private tutoring for 5 year old good or bad idea?

(48 Posts)
southeastastra Mon 04-Jun-07 12:53:41

my ds(5) is quite behind with maths and reading at school. he is just at the end of year one.

would it be worth getting him some private tutoring? or shall i let him go at his own pace. what would the school make of it?

Twiglett Mon 04-Jun-07 12:55:52

I'd let him go at his own pace personally .. he's only little .. too much pressure for the tutoring I think

what do you mean by behind though .. what can't he do that you or school expect him to be able to

binker Mon 04-Jun-07 12:58:53

My ds,now almost 10, was very slow at reading/handwriting/maths at about the same age - he had extra help in school (LSAs and teaching assistants) and in his own time managed to become one of the best readers/spellers currently in his year - maths is still quite hard for him,but he isn't too bad and he writes fantastic stories - he is very much like me in fact...I'd hang on for a bit and see how he blossoms in year 2.

NKF Mon 04-Jun-07 12:59:00

Or perhaps help him a bit more. Speak to the teacher and see if she has any suggestions. Tutoring seems a bit intense to me at that age but other people will disagree I'm sure.

TenaLady Mon 04-Jun-07 13:02:25

Is he one of the youngest in his class? This always makes it look worse than it actually is.

At that age, you dont need a private tutor, you need to spend more time with him when he gets home from school, reading with him and practising whatever they want you to practise in maths at the school.

I wouldnt waste your money, at that age they need to have a rappor with the teacher to get the best out of them, you know his capabilities so you are best qualified to deal with it.

southeastastra Mon 04-Jun-07 13:02:56

he finds it hard to concentrate. parent's report said lower than expected for age on speaking and listening, writing and reading. but i know he does try and has high marks for effort. his writing is awful

trying to do basic maths with him is like pulling teeth. though he seems to be getting a bit more enthusiastic.

LIZS Mon 04-Jun-07 13:04:32

If he is that far behind can the school not offer any additional learning support ? There is wide variation within dd's Year 1 class but I'm sure it evens out more later on. Personally I wouldn't load any more onto a 5 year old's school day, presumably he is one of the youngest in the class too ?

southeastastra Mon 04-Jun-07 13:07:43

he does have an iep, when i see him with others the same age he seems so much younger.

maybe i'm just worrying too much (he's a end of july birthday too).

Twiglett Mon 04-Jun-07 13:12:22

gawd .. a couple of days and he'd be entering year 1 next year

I'd relax about it and let him catch up at his own pace

DS couldn't read at all at the beginning of the year (he's a feb birthday so is 6 now .. was 5 and a half then) .. then suddenly it just clicked .. its not a steady path it shoots up then plateaus for a bit then shoots again .. he went from sounding phonics to ORT 10 in 7 months

please try not to worry too much SEA

southeastastra Mon 04-Jun-07 13:19:59

i know i am worrying. his report said he should be congratulated on his achievements but i suppose it's all this 'lower than exptected' stuff. i hope he'll catch up more in year two. he does try.

Twiglett Mon 04-Jun-07 13:22:31

do you know how you know your child is going to succeed in life

because he's 5 and he already knows how to TRY

good for him .. he sounds fab ..

southeastastra Mon 04-Jun-07 13:23:34

thanks feel better now

Twiglett Mon 04-Jun-07 13:55:27


Blu Mon 04-Jun-07 14:05:53

I agree with twiglett.
A glimmer of enthusiasm and an ability to try are the most valuable things he could have. The last thing you want to do is pressurise the enthusiasm out of him. DS was the same as twig's DS in terms of suddenly 'getting' reading after a slow, unwilling start. Before he had a sudden grasp, I stopped attempting reading practice althogether (and told his teacher I was stopping) becase the 'pulling teeth' effect was making him not want to go near a book. Now, he suddenly feels more confident he can do it, he has become quite competitive and is trying to race through the books. Do whatever it takes to nurture enthusiasm - even if that means being hands off for a bit.

Clary Mon 04-Jun-07 14:09:55

SEA agree no to tutors at this age.
He is so young and will probably suddenly do much better.

FWIW have you tried making the maths stuff just part of the day - eg asking him how much money you need to pay in a shop/how much change you will get, get him to write a shopping list, weigh stuff when you are baking and add it together etc, rather than a formalised "let's sit down and do some sums" type thing which may put him off?

southeastastra Mon 04-Jun-07 17:36:22

thanks all. i admit i probably could do more with regards to letting him get more involved when i do shopping etc. but i will make more of an effort, his older brother is very patient with him too

kid Mon 04-Jun-07 17:39:30

I was concerned about DD when she was in Year 1, but I was reassured she was doing fine.
Now she is coming to the end of Year 3, the school admit she is behind in most areas and are very slowly trying to do something about it.
I have a private tutor for DD now, which is making a difference on her school work.

