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Should I do it myself?

(32 Posts)
Jenie Tue 23-Sep-03 11:05:25

Since dd started school 2 weeks ago I've been very unimpressed with how much she's learning. All that she seems to do is paint, stick, play in water and for 20 mins traced her name (she can write it perfectly well so why trace?).

She has only recently turned 4 and so doesn't have to go to school until next year (once she's 5) do you think that I should teach her myself as the school seem incapable of doing so or do you think that I'm being a pushy parent wanting her to do too much and miss out on her childhood?

I've also been given a list of the things that they are due to learn this term and am very unimpressed as she seems to have done these things in pre-school. Is it me or is she being held back because other parents haven't put the same amount of time into their children?

As it is I sit her down and we do 1 - 2 hrs per night of numbers and letters and phonics (altogether not for each one) and this seems to be the only time that she is doing them.

What are your opinions on this? I'd appreciate another view point.

Cam Tue 23-Sep-03 11:11:26

To be honest Jenie I think your dd's being given a great introduction to school.

doormat Tue 23-Sep-03 11:14:59

Jenie IMO this is the settling in period and getting the children into a routine of actual lessons.This way the children for example draw in the morning, paint before dinner, count after dinner etc etc to get them used to the idea of routine and interaction with teachers other children and also school rules.
Ok your daughter can do all this but so can alot of other children at this age.
Choice is yours, you can pull out if you want but personally I dont think it is a waste of time.

Oakmaiden Tue 23-Sep-03 11:24:08

Hm. Trickey one. In all honesty it is up to you - home education is great fun, although obviously it is a big commitment too. But at 4 is it important how much she is learning? It is possible to put children off by pushing them too hard too soon, but then the same is true of holding them back when they want to be leaping forward. Only you know your child.

I think schools do start off quite gently - Reception class is really a bridge between playschool and "real" school, and to be honest they don't seem to do so very much. I have to be honest, I think that what you are doing now is the worst of both worlds for your daughter - she is having to go to school all day, and then doing lots of work when she comes home. If you were to home educate I think it is thought that about 3 hours work a day is equivalent to what is done in school - your daughter is doing nearly that as homework! (Sure, she might enjoy it - I know my son likes to come home and do maths with me - but it is quite a lot for a little one!)

I would say that your choices are either to teach her yourself - which you are in essence doing already. Since she is only just 4 you do not need to make a formal decision to HE yet either, education is only compulsory from the term after a child's 5th birthday. But you could use that time to explore HE options - see if there are any groups near you (we have a group that meets weekly for a social/craft/lunch event, and we also arrange trips away to interesting places.)

Or you could just let her "coast" a bit at school - supplementing and supporting her learnign at home (although I would personally think doing a bit less than you are now.)

In the end you know your daughter better than anyone else - only you can decide which route would suit her best. I think in the main you must just bear in mind that your goal is a happy daughter, and a happy you. If she would be happiest at school then leave her there - if she would be equally or more happy at home then maybe that is the way for you to go? At this age (for me always, actually) the educational side of life is far less important. I would far rather my child grow up to be a happy, well adjusted car park attendent than an unhappy, unpopular rocket scientist.

Frenchgirl Tue 23-Sep-03 11:24:52

I would wait too as starting school is not just about learning in the classroom, she needs to make new friends, get into school routine, know the teachers, etc etc.. I think it's normal that at first they do stuff that lots of them already know. They might also do them in a different way, which is a good thing. I would imagine the teacher also needs to assess what everyone can do. And it gives them confidence as everything is not brand new and scary. I'm sure she will get to do more challenging things. Give it more time.

Jenie Tue 23-Sep-03 11:33:20

I think that the part I'm finding hardest is that she wants to learn and as soon as I collect her she starts planning what books she'd like to do when we get home! It's almost as if she's got home and school mixed up in so much as she learns at home and plays at school.

I guess that this term may well be the settling in period and to gain confidence they cover things that most of the children will know but she's not even doing the things she did at pre-school anymore.

The pre-school is joined on to this school so they should know what each other are doing and not repeat the same work imo.

Sonnet Tue 23-Sep-03 11:44:31

Agree with Oakmaiden...
I'm also concerned that my DD who has gone into year 2 gets too much homework - but thats another thread.
Have you considered another school?
Have you looked around her present school and are you happy with the overall standard? - if so, then this is just a settleing in period as others have said.

Jenie Tue 23-Sep-03 11:51:23

Yeah the rest of the school does well and I'm happy with that, so yeah it may well be a term of settling in. Ho hum guess I'm concerned about nothing.

Oak Maiden do you not think though that if she is willing to learn that I should give her the access to learn whilst she still has interest? Even if it is for a couple of hours per night. I will even do about 4 maybe 5 on a weekend, but she is willing and can sit still for that long.

Sonnet Tue 23-Sep-03 12:05:14

if she wasn't interested she wouldn't sit still that long!!! - I'd just go with the flow and if she asks to do it then fine...

Sonnet Tue 23-Sep-03 12:05:19

if she wasn't interested she wouldn't sit still that long!!! - I'd just go with the flow and if she asks to do it then fine...

Sonnet Tue 23-Sep-03 12:05:37

if she wasn't interested she wouldn't sit still that long!!! - I'd just go with the flow and if she asks to do it then fine...

