Is hothousing necesserily a bad thing?

(134 Posts)
columngollum Wed 18-Dec-13 16:11:28

Interesting point coming out of a nearby discussion, (but requires a separate thread.)

Hothousing is a word invariably used as an insult. But is it one? It has been said, I don't know if it's true, that starting tennis at five is too old. Presumably most three or four year olds don't show great tennis genius, so presumably all three year old tennis players are being hothoused!

But, I guess if they're playing tiddlywinks and not tennis then they're not being hothoused (but I can't see the difference.)

Galena Wed 18-Dec-13 16:43:24

I think it depends on your definition of hot-housing.

Allowing a child to do what they enjoy, and providing the resources for them to do it to whatever level they are able to do with enjoyment is not hot-housing to me. Forcing a child to do something they do not wish to do or to a level they don't enjoy, to me is hot-housing.

DD has a particular activity she enjoys doing and is ahead of her peers in this respect. I haven't hot-housed her in my opinion. I have, however, provided resources for her to improve and allowed her to do the activity daily - although she also plays with other things and enjoys other activities as well. I would be uncomfortable with her solely doing one activity and nothing else. If I forced her to do it when she didn't want to, if I 'bribed' her to do more and more, or if I allowed her to do it and nothing else I feel it would not be a good thing.

I think you have to look to the all-round development and enjoyment of a child and not concentrate too much on developing one facet of their intellect/character. However, to deny them the chance to get better at something they enjoy to try to prevent accusations of hothousing would be equally wrong. In my opinion.

simpson Wed 18-Dec-13 16:54:02

I think its important to be led by the child.

DD is all consumingly obsessed with Henry 8th so we have been reading about him and are now going to start a book on Elizabeth 1st. Due to this, she wants to learn to count/read Roman numerals so I have been teaching her but only because she wants to iyswim.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 18-Dec-13 17:06:59

I agree with Galena and Simpson -if it is child led, GENUINELY child led then it isn't hot housing but if parents insist a child does x amount of something every day and so on then that is different. There are plenty of children who are fascinated by things and really keen to learn, and others who will push themselves because of their personality. Encouraging a child and giving them the opportunities and information is wonderful and should happen IMO if the child wants it to but forcing a child to do something above and beyond what they need to do I don't agree with.

with regards to sport or hobbies then yes I think training something a lot is in a sense hothousing but usually a child would be wanting to do their activity so I think hothousing is more linked to academic studies.

columngollum Wed 18-Dec-13 18:11:07

I heard people talking about early reading children being hot housed.

So, is normal reading from Reception onwards?

Making pre-Reception reading early, making teaching pre-Reception children to read hot housing them?

TheLeftovermonster Wed 18-Dec-13 18:13:41

Hmm, by your definition, making DS do any kind of homework would be hothousing.

columngollum Wed 18-Dec-13 18:14:29

And, if that's true, for children living in one country with parents from more than one country, is the teaching of the remote language hot housing? And if not why not?

columngollum Wed 18-Dec-13 18:17:24

Well, yes. That's what I'm worried about. If we start bunging these pejorative terms around without any sensible definitions then we can start outlawing normal things like being able to speak two languages (read) or play music.

In fact, your children's ability to do anything that my children can't proves that yours have been hot housed!

PointyChristmasFairyWand Wed 18-Dec-13 18:26:03

I think people obsess about it too much - if your child is interested in reading and picks it up easily, is it hothousing to give them appropriate books, read to them and make the most of their enjoyment? I don't think so.

However, if you're pushing your child with endless phonics cards, reading books they don't enjoy and do it just so that they can be ahead of their peers, then you aren't acting in your child's best interest.

theendgame Wed 18-Dec-13 18:33:12

DD learnt to read on her own, age 3. We read to her, but that was it.

But everyone assumes that because she came into reception reading fluently, that we were hothousing her frantically.

Mostly I don't discuss what she's interested in or does with other parents, because that's always the assumption.

columngollum Wed 18-Dec-13 18:36:25

OK, down with the flashcards, then. But if you're buying infant-sized tennis rackets and shoes that's OK.

columngollum Wed 18-Dec-13 18:39:25

Of course, if you're showing her flashcards so that she can get ahead of her imaginary future classmates then you have to take into account that one of the other parents is maybe doing flashcards and some other commercial product. How does one deal with that threat?

