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How much do you 'push' your Reception child at home?

(60 Posts)
BoysRule Wed 20-Nov-13 20:30:28

My DS1 has just started in YR and was 4 a week before term started. I am a primary school teacher.

He is doing well at school and the teachers are happy. It is a very academic school and IMO they are teaching phonics at a very fast pace (a new sound every day). He is not keeping up with this at all and knows around 6 sounds - he can only write a couple of them.

I know if I was teaching him my advice to the parents would be to let him go at his own pace - there is no SEN and he is bright, articulate, confident and loves learning.

At the moment I do very little with him at home - he doesn't enjoy it and I can see that he is tired, not concentrating etc and I don't want to push him when, as a teacher, I can see he is not ready.

However, there is still a part of me that feels bad for not doing more with him at home. Even though this would be forcing him, I almost feel guilty for not helping the teachers by trying to teach him the sounds to 'keep up'.

How much do you 'push' your child at home? How much work do you do with them?

noblegiraffe Thu 21-Nov-13 07:46:22

My DS (August born) gets reading sent home, and sometimes some letter formation. He isn't very good at writing and can barely write his name yet. If they sent home spellings to be written, he'd be put off writing completely. I think they don't concentrate on writing till next year.

We just wrote his letter to Santa, I did dotted letters and he went over them, which seemed to work better.

richmal Thu 21-Nov-13 08:27:45

My parents were told to just leave it to the school. I changed schools when I was 7 and at my new school I remember amazing the teachers at my lack of ability to sound out simple words.

I never really caught up and was placed in the wrong stream at secondary for a year thanks to my lack of ability to read. Even now reading is a chore.

I taught my own daughter to read before she started school and now at 10 she loves reading.

nilbyname Thu 21-Nov-13 08:41:36

I do push a bit. I'm educational consultant.

We read at home everyday, but he is avid reader, school books and story books
We write names and tricky words on the blackboard in the kitchen or in his room most days, but again he is into it, so don't want to miss it.

As soon as he says he doesn't want to do it, we stop, most of the time is play based anyway.

We look at signs, door numbers out and about try spelling them, looking at which is less/more odd/even. He reads over my should, and helps me write shopping lists etc.

I would try more play based activities-
Write the quantities you need for a baking recipe( just single digits)
Count items out for cooking
Notice and sort things that are bigger/smaller when playing
Sand pr water play are great for weighing and measuring as well as finding out about properties
We have magnetic letters that we play with
Cvc word spinners
Hairy letters app, kids love it.

DembaBa Thu 21-Nov-13 08:47:54

I wouldnt push at all at this age, if he is obviously tired and not interested. If you are worried about his progress (doesnt sound like you are, or should be) I would pick the moments when he is energetic and in a good mood at weekends and inject a bit of phonics stuff in to a game or smething? He is very little!

My DD is in reception and is a very keen learner at the moment and loves doing her homework. However, DS (a very bright Year 4 boy, now) although an early reader, had no interest in writing or any kind of 'sit down learning' until well in to Year 2. He just wasnt ready.

If your boy is happy and confident that is the main thing.

richmal Thu 21-Nov-13 08:53:42

The ability of children who are given extra teaching at home will increase more rapidly than those who are not.

HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 21-Nov-13 09:02:34

"Additional teaching" doesn't equate to "pushing" though. In Reception it means parents ostentatiously reading for pleasure, or counting things, or providing craft/markmaking materials, or wondering aloud why the trees' leaves are falling, and a hundred other play-based learning opportunities.

It does not mean worksheets and tutors and similar over-formal strategies that are as likely to turn them off school or give them unnecessary and damaging pressure to attain rigid targets.

nilbyname Thu 21-Nov-13 09:16:17

horatia said it much better than me!

richmal I didn't understand your point! did you mean there is an increase on pushy ness in general or that pushed children do better?

Bumblequeen Thu 21-Nov-13 09:28:00

Dd is winter born so one of the eldest in her class.

We read to her every evening and do any activities set by her teachers.