Sonnet Tue 23-Sep-03 12:07:30

whhoops - I'M SO IMPATIENT....

sykes Tue 23-Sep-03 12:10:03

Do most people do this? Am getting worried as my elder dd not quite four is at pre-school where I think she has a good mix of play and learning (three half days a week). However, at home we do read/write etc sometimes but spend most time playing - I work full time. Younger dd, again, bit of reading etc but usually interactive play.

beetroot Tue 23-Sep-03 12:23:00

Message withdrawn

kmg1 Tue 23-Sep-03 12:24:30

IMO children learn to read at home, not at school. If she is keen to read/write at home, then by all means continue it, not all children are ready at this age. (DS2 is nearly 4.5, he is reading well already, and great numeracy, but is not ready to write at all). Your dd is learning important things at school too though about social skills and behaviour in a group, and how to learn in a noisy setting, where she hasn't got the one-to-one attention of a devoted adult.

DS1 did not go to school until after his 5th birthday, and I did a lot one-to-one with him. He is in yr 2 now, and I cannot exaggerate the advantages he now has because of his superb literacy skills, and numeracy too, and the fact that he learned to sit down and concentrate on a task.

DS2 is the same age as your dd, and has just started school, but his school do push the reading a lot. He is reading well already, and at school has a new reading book every day. He reads every day to an adult at school, and every day at home too. But generally he is shattered after school, and won't have the energy to do any more.

Jenie Tue 23-Sep-03 12:46:19

I do think that the social aspect of school is very important even when they are having a bad day with friends being nasty she will need to learn how to deal with these things, so I'll muddle on as we are for now and reasses next year.

Thank you all for your views.

pupuce Tue 23-Sep-03 13:13:58

Being not British and having been brought up in 2 different countries one European and one North American - I am always amazed at how (generally) the Brits teach their kids to read at such an early age !

Tinker Tue 23-Sep-03 13:21:12

sykes I wouldn't worry. There is no way I would have the time to do 2 hours in the evening, just couldn't fit it in.

LIZS Tue 23-Sep-03 13:35:10


IMO the school is working well if she doesn't feel that she is learning overtly whilst she will actually be learning through the various activities on offer. It took me a long time to adapt to the more European timetable of formal learning. ds has had 2 years of learning through play which at first frustrated me greatly as I was sure he was capable of being stretched more. However he has just started the equivalent of Year 1 and is thriving. He goes to school full of enthusiasm and his reading and writing skills are coming on dramatically. Those two years have given him a great deal of confidence and time to cultivate social skills and tolerance which should hold him in good stead for the future.

You may well feel that she needs more but is she, for example, doing full days yet. She is going to go through a period of tiredness as she adapts to her new regime and even if she is not feeling it yet it may catch up with her as term goes on and that will not be condusive to learning so much at home. Perhaps she is more mature that some kids of the same age and more ready for formal learning but as long as you continue to support her as you are doing at home, and go at her pace, I don't think it will do her any harm in the long run.

Is there a Parent/Teacher meeting scheduled soon as this would be a good opportunity to find out how they could stretch her if it is appropriate and will give you a better feel as to whether the school meets your expectations.

Jimjams Tue 23-Sep-03 14:14:31

The school and nursery will both work from the same curriculum- the foundation stage- the "work" she does in reception *should* be very similar to that in nursery. Each child will be at a different stage along the curriculum, The foundation stage recognises the importance of play as well which is why a lot of schools are careful not to push reading and writing too early these days. Most European countries don't start formal teaching of reading etc until 7. A lot of time at school is also spent learning to line up and get changed and do things like PE, also working in bigger groups and without the high staff ratios.

Don;t think its fair to blame other parents really. Some children just aren't interested in reading or writing at pre-school age and they shouldn't really be forced into it (research shows thats the quickest way to turn them off).

Slinky Tue 23-Sep-03 14:23:50

Jimjams has just confirmed what I was going to say.

I work in a day nursery, whereby the 3-5 year olds follow the "Stepping Stones - Foundation" curriculum (at their level) which leads into Reception of school. The Foundation finishes at the end of Reception year. All the paperwork relating to this from nursery/playschool is passed over to the Reception teacher to follow.

Last year, I did a lot of voluntary work in a Reception class - and it is more or less the same as a playschool/nursery. They spend some time doing some "formal" writing/reading/maths etc and the rest is "play". Most afternoons were "freeplay" both outside and indoors.

My DS1 has just gone into Year 1 and is gutted that he can't play as much or watch "Come Outside" in the afternoons

Oakmaiden Tue 23-Sep-03 20:07:38

Jenie - if she is doing 2 hours and considering it to be "play" then of course you should go along with her. The only thing I would be a little wary of is making sure *why* she wants to do it. This is not intended to be offesive - I don't know you at all, obviously, but a lot of people whose children love doing workbooks and stuff with their parents discover that actually what the child wants is time sat down with Mummy or DAddy paying attention to them and to nothing else. It isn't the work so much that they want, it is the one-to-one attention.

Of course this could be completely irrelevant to your child and to your situation - just thought it was worth you looking at. And of course, as I said earlier, holding back a child who *really* wants to learn can be as damaging as pushing a child too hard. You know your situation best - do what you think is best, and ignore all our opinions!!! they are just that - opinions.

Batters Tue 23-Sep-03 20:32:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FairyMum Wed 24-Sep-03 07:33:06

My dd could read fluently when she started school and in some ways she is still way ahead most of her class mates. She does say she gets bored in class and I know she isn't challenged as much as she could be. I don't worry though as I think school isn't just about learning to read, write or do maths. It's also about learning to socialise with other people and learning that some people take longer to learn certain things. My dd is still enjoying school and I love the fact that so much emphasis is on play or learning through playing.

kmg1 Wed 24-Sep-03 09:19:58

What a great post Batters

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