How about letting him play on the BBC website, I let DS (also 5) go on it and he loves it and learns at the same time.

1dilemma Mon 04-Jun-07 23:24:55

End of July for a little boy sounds hard imho there is huge difference between the older ones and the youngest when they are that young.
Have you really thought of ways to tackle his problem areas yourself? eg speaking, start 'tell me about your day' when you all take it in turns to tell each other something about your day, then progress on to what you liked doing why? and what you want to do next. Reading, just practice reading books to him, let him choose them have you tried books on CD's? simple things like Cat in the hat? Richard Scarry or factual books about diggers or ants etc Magazines Try and put maths into your day so count up the stairs, let him han over the money and take the change in a shop, hand round the biscuits if he counts them, cook counting eggs etc. Can't promise you it will work but worth a try. I think private tutoring is a lot at his age and as others have said you can do most of it yourself. In my experience what mine want is my attention and if telling me about their day gets it then they will, even teh 2 yr old is saying tell me abou your day mummy (usually at nine am when we've only been saparated for as long as it takes me to wash dishes )

1dilemma Mon 04-Jun-07 23:25:41

sorry about all the typos!

southeastastra Tue 05-Jun-07 08:21:29

thanks kid and 1dilema, i know what you're saying makes sense. he loves the pc and will play on the dr who website for ages. maybe that's part of the problem. too much computing not enough rl reading etc.

Budababe Tue 05-Jun-07 08:30:23

My DS is an early Aug birthday and just coming to end of Yr 1 also. His reading is not too bad but his writing is dreadful - not great pen control but has just started to enjoy colouring so am sure that will come. Am planning lots of writing over the summer to help him.

My MIL was a reception teacher for years and she says that she has had children starting reception reading and writing pretty well and some not - they go on to Yr 1 and then Yr 2 where it all seems to "gel" and they pretty much catch up with each other.

As others have said I would wait to see how he does next year but in the meantime maybe find some games that mean he has to do some maths without realising. (Ours don't get maths homework yet btw - only reading and spelling and my DS has only been getting the spellings since after Easter when others started at Xmas). If he likes the computer find some sites with maths and reading that he will enjoy. (Will look for those recommendations myself with interest!).

lemonaid Tue 05-Jun-07 08:38:33

He's a boy (typically slower with reading), and he's young for the year. Think about doing stuff yourself to help his concentration, and get books or magazines to read at home about stuff that interests him (isn't there some Doctor Who magazine aimed at children?).

Ladymuck Tue 05-Jun-07 09:00:34

There are one or two boys in ds1's Y1 group who are being tutored, but without exception these are boys where English is not the primary language at home.

I agree with most of what has been said in that a) it is not unusual for boys in particular to lag behind and then have a sudden burst especially with reading/writing, and b) there is stuff that you can do at home to help. However I do think that there are circumstances where b) is actually quite difficult eg if you are working, or have several other children, or even if the child's personality is such that they won't interact with you, and on those occasions I do think that there may be value if getting a tutor, though obviously you will have to find one that your ds can work with (which may not be that easy).

Azure Tue 05-Jun-07 09:28:06

I have a Yr1 late August boy and he reads at a much lower level than some of his class, who are up to 51 weeks older. His writing is poor. I don't view him as being behind because he is doing it at his own level and I trust it's going to "kick in" at some point (I may change my view in a year's time!). My sister has a June girl in Yr2 who she felt was not doing as well as she could - as my sister has three children she was also conscious that she couldn't spend the individual time at home that she would like to plus her teacher at school only listens to her read once per term. Anyway, she has engaged a former teacher to come to her house for an hour per week to concentrate on reading and writing, and it's made a huge difference.

JoolsToo Tue 05-Jun-07 09:33:15

he's 5! let him go at his pace with no pressure! You can help him with reading and numbers in play environment. Five is way too young for tutoring imho. In fact I'm not that much of a fan of it all.

NKF Tue 05-Jun-07 09:35:05

Sometimes with reading, they just get it. Suddenly. Almost overnight. I'd say little and often is the way to go. You don't want him thinking books are boring. But with boys, sometimes they don't want those reading schemes which are often rather dull. But they love to read instructions or information books.

SSSandy2 Tue 05-Jun-07 09:42:17

Well I don't think tutoring is necessarily a bad thing. It depends how it is done.