PointyChristmasFairyWand Wed 18-Dec-13 18:48:50

The tennis rackets are only OK with me if the child wants to play tennis to the exclusion of just about everything else.

And although you may be making the point about competitive parenting facetiously, there is truth in it - one deals with it by not engaging. One of the great advantages of being a working mum and not doing the school run was that I could keep away from the Battle of the Book Bands.

columngollum Wed 18-Dec-13 18:52:29

OK, but surely if you're even caught up in the BotBB then hothousing has failed miserably. After a decent amount of it your young ones should be editing the Journal of Natural Sciences. Book Bands don't come into it.

richmal Wed 18-Dec-13 20:55:01

I taught my child to read before she started school because I wanted her to read. I also taught her quite a bit of maths and science. At 10 ten years old she loves learning and I enjoy teaching her.

I never discussed books with any other parents and as the teachers did not either it was never an issue as no other parents knew her capabilities.

A pre school child does not learn to read or do maths or anything academic without some help from adults. What is hothousing to some will be OK for others. Surely it is each parent's choice how much they teach their child?

columngollum Wed 18-Dec-13 20:58:25

richmal, I'm sure you're right. I believe hothousing is an insult you give to other people who have been teaching their children things.

I mean, why would they do that? Teach?! Surely everybody only wants children who can't speak and can only point and grunt.

mrz Wed 18-Dec-13 21:05:27

"A pre school child does not learn to read or do maths or anything academic without some help from adults" untrue young children can learn many things without being taught by adults.

mammadiggingdeep Wed 18-Dec-13 21:06:49

Some people 'hothouse' their children to the extent that there isnt much time or energy for other childhood activities. Of course not all home teaching is hot housing. When my 3.5 year old says 'no thank you' when I ask her if she wants to do some reading I suggest another activity, painting, tea parties, brushing dollies hair, play dough. I think some parents would see it as ok to make a child do it there and then and personally, at 3 I want my daughter to see it as just another fun thing she can choose. Not one that she is made to do. I wonder how many mums on here who say their kids want to do it, say 'ok' when the child says 'I've had enough now'.

mammadiggingdeep Wed 18-Dec-13 21:09:24

Mrz...you're right. My daughter was 2.5 when she was aski g for another biscuit. I said "you've had 2"...she moaned and said "I want 3". I had never taught her 2 and 1 more was 3. She could count, but this idea of one more making the next number was from her.

richmal Wed 18-Dec-13 21:15:56

columngollum I also have a novel theory that educating a child makes a difference to their academic ability.

mrz For thousands of years millions of people were illiterate because no one thought them to read. People had difficulty adding in roman numerals because it took millennia of civilisation to come up with the concept of zero. A pre school child is unlikely to manage this unaided in the first few years of life.

PointyChristmasFairyWand Wed 18-Dec-13 21:19:18

richmal it's probably true that a preschool child can't learn to read entirely unaided, but they certainly can work out that those signs adults are so fascinated with have something to do with the sounds people make when they speak - and at that point a child may well be interested in the link between them. I don't think it's hot housing to start teaching a child to read when they show an interest. I just think it's competitive parenting to do so when the child has not shown any interest at all.

mammadiggingdeep Wed 18-Dec-13 21:22:31

There is a vast difference between teaching the initial sounds, and pointing out high frequency words and making your pre school child read dickens and Shakespeare as op did.

columngollum Wed 18-Dec-13 21:26:25

mamma when you know what I've done then you can educate everyone else on it!

ninah Wed 18-Dec-13 21:29:43

richmal for thousands of years people had no access to text in the vernacular

mammadiggingdeep Wed 18-Dec-13 21:32:15

I know what you've told us. Your pre school and then reception child was reading adult literature. I just don't agree with it. Sorry. I do know a little about how children's arm and that is by reading texts which they can relate to concepts they can understand. That's why there's such a thing as children's literature. I'm not saying she wasn't an able reader but I don't understand why she couldn't have read children's lit. Not 'non books' as you like to refer to scheme books but children's novels.

I wasn't attempting to educate anyone- why so rude? You advocate your 'phonics is worthless and if you don't teach at home the schools will fail them' view all the time. I'm merely joining the thread of discussion.

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