Conflicted: potentially tiger mum

(283 Posts)
Hereforthebeer Thu 17-Nov-16 23:46:17

I'm on AIBU to get some home truths wink

My DCs are primary. They are both really capable and doing well. My initial view of primary school as an outsider was that it was all about being happy and secure.
I don't always make them do homework, I mainly do the reading required but if we have activities, they miss it. I sometimes miss spelling tests and generally am aware of whats required but also want them to love learning and so am sensitive of when I think they need a break/dvd night. So basically i encourage learning, within reason.
Recently, i've been thinking perhaps this is wrong. They are essentially under achieving even though they are only just out of nappies and I should make them always do their best, even if i sit over them, they should always do what is required even if they are knackered and I should be more 'tiger', more competitive.
WWYD/WDYD?

paxillin Thu 17-Nov-16 23:55:26

We let them get on with it until about 8 years old. We turned up the heat after. They bobbed along happily at high average until then and advanced quickly once we started. Gave them 4 more years of low stress. If I did it again I'd start pushing later I think. We did convince them to start musical instruments early-ish though.

Not sure what I would have done had they really fallen behind, I have a feeling I might have started earlier, because I would have been worried.

MommaGee Thu 17-Nov-16 23:55:36

Hoe old are they?
What have their teachers said about their performance?

CotswoldStrife Fri 18-Nov-16 00:02:23

Why do you think it has to be all or nothing, there is a middle ground?

porkandcheese Fri 18-Nov-16 00:03:19

Sometimes going from foundation stage to KS1 can be an adjustment for children that can take a while. I wouldn't worry about being too disciplined with homework etc. until KS2. Children blossom at different times with school. I think you're right to not want them to be potentially 'turned off' by homework by pushing it too much if they are still in KS1. I've only started being more focused on my eldest since Year 4.

Pallisers Fri 18-Nov-16 00:19:24

I don't always make them do homework, I mainly do the reading required but if we have activities, they miss it. I sometimes miss spelling tests and generally am aware of whats required but also want them to love learning and so am sensitive of when I think they need a break/dvd night. So basically i encourage learning, within reason.

I don't think any of this is going to affect their longterm education but I do think you should make them understand that if there is homework, unless there are very extenuating circumstances, they should do it. At their stage (presume under 8), homework should take no longer than 30 mins anyway. If it is taking longer, talk to the teacher. If homework is kind of optional in the school, then I wouldn't bother much about it. I would just do reading.

I am not a fan of homework for this age group - there is no evidence that it is of any benefit. But I still had my children do their homework because it is an expectation of the school and they need to get into responsible habits about it.

Off topic but what is the obsession with spellings? Can any teacher explain this? Does it help kids learn to read? I can't imagine how. They will all be living in an auto-correct work world anyway and don't most of us learn spellings from reading rather than the other way around?

JellyBelli Fri 18-Nov-16 00:27:02

At their age its far more important that they enjoy reading and learning.

mathanxiety Fri 18-Nov-16 00:27:13

Further to Cotswold's comment, there is a big middle ground between dragging your feet and second guessing what is important from the items the teacher has assigned as homework, and being competitive or a tiger mum.

Occupying the middle ground is getting with the programme and co-operating with the teacher to make sure homework is done, including prep for spelling tests. If it takes more than 30 mins, have a word with the teacher.

I agree with Pallisers' post in its entirety.

dataandspot Fri 18-Nov-16 00:30:26

You are a long way from being a tiger mum if you are not making your children do ALL their homework!

kittymamma Fri 18-Nov-16 00:35:03

Off topic but what is the obsession with spellings? Can any teacher explain this? Does it help kids learn to read? I can't imagine how. They will all be living in an auto-correct work world anyway and don't most of us learn spellings from reading rather than the other way around?

Unfortunately their exams will not include auto-correct. Also, it isn't uncommon for adults to have to write letters or notes (think letters to school or notes to colleagues) where typing a letter or note may make you look a little bit odd. Surely you don't want your child to have to look up spellings when writing quick notes to avoid looking pretty stupid as an adult? I say this as someone who doesn't spell very well but am educated. I often will look up words, especially if I happen to be writing a letter to my daughter's teacher. Not a primary or english teacher, but I guess it's not supposed to help them learn to read, its just something else they have to do. Like, learning your tables doesn't help you to take away, its just another skill that you would look pretty stupid if you couldn't do (even in this calculator world).

