Am I right to NOT push DD?

(26 Posts)
randomname123 Sun 29-Apr-12 23:02:35

DD is in Reception. I have always been fairly laissez-faire when it comes to early years - never pushed DCs to do any more than standard homework and think that - for at least the first few years - outside of school = play.

Anyway, my argumentative brat somewhat challenging DD is now in reception, and her very experienced (20 years) and very lovely teacher has told me that DD is a 'once in a decade' child who will without a doubt turn out to be extraordinary, and that although they have tried to push her gently, they haven't gone as far as they could with her because (1) there is no 'competition' for her amongst her classmates, and (2) they see little point in pushing for the sake of pushing.

School she goes to is a very good academic school with lots of facilities and resources to do 1:1 stuff as and when needed so I'm kind of thinking let her get on with it at her own pace. My own IQ is um, high, but I got by fine for the first 25 years of my life when I didn't know this, so I'm kind of thinking she'll be fine just going at her own pace. But I slightly worry whether this is doing her a disservice? She's showing no sign of being bored at school so I just wanted to know if the wisdom of the G&T crew is to let her be, or to start trying to stretch her in some way?

I am right to do nothing, aren't I? <dusts off the Proust books in case i'm wrong>

FWIW, I do believe the teacher and suspect she was not being too OTT - lots of other people (eg nursery staff, GP) have commented on her abilities, but it has washed over me until now.

scummymummy Sun 29-Apr-12 23:05:49

Yes, you are right.

iggly2 Mon 30-Apr-12 11:21:41

I think you are right, if she is happy let her be. It sounds like you trust the school and have a good relationship with them. It also sounds like she has the personality that she will be confident enough to tell you if she wants something to change!

rabbitstew Mon 30-Apr-12 12:47:06

Leave her be. She's happy, she is recognised as clever, she isn't coming home and asking you to give her more interesting work or find her more interesting playmates!... Unless, of course, you want to get seriously involved in directing her future for her and give her the impression she will be letting herself and society down if she doesn't make the most of her god given talents, even at the age of 4 or 5.

Pythonesque Thu 03-May-12 18:42:49

My favourite bit of advice ever that I remember seeing with regards to educating bright and especially gifted children, is to view learning and education as a pyramid. The broader the base is built, the higher the peak can eventually be. So let children follow their interests and run with them, certainly, but don't push them on upwards - expose them to as broad a range of stuff as you can.

At your daughter's age that will probably come naturally as long as she has access to a range of fiction and non-fiction books; sounds like she's at a good school with the right attitude. Take any opportunities that come along, visit museums, go to activity days, whatever is possible and practical. Oh and personally I'd say give her a chance to learn a musical instrument as soon as you can, if that is possible.

I'm beginning to feel that my 6 yr old son may be gifted (also rather distractible though); music is going to be our major extension for the next few years but he has a wonderful teacher this year who has created an environment in which he produces all sorts of interesting work.

If and when they ask to do something then try to make it possible. I remember working through an entire series of maths workbooks at home - apparently I saw them in a newsagent age 4 or 5 and asked for them ... but it was never pushed, my mother would mark them as I did them but nothing more.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Thu 03-May-12 18:53:06

Agree about the non-pushing - just give access to stuff to discover herself - take her out a weekend to get muddy, run around, discover stuff, people, places.
We had similar comments from nursery school etc about DS1, and just made sure that there were plenty of books and toys around and he picked things up himself.

randomname123 Thu 03-May-12 21:57:45

Many thanks all for taking time to post. Dd asked today if she could do violin and piano (friends of hers are doing these) so I will definitely pursue this, following your comments. Other than that I will continue to go with the flow.

learnandsay Mon 26-Nov-12 13:15:55

This is an old thread but an interesting question.

Personally I think that it's a parent's responsibility to teach their child about the names of trees, plants, animals, letters and numbers and general things. I believe that parents who don't do these things are failing their children.

Should parents force their children to compose sonnets because the child once showed an interest in a plastic keyboard in Mothercare? Should children be refused food and water until they've written book reviews for all of Shakespeare's plays and half of Marlowe's?

Actually, now that I think of it....

Pyrrah Wed 28-Nov-12 13:39:40

learnand say - I'm interested in what you say here.

Do you see a difference between core basics like letters and numbers and the trimmings like names of trees and plants?

I don't go near numbers and letters with DD (other than reading the Gashleycrumb Tinies grin) because it is the mainstay of early years education and I neither want to bugger it up nor have her bored rigid or not listening at school because she's BTDT.

However the other frills I dole out in bucket loads - names of dinosaurs, animals, trees etc as we can do that while wandering round museums, woods, zoo so a very informal learning environment.

noisytoys Wed 28-Nov-12 13:51:07

I go the other way. Not pushy per se but DD passed the Mensa entrance test age 3. She is one of only 28 under 10's in Mensa. Seeing as they accept all people with IQ in the top 2% there should be hundreds of thousands joining.

