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How much educational input at home?

(44 Posts)
happysunshinedays Tue 21-Dec-10 14:57:44

I have a DD1 in reception and a 2yo DD2. Feeling a bit guilty that I should be doing more stuff with DD1 over the hilidays. I'm not working as am at home with LO anyway. Am loving having DD1 home for the holidays. We have made christmas biscuits and iced them, made paper chains and snowmen out of loo roles wink.

Plenty of snowy walks, coffee with friends and stories at least once a day. Too much Christmas telly too blush.

The question is, is everyone else finding lots of time to learn letters and buff up on maths skills? She doesn't seem to be struggling at school, but not a high flier eather. Very articulate and good at following instructions. . . (at school!), her letter recognition is ok, not great, but she's good at blending as she can hear the sounds well when she does recognise them. Her maths seems pretty good, can count well and do basic addition.

Will she forget it all over the holidays? Am I being a neglectful parent?? confused

usualsuspect Tue 21-Dec-10 14:58:48

Let her enjoy the holidays ,shes only little

AMumInScotland Tue 21-Dec-10 15:05:25

She won't forget much over the holidays, please don't make her spend Christmas doing letters and maths skills. It is a time for the kinds of things you've been doing - spending time doing fun things as a family. She'll do better for a refreshing break than by being pushed to do school work.

LB29 Tue 21-Dec-10 15:06:25

Don't do anything formal. Reading is brilliant, I do try to get mine to read once a day or I'll read to them. When your cooking you could encourage her to look at the recipe and weigh out the ingredients. Just keep it fun.

cory Tue 21-Dec-10 15:16:43

I think we often have a very narrow definition of what constitutes educational input. Having a chat with them is educational input. Telling them a story is educational input. And making biscuits and Christmas decorations is definitely educational input: at school, they'd just call it a fancy name.

Ime the best educated children, and the ones who make the most of their education, are the ones who do not focus narrowly on the three Rs and think everything else is less "worthy", but who take an interest in everything around them.

Numberfour Tue 21-Dec-10 15:16:54

letting your DD do lots of drawing is also good and lots of fun. you may find she starts writing letters of her own accord. then of course you could take her lead in that respect.

def must be fun, though.

ElbowFan Tue 21-Dec-10 15:51:30

I'm with Cory - whoever said educational input had to be reading or sums? You've been baking - that's weighing, counting, reading, seeing how things change - not to mention sharing pleasure!. You've gone for snowy walks and I daresay looked at snowflakes, icicles etc - this is knowledge of the world, as well as physical development...teachers just analyse things differently from the rest of us. There is more to growing up than formal learning of numbers and letters, and teachers agree that attitude to learning and the ability to sit and listen, follow instructions and be sociable is worth more than a reading book band colour or the ability to copy War & Peace in joined up writing. You are teaching different essential skills, enjoy the task.

IndigoBell Tue 21-Dec-10 16:15:44

It's reading MN that makes you paranoid that you are not doing enough....

I hate this aspect of MN. There is always someone here talking about how to help their child - who is not struggling at all!

I find MN makes me very paranoid. For example both my sons are top of their class for Maths. Yet the recent thread about Maths Whizz / RM Maths makes me totally paranoid that I'm not doing anything extra with them.

Crazy eh? They are already top of their class, without doing any extra work at all. But that is what MN does to me....

I think you too have been bitten by this bug.

coldtits Tue 21-Dec-10 16:19:20


We do counting.

We read packets, and he writes his name on everything he draws.

Sounds similar in level to your dd1. I'm not concerned, I've been informed he's quite bright.

Elk Tue 21-Dec-10 16:33:16

dd2 is in reception. So far this holidays she has mostly watched tv and played on Club Penguin with a little bit of cooking and drawing. She is exhausted after last term and both her and dd1 have been ill for the last few weeks so I am just letting them relax.

DasherandSmugly Tue 21-Dec-10 16:59:56

Mumsnet hasn't made me paranoid but school have. They seem to be expecting me to do a lot more than I am even though they acknowledged that DS is doing really well.

At home we do do:

- lots and lots of reading
- DS has written and made quite a few Xmas cards
- He has a magnetic calendar so we've been using that for recognition of letters and numbers, as well as months and days of the week
- ditto for numbers his advent calendars
- when I'm off next week we'll do some baking
- lots of walks too.

RoadArt Tue 21-Dec-10 18:58:45

We go to the museums (kids love it), walks on the beach, local parks. Look at land, sand formations, how they vary in different areas.
travel round the country ( and visit other countries)- local history, different types of tourist spots. Visit landmarks. Look at why they are special. So they have also learnt a lot of history. They are also interested in the wildlife.

Its all about general knowledge and awareness of the world around them.

They do a little bit of internet revision programmes, but not as much as I probably make out they do. What I expect and what they do are very different.

MammyT Tue 21-Dec-10 20:19:03

I did some 'writing' with my 4 year old (also reception) today. We wrote another letter to Santa - half written, half pictures - and she tried to do the spellings herself (e.g. S-A-N-T-A).

We also do plays such as Snow White and act out parts (her younger sibling is normally a dwarf!) so that helps with her imagination.

