I apologise if this blog seems to be rather right brain obsessed of late but much of my focus has been in that area as I’ve been trying to decide which is the best place to send my kids. It seems excessive to send them to two places, but I haven’t been able to decide which is the better school for them. One of the best ways to clarify my thoughts is to write about them, so here we go…
The more I explore the right brain education programs available out there, the more questions I have. The disparity is basically between Shichida/Heguru and TweedleWink. Having been born from the same master, I think Shichida and Heguru classes are bound to be similar (even if I have yet to attend a Shichida class). Any minor differences I think would likely be negligible in its impact upon the children. That said, I’ve decided not to pursue classes at Shichida for several reasons (all of which have nothing to do with their program):
1. I can’t afford the time required to take the compulsory parent’s course.
2. The waiting list at Centerpoint is too long for me to bother with them. It would be too disruptive to start Gavin and Gareth elsewhere and shift them to Shichida if and when a slot becomes available.
3. I dislike the branch at Wisma Lim Foo Yong because it’s in the heart of the city and the traffic will kill me. Not to mention Gareth would never tolerate the stop/start driving. I also dislike it because the carpark is dingy and too quiet – not very safe for a Mum and young child.
So that leaves me with Heguru and TweedleWink…
One of the reasons why I considered the move to TweedleWink was because the program seemed gentler and less intense. My first class at Heguru left me breathless. I did wonder if it might be too intense for a child, let alone a baby. One of the philosophies of TweedleWink is that you should flash your cards at the rate of your child’s heart beat. They believe that the flashcard rate at Heguru (3 cards per second) was potentially harmful to a child and could lead to difficulties in concentration later on.
Initially, I was concerned. But my thoughts have been running over time and after a recent conversation with Yuly (the person who runs Heguru in Malaysia) I feel more at ease. I felt it was only fair hear Yuly’s out since I’d already listend to Wennie’s views. Yuly approached me after class on Thursday after reading what I’d written about Heguru on this blog. I had a good, albeit brief, discussion with her about Heguru, Shichida and TweedleWink. She was prepared to share more but with Gavin scaling the walls and my MIL waiting at home with Gareth, I had to take my leave before I was ready to.
Anyway, here are the counter-arguments to the TweedleWink philosophy – both my own thoughts that have been floating around in my head for some time now and some of what Yuly has shared with me:
1. Shichida and Heguru have been around long enough for several generations of children to have gone through the program. If there were harmful effects to be associated with such rapid flashcard rates then surely we would have seen it by now.
2. Additionally, if the rate of 3 cards per second is harmful, I can’t imagine what cartoons would be doing to children since they are essentially the flashing of thousands of pictures at a far more rapid pace.
3. At home, I do the Doman reading and Math programs with Gavin and Gareth. I find that if I flash the cards too slowly, I cannot maintain their attention. By increasing my pace of flashing (definitely faster than one per second), I find Gareth, especially, will keep his gaze riveted on the flashcards. In Gareth’s case, faster was definitely better.
TweedleWink also talked about the Linking Memory program drawing out the left brain too early if the children are exposed to it prior to the emergence of the left brain. Now this is the part I haven’t been able to consolidate in my head until now. Linking Memory may be targeting the left brain but isn’t speech also a left-brain function? If you don’t want to draw out the left brain too early then you should also discourage your child from reading and speaking early because these are both left brain activities. Yet, if you follow Doman and the Montessori philosophy, you should begin teaching these as early as possible – or, as the Montessori approach says, when your child is in the absorbent state – because that is when it is easiest for your child to learn.
So that dispels the concerns I might have had against continuing Gavin and starting Gareth at Heguru. Now that Heguru is back under consideration – which school?
I realise that I am the one who was more comfortable with the approach at TweedleWink. However, just because I prefer it doesn’t mean my kids agree. Gavin loves his class at Heguru. When I told him I was going to stop his class, he was actually upset. One of the things he loves best – which he told me – was his sensei. His favourite activity is linking memory.
At the end of the day, the best school for the kids is the one that they enjoy most. The fundamental principle of right brain development is positive emotion. The children need to be happy where they are. If they aren’t happy, they aren’t learning.
I was initially reluctant to continue Gavin on Heguru and start him on TweedleWink because he’s already got a music program as well. But when I talked to Gavin, he told me he doesn’t like music class and that he wants to drop that instead. He pleaded with me to let him continue Heguru. So I guess the child has spoken…