On starting reception dd could;
Write and spell her full name
Count to 30
Count to 20 in French
Say the alphabet from A-Z

Although we want dd to excel, we are trying not to add unnecessary pressure. It is important that she enjoys school.

jgjgjg Thu 21-Nov-13 09:30:33

Those children doing a new sound every day in school, surely they must have already covered all the basic Jolly Phonics sounds (is it 44, something like that) or be just about to?

What happens then? Presumably they go back and revise all of those? Or do they just keep going, on to the alternative vowel sounds etc which I thought were mainly Year 1 material?

Just interested in how it works in other schools. My daughter's school has done sounds a bit more slowly, around 3 sounds per week, so they're on 'ee' and 'or' right now.

Wisteria36 Thu 21-Nov-13 09:33:45

I have a July birthday ds and though he's always liked books he wouldn't go near a pencil or pen until September when he suddenly started enjoying colouring, letter tracing and so on. He did the sound a day thing with writing/drawing and now they've done that he gets easy reading books home which he loves (seems to learn aurally so enjoys sounding out and all the phonics songs etc). We do five- ten mins a day simply because I don't think he could concentrate for longer if we tried to do it in catch up blocks. Normally we don't do much at the weekends unless he chooses library books to read occasionally (but keep to easy levels). No way could he do any of it if he wasn't ready and didn't want to though.

We love the hairy letters app too, ds finds it hilarious!

PastSellByDate Thu 21-Nov-13 09:40:21

Hi Boysrule:

mrz has posted elsewhere that she teaches at least a sound a day - so your son's teacher isn't alone in doing this.

We rather missed the boat for DD1 who ended up really struggling with reading but for DD2 we found two low work-level things to do that seemed to really help.

We watched shows/ played games on CBEEBIES alphablocks website - - didn't feel like work for DD2 but really made a difference (DD1 who was a struggling reader would watch as well, ostensibly because DD2 was watching 'her show' but clearly it helped her too).

We got a set of Jolly Phonics workbooks (this was the system our school were teaching with as well) - they were more like colouring books, but taught us the sounds and gave a lot of writing practice. DD2 would do a page or two every few days and loved practicing the writing (she still adores workbooks - she's weird that way) & then lots of time colouring in the pictures.

We felt both helped reinforce what was going on at school without seeming too much like work or being terribly demanding. We never 'pushed' DD2 doing this - just would suggest it every now and then.


lougle Thu 21-Nov-13 09:40:22

In DD3's school they use Read, Write, Inc. and they stream phonics across KS1. She didn't start phonics until after half-term, when all the children were full-time, and she learns a sound per day, including how to write it.

She is taught in the whole class right now, but after Christmas they will slot the Yr R children into the appropriate 'stream' according to how well they've picked up the sounds.

A very fast learning Yr R child could be learning phonics with Yr 2 children after Christmas, just as a child who is very behind in Yr 2 could be learning with Yr R children.

They mix the teachers around too, so no one associates a particular teacher with being in a 'low' or 'high' group.

TheBitchesOfWeestick Thu 21-Nov-13 09:42:12

My DS is the oldest in his year and we don't push him at all. He gets a reading book that is changed twice a week, letter writing worksheets, the occasional bit of maths homework. We listen to him read through each book once or twice before it gets changed, and he likes practicing his letter writing so will often choose to do that. He likes singing us his sound songs too.

Otherwise we just do what we've always done, which is talk lots and be silly, read bedtime stories etc. I totally agree with whoever said up thread that YR is for learning how to go to school. If he finishes this year feeling happy and confident about going to school and learning in the classroom, I will be very pleased. He's making brilliant progress and I think it's because he doesn't feel pressured.

He was very ready to start school this year but wouldn't have been last year ( September birthday so right on the cusp). He knew all his letters and sounds but didn't get the concept of sounding out words at all. I didn't push him and within two weeks of starting school it had clicked.

He is also exhausted from school! So keeping things laid back at home is important.

PastSellByDate Thu 21-Nov-13 09:42:21

Oh - forgot to say that we really made a point of ensuring nightly reading. It became part of the bath time/ bedtime ritual.

