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I don't think I am but my dh and ds do so give me a reality check

(110 Posts)
Stoppicking Thu 03-Oct-13 07:43:01

My dh says that I am pushing our year 4 son by making him work too hard. My ds says that noone has to work as hard as he does (probably due to listening to his father's moans).

5 nights a week (I'm not fussed which 5 nights but ds has chosen Sun-Thurs) he has to do:

10 minutes of reading (school state between 15-30 minutes so already under on that in my book)
Run through that week's spelling tests
Complete a set piece of homework once a week (I've tried explaining to both dh and ds that he could do a bit of it a night but he chooses to do it all in one sitting)
30 minutes of music practice

That's it. So am I really being unreasonable?

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Thu 03-Oct-13 08:09:42

So every night he does 10 mins reading and say same on spelling = 20 mins?
And except for the set piece night he does 30 minutes music = 50 mins total?

And two nights a week off?

That sounds fine (I did much more at his age). He has plenty of time to just be a child.

I would tell him and your DH that the moaning just makes it worse...

ProfYaffle Thu 03-Oct-13 08:10:13

My dd1 is 9 and just started Yr5, she didn't read for pleasure either until the summer hols just gone. All of a sudden she just seemed to 'get' it, I didn't do anything in particular other than make sure we had books in the house that might interest her (charity shops, boot sales etc)

Now she's devouring books at a rate of knots - don't give up on the idea of reading for pleasure, he may surprise you!

LIZS Thu 03-Oct-13 08:11:42

The instrumental practice seems a lot unless he is a virtuoso and loves it, could you do one or other on week nights then both at weekends . Rest sounds normal to me.

Lovecat Thu 03-Oct-13 08:11:55

That sounds fine to me.

The reason I haven't put DD down for an instrument at school (she's also Yr 4) is because they expect you to sign something saying you will do AN HOUR's practice a day, and I just don't think that's do-able, sustainable and definitely not enjoyable for a child of that age - and we want her to like music, not see it as a chore!

She has 20 mins homework a night, plus spellings and tables. This is a private school, mind you.

cashmiriana Thu 03-Oct-13 08:12:27

That sounds fine.

In fact the reading is probably not enough for him to continue to make progress: ten minutes reading together/ discussing the text/ looking up and talking about new vocabulary is fine, but he needs to be doing at least as much again as an independent reader. I hear your pain about reluctant readers though - I had one who has only now, in year 5, really started to read enough. Embarrassing for a teacher!

And is that really too much music practice? I expect the same from my children at that age.

BrokenSunglasses Thu 03-Oct-13 08:12:55

I don't think it's too much, but if your ds thinks it's too much then he should drop an instrument. If he wants to do the instruments, then it has to be on top of school work, and reading and spellings are non negotiable in my mind.

Whocansay Thu 03-Oct-13 08:13:19

Did he choose to play these instruments or did you push him into doing it? If he chose to do it, YANBU to make him practice, although 30 mins a night sounds a lot, but if YOU chose to make him learn them YABU.

I would make him read more, personally. However, is he reading age appropriate books or are you trying to make him read Tolstoy or something? And this 'homework' - is this from school or something you're setting him?

You do sound very pushy, tbh, and may be putting him off altogether.

wonkylegs Thu 03-Oct-13 08:17:35

My 5yo does the same bar the music practice. I think it sounds fine however I would guess if DH isn't supporting you on this DS will pick up on this and use it as an excuse.
I would suggest asking DH to try to be positive and actively supportive about it for a set period of time and see if that makes a difference, with the trade off that if it doesn't improve you'll back off a bit.

BlackeyedSusan Thu 03-Oct-13 08:20:25

thnk god I clicked on this thread... it is recoder day and I have not made her practice at all (my defence is she has just started and I have not got it in my routine) and I nearly forgot to pack the recorrder.

ovenbun Thu 03-Oct-13 08:28:22

its really hard if your partner isnt being consistent....and hard for your son as he is caught between the two... any 9 year old would side with daddy if daddy says they can do less homework...I think the problem isnt really the work its acting as a team, I'd discuss it alone with your partner and come to a comprimise, to get consistency for your son and support for you. Maybe spreading the work over 4 nights?
Then go to your son and see his ideas for changing things.
There could be a fun element. so that if he completes the agreed tasks he gets to choose a fun activity for one of his nights off?
I think reading to him is a good way to encourage reading for pleasure, although he may just be someone who is never going to love reading, and thats ok too.

Merrylegs Thu 03-Oct-13 08:30:45

I don't get the making him do homework though? You're not setting it are you, the school is. And he has chosen to do it in one evening. So let him do it in an evening. If there is a problem with him not doing it or not finishing it then his teacher can have a conversation with him about it.

I don't think 10 minutes forced reading is useful. He doesn't enjoy it because he hasn't found the right book yet. I would read to him (better still get dh to) each night for 10 minutes.

(Although I do wonder if your dh is backing him up for an easy life. I do get how boring it can be being the taskmaster all the time)

GeppaGip Thu 03-Oct-13 08:33:38

The music is probably too much at 9. Everything else I agree with.

