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Do you have a learning routine at home?

(28 Posts)
tostaky Mon 17-Oct-11 15:29:35

Do you have a “routine” to do homework and other learning things?
Do you do that in the morning? Afternoon? When exactly? For how long?
Do you have a dedicated space or do you sit the kids at the table?
What do you do? Just school stuff or a little bit more?
And do you do all your DCs at the same time or one at a time?

I have two DCs, expecting a third next may and I am keen to set up some kind of routine where I could teach them / do activities but probably not extra-curricular activities practice, like piano, which would have to be done at another time.

Im planning to buy a special little table for them and do half an hour of learning activities every day – I think morning would work better as they are just too tired in the evening.
Something like breakfast – learning – getting dressed
Or breaksfats – getting ready – learning?

Or am I just mad?


Putrifyno Mon 17-Oct-11 15:31:47

How old are they?

tostaky Mon 17-Oct-11 15:34:48

Sorry I should have say 3 yo and 18mo
Im planning to do basic things like letter tracing/ coloring/phonics/simple counting and adding/telling stories about a particular topic and do an activity around it

chill1243 Mon 17-Oct-11 16:56:55

you are making a start to a routine at a very early age. But it is a matter of opinion.

AMumInScotland Mon 17-Oct-11 17:03:14

Well, there's no harm in having a rough outline to your day, where you do "stuff" at certain times. But you sound a teensy bit OTT for them at this age. If it suits you and them to sit doing something at a table in the mornings, and going out for exercise in the afternoons, do it that way round. Or vice versa. Or take each day as it comes.

AChickenCalledKorma Mon 17-Oct-11 18:39:43

Honestly? At that age I would avoid having a set routine because you risk turning it into a battle. And you really don't want them to get the message that learning is something you do at a table, when you don't want to, just because Mummy says you should.

BUT I think having a table that is set up for that sort of activity is an excellent idea. Equip it with crayons, paper etc, stick up some posters with numbers and letters on; all that sort of stuff. And follow their interest. When they are interested, sit down with them and do it. And when they are not, get them out in the garden exploring the world - they will learn just as much drawing on the patio with a stick dipped in mud grin.

LynetteScavo Mon 17-Oct-11 18:51:06

I always had a routine in place, for the entire day. This included learning activities. However, these learning activities were never desk based, but always hands on. Other people probably thought we were all just playing. wink

Putrifyno Mon 17-Oct-11 20:38:47

I wouldn't personally. If I was at home I would make a "theme" and just have fun exploring it. They are too little to sit at a table at a fixed point in the day. So for example - think "baking". Go the countryside and see where wheat grows, go to the bakers and see all the different products, get flour and make stuff at home, weigh things, measure things. Draw some pictures in between. Make it all fun - not sitting at the table doing phonics and letters - there is LOADS of time for that. Sing ABC songs and point out letters by all means. Play I Spy.

QTPie Mon 17-Oct-11 22:04:21


I have an almost 21 m

QTPie Mon 17-Oct-11 22:13:37


I have an almost 21 month old and agree with experience based learning through fun, rather than "desk based academic learning". We do have a routine, but planned activities are all things like swimming, toddler gym and softplay, the rest of the time unplanned and is walks, garden, going to the park, reading together, building with blocks etc.

The past three weeks we have been going to top local private nurseries/pre-prep and it is interesting that they all tend to favour "freeflow"/"child-led" activity organisation to a reasonable extent and none expect/require any formal learning prior to reception (they actually like a "clean slate"). The thing that they do place importance on is reading with your child a lot.

So don't worry to much - just have fun with them and enjoy your time with them - plenty of time for more formal learning later on smile

crikeybadger Mon 17-Oct-11 22:15:04

Personally, I would say that the time for routines is when they start school.

When I had a meeting before my son started reception school, I asked his teacher if there was anything we should be teaching him before he started. She said no, just to enjoy him over the summer. I think she was right. He's young for his year, but has come on really well. I wouldn't go doing any phonics or structured learning just yet, learn yes, but do it through having fun and playing.

