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4yo not interested....

(33 Posts)
JonSnowKnowsSomeThings Sun 16-Aug-15 21:01:42

Hi all, I have a little boy, just turned 4 and starting reception in sept. The school gave us some homework for him to do over the summer discuss with his teacher at his pre-start meeting. Nothing major - just taxing dotted lines, colouring, copying letters etc. I've tried so many times to get him to do this bloody homework and he's absolutely not interested in anything to do with it. I've basically bribed him with marbles and treats today to get him to do half of it. He mucks about, slides off his chair, scribbled on the page, pretended he couldn't hold the pen. I'm worrying he's going to slip behind at school - he can just about legibly write his name with coercion - I don't think he's not physically or intellectually not able, he's just not interested and can't be bothered and doesn't see the point. I've got loads of different activity books to do together but he really doesn't want to do it. Any tips or people in similar situation?

Pico2 Sun 16-Aug-15 21:05:47

I'd leave it. My DD will do things for other people, but not for me and I think that is fairly normal. We haven't been given any pre-reception homework and evidence suggests that homework is of limited value anyway.

JonSnowKnowsSomeThings Sun 16-Aug-15 21:09:24

I just worry that his lack of interest could result in him slipping behind, which would be such a shame because he's a genuinely very bright little boy. I'm not sure what's normal for a child his age to be able to do. He knows all the letters and their sounds, and can count to 20 (ish) he can draw little stick people and write his name but that's about it. Is that "normal" (I hate that word) I mean "average"?

Hobbes8 Sun 16-Aug-15 21:13:23

There was quite a recent thread about what your child going into reception could and couldn't do. There was a pretty wide variation, and it sounds as though your son is summer born, so you'd expect him to need to catch up with the autumn born children anyway.

My son was 4 in July and can't write his name, although he's pretty good at recognising letters and numbers. I bought him some books where you can trace letters and wipe it clean to try and help him along and he's not interested. I'm pretty sure he's normal, but there's a wide range of normal.

JonSnowKnowsSomeThings Sun 16-Aug-15 21:18:21

This is true. Do you worry about your lo starting reception and having to catch up with the older ones? I hadn't really until today. He's such a quiet little soul I can just imagine him getting brushed to one side in class in favour of all the more forthcoming children - he's never one to volunteer the answers or offer to take part or put his hand up for stuff iyswim.

Haggisfish Sun 16-Aug-15 21:20:20

Good lord-most of Dds class wouldn't have done this at all! Please don't worry about it-your ds will not be left behind.

Hobbes8 Sun 16-Aug-15 21:21:34

I think he'll be ok. He's quite quietly confident - not the most outgoing child but perfectly content within himself. I'm sure he'll catch up with things like writing. He's come on enormously since starting preschool.

addictedtosugar Sun 16-Aug-15 21:25:31

DS1 is just going into Y2. Going into reception, he was miles behind your son. Going into Y1, he was barely reading, and his writing was atrocious. By the end of Y1, he is expected in reading and writing, and above in maths. Please don't worry, school will get them all to progress, and in reception it is as much about how schools work and play than learning.

Ferguson Sun 16-Aug-15 22:24:51

Having been a Teaching Assistant for over twenty years, I am surprised that a school expects him to do 'homework' before he has even STARTED school; many Reception classes don't do homework, other than sharing books with a parent and starting to learn to read.

I am sorry, Mum, but it seems to me the greatest threat to his success in school is going to be YOU. If he doesn't WANT to do these things, then don't try to make him; and DON'T, under any circumstances threaten, bribe, or invoke in any other way, his compliance.

The chances are (and I stand to be corrected here) that you have for some weeks or months been making a 'big deal' out of him starting school, and now he is scared of the unknown and what it might entail, and is not prepared to co-operate.

