showed that a cage with lots of toys, etc would build a rat with a bigger brain, a free roaming rat that played outside the cage would have a bigger brain than even the enriched rat's brain. This demonstrates that free play and spending time outside with freedom to explore is far more important than how many toys you can buy your child, but strangely this passage received no emphasis.

The book is strangely light on early childhood development, but once it get to elementary school, starts providing tips on reading, writing, and math. Each section is full of tips on how to teach your kids the relevant skills, including sections on what play activities are great for letting the entire family participate. The tips are split by age group, and there's good explanation on what works. There's a big emphasis on trouble-shooting learning problems with adequate prescription.

Like all such books written by Americans, it has zero information about bilingual or multi-lingual households, and there's apparently been no academic research on how best to optimal the environment for multi-language learning in such households. I wonder if European books are better in this regard.

I would recommend referring to this book over the years (especially if your child has a learning disability), but you should still read John Medina's Brain Rules for Baby first.
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