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How do I keep up?

(13 Posts)
Doingthingsdifferently Sun 03-Aug-14 21:42:28

My education was pretty poor ( very bad comp in the 80's just survived) and I never really gained a "thirst" for knowledge. So, while I got good grades and then a good job I find my general knowledge outside my specific area of expertise is dreadful.

I have worked so hard with the aim of giving DS a great education (he is only 3) and already I am worried I am failing him. For example, today he was looking at a picture book on different eras in history and it had things like Ancient Rome and the renaissance in it and yes he was only looking at pictures but I couldn't explain any if it (he wasn't asking, of course, but just fun facts would have been nice) oh and I have an a level in history!

Then there are languages, I don't have any and he will most likely be fluent French by the time he leaves prep. I am worried that I won't be adding anything to his education and worst still he won't be able to look to me to help him learn. I also am so badly read and I often feel quite dull compared with those around me, especially those with the sort of education I am about to put my son into.

Has anyone experienced this, what did you do to "up skill"?

I know I have mentioned prep, but this really isn't a private/state thing, any thoughts really appreciated.

Happy36 Sun 03-Aug-14 21:47:45

My kids are 3 and 6. There are many, many things they can do, or ask about, that elude me completely. I do worry what it will be like when they get to secondary school as I think I´ve forgotten everything I learned.

Whilst education comes in many different forms and I do not profess to be a genius or anything remotely like that, I do have a degree from Oxford and speak a handful of languages. I´m saying this because to be honest those things haven´t really helped me when it comes to the "education" of my children.

It sounds like you encourage your son to be curious about the world around him and to read books. Keep reading with him, even when he´s old enough to read to himself, keep talking to him and learning with him, and listening to him when he comes home from school with new knowledge or skills to share. Don´t for one moment feel inferior, you are doing a super job.

In my own experience as child and parent I preferred finding things out for myself than being told them by a parent and certainly my own children are the same.

Doingthingsdifferently Sun 03-Aug-14 22:00:33

Than you Happy, I guess you are right helping him learn is not necessarily about me imparting knowledge. I may still start to read a few classics just in case smile

Happy36 Sun 03-Aug-14 22:14:11

You´re welcome. Remember all of the things you can teach your son about - are you good at cooking? Arts or crafts? Swimming or other sports? Can you show him how to drive a car when he´s old enough? Caring for a pet? Growing plants?

There´s a reason we send them to school - certainly it´s not the only place they´re educated but it should ensure that they get some balance between the different "subjects".

Also don´t let other parents make you feel small at the school gate.

Joyousthings Sun 03-Aug-14 22:20:36

Love and encouragement go a long long way to assisting your DC. You are not a teacher you are there for your DS with love and that goes a long way to keeping up and being there for their needs.

Messygirl Sun 03-Aug-14 22:21:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Messygirl Sun 03-Aug-14 22:23:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Doingthingsdifferently Sun 03-Aug-14 22:41:15

Thank you all, this wasn't quite what I was expecting (that being a reading list or a web guide) but, on reflection, this has been a lot more helpful, I really appreciate your views.

Catilla Sun 03-Aug-14 22:48:01

Agree with all the sentiments above, but on a practical level, just think about what a teacher might suggest to a child asking for more detail about something... Google it, Wikipedia is your friend (though not always 100% right).
I am "well educated" but have learnt a huge amount through my childrens' curiosity (and what they learn at school!) because there are so many things I was just not interested in before. I am exploring parts of life with them, for example British history (we love Horrible Histories Kings & Queens song), proper names for parts of grammar, a few artists/styles, politics, the actual reasons behind many traditions and assumptions, more about other countries, how history joins up...

If you are more curious now, just enjoy the ride. There is nothing wrong with the answer "I don't know, let's find out".

ICanTotallyDance Mon 04-Aug-14 06:41:46

I just want to add another message to this. I think I am the grown up version of your child. My mother is a lovely, lovely woman but she did not have a great education and had to re-sit some of her GCSE equivalents etc. She never went to university and after having me became a SAHM. Any academic talent I had, I inherited from my father.

I never even realised she wasn't "clever" until I was about 10. She was a whizz at cooking, organised the entire family and my entire life, encouraged me with everything, and read a lot to expand her, and my, mind. Like your DC, I was sent to private schools and had a very good education. In my very early years I was mainly content to leave learning at school, and as I grew older I could be entertained by educational books when I wanted to actively learn and spend time doing other activities with my mother and siblings when I didn't want to. I don't think having a "less academic" mother negatively impacted me at all, and it certainly didn't impact my education.

Besides, with how fast educational methods change, even parents with PhDs can struggle to help with their children's homework past about year 4!

I would just encourage you to keep an open mind to learning, learn little bits of fun trivia where you can, and do fun learning activities/events with your DC such as visiting (child targeted) museum exhibits. Don't stress about it, it's more important to have a nice, fun time with your child than it is to worry about whether you have told them correct facts about the geography of Asia!

Heels99 Wed 06-Aug-14 08:43:08

Google is your friend! " how long do lions live, who was the first king" etc etc. as a parent you don't need to be a walking encyclopedia, you just need to help your child access information. Library is a great resource too. You have an interest in learning that's all you need! I always find the childrens trails at museums are better than the adult guides, I've learnt a lot since having kids. I too have a history degree but can't remember much, but you don't need to, it's not an exam!

madamweasel Wed 06-Aug-14 08:59:09

I'm a teacher and when earnest parents ask me what they can do to help the answer is most definitely to encourage their reading, ideally reading for pleasure. It's not necessary for a parent to possess degree level knowledge in every one of their child's potential subject choices - it's for the child to learn for themselves and no amount of parental education can 'gift' this to their child. Part of being well educated is the ability to learn something for yourself, by yourself: not as a passive vessel but an active participant.
But on a practical note - homework - don't underestimate the importance of providing the right environment for homework: a quiet space; a routine time, either before or after dinner; access to materials that aid in study, e.g. Stationery, if possible use of a PC and printer.
And reading, either reading to DC or listening to them read to you.

Of course, if you want to read some classics, etc, go for it - but do it for your own enjoyment!!!

Good luck smile

Doingthingsdifferently Wed 06-Aug-14 21:04:39

Thanks all for your brilliant advice, I think there is something here for me to take from every post, I really appreciate it.

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