QTPie Mon 17-Oct-11 22:15:33

(that should be that we have been going to open mornings at top local nurseries/pre-peeps....)

Putrifyno Mon 17-Oct-11 22:30:25

My dd has been through the Maternelle system in Belgium. They "learnt" stuff. How to eat lunch nicely, how to go to the toilet, how to share, how to write their name, some letters, some numbers. And they had LOADS of fun, drawing, playing, painting, baking, growing seeds etc etc. Honestly, school is plenty time enough for letters, numbers and phonics. Yes, you ARE a bit mad to suggest doing this formally with such small dcs.

My dd was nearly 7 before she did reading at school. She is now nearly 8 and can read chapter books. In ONE year. Her brain was ready and receptive. There is NO benefit in starting so early imho.

substantiallycompromised Mon 17-Oct-11 22:33:16

At that age, don't the dc dictate a sort of routine anyway? Eat, sleep, play and then eat, sleep, play again.

I favoured just the usual walks in the park, listening to music, jumping in puddles, getting messy with ingredients from the store cupboard, banging pans together, painting, dancing, baking, reading, singing and generally having fun!

I think there is plenty of time for formal routines later on (when you will probably be cursing not having the time to just go with the flow and having to insist they do hwk instead!!)

Have a lovely time with them!

mumblecrumble Tue 18-Oct-11 21:45:21

Yes. We have special car time.

I have to take DD in the car to school, she is in reception. When I pick her up we sit a cuddle in the front of the car adn go through her homework book (sounds and some writing - we have a hard book that we use to write on) then we do her reading and have lovely chats and cuddles. before school we go 10 minutes early and do it all again......

In terms of other stuff - I feel that intergrating her into family life: making tea, playing, helping, washing stuff (she loves washing stuff....) is more productive than formal writing tasks.

tostaky Wed 19-Oct-11 17:21:19

Thank you all for your comments!

I am only planning a 20-30 min activity sitting at a table, doing things around a theme and helping DS1 learning reading (Nov baby so will be almost 5 when hell go to reception and at 3 he already wants to read!!)

Of course, during the day I am doing all the activities mentioned : painting/cooking/washing/running around/doing silly things /dancing/singing….

It is just I feel that a short session, a bit more formal would enable them to get further in their understanding of the world…

Say for example, the weather/seasons..

We could sit down, split a large piece of paper into 4 and draw things that relates to the seasons then during the day collect “proof” (like leaves and flowers and what not) so the next morning we can complete our drawing. I feel that it will make it easier for my DCs to “remember” / visualise all these concepts – we would work on vocabulary as well (they speak both French and English) how do you say “cloud” in French? How do you say “soleil” in English? How do you spell this and that… and then trace the letter for a word or two.
We do that already during the day but I feel a more structured approach on one topic a day might be beneficial because they just love learning and I really want to cultivate that! Sometimes I do not have the time to sit down and explain properly how things works and that is frustrating for all of us, having this set time every day, would enable us to catch up on things we just brushed during the day.

cenicienta Wed 19-Oct-11 17:37:32

From my own experience you can't force children to learn before they are ready. I have 2 DCs, almost 5 and almost 2. The elder started school just before the age of 3 (we live in a different country) and has had formal homework right from the start, however it's only now, aged almost 5 that she's showing any interest in formal learning / doing homework. Suddenly she wants to write her name, write numbers etc.

If your children seem ready then be led by that, if not then please don't waste your time.

My 2 are also bilingual... that in itself is a huge gift for them.

tostaky Thu 20-Oct-11 10:04:37

cenicienta - I am not sure why you get the impression I would like to force them to learn....

It is quite the opposite I tried to describe in my post... If you re-read the last sentence I am saying that I would like to catch up on the things I didnt have the time to explain properly during the day...

So many negative comments... hmm

LaLaLaLayla Thu 20-Oct-11 10:10:34

Before I post ours, let me explain that my DS is in the year below his age group as we HS'd for a year and the ministry do not recognise HS'ing so he had to go back to the year he missed. So in order to keep him up to speed...

