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have i pushed him too far?help pls!

(16 Posts)
4ever21 Mon 24-Aug-09 08:06:11

I never thought myself to be a pushy mum, but lately I'm afraid I've been. i have an almost 6year old ds, who's really smart. he's really good at maths and reads really well too.he learnt to read at age 4 and back then, reading for him was very exciting, he loved reading time. he started school last september and realized his peers weren't reading and so i guess he didnt feel the need to read too. maybe i should have given him a break then, but i got him to keep reading and do sums almost daily. i felt he wasn't being challenged enough in school, we actually did kumon maths and english for 3months, i think that worsened it, he actually started crying when it got to 'homework' time. so we stopped.

I know it's said that boys generally are not as 'into academic' stuff as girls. is it just the 'boy' in him that tries to avoid reading or have i just overdone it. any advise on how to go about this would be appreciated. I want him to enjoy reading and not consider it a burden.

seeker Mon 24-Aug-09 08:15:45

Back off completely. Make sure there is lots of reading matter around - not just books but comics, magazines and cartoon books. Let him see you (and, if you can organize it,his dad) enjoying reading. Read to him lots and lots. He's only 5 - let him be 5. Lots of time for school stuff. Playing is really important too.

Well done for realizing that you may have overdone it - now sit on your hands and let him play!

GooseyLoosey Mon 24-Aug-09 08:15:55

My ds (6) reads in bed. He goes to bed at 7.30 and he can read for 30 mins. That way he gets to stay up later than he would otherwise and reading has become a fun thing. Maths wise, we do Kakuro puzzles together in bed sometimes (like Sudoku but you have to add numbers together to find the solutions) and that too is fun.

I have to say, I am fairly "anti" homework for young children. This means that dd (5) and ds's school homework is never done at the weekend but on a Monday evening when we all sit around the table together with some chocolate biscuits. Homework time has therefore become biscuit time and is not traumatic.

LadyMuck Mon 24-Aug-09 08:42:02

Do you still read to him? I think that that is vital for him to develop a love of books.

I suspect that it is difficult to persuade a 5yo that doing some of the academic stuff is fun. If he is bright then i would concentrate on the range or breadth of things that he could learn rather than on pure academics. How about letting him learn an instrument?

mmrred Mon 24-Aug-09 08:46:08

I've heard that before about Kumon stuff, that it puts them off...starting school is such a massive culture shock, so much to take in, so even if he's not progressing as fast academically I'm sure he's learning massive amounts. I agree with the others, let him play!

ApplesinmyPocket Mon 24-Aug-09 09:04:59

As a family with thousands of books and a deeply ingrained love of reading, I was desperate for my DDs to enjoy all the books I had when young, and more. DD1 fell effortlessly into this enthusiasm (and now manages a bookshop!) but DD2 never enjoyed fiction the way I'd hoped - never - she always preferred running around outdoors and making an almighty mess etc, though we did read to her at bedtime and so on.

It didn't harm her academically - it's my non-reader DD2 who's now at Oxford (not for English, obviously - science) - and she does now occasionally read a chicklit book or similar, though she's STILL not a reader. So don't worry too much! Though I share your pain at all the book-joy your DS is missing out on.

Maybe your DS would enjoy non-fiction more? - there are some great NF books about for that agegroup - we had all those big colourful very high-quality books on How Things Work and various exciting things like volcanoes and dinosaurs etc.

Tambajam Mon 24-Aug-09 09:22:25

At this age self-esteem and an enthusiasm for learning are the big goals. The mechanics of maths or reading come much further down the list.
As a PP has said it's great that you recognise you've gone off piste. You know that you have pushed him too far which is why you are posting here.
I would focus now on reading for pleasure as others have said. Read together, make a reading nest at home and find some fun books he can enjoy at the library perhaps.
And maths isn't just about doing sums. Kumon can be quite dry TBH. It's about loving numbers, estimating games, cooking and measuring, talking about big numbers, recognising shapes, discussing problems (like there are 5 cows in a field. How many noses, legs etc? Can you find a strategy himself to work out the answer). But all this is done without necessarily sitting around a table.

On the not wanting to read at school thing. My son is now 5 and about to go into Year One. July birthday. He's a very able reader and reads Roald Dahl etc but doesn't want to read in front of his friends anymore than necessary. It can feel unsettling to be a very able reader among friends who aren't and he may want to talk about that more with you. And when he starts the new school year perhaps make an appointment to talk to the new teacher and talk to her/him about how his needs can be met in the classroom.

You felt he wasn't being academically challenged at school but don't forget school is challenging in a ton of other ways and exhausting even for the older children in the class. Homework at the end of the school day for a Reception and Year One child is a big ask for many.

