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Am I right to be cross or is mother in law right?!

(31 Posts)
mylifemykids Sat 03-Jan-09 22:01:12

Before I start, I know my son is not G&T but thought there may be people here who can advise!!

My eldest DC (3years 9mths) has just started reading. He has always been 'academic' in that he's wanted to learn about letters, numbers, science type things etc.

However, when we were at my mother in law's house today, he asked me to write him a list of words for him to read which I did and he read the lot. But then mother in law (instead of encouraging him and giving him any praise at all) told me I 'shouldn't encourage him' with his reading. According to her he will get bored once he starts at school (he's in school attached nursery ATM) and will then FAIL at everything because he will lose concentration.

He loves to read (OK not novels but he's doing well with phonic 'reading' books) so why should I stop him doing what he likes doing?!

Am I right to be annoyed or have other parents had experience with this sort of thing and think she's right?

LIZS Sat 03-Jan-09 22:05:37

I would respond to his requests but only in so far as you might otherwise interact and play with him . The concern would be more that you may be inadvertently not using the same method as he will find at school , ie phonic based, which could confuse and frustrate him than that you are setting him up for boredom.

lljkk Sat 03-Jan-09 22:12:19

I wouldn't be annoyed, the MIL is right to a small degree. If he's a bright lad, he will pick up reading quite fast when he goes to school, anyway, so no 'need' to push him. However, it's not like you are pushing him, and she should have recognised that he enjoys it, and it won't interfere that much with whatever way he's taught at school.

mrspink27 Sat 03-Jan-09 22:14:07

Why do MILs feel the need to impart their "wisdom" like this... rather than being supportive or saying nothing!!!

I would encourage him and facilitate his learning by continuing to read together, share books, count, lots of practical maths and science experiences. If he is bright than it shouldn't matter that he may not be taught the same method as at school. Reading is about more than phonics!

He will not FAIL at everything just because he can read etc when he gets to school.

edam Sat 03-Jan-09 22:16:44

What does MIL want you to do, say 'no, little mylifejunior, I shall hide this information from you in case your school doesn't use ORT/whatever other reading schemes there are'?

Daft besom.

Doodle2U Sat 03-Jan-09 22:17:19

Pop your MIL back in to the cryogenics freezer.

Heated Sat 03-Jan-09 22:17:45

Don't think you are being unreasonable at all.

It's hard not to respond to a enquiring mind and writing down a few words is not going to blight his school chances, when there is so much for them to learn. If you wanted to do some letters with him then Jolly Phonics was recommended on here by a MNer to me and it has stood ds in good stead at school too.

constancereader Sat 03-Jan-09 22:19:17

You are right and she is wrong.

It is lovely teaching children who are keen to learn. Why on earth would you want to discourage him?

mylifemykids Sat 03-Jan-09 22:19:52

'The concern would be more that you may be inadvertently not using the same method as he will find at school'

That's actually another 'dilemma' of mine. I don't know whether to ask school which method they are using so that I can 'use' it at home with my son.

I definitely don't push him to do anything he does. Like I said before, it's just something he's wanted to do from a young age. We do what he wants to do when he wants to do it with regards to 'learning'. But I don't see why it shouldn't be encouraged. If he was a great swimmer/singer/gymnast etc. then I'm sure MIL would be encouraging him!! It's as if academics have a stigma when it comes to 3 year olds with certain people!

TeenyTinyToria Sat 03-Jan-09 22:22:00

I hate this attitude of "you do that when you go to school". Children should be able to learn as and when they show the interest/aptitude, and not be limited by what school does and when.

mrspink27 Sat 03-Jan-09 22:22:35

I dont actually think it matters that much which "method" they are teaching at school. If you are enriching him and fostering a love for learning IMO that's all that really matters.

CarGirl Sat 03-Jan-09 22:26:21

if he's in the school attached nursery they are probably using the same system as the school anyway!

lljkk Sat 03-Jan-09 22:26:32

actually, I'm going to take back what I said earlier. Your MIL is a bit loopy.
If I ever have a Grandson who is that keen and able to read at that age I will
A) text all my other granny friends to boast casually mention how impressed I was, and
B) say "Oh wow! Let's see what else he can read?!"

mylifemykids Sat 03-Jan-09 22:28:30

Ha ha, yes indeed my MIL is a bit loopy anyway!!

Thanks for the input. She did have me doubting my motherly instinct for a while but I think I'll just let him get on with it!

piscesmoon Sat 03-Jan-09 22:38:12

Do whatever you want-the argument that they will be bored at school is peculiar! A good teacher will differentiate the work-even if they all start together they don't stay together!

Bink Sat 03-Jan-09 22:52:56

She sort of might be doing you a favour, in a clumsy way, in that quite a few schools aren't entirely encouraging about learning to read at home - not in a sniffy territorial way, I should say, more in a making sure there's no mixed messages way.

However, that sort of message, from a school, is relevant (and would be given to you) only as regards children who're finding learning to read tricky. Not relevant for your keen & motivated little chap.

So I think response to your MIL should be something bland and subject-changing along those lines - eg "his nursery teacher's really pleased with him and says the more learning the merrier" or something.

I'd give her a break on the not praising/encouraging though - if she lets you get on with it, in a neutral way, that would be fine with me, I wouldn't ask her actually to buy into it positively.

resolutions Sat 03-Jan-09 23:51:52

I think that children learn to read by a combination of methods;phonics,look and say,key words etc
basically the phonics way uses letter sounds and 2 letter sounds to make it possible to sound out a word,you can get"jolly phonics " friezes showing these for the wall.The most important thing you need to know is to say the lower case sounds[a, not ay,b,notbee]as the higher case sounds are not conducive to sounding out words
however the look say and recognition way of learning is also needed becos many words in english are not phonetic egwould,here, and so cannot be sounded out,are learnt.
So if you stick to lower case letter sounds,basic key words you cannot really go wrong and he will probably love it.
btw I have taught my youngest dc to read english at home becos he is learning at school thru medium of welsh and will not start any english until 8,not becos I am pushy mum [education system here is all welsh medium],and we are english speaking at home

christywhisty Sun 04-Jan-09 10:48:55

It all depends on the school he goes to.
My children's nuresery used to do one to one reading with the dc's.