Has he been to playgroups, pre-school or any other toddler-type setting? If so, how did he react there? In the course of normal, daily play at home, does he EVER use any mark-making resources? Does he play with jigsaw puzzles, construction toys such as Duplo or Lego?

Do you regularly read to him, as that is probably the most essential requirement prior to starting school? Is he OK with changing his clothes, shoes etc (with help), coping with the toilet, feeding himself, sharing and turn-taking with other children? These are the things that are important at this stage, NOT 'tracing over lines'!

hazeyjane Sun 16-Aug-15 22:31:00

Ferguson, your post seems a little harsh! To be fair to the op, the school have asked her to do these things, so obviously she and the other parents of new starters will be trying to encourage their children to do them!

However, I think it is bloody crazy that they have been set any sort of work, in the run up to school! At the schools my dcs go to, they don't do any homework in year R apart from bringing home a reading book every week.

Op, I wouldn't worry too much about it, put it to one side and enjoy the rest of the Summer holidays smile

ffffffedup Sun 16-Aug-15 22:37:57

Don't worry about it trust me they are completely different in school than they are at home. My ds is 5 (going into y1 sept ) completely uninterested in homework but gives his all at school and was in the top groups for reading maths and phonics

AuditAngel Sun 16-Aug-15 22:42:04

DS is August born, and he would not have co-operated with this prior to starting school. In fact, his year 1 teacher commented that he was a reluctant writer, but active in class discussions and that the writing would come in time. DD2, conversely Is October born and a CS ple tell different kettle if fish.

When you have the teacher visit, just explain he wouldn't co-operate.

Ferguson Sun 16-Aug-15 22:50:22

Sorry - Yes, in some situations teachers and TAs can be 'harsh', and I am sometimes deliberately provocative to stimulate a reaction!

Noteventhebestdrummer Mon 17-Aug-15 06:45:40

What is he learning from not doing this?

What would motivate him to do it in school?

ThumbWitchesAbroad Mon 17-Aug-15 06:49:06

My DS1 wasn't remotely interested in doing any sort of "learning" like this when he was 3 and just turned 4, despite my best efforts of interesting him in numbers and letters and so on. He went to pre-school at 4, and picked it all up very quickly (I'm in Australia, kids here don't start school until they're at least 4 2/3, they need to turn 5 before the end of July and the school year starts end of Jan/Feb time).

Sometimes it's just not wanting to do it because it's home, and home is where you play and so on; whereas once in a classroom environment, they understand that it's different and will get on with it.

My DS1 was the same with his dancing - wouldn't practise at home because "I don't do dancing here, Mummy".

RatOnnaStick Mon 17-Aug-15 07:59:14

You're not alone.

DS1 is also starting school in september, he will be a week short of five. Our problem is he has zero interest in mark-making, drawing, colouring, using scissors or attempting anything whatsoever using fine motor skills. He still holds his pencil like a 2 year old by choice and scribbles only and he is unwilling to have a go for more than five seconds.

He's great with numbers, showing interest in letters and beginning phonics but at this rate he's never going to learn how to get it down on paper confused.

His little sheet of things to attempt in the holidays is not like yours, amongst other things he has a list of things he can circle to say he can use - crayons, felt pens, pencil, scissors, brushes, glue, paint (No, no, no, no, a bit if coerced, no and no) - Would you like to draw a colourful picture? NO.

I'm hoping the school environment will make it all happen because it sure isn't going to at home right now.

JonSnowKnowsSomeThings Mon 17-Aug-15 10:48:18

Can you imagine if i had rocked up to his pre-start meeting with his teacher with a blank homework book saying, "oh he didn't want to do it". Parent of the year award wouldn't go to me i don't think.

We read all the time, several times a day, he likes sticker books and playing lego. He's always been really good at things like jigsaws and puzzles.

He has loads of different mark making things (etchasketch, a similar style drawing pad with different shapes and pens, stamps, an aquadoodle, pens and crayons, there are even apps on the ipad for colouring in and writing, he's just not interested in actually doing any of it.