FWIW I think I tutor my dc a great deal. If I didn't feel able to help her with schoolwork patiently and in a relaxed, fun atmosphere, I wouldn't see the harm in paying someone else to do it. It may give him a positive boost to see he's getting the hang of things that puzzled him (maths) where he felt he was floundering. It needn't be a long-term thing. You need the right person though and a short period not a dry formal one hour session obviously.

Maybe with some good maths material you could do it yourself though. Have you had a look around at books?

NKF Tue 05-Jun-07 09:43:25

What would put me off tutoring is the amount of time. Presumably they want to do an hour minimum. And that's a lot of time for a five year old. I think you'd get better results with 10 minutes here and there.

SSSandy2 Tue 05-Jun-07 09:45:12

Yes, I agree that is a problem. When I noticed dd needed help with maths. I bought a book to teach it to her myself and did very short sessions at first, just a couple of minutes. ALl very fun and positive and then we did something COMPLETELY different. Maybe another couple of minutes later on etc..

THink you're right about the amount of time being a problem. Don't know the answer to that one.

FioFio Tue 05-Jun-07 09:45:12

southeastastra, just set him 'games' yourself or buy some of those workbooks from tesco. They enjoy them and they do help. He is only 5 though, just love him

gess Tue 05-Jun-07 09:49:32

I used to be a tutor & I'd be very wary about tutoring a 5 year old. They're shattered when they get out of school. AND believe me there are some dodgy tutors out there- you would need to choose very carefully. Agree with fio- workbooks, or perhaps some of those slightly ridiculous "brainy child" books (you know the ones that have all the developmental games etc in) so he thinks he's playing.

Do you have anyone else who could do some work with him. I always get one of our direct payments girls to do ds2's homework with him as he's much better with her- messes me around- I'm mum not work iyswim.

If you really want to drill basics (which can help some children I think) then I'd look at something like kumon - short & apparently they give you lots of worksheets.

FioFio Tue 05-Jun-07 09:51:18

I know this sounds silly but reading when 'they' want to read aswell. I cannot do anything with ds after school (he is 5 aswell) but in the morning after breakfast he will happily sit and read. Sometimes its just choosing the right time iykwim

foxinsocks Tue 05-Jun-07 09:57:41

hi sea! I too have an August child (dd).

Firstly, I would speak to the school and see if they want you to do anything extra at home. If he has an IEP, they may have some ideas for what you can do to help him at home, should you want to.

Dd has always had a terrible time with her writing. Only now, at the end of yr 2, have we been given extra practice stuff to do at home with her - they felt, until now, trying to get her to do extra work would have backfired because she wasn't ready for it (and they felt it would have turned writing into a 'battle' which they really didn't want to do).

southeastastra Tue 05-Jun-07 10:01:18

i think also it's because i work with children and see that other five year olds seem more mature than him. and i asked the teacher at parent's evening if he was below average for the year or because he's the youngest and she said it was based on age.

also was looking at the local paper at the weekend and there are so many tutors, some from 4 years old.

his older brother has the most patience with him and he's very good at maths and the little one loves spending time with his brother. but again it's trying to get the older one to sit down with him.

will look out for books. i just wish the school didn't have to judge him so young.

Cammelia Tue 05-Jun-07 21:28:21

I agree no formal tutoring. I would keep him off the computer completely, do other stuff like reading to him instead. With dd I didn't let her near the computer until she could read very competently. I think using the computer too young hinders development.

Hulababy Tue 05-Jun-07 21:30:54

I think 5 is too young for tutoring. Maybe the school can offer additional support or advise first.

Idreamofdaleks Tue 05-Jun-07 21:32:12

Is he dyslexic? If so he will really benefit from help asap

1dilemma Wed 06-Jun-07 00:46:58

Cammelia interesting re the computer. I hope that's not the case they have them in dc nursery, love to talk to me about the mouse and which button to press.(Especially when I'm mumsnetting!) I was also going to suggest trying to get a computer maths/reading programme. We have one and it allows them to do things when they can't write by clicking iyswim. Local library might have them or school /friends might lend them, was also going to suggest 'educational' DVDs for a bit of down time although he might be getting a bit old for them.

katelyle Wed 06-Jun-07 06:11:33

I would have issues with he school labelling someone so little, to be honest! He's only 5 - in practically every other European country they haven't even started formal school at 5! My ds is in year 1 as well and there is a huge range of abilities in his class - from one little boy who's reading Harry Potter to one who is still on the beginning levels of the ORT.
Read to him as much as possible, do lots of cooking and shopping and buying little sweets with his own money and play snakes and ladders and simple card games like Go Fish and RELAX! And suggest to the school that a policy of more positive report writing would be better for children and parents.

katelyle Wed 06-Jun-07 06:15:12

Oh and I think that the judicious use of the computer can be hugely helpful - particularly with slightly reluctant boys. We use a timer and don't allow more than half an hour at a time and none at all the the 2 hours before bed time. Try the BBC learning zones or find out which sites the school uses so that you can maintain continuity.