You will get through this hump but try and let him take the lead. I don't think this is about him being a boy btw. Just little.

roisin Mon 24-Aug-09 09:24:47

I've heard of kumon putting children off all sorts of things. Well done you for realising you've pushed him too far - he's still so tiny!

If he's a fluent free reader already, to gently encourage a love of books, I would say:
1) Continue to read bedtime stories to him/with him.
2) Continue to listen to him read if he wants to, but don't make it into a battle ground.
3) Visit the library or bookshop regularly and let him choose his own books. There are loads of fantastic authors around for this sort of age/stage. Some of our favourites to read now or soon would be:
Joshua Doder: A dog called Grk
Eoin Colfer: Spud Murphy
Cressida Cowell: How to train your dragon
4) Create a time/space for reading. From about this age, we told the boys they could have their light on for half an hour (later extended) after bedtime, if they wanted to read in bed. This is very much sold as a privilege rather than an instruction or a threat. But this time is sacrosanct reading time - they can't use it for games or playing on DS or whatever.

But like ApplesinmyPocket I agree that you may find he is not going to be a keen reader like you. Ds1 has loved reading fiction since the year dot. But ds2 (10) is a far more discerning/picky reader, and often will choose to read non-fiction rather than stories. As long as he's reading that's the main thing. He also enjoys magazines, comics and newspapers, so we make sure we have plenty of those around too.

iceagethree Mon 24-Aug-09 09:27:50


just read to him and forget the rest

it will all come right

fivecandles Mon 24-Aug-09 09:31:09

Completely agree with the very good advice here.

Dd1 is a very keen telly watcher (and we have to limit this!). I sometimes get a DVD version of a book I know she will like and say she can only watch it when she has finished (or we have read together) the book e.g. Matilda or Tom's Midnight Garden. That seems to work well but perhaps for when your ds' enthusiasm has been rekindled.

daftpunk Mon 24-Aug-09 09:44:39


my ds is 9, he is very bright but lacks motivation for anything he isn't 100% interested in. reading has been a big problem as he isn't into fiction at all, he prefers reading about world war 2 and history in have a house full of books he loves.

at this age you have to keep things "fun" (imo) pressure, the last thing you want is to put your son off learning.

don't forget, you can incorporate reading into everyday life by getting your son to read out the ingredients as you follow a recipe,... that sort of

yr 5 is about right for extra reading/maths.(if required)

merrymonsters Mon 24-Aug-09 10:37:15

My 6 year old is a very good reader, but he prefers books with colour pictures and non-fiction. He gets put off chapter books by their lack of pictures or just having b/w drawings.

I read an interview with Shirley Hughes (the illustrator) once and she said 'we reward children for learning to read by taking pictures away from them.' Let him choose the books he has (Oxford Reading Tree etc are soooo boring) and read them to him as well.

It sounds like you realise that you've made reading and maths into a chore for him. He's still very young.

My son loves National Geographic Kids magazine. Perhaps you could see if he likes that.

My sons also read books by torchlight after they've gone to bed. Doing it then means they extend bedtime and make reading into a bit of a treat.

noideawhereIamgoing Mon 24-Aug-09 13:06:52

Do you think maybe we just have some kids who love reading and some who don't?

I know loads of kids who learned to read early but to them it was a skill to acquire and once they acquired the skill there was no need to continue.

My kids are split, one loves reading and the other can take it or leave it and that's the way they've always been. Just as one took their first mouthful of food and smiled and the other winced. Years later I can still see that attitude to food shining through.

Of course gentle encouragement helps and I agree you should back off with the pressure but don't be too hard on yourself, chances are his lack of interest in reading is just that.

iceagethree Mon 24-Aug-09 13:33:11

torchlight is a superb idea!

pugsandseals Mon 24-Aug-09 13:54:33

How about audio books? I challenge any child not to listen to the book & not try to find the book it relates to and follow it! Give the CD, show him where you've put the book 'for later' wink, sit back and wait for him to find it- I am a cruel mum aren't I?
For Maths- do you have a leapster or something similar? DD is 7 but has just discovered brain training on the ds- has been fantastic for her calculations!

4ever21 Tue 25-Aug-09 09:06:54

thanks everyone for your encouragement and advice.

noidea just hit the nail on the head! i think for him, reading was a skill, and once he acquired it, he felt no need to continue reading.

well, one thing i got from what everyone posted was to ease out which i'm doing now, it's hard though. he actually asked me tonight 'no homework today mummy' and i was glad to say he could just play!

i think i need to see him as the baby that he is, he's really mature, he has always been. thanks again everyone.

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