However the school next door was not happy and wouldn't give the dc's any books until the others caught up
They then complained to the nursery that the dc's were too advanced when they started.
Needless to say my dc's didn't go to that school. Our nephews school down in Dorset also didn't like children to be reading when they started school
The school my dc's went to just worked to their ability.

Tiggiwinkle Sun 04-Jan-09 10:52:08

I would not worry-if he is well on the way to reading when he starts achool it does not really matter what method they are using.

Some children do not need a lot of "teaching" to read-one of my DSs started to read at a very early age without any formal teaching either from me or school.

piscesmoon Sun 04-Jan-09 10:53:27

If they won't give him books until the others catch up I would strongly suggest it is the wrong school!!! Most teachers would be thrilled to have a DC who is already a fluent reader.

MrsWeasley Sun 04-Jan-09 11:43:27

mylifemykids my DS1 sounds similar to yours. My DS learnt to at 3 through osmosis** (LOL) We would have story time at night and his older sister would read her story book from school first (she had only just started school) She stopped to cough or something and DS who was arranging his toys on the bed behind us looked over her shoulder and said its "the" true enough that was the next word we were hmm. A day or two later I was writing a shopping list whilst DS was eating his breakfast he looked over the table and said "can I choose the oranges?) I had written oranges on the list the night before. He had read the word. IT took off from there and I was actively discouraged from "allowing" him to continue by his pre-school. Who some months later admitted that all DS did was sit in the book corner all session whilst the other children were running around etc

School was only a problem in the beginning because they don’t rush them into reading and were doing letter sounds so he was bored but never disruptive (just wanted to stay with me) Once the head teacher saw him screaming she asked why and sorted it all out he was allowed to pick the first reading books to bring home (he used to choose anything between 4 and 7grin)

My DD was at school so I was able to mention his reading to the Head who was lovely, didn’t discourage just asked me to check he understands what he is reading.

**I say he learnt by osmosis because he just seemed to absorb the knowledge through listening to his sister learning to read. DS has always been bright and always been at the top of his class but he isn’t competitive (Doesn’t feel the need to win at everything, or be better than anyone else) he still finds school work easy and still doesn’t feel the need to let everyone know so he coasts through school not really having to try too hard.

Sorry a long post hope you made it though it.blush

My advice FWIW would be I would carry on as you are, enjoy reading books with him. Talk about that he thinks might happen next if he would like to (some little ones don’t like to do this, so don’t worry if he doesn’t want to), make up stories (we would do mini stories whilst in the bath or in the car etc), act out familiar stories.
Do activities based on stories (after reading the Gingerbread man together we made and decorated gingerbread men cookies. After reading about a teddy bears picnic we got out the play dough and made a pretend picnic for his toys.)

My DS loved music too. We would go to a music group once a week (music with mum type thing; where we (mums and tots) all sat around and all joined in with the rhymes and songs. DS would never sing whilst there he just sit and listen then he would sing the songs on the walk home, in the same order we had sung them in.

We didn't do just reading or book/story activities we did all the the normal things to: park, swimming, playing games, in the garden, soft play, messy play, watching tv, housework! LOL He was not hot-housed or pushed in anyway.

Sorry it was so long but hope it was of some help to you. smile

mylifemykids Sun 04-Jan-09 13:29:10

I don't mind reading long replies. They're all helpful!!

I did smile when I read about your DS reading the shopping list...that is exactly what my DS did this morning (pasta, chop tomato, potato, yoghurts, carrots etc.!!). I was very impressed (and a bit smug lol). He's also started to recognise words that aren't phonetically spelt ('the' and 'said' are 2 that spring to mind).

I have noticed over the Xmas holidays how much happier he is at home than at nursery though so maybe I do need to have a word to let them know what he's capable of and see what they suggest.

Thanks again

Katiestar Sun 04-Jan-09 17:42:39

I agree with you .We all use several strategies for reading so I don't see how you can be 'teaching him wrong'
I think the important thibg is that you keep it as casual fun mot 'lessons'.
I taught my 3 eldest to read before they started school and am currently teaching DD2 who will soon be 4
In reception they only spend a very small part of each day doing academic stuff at school its mainly playing ,singing ,PE drawing etc so I don't see the 'boredom' argument as holding any water.

mynewnickname Sun 04-Jan-09 18:28:49

It's a shame your MIl couldn't have expressed her reservations in a more positive way! I thought grannies were meant to be absurdly proud of the slightest thing?!?

I am very interested as to what the nursery will say to you about it and whether they will do anything.

My ds is 3.6 and is able to sound out CVC words (like dog cat pat, mat, man bin etc) and recognises a, the, is , was etc.

So he isn't reading books or anything yet but can manage simple sentences.

The nursery (attached to a school) aren't at all encouraging and do nothing with him that's different to what the rest do.

I don't push it as I don't want to seem a pushy mum(I'm not - it is all led by him as he has always been into letters and asks me to write words down for him to read) and he is happy with nursery the way it is.

But I wonder whether some nurseries would take a child like this aside for a little while now and then and help them carry on learning at their level.

NAB3lovelychildren Sun 04-Jan-09 18:45:58

She is mad.

My DD started reading key words at 2 1/2. She is 5 now and always has her nose in a book. She loves to read.

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