Back to OP's post - I make my 5 year old do all her homework and do her weekly 1000 points on mathletics (additional optional homework). Personally I do this for two reasons, 1) I really worry about what she actually learns in her split class, and don't want her to fall behind. I would hate for her have to play catch up when her next years teacher picks them up (I have no faith in her current teacher) and 2) She behaves better when she has been focusing on mentally stimulating tasks. This is why we split them into 15 minute blocks - so we can use it whenever she starts to show signs of playing up.

ThirtySixViewsOfMountFuji Fri 18-Nov-16 00:52:17

At least wait till Y5/6! Primary teacher (and parent) and I'm not keen on primary homework. It causes a lot of stress. DD highly achieved at primary (very clever little girl who other parents compared their children's achievements to) DS struggled a bit literacy wise (almost impossible to get him to read or write anything at home), although for various reasons I ended up teaching his class for the first three months of Y5 and promoted him to the top group of maths in a Y5/6 class. He wasn't really at that level, but I told him that he was (he is slightly dyslexic, so literacy wasn't his strength) and asked his next teacher not to bump him down if at all possible. He worked hard and saw himself as a competent mathematician. Fast forward, DD is still a clever girl, but has low self esteem and is repeating second year of uni due to MH issues, whilst DS is confident and just starting first year of a MEng degree. I suspect that my original point was that primary isn't the crucial stage in determining future success, I think that secondary is. Think about which secondary schools you would like them to go to and work towards that!

chocorabbit Fri 18-Nov-16 00:55:35

How are they going to become responsible adults if they don't learn to fulfill their commitments and tasks?

Our school makes children either follow homework club or stay in class to finish it if they haven't done their homework. I have seen children who struggle A LOT because their parents think that homework is optional.

In my class as a student, I could always tell the difference between the children who did their homework, sometimes did it or hardly ever did and I am sure most of us could.

Of course there will always be the very clever kids who don't need to study hard to be good but most students do need extra help or they forget. I have noticed how one DS falls behind in his maths unless we consistently practise. And there is no way 30 minutes makes much of a difference, unless it is daily.

MrsMcMoo Fri 18-Nov-16 01:21:11

Blimey, you are SO not a tiger mum! Mine always do all their homework without fail. DD does maths and English tuition 2 nights a week, and during holidays and has extra homework from that which she always does. And I don't consider myself remotely a tiger mum!

Whynotnowbaby Fri 18-Nov-16 01:59:37

How can you be a tiger mum when you don't even expect your child to do the school's stated minimum? My dd is 4 and I always encourage her to at least have a go at every task. If she was getting too much I would talk to her teacher but not just ignore.

Thirty six your post makes me sad for all the other children in that class who could have benefitted from that confidence boost but never had the opportunity due to not being the teacher's special snowflake.

Pallisers Fri 18-Nov-16 02:13:52

Unfortunately their exams will not include auto-correct. Also, it isn't uncommon for adults to have to write letters or notes (think letters to school or notes to colleagues) where typing a letter or note may make you look a little bit odd. Surely you don't want your child to have to look up spellings when writing quick notes to avoid looking pretty stupid as an adult? I say this as someone who doesn't spell very well but am educated. I often will look up words, especially if I happen to be writing a letter to my daughter's teacher. Not a primary or english teacher, but I guess it's not supposed to help them learn to read, its just something else they have to do. Like, learning your tables doesn't help you to take away, its just another skill that you would look pretty stupid if you couldn't do (even in this calculator world).

I do actually understand why an adult might need to know how to spell.

But I don't think I ever use the spellings I learned in school by rote. I know how to spell words because I read a lot and write a lot - I think reading and writing is how children learn spellings. I certainly have never relied on the spellings I learned in school. It seems pointless - does any adult spell "pretty" correctly because they learned it by heart for homework in year 2?

Learning tables in math is different - I use them every day. Not comparable to spellings at all in my opinion.

If I ruled the world, primary school children would read/be read to every night. Would learn their times tables and would learn a poem by heart every couple of weeks. No spellings or other pointless homework.

But to get back to the OP, within reason I think children should do the homework assigned to them (however useless it might be) because learning to do homework is part of the learning in school.

Ditsy4 Fri 18-Nov-16 02:58:09

Never heard this expression.
My children are adults. Reading every night and homework supported when I knew about it. It was never set days and spasmodic so when about 9i expected them to say. We mostly did it and I sent note or spoke to teacher if after school activities meant we were not home until 6:30pm.
Nowdays I think it is more important and see it reinforces learning and on the coal face I see the children who never bother struggle while the ones that complete achieve more in class. Top table are all children who do homework.