It was her results on the test that got DD a statement with the LEA and now she has a 1-1 tutor because she is learning years ahead of her peers so I don't thing a little pushiness is a bad thing

learnandsay Wed 28-Nov-12 16:32:06

pyrrah, I can't see how it's possible to mess up the alphabet or numbers. I guess it's possible to mess up teaching reading or maths. But plenty of parents seem to manage those too.

simpson Wed 28-Nov-12 18:29:44

I don't do anything with my DD really with regards to numeracy (apart from school work and she does play the odd adding game in the iPad)...

But she does a lot at home reading wise and her teacher (she is in reception) seems to think her numeracy is on par with her reading (so either myself as I don't see it, or her teacher is wrong!!)

I also don't think it's possible to mess up the letters or numbers and whilst there is definately something to be said for waiting till they start school (so they don't repeat it all - I just think it comes down to when the child is ready personally).

Pyrrah Wed 28-Nov-12 23:07:33

DD can recite the alphabet - and knows all the 'wrong' letter sounds: aye, bee, cee (thank you nursery) - and recognise a few letters and quite a lot of words (as far as I know). I did warn the school that she was picking out whole words in stories and basically doing 'look and say' before she has even started phonics.

I don't think she can recognise numbers - but then I didn't know she could count to 100 till about an hour ago... she likes me to count while she goes to sleep, I didn't want to this evening so she did it herself. She's certainly never pointed them out to me on cars and named them or anything.

On the other-hand she can explain how volcanos work in great detail and absorbs general knowledge like a sponge.

If you are not a teacher, haven't got a clue about phonics (hence why I worry about messing up the alphabet) but your child is trying to read with 'look and say' would you try and stop them and start mugging up on phonics fast, or just let them continue to learn whole words? Both DH and I learned to read very fast once we started so I imagine, since she is book crazy, that she will do the same.

So much in school has changed since I was last involved in any way. We just did adding, subtracting, multiplying, times-tables ect and now people are talking about 'number bonds' whatever the heck they are and I'm terrified of teaching her things the wrong way and making her life harder.

learnandsay Wed 28-Nov-12 23:54:04

The alphabet has nothing to do with phonics. It's the letter sounds which are to do with phonics. But to be honest, I wouldn't even worry about that. I'd just play them the phonics song. www.youtube.com/watch?v=BELlZKpi1Zs

RiversideMum Sun 02-Dec-12 14:18:29

I love the "pyramid" of education idea. I have seen a lot of bright (not necesarily gifted) children come into my class who show little interest in many of the opportunities offered to them because they've been brought up on a diet of letter/number workbooks and seem to have the idea that those are the only worthwhile pursuits because that's what the adults around them seem to have valued the most.

Padar Sun 02-Dec-12 15:03:44

Yes , you're right.
My son amazed me at age 5 with maths.He discovered it all by hisself , by playing on a calculator.
Believe me, it was beyond me.
I have thought long and hard about what to do : develop his maths, or let him be ?
In the end, I decided to discourage him from doing math all the time.
He is 11 now. Sometimes I come into his room and he will fe doing university maths or engineering for fun. ( since he was 9). Yes, sometimes there has been boredom at school. But overall I'm very happy with my decision to leave him alone.
He is in the G &T club at school but doesn't define himself by his maths ability...he has not even be always the best in the class as one have been pushed for results.
But I believe in happy, balanced children .
He doesn't want to go to the grammar school now...and I think he can choose for himself what school is right for him. ( the reason he doesn't want to go is that he doesn't want to feel under pressure to perform. As a former academic child myself- although not in maths- I think he is right).
Also read Joan Freeman : she started a research into gifted children 30 years ago.she believed then these kids needed extra challenge etc.After 30 yrsmoney 3 out of the 200 + have a career.(!!!).the being labelled 'gifted'has been a curse.
Her advice now : leave them alone !!! Let them play, be children.