SofiaAmes Wed 06-Jun-07 07:31:46

My ds is 6 and in first grade (in usa). He is the youngest in the class (birthday just a few weeks before the cutoff date) and over a year younger than several boys who were held back a year. At the beginning of the year the teacher was complaining that he couldn't keep up with the class and wasn't reading as well as the others. I thought that she was exaggerating as ds is very dreamy and was probably just not paying attention. However, I talked to ds about it and he complained that the books that they were reading were "boring." So I tried out various different books at home and he become completely intrigued by the Goosebumps series. Everynight before reading him a chapter, I would have him read me the first page of the chapter. He ver quickly became proficient at reading and is now one of the better readers in the class. The teacher had actually sent him for extra tutoring to a program within the school, but they were using the same books as in the classroom and it was a waste of time in ds' case. Also, his handwriting seemed fairly poor, so I bought some of the specially lined paper that they use in class and had him write 5 lines of each letter every day. We would then sit and pick out which "A" he had done the best, which "B" he had done the best. By the letter "C" he was making a real effort to do each letter perfectly so that I would "have a hard time picking the best one because they were all so great." For maths, ds is actually quite advanced, but I try to keep maths present in our everyday life whenever possible. I give him little problems to solve during dinner and try to teach him tricks that his friends won't have learned yet so that he feels smart (he is the smallest as well as the youngest and not terribly athletic in a class full of jocks...). (11 times tables are a good one).

Kaz33 Wed 06-Jun-07 18:22:00

My August born boy couldn't read at all at the beginning of Year 1 and now coming to the end of Year 1 is flying ....

Yesterday he found the word duplicate in a power ranger manual and explained what it meant in context

It will come when it comes.

southeastastra Wed 06-Jun-07 18:27:54

it's easy to get in a state about reports. i don't think he is dyslexic as he sort of knows the words he's trying to read. the computer thing is hard to judge really. there are so many great sites, but it's always the star wars/dr who that he's drawn to. have another meeting next week with the school so will talk more to them then. he does keep coming out with surprising words too atm so guess it will come in time

tigermoth Wed 06-Jun-07 18:53:49

Just another message to add to all of these. I have an august born son, the youngest in the class and at 5 years old, he was behind in most academic things. He had little inclination to learn and sometimes, when I looked at the weekly homework sheets, I just knew he was too young for them and it was pretty hopeless to try them. We did our best but sometimes I just wrote a note of apology to the teacher.

I did try some fun phonics workbooks in the school summer holidays between year 1 and year 2, which did help a little bit. He was still not 'getting' reading, but it helped him retain some of the stuff he had learned in reception so after the 6 weeks break, he started year one up and running.

I was also reacting against a slighly pessimistic report from his year one teacher, so I know how you feel,southeastastra. I really felt his year one teacher was not seeing the imaginative, funny little boy that he is and was seeing him as a problem because he did not hit targets.

He had a much better year two, and really gelled with his teacher. His reading (well everything really) came on in leaps and bounds and has continued to improve in year three. He is still only 7, but seems to be now hitting the average in his year group.

I was amazed when he got a 3a in his SATS test for reading at the end of year 2, when the average mark nationally is around a 2b. This from a boy who had little idea of simple phonics 18 months ago. (proud mother moment). As others have said, reading and the rest can happen in fits and starts. Do keep a careful eye on things and encourage him, but IMO a tutor may be a waste of time right now.

southeastastra Wed 06-Jun-07 19:05:02

thank you tigermoth. these messages have really made me feel a whole lot better

tigermoth Wed 06-Jun-07 19:10:03

...and thank you again southeastastra, for the pyramid info. We made it in the end, helped by those templates. It is unusually hard to make a perfect pyramid btw.

southeastastra Wed 06-Jun-07 19:15:17

it is! i did one last year (with the help of that template too)

newgirl Thu 07-Jun-07 13:49:51

i think he'll be just fine too

i get my dd to have a go at writing birthday cards and things like that so its fun not really 'practicing'

apparently lots of drawing and colouring help with handwriting skills too

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