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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?

steeking Fri 04-Oct-13 15:11:36

Ds1 wasn't keen to read at that age. He much preferred nonfiction so we found a magazine subscription was better for him than books. Let him choose though. Even if it's just a comic. Better to be reading something than nothing.

lljkk Fri 04-Oct-13 15:00:22

I know OP gave up reading ages ago...

I would say 40-60 minutes practice per week per instrument. But instruments the easy part, I gather.
I would only run thru the spelling words once or twice a week, not 5 nights.
Boy is entitled to moan as much as he likes, up to OP how much moaning she can withstand.

moldingsunbeams Fri 04-Oct-13 14:37:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

charitygirl Fri 04-Oct-13 13:48:03

Music fine, homework almost certainly pointless.

shoofly Fri 04-Oct-13 13:46:27

Ds is in year 4 (Northern Ireland) kids in his class are 7/8. He is given a reading book, 20 spellings, number bonds/ mental maths and a piece of research/ written work on their "topic" every Monday. The research has to be handed in wed/ thurs. He also gets a literacy homework on Tuesday and Numeracy on Wednesday. School ask for a run through of spellings and mental maths every night. (Mon-Thurs) and ask for 15-20 minutes of reading every night to be filled in on reading journal. (Once reading book is read, then anything else is suitable - comic/ newspaper/ beast quest)

As I read the op you are asking him to run through his spellings every night and read for 10 minutes and complete one homework. Surely this is what school requires? So I can't see any argument here and I think your husband is being a dick

The music practice is a separate issue and if he's playing 2 instruments, then 30 minutes is entirely reasonable.

3rdnparty Fri 04-Oct-13 13:31:33

Could you split it up? we do some of ds practice or writing in the morning ...makes it feel less of a long stretch..but overall doesnt sound too much - although ds only practices instruments 2x a week but we are upping to 3 as its not enough

he likes going to the library to get next asterix/tintin - re books have had some success with
the how to train your dragons-loved these
glory gardens - cricket series(v dull but he liked them)
harry the poisonous centipede/indian in the cupboard- lynne read banks
sam silver pirate- set on book people at the moment
jack stalwart-like a v v young james bond

also trying the phoenix comic as have special offer on its quite a different style from beano etc ...hth

hermioneweasley Fri 04-Oct-13 13:16:47

Sounds fine to me.

Get your DS to read "battle hymn of the Tiger Mother" and he'll be eternally grateful for you!

MmmmWhiteWine Fri 04-Oct-13 13:13:22

I'm confused. Who is setting the homework? You or the school? If it's the school then surely the amount is outwith your control? If your son's happier doing it all in one go and getting it out of the way then let him get on with it. Sounds like a good strategy to me. If you are setting your own homework than I thnk that's unreasonable.

whatever5 Fri 04-Oct-13 12:59:08

GampyWabbit- I think that 30 mins is normal at grade 6 but I don't think that most children would be at that level at age 9 even if they practiced for 30 minutes a day. Your children are obviously very musical.

For the averagely musical child who is doing grade 1 or 2 at age 9, I think that 15 minutes a day is enough. I think that more than that is counterproductive unless they want to do more.

GampyWabbit Fri 04-Oct-13 12:20:21

I also can't understand how people think 15 mins music practice is enough for a 9yr old! My dcs started music lessons at 4yrs old and they did 15 mins practice a day then. Dd is 9yrs old now and grade 6+ and can easily fill 30mins + on one instrument. Ds is 6 and does around 15/20 mins. It isn't all boring and is in fact very beneficial. They enjoy playing games, reviewing pieces, and learning new ones, as well as doing scales and other important things like that!

I'm sure the op also said her ds enjoys the music practice and the problem is more about school work.

valiumredhead Fri 04-Oct-13 11:48:08

Sorry, thought it was AGE four!

Still think 30 mins is too much, 15 mins 3x a week is more like it.

fluffyraggies Fri 04-Oct-13 11:41:36

Another on who read it as 4 year old blush

I think the music practice is a bit much if he isn't keen to do that much. Sure it's been said already (haven't read every post)

School work - yep, fine. But, Op, does he read with you? Do you engage with his reading? If not he's most likely not getting much out of 10 mins forced reading time.

valiumredhead Fri 04-Oct-13 11:33:31

YANBU apart from the music.

TRL Fri 04-Oct-13 11:11:26

Hi, I don't think that sounds unreasonable at all.

My Yr 4 boy has 1 x Maths h/w & 1 x spelling h/w per week from school plus daily 20 mins reading (and a reading record to fill in to be signed at home and school every day). He also plays 2 instruments so practises most nights for about 30 mins in total, except when he's had a lesson or orchestra.

He grumbles occasionally if the music practice is difficult but never about the school homework (easy) or reading (he loves this and always reads for at least 20 mins in bed just before he goes to sleep). We also have a firm rule that school work and music practise are non-negotiable whereas all other activities are choice so if there isn't time to fit things in it's the other stuff that will go first. This is because schoolwork has to be done obviously, and music practice is the one thing that all our children experience that doesn't come easily to them but you get better if you practise - it's more for the life-lesson that I'm non-negotiable here than because they're virtuosos! They're now all competent enough to really enjoy their orchestras and ensembles which makes them keener to practise anyway.