Want2bSupermum Fri 18-Nov-16 03:28:35

I have a 5 and a 3 year old who have 'homework'. It consists of writing out numbers, words, reading, sight words, simple maths and running around outside. I count to 100 with them in the car, do sight words when walking around town (they both know STOP!) and we play 'I spy something beginning with the letter __'.

We also have both kids do a math class because I really worry about them being behind. The place I take them to pushes them in terms of introducing them to maths ahead of where they are so when they do it at school its not the first time they are doing it. I am in the US though I am horrified at how little maths they do compared to the what I had as a child.

Narnia72 Fri 18-Nov-16 03:37:12

36 - your post illustrates exactly teachers should not be allowed to teach their own children. Great for your son, what about the other 29 kids who could perhaps also have benefitted from a similar intervention and confidence boost. Did you artificially push anyone else up? If not, you are definitely U.

OP - do the homework, even if you don't agree with it. This shows your kids and the school that you have confidence in the teachers and you're all in agreement about their education. Am not a teacher, but the number of parents I've heard openly undermining their kids' teachers is unbelievable, and results in kids like yours telling the others their mummy says they don't have to do their homework, which creates huge issues in class.

Spellings - I've never been a fan of the weekly tests ( although we learn them dutifully) - mainly because I see my kids learning words by rote and getting them right in their spelling tests, but not applying them in their writing and their teacher not correcting it. Apparently they only correct 3-4 spellings in written work at any one time, so as not to spoil their creative flow. I understand the rationale but it means that my yr 4 dd, who struggles with spelling, has mislearnt some quite basic words and consistently gets them wrong when writing and not focusing on spellings. I do think whatever spellings they're learning need to be incorporated into their written work as much as possible in that week, so they are encouraged to use it repeatedly in context.

mathanxiety Fri 18-Nov-16 04:18:22

Want2b, the focus is on reading in the US in the early years in order to make the rest of the curriculum accessible, including the maths books and word problems. As long as you have good elementary and middle school districts your children will end up in calculus or beyond in high school. 5th grade on is where maths really takes off in the US. Beware of other parents who are very complacent about letting their children, girls especially, take lower level maths classes. Keep your DCs focused.

Trifleorbust Fri 18-Nov-16 06:48:47

There is a very small window in which young people can learn to read and write really well, including learning the common and less common spellings in English. After this (secondary) there is simply too much curriculum content and the assumption is that they can access it. Your child's English teachers at secondary will be teaching them to write extended narratives and to read 19th century literature under the new curriculum, not to spell 'definitely' and 'permanent'. So there are many children who never learn to spell well. This has three main effects: 1) exam results - they will be marked on this 2) credibility in the workplace and socially - not being able to spell makes a person look uneducated 3) self-esteem - not being able to spell makes a person feel thick, even when it has nothing to do with intellect and just needed to be taken care of with a bit of rote learning.

So YABU. Spend more time on homework.

mishmash1979 Fri 18-Nov-16 06:53:58

I worry about this too as I was a very strict tiger mum with my first 2 and backed off by SAT's time so have been much more chilled with their younger brothers who are now in year 2&3. We do homework last minute, watch a movie instead of spellings etc. They have a happy school loving life but I worry as they are just average ability whereas their older siblings are now predicted level 8's and 9's at GCSE. Maybe tiger mumming is worth it short term??!!

Scooby20 Fri 18-Nov-16 06:56:05

Ds is in year 1. His homework is always done. My thinking is that if he is in the habit of thinking it is something that must be done, it wont be so so much of a fight when he is older.

As an aside you can't possibly be a tiger mum if you aren't even doing the minimum.

Trifleorbust Fri 18-Nov-16 06:58:23

As an aside you can't possibly be a tiger mum if you aren't even doing the minimum.

Nice pun!

5to2 Fri 18-Nov-16 07:02:17

How are they going to become responsible adults if they don't learn to fulfill their commitments and tasks?

They learn this gradually from starting school to adulthood, and learning continues as adults. Gradual responsibility is introduced- placing too much on them at 5 is counter-productive.

Trifleorbust Fri 18-Nov-16 07:05:50

5to2: Lots of them don't learn this anywhere near quickly enough. I teach secondary. I firmly believe the kids who were encouraged to only do homework when they felt like it or didn't have an 'activity' (something more fun to do) are the kids who don't hand in homework or half-arse their homework. They are also the kids performing several grades below their ability in class, as they tend to be a bit lazy. Then their parents call in asking me why their 'bright and able' DC isn't achieving to their potential..! Look in mirror shock

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