We are not doing any formal learning.

BeenBeta Tue 21-Dec-10 20:32:47

DasherandSmugly - that sounds a lot.

What age is DS and what on earth are the school expecting? More to the point what the heck kind of school is it that expects more?

zafrostypee Tue 21-Dec-10 20:39:30

With reception DS1 we've done:

having flu
talking about why having a fever makes you shiver
learning how to blow your nose
talking about different doses of calpol for different age children
quite a lot of lying on the sofa and a few teary moments.

He did wrap a present for his Granny today, complete with homemade label saying:

love DS1
who grany

I was dictating what to write and his ears are so bunged up he heard "who" instead of to

UniS Tue 21-Dec-10 20:58:38

we have been sledging quite a lot, also made an ice cave, played hiding stuff in snow and finding it again, are topping up bird feeders and de-iceing birds water.
Science and PE covered I reckon .

SkyBluePearl Tue 21-Dec-10 21:11:01

When mine were in reception we had lots of fun during hols but also did 10 mins reading a day but only cos he was desperate to.

UniS Tue 21-Dec-10 21:21:13

finding the right door on advent calender, counting stickers on his sticker chart, baking ( measureing). Lots of maths this holidays.

magicmummy1 Tue 21-Dec-10 21:34:10

Please let her just have a holiday! You're doing all the right things, just let her be a little kid and enjoy the magic of Christmas!!

dikkertjedap Tue 21-Dec-10 21:37:41

I agree with previous posters that learning doesn't need to be anything formal or structured at home.

DD has made Christmas cards and written names and messages on the cards (I wrote it on a piece of scrap paper and she copied, after a little while she didn't need the scrap paper anymore)
Made cookies, dd helps with measuring and reading the recipe, kneading, cookie cutter, setting the timer (we talk about time, minutes, hour etc.)
We have made jigsaw puzzles
she has made lots of drawings/paintings
made a gingerbread house, which she iced and decorated
made music and sang christmas songs
she helps around the house
we have done some scrap booking (scrap book is at school, but we do it on A4 paper and glue it later in when we have it back)
been to museums
would love to take her to the theatre but haven't found something yet
We read every evening and often also during the day, she to us, dh or me to her

So nothing formal, but she still learns a lot and she has a great time. smile

happysunshinedays Tue 21-Dec-10 21:42:23

Thanks for all the posts, keep them coming!

Indigo I think you're right, have been made a bit paranoid by a few threads on MN. Out of curiosity, how do you think your DSs ended up in top maths set? Anything you think you did or are they just naturals?

Must remember to get her to write her name on all her drawings etc. She likes writing her name.

Guess I won't change that much. Elk it's true that she was shattered at the end of term. Might just point out the curly-c on the front of the Cornflakes pack in the morning etc. Got a few letter and number puzzles which I might leave lying around, see if she decides to give them a go.

MammyT - we've also put on a play. Goldilocks and the three bears. DD2 (2yo) was Baby Bear. Spent most of her time wandering across the stage picking her nose! LOL

magicmummy1 Tue 21-Dec-10 21:47:07

"Out of curiosity, how do you think your DSs ended up in top maths set? Anything you think you did or are they just naturals?"

This wasn't addressed to me, but my dd (year 1) is considerably ahead of her class in both maths and literacy. I can say quite categorically that this is not due to anything we did - it's just the way she is. Yes, we read lots of stories, counted buttons and talked to her a lot - all the things that most parents do - but nothing out of the ordinary, and so we really can't take the credit. Some children might get ahead as a result of hot-housing, but I suspect that it's unsustainable.

PoppetUK Tue 21-Dec-10 21:50:07

Sounds like everyones been very busy. I have to say I fall back on some structured learning because I can be frazzled just looking after my little ones, doing essentials and probably don't probably find some of it that natural. I suppose I'm learning. I certainly think mums net is full of mums that do way better than me in raising children but you know I try my best to do what I can in a way that I know. I look toward to getting in school in the new year and know this really gives me back something and the kids get something from it to.

pointythings Tue 21-Dec-10 22:14:40

We never do school stuff during the holidays unless it's set homework. DD2's school sets a 'challenge' during holidays, this will always involve literacy/numeracy. We ignore it. DD1 does have some homework, but it just involves building a character from Charlott's Web out of junk so should be fun to do.

Holidays are for getting extra sleep, going on outings, watching too much telly and playing in the snow/on the Wii/going swimming/unwinding.

Bah humbug to educational activities. smile

sarahfreck Tue 21-Dec-10 23:37:26

So - I'm a tutor and you might expect me to want to push the formal stuff - but I think all the creative informal stuff is exactly what is needed. So baking, snowman making, play performing and writing letters to Santa - all really cool! Children learn so much just by being with parents, chatting and discussing whatever comes up! I'd probably advise a bit of reading practice at some point but IMO allowing young children to chill in the week up to Christmas won't do any harm - just try and read a bit together every day after Christmas. For little ones this could be sharing a story and talking a bit about letters and sounds as you do so.
Chill and really enjoy your Christmas together!!

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