And just wow at being told that I am the biggest threat to his success in school by the way. That's pretty cutting considering that I am showing an interest and not just leaving it to the school to sort out.

puddymuddles Mon 17-Aug-15 10:53:20

I would just say I tried to get him to do it but he wouldn't. Or I would do a tiny bit myself and say this is all I could get him to do!

My DD was 4 in April and would also not be interested in doing anything like this and she cannot recognize letters or read/write anything. The school just said leave it all to them. I think homework at this age is silly. They should be playing at this age. Your boy will be fine.

JonSnowKnowsSomeThings Mon 17-Aug-15 10:53:42

He's been in nursery pretty much full time since he was 5 months old by the way, so he's pretty well socially developed in terms of turn taking, sharing, etc. Can dress self, feed self and use the toilet independently (although bum wiping can be questionable) can put on his own coat and shoes. Like i said, he's a bright kid, i'm just worried that he's going to be overshadowed by more 'academically' (for want of a better word) advanced children, because he doesn't really shout about what he can do - he's never the one in the front row with his hand up shouting out answers basically.

Findtheoldme Mon 17-Aug-15 10:58:10

Other children's abilities have no bearing on yours. Him not wanting to answer questions will not make him over shadowed. How sad that a child hasn't even started school yet and his mum is worried he will be left behind.

All children have potential and need guidance but he is four, he has fourteen years of school ahead of him, make it fun, let him be.

JonSnowKnowsSomeThings Mon 17-Aug-15 11:01:11

I just want him to do well that's all. there's nothing wrong or 'sad' about that.

Oliversmumsarmy Mon 17-Aug-15 11:02:29

homework before starting school!! What sort of school is this? They could be doing more harm than good. At 4/5 shouldn't learning be fun?

JonSnowKnowsSomeThings Mon 17-Aug-15 11:08:05

It's an academy - it was our 3rd choice. didnt get in to the other two.

It was in special measures but most recent ofsted report was "good". It seems nice, but the reception teacher was very new - i'm hoping that what she lacks in experience she'll make up in enthusiasm, she did seem quite nice at the taster day. But yes, when we went to the new starters parents evening we were given a homework book (about 20 pages of a4) to complete with him prior to our 1:1 meeting with his teacher the day before he starts school. As an aside, they have a very extensive settling in period too - nearly 3 weeks part time before starting full time. hmm biscuit

IceBeing Mon 17-Aug-15 11:08:43

jon please don't be offended by the idea that you could potentially push your child to hard and get the opposite response to the one you want! It is a fault that all good interested parents are guilty of in one form or another!

I have to constantly watch myself with DD because I am so KEEN for her to discover interest in reading, maths, science etc....but the key word is DISCOVER....for herself....

There are the 3 C's of intrinsic motivation...

Collaboration: You could just start doing some copying letters yourself...seeing you do it (maybe make a few deliberate mistakes and ask for help fixing it) might engage your DS in a shared task rather than one that is just his.

Content: I this case it is trying to explain how doing this homework is going to help and be fun. Make the task fun somehow (not in the bribery sense - that is the opposite form of motivation and pretty damaging long term) maybe who can do the wobbliest letter for a bit?

Choice: This is the most important one. We do well, learn well, when we are learning though a free choice to do so. And if your DS is choosing not to do this particular activity at this particular time then the absolute best thing you can do is respect his choice. Forcing him through bribery or anything else will simply build dislike and resistance to the task for the future. Saying okay - not ready for homework yet - and try again in the future will give him some agency and make him far more likely to choose to do the homework of his own volition at some point in the future.

It honestly doesn't matter a jot if you turn up with no homework done at the start of the year. It does matter hugely if you turn your DS off learning because it is forced and boring and not what he wants to do.

Findtheoldme Mon 17-Aug-15 11:13:13

We had 4.5 months of part time settling in...

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