Padar Sun 02-Dec-12 15:25:19

I don't agree at all with most people here ! So what to be in the top 2% ? I know many people who are..
To be happy and successful you really don't need to be in the top .
A happy childhood is far more important.
Mental health is more important and by labelling such young children you risk putting a lot of pressure on them. So they are ahead of their age ? So what? I was incredibly tall and am now of average height.
Don't put all those expectations on your children. In my opinion, especially if they are very bright, you need to make sure they are able to fit in with their age group etc.Their social development is more important then pushing them years ahead.
They will push themselves, don't worry.
If you do it, they will be so fed up at 18... Don't take the risk.
Just google articles about gifted children grown up : only very few made it to happy adults and even those say that they would never push their children.

squeezedatbothends Sun 02-Dec-12 17:53:29

I did exactly what you're doing random with my ds and he bumbled along nicely and ended up at Oxford. He read a lot, we talked a lot and that was about it. Now he's happy and healthy and every now and again brings home neurotic and emotionally damaged friends who tell horror stories of pushy parents and childhoods so full of extra activities that they can't ever remember playing properly. You can push your child all the way to the top, but once they get there they might struggle to stand alone. Or you can gently encourage and let them climb.

exexpat Sun 02-Dec-12 19:18:46

I was officially a 'gifted child', but wasn't pushed (apart from being moved up a year in junior school as I was bored rigid, though that didn't make a huge amount of difference as the work in the next year up was rapidly too easy as well). I was allowed to follow my own interests, so spent most of my childhood and adolescence with my head in a huge variety of books, which eventually led to my doing a degree in a fairly obscure subject at Cambridge, which meant I was highly desirable to a few employers...

So I am taking the non-pushing approach with my two DCs (also officially G&T). Encouragement, fine; pushing, no. I have seen far too many casualties of pushy parenting (eg the friend who was pushed so far at playing the piano as a child that she stopped speaking for months until her parents let her give it up).

And I'm afraid I see Mensa membership for 3-year-olds as completely unnecessary and unhelpful (well, in fact Mensa membership for anybody, but particularly toddlers), and likely to be a sign of the wrong kind of pushiness.

cornflowers Sun 09-Dec-12 23:26:48

I think your approach sounds perfect. It's interesting that you say your dd isn't bored at school, despite her abilities. This is something I've observed about very gifted children - and adults, actually - they don't tend to get bored, they are self-sufficient and able to find things to interest them, even if it's just something to daydream about.

LaQueen Thu 20-Dec-12 14:51:17

Yes, you're right.

We knew DD2 was extremely bright, right from nursery. In Yr 1 her teacher got her to sit the Yr2 SATS paper - just to see how she would do? She didn't even break a sweat, apparently.

She was assessed at the end of Yr 2, and her levels put her in the top 1% for her age group, apparently. She gets extension homework from her teachers, and we make sure she does it - but that's it, really. DD2 likes to do the 11+ homework, which DD1's tutor gives her - she thinks it's fun and finds it easy.

We don't push and we never hot-house (hate that word). If anything I'm inclined the other way, and want her to live as normally as possible, certainly while she's still so young (only 8.5).

Luckily, we have free grammar schools here, so I think once she's at GS she will be more challenged academically.

wildirishrose Sat 22-Dec-12 16:22:16

My DD was very bright as a child,the school moved her up a year so she sat her SATs in year 1 and got level 3.
There was no way that I could just leave her, she constantly wanted to know everything how,why,when, what every day.
I left the academic stuff to the school (if you teach ahead they get bored and start misbehaving) get her to learn a musical instrument or learn a language to keep her mind busy at home

finefatmama Fri 04-Jan-13 03:22:27

sometimes I look at some of our kids and I know that they are easily capable of more but lack self-confidence and the level of academic bullying in some schools makes this worse. Encouraging and challenging children may be seen by some as pushing.

And then there's pushing

Muddles2 Mon 21-Jan-13 17:21:40

This is plugging something I am interested in, but may I suggest a free website called A Green Mouse which offers lots of appealing story-type listening in Spanish and French for children. I am very keen on encouraging music in children's lives, I think learning an instrument is a great thing to do, and though this website is about languages, it is quite 'musical' too because it concentrates on what French and Spanish sound like, and may be especially useful as a way for gifted children to explore languages very early on in life. (no need for a web address, just put A Green Mouse into google and you will find all sorts to click on)

GooseyLoosey Tue 22-Jan-13 15:29:15

Interesting. My son was described as "exceptional" by his primary school, has a very high IQ and is well above his peers.

I have never pushed him, although I have always told him that I value effort over innate ability. I have never asked for him to be given extension work, however I have moved him to a selective school.

I have observed many people in my life and the most successful have never been the most brilliant, but the most socially adept and committed. I want my son to acquire good social skills. It is for that reason that I have never wanted him to be differentiated from his peers. However, it is undeniable that he does think slightly differently from them and this has resulted in him being picked on. As a result we were advised to move him to a selective school where he would stand out less and integrate better.

The other reason we moved him was the importance I attach to committment and work ethic. Ds had not learned how to work as he had never needed to. There was nothing he could not do with minimal effort. Even his music teacher described him as gifted and allowed him to skip grades. His new school set him tasks he cannot complete and that he has to work really hard at. It has made such a difference.

So what I am saying is to determine what outcome you are looking for and what you think is important and then be lead by your child in how to get there. I am guessing you know all this already but it took me a while to arrive at it.

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