For the Yr 4 one, Maths and Spelling h/w are both done if possible on Friday evening so he can enjoy the weekend freely. Seems to work for us.


GangstersLoveToDance Fri 04-Oct-13 10:57:00

Also, don't focus on the reading aspect.

Focus on a love of books. So what interests him? Cars/music/martial arts?

STOP 'forcing' him to read. Completely. Even if he does NO reading practice for a couple of weeks. Tell him he can have one book a week of his choosing. Take him to a bookshop or plonk him in front of a laptop and let him browse amazon.

If he chooses completely un educational books full of pictures, so be it. If he chooses comics or a book of fart jokes, or a book detailing pranks he can play on unsuspecting family members, fine.

Show him the value of books. What can be gained from them. That he can enjoy them.

Successful reading (being able to read for pleasure OR necessity and retain information) can only come once the above has been achieved. Some kids are born with a love of books. Some won't discover it until age 6/8/10/15.

A child forced to read dull-as-ditchwater (to them) text simply because they have to know the words will never achieve it.

MaddAddam Fri 04-Oct-13 10:46:32

I'd ease up because it ends in a lot of arguments and there are studies that argue quite convincingly that all homework at primary is really just to keep the parents happy, it doesn't really affect their academic progress.

Spelling homework is dull as ditchwater, my dc are divided into those who can spell easily, so don't need to waste their time on this, and one who can't spell at all no matter how hard she tries, so this isn't a very useful activity for her either. I would let him do as little as he can get away with on the spelling.

I agree with Gangsters, reading is one of life's great pleasures and shouldn't be forced, I'd worry about making it a chore. I'd read to him if he doesn't want to read to himself. Or play language games or strategy games with him. Educational stuff that's more fun than the tedious primary homework tasks.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 04-Oct-13 10:36:41


Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 04-Oct-13 10:36:25

NK confused

How so? The OP's child will have spent approximately 5 hours doing school work - at school.

Gangsters read the thread. The child is 8/9, not 4.

GangstersLoveToDance Fri 04-Oct-13 10:34:22

Oh, I stand corrected...just seen it is YEAR 4, not 4 year old.

Mmm, not so UR in that case.

However, I still feel the 'schedule' a little rigid. Do they have to practice their spelling and music EVERY night?

Also, by year 4 - i'm assuming he can read, so the 'learning' stage is past and now the reading skills just need to be expanded.

I can't see that MAKING a 9 year old read every night will do anything except harm a potential love of reading as they see it as only a chore. Books should be enjoyable. Find books that your son finds enjoyable.

GangstersLoveToDance Fri 04-Oct-13 10:30:38

I think YABU.

My 5 year old is on stage 5 of the ORT - so the books are just starting to get quite challenging for him in terms of length and new words. The only thing that is 'compulsory' is that we read his current school book every night, which can take up to half an hour depending on how much he wants to discuss it. Sometimes it's only ten minutes.

He gets homework on a Friday which he will do either Friday/Saturday/Sunday.

Every so often we practice his words list - but there is no set schedule for this.

Every so often we practise the piano - but again, there is no set schedule for this.

Compulsory reading AND spelling AND music EVERY night at this age is too much for a four year old IMO and is more like to damage their love of learning if you are having to force/cajole them into it.

NK493efc93X1277dd3d6d4 Fri 04-Oct-13 10:27:52

15 mins a day music practice! Appears more value placed on this than schoolwork.

FriendlyLadybird Fri 04-Oct-13 10:21:49

30 minutes' music practice a night is FINE in year 4. Of course he's going to moan -- everyone does -- but there's no point in learning (or your paying for lessons) UNLESS he practises. My brothers were both doing 30 minutes on each instrument at that age.

Bonsoir Fri 04-Oct-13 10:19:51

My DD also has another 10 hours of out of school activities (not in school) so 36 contact hours in total. I am not counting lunch times.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 04-Oct-13 10:15:59

I'm really saddened by people's attitude to music. Just because you aren't going to earn money from it doesn't mean that it isn't valuable.

I played three instruments as a child, and while I don't currently play regularly it enhanced my life in a myriad of ways and music will always be very important to me.

15 minutes a day at that age is not excessive, any less than that per instrument and he isn't going to make any progress. The reading and other homework sound fine to me as well.

We do 15 minutes reading every day, plus 10 minutes of either spelling or French 2-3 times a week with DS1 who is in Y1. He also reads for pleasure, does swimming twice a week plus sports club after school one day a week and still has masses of time for just vegging, watching TV, playing and whatever else he wants to do.

stealthsquiggle Fri 04-Oct-13 10:11:01

My Y2 DD has 37.5 hour "standard" school week plus after school activities (at school, 4 days a week).

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