I was a talented musician at school but eventually packed it in because the enforced daiily practice at home as well as other music related commitments (which grow as you get older) just sucked the enjoyment out of it for me.

ArgyMargy Thu 03-Oct-13 08:35:47

YABU. He is 4. Leave him alone.

topbannana Thu 03-Oct-13 08:39:03

Sounds quite reasonable to me as the mother of a 9yo DS who also plays two instruments. TBH I find that by the time he has faffed about with his music, got the instrument ready etc he is down to 10 minutes anyway. Little and often seems to work for him, particularly as longer spells can still be quite uncomfortable on his fingers/ mouth.

wordfactory Thu 03-Oct-13 08:41:36

People this child is not 4!!!!!

He is year 4.

OP, I think your expectations on school work are more than fine.

Re the instruments. Can I ask why two?

yegodsandlittlefishes Thu 03-Oct-13 08:42:17

My children did about the same at that age. They read to themselves for enjoyment (hours at a time) and were read stories at bedtime for at least 10 minutes. I got them to keep up the music practice until secondary school/ grade 3. That was harder to do, practice was about 3 times a week for about 20/30 minutes, or 10 minutes per instrument. One gave up instruments at that stage, the other went on to get grade 5s in 2 instruments. She is continuing with one instrument and is doing music GCSE.

BeScarefulWhatYouWitchFor Thu 03-Oct-13 08:58:22

He's in year 4/age 9.

I don't know about music as mine never did an instrument. The rest sounds fine.

BeScarefulWhatYouWitchFor Thu 03-Oct-13 09:01:34

*mine never did an instrument hmm Apologies for the awful grammar there, I guess that's what happens when you get sleep deprivation from being woken up, in the middle of the night, by a cat.

Yorkieaddict Thu 03-Oct-13 09:07:32

YANBU. The school work needs to be done, I don't imagine there are many children that like doing it. I would say the music is a bit much unless he enjoys it, which you say he does, so as far as I can see its all good.

The amount of work is only going to increase once he gets to secondary school, so he may as well get used to it!

ShellingPeas Thu 03-Oct-13 09:11:07

I don't think 30 minutes on 2 different instruments is too much. Split it into two 15 minute slots at different times of the day and it's done before you know it. School work is fine too.

pianodoodle Thu 03-Oct-13 09:17:52

If he enjoys the music it is ideal that he does a bit every night. 30 minutes for two instruments is not too much.

If he cuts down the practise and progress slows down he could actually end up enjoying it less.

Tailtwister Thu 03-Oct-13 09:18:13

I agree that the homework sounds fine.

As for the music practice, 30 minutes a day does sound a lot but imo if you want to be any good it's about right. I was doing around 1.5h per night at the same age (2 instruments though) and that was considered the bare minimum. It's hard to get a balance, especially with something extra like learning an instrument. I'm not into hot housing, but you do need to put the work in and make a significant commitment if you want to progress.

TheWomanTheyCallJayne Thu 03-Oct-13 09:32:25

Could he do 15 minutes music practice every night alternating the I instruments?

SummerRain Thu 03-Oct-13 09:43:38

I'm in Ireland and ds1 is yr3 equivalant, dd is yr4.

They get homework from school 4 nights a week, at least one piece of maths or writing (last night dd had 5 lots of maths and a bit of irish writing), 2/3 pages of reading, spelling and tables. Doing it isn't optional.

Mine don't do instruments but 15 mins per instruments sounds about right from what I can remember being told by my music teacher when I was younger.

JennyWren Thu 03-Oct-13 09:48:29

My DD also has more homework this year (Year 4). She's not thrilled about having to do it, but it has to be done. We have agreed to try to get it done on school nights, so the weekend is free if she has done her bit during the week. In practice that means four evenings - she has one off each week when she might be at a friend's house after school and for tea, or has a friend here - she does 20-30 minutes homework. She gets spellings, a maths sheet (30 questions) and a literacy sheet every week and I let her break them down into bits if she want to mix and match - 10 maths questions and a bit of literacy each time, for example. If she doesn't need all four sessions because she's worked effectively the first three times, she gets a day off.

We had a lot of problems with her attitude to working - lots of moaning and gnashing of teeth and little actual work, meaning that 30 minutes wasn't enough because she wasn't actually doing anything constructive in her time. So I have introduced the Homework Sweetie - awarded for attitude to working, not competence in the answers. I have five fingers on my hand and every time I have to remind her to stop moaning/paying more attention to her brother/the ceiling/hat is going on out of the window... she 'loses' a finger. When I have no fingers left she doesn't get a sweet. It is working very well. I always emphasize that it is for her approach to doing the work, not for actual ability to get the sums (for example) right. DD likes it because it isn't an all or nothing thing, but I am incredibly firm about not giving the sweet if she hasn't behaved - and it hasn't taken long to start being very effective.

This week we agreed that after half term we're taking it down to four fingers, and three after Christmas. I won't go any lower than that. It is really good for her brother as well, although he only gets reading.

DD is a total bookworm so getting her to 'do her reading' isn't a problem, but I do need to add in 15 minutes of violin practice. I've fought one battle at a time, though!

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