Every day:
Maths (1 lesson - K12)
Handwriting (1 page)
Spelling (10 a week)
Reading (1 book - New Way - read to Mum & Dad individually)
Times Tables (5 mins practice whilst in the bath)
Piano (15-30 mins).

I think this is a lot. Most children would not need this.

singinggirl Thu 20-Oct-11 10:23:43

My first job was in a Pre-Prep school, which had a Kindergarten class of fifteen. Every year five extra joined the Reception class a year later. Within six weeks, very bright children who had not had any formal learning time previously would move to the top of the class, and the lower ability children would be in the bottom groups. Any advantage was gone - literally - in a matter of weeks.

From my experience there was no gain for those children who attended the Kindergarten class, and for some children a formal experience too young can actually put them off that type of learning. I know that this is a different experience to what you are proposing, but I strongly believe that learning through 'doing' is much better - at any age. Can't you discuss some of the aspects you decribe when looking at books?

MillyR Thu 20-Oct-11 15:58:14

I think there are two elements to this. The first is the type of child you have. If your child is the kind who likes formal learning, and wants to sit at a desk learning division and so on from a preschool age, and likes routine, then you should do exactly that. You should also keep this up throughout the early years at school, because that kind of child is going to struggle to benefit from the early years curriculum as it is not set up for that kind of child.

If you do have that kind of child, it is also worth reading up on the play based curriculum in school and teach them the skills needed to benefit from that curriculum. There has been research that has shown that white middle class children make more progress in the play based curriculum than in a more formal curriculum compared to their peers because they are taught the 'hidden' rules of directed play by parents at home before they start school. Children taught in a formal way before school genuinely believe that when told to play in school that they can go ahead and play. They don't realise that somebody is monitoring whether or not the child can demonstrate their understanding of capacity at a water table.

I have one of each type of child and we had to keep up formal learning all through KS1 for the first child because he was so bored and frustrated by the not really play. As soon as he got into KS2 and sat at a desk for most of the day, he made huge progress. The second child has required more support from us in KS2 because she prefers informal learning experiences.

cenicienta Thu 20-Oct-11 16:12:32

OP I talk about "forcing" children to learn because for us that's exactly what it was, trying to get DC1 to do her homework. In the end we told the school that we were from a different culture and wouldn't be doing homework, or any other type of formal learning until we felt DC was ready.

The rest of the parents were horrified and thought that we were ruining any chance of our DCs succeeding in life. Suddenly, aged almost 5 DC wants to learn and write and read which has come as a real surprise to us.

Maybe your children are different and love formal learning. My advice was really to be guided by them, not by some preconceived idea of what they should be doing. As a previous poster said, when they start reception, the bright children will naturally move forward faster than the slower children.

exoticfruits Thu 20-Oct-11 16:36:46

I agree with centicienta-deal with the DC you have, not the one you want to mould, and be prepared for your DCs to be very different.

cheeseandmarmitesandwich Thu 20-Oct-11 17:34:57

My DD1 is 3 and all of a sudden very keen on letters/reading etc. But I just take it at her own pace- if she suddenly shows an interest eg points at the cornflakes packet and asks what the letters are I tell her and then take the opportunity to point at other letters and words we can see, maybe get some books out and look at some words. Or if she draws a picture I ask her to put her name on it, or write what it is a picture of (eg cat). But it's always when SHE shows an interest and if she doesn't want to I don't push it, I never sit her down and say 'right, time to practice your letters'.

It just seems the most natural way to do it at her age to me, and it seems to be working she loves it!

cheeseandmarmitesandwich Thu 20-Oct-11 17:34:57

My DD1 is 3 and all of a sudden very keen on letters/reading etc. But I just take it at her own pace- if she suddenly shows an interest eg points at the cornflakes packet and asks what the letters are I tell her and then take the opportunity to point at other letters and words we can see, maybe get some books out and look at some words. Or if she draws a picture I ask her to put her name on it, or write what it is a picture of (eg cat). But it's always when SHE shows an interest and if she doesn't want to I don't push it, I never sit her down and say 'right, time to practice your letters'.

It just seems the most natural way to do it at her age to me, and it seems to be working she loves it!

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