If the book was too hard - we'd select words (and later will skills were better whole sentences - fairly easy ones) for DD1 to read. [also used this method with DD2 who was a struggling reader until about late Y4]


lougle Thu 21-Nov-13 09:43:15

DD3's school are only sending home wordless books at the moment. They will also only change them twice per week. They say that there are so many things you can do with a book apart from simply reading it cover to cover, that if you want to change more frequently than that you haven't got all you could have out of the book.

For instance, letter detectives - how many m's can you see in this page; can you find page 10; who's written the story; who is the illustrator; how many apples can you see, etc.

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 21-Nov-13 09:46:13

Developing hand strength is a very underrated skill in reception age children. Play dough, small world play, using tea bag squeezers to pick up and sort objects, bread making will all develop this skill.

If you do stuff like this then when he does feel ready to write more then his fine motor skills and strength will be great.

MrsFlorrick Thu 21-Nov-13 09:50:56

If he doesn't enjoy it, don't push too hard. You will only make him hate it and then homework will be a fight.

My DD is a late summer baby and started R this year. On the advice of her teacher, we have deliberately kept it easy going at home so she thinks its fun and enjoyable.

Teacher said that she will learn just as much from picking out random letters and sounds when you are out and about ie supermarket or in the car. "Can you find a or s". That sort of thing.

To be fair DD is quite keen on learning and finds it easy to sit still in class. I know that one of her friends, another summer baby, struggles with this and just wants to play rather than learn.

Perhaps your DS still needs time to get used to the idea of a class room setting? And rather than force too much phonics on him could you try one of the phonics CDs with songs?? DD loves those. I bought some from ELC. It's also a hit with my 2yo DS who sings along with all the sounds.

ShoeWhore Thu 21-Nov-13 09:52:09

I don't think I push my children at all - they do enough work at school, especially in reception. We did reading if they weren't too tired (found mornings better for this if we had time).

My youngest has hearing issues and found phonics a bit of a struggle so last year (year 1) school put a list of sounds they were covering in his book bag and we did spend a few mins in the evening (at reading time) practising them to make sure he had heard them properly. This seemed to help but I wouldn't classify it as pushing.

Covering a sound a day is pretty standard, isn't it?

I'd have thought the most important thing at this age is to keep reading books to them and making it fun. If they are up to reading a bit to you then great.

ShoeWhore Thu 21-Nov-13 09:53:39

PS he sounds like he's doing really well smile

rockybalboa Thu 21-Nov-13 09:54:00

My DS1 is in Reception and is a September born so has been ready for school for a while and is very keen to learn. He is being taught a new sound a day and is keeping up with them well but I follow his lead about how much or little he wants to do. We have the little Jolly Phonics pictures for each letter that school send home stuck up on one of the kitchen cupboards and last night I saw him pointing at each sound with a light sabre and instructing his 2.5yo brother to say each sound... I read his book with him every night but he's happy (and very keen) to do so. So
I'm not pushing him at all but I don't need to because of the way he is. I would do as much as your son can tolerate even if it's only a few minutes. You probably know more about this than me being a teacher yourself! I'd just use your instinct tbh and do what feels right for your son and you.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 21-Nov-13 10:00:32

First term of reception, not at all. DS1 only had his 4th birthday a few weeks before term started.

This term - first term in Y1 - there is a little bit of pushing going on. We read every night, as we did all through YR, and he has french and spellings once a week.

Most of the 'help' we give is in terms of helping him to think about the routines of the day and concentrate at the right moments. He is very bright (school's words) but prone to day dreaming and if something doesn't catch his interest then he finds it hard to concentrate in class.

umbrellasinthesun Thu 21-Nov-13 10:21:09

Boysrule I think that you should do what you would suggest as a teacher (as per your e mail).
I have 2 summer born boys and am frustrated with the system as I think they start school unnecessarily young and it is unfair on them as even 6 months extra development at that age makes so much difference.

My 1st DS did reception last year. I am not a teacher but now know loads about phonics as I spent ages reading about it and learning how to say the sounds correctly and how to blend etc so that I could help at home.

He had no problems but I suspect that my 2nd son (also summer born ) will not be ready for phonics at all when he starts next sept. I feel really empowered now that I have that phonics knowledge - I am not going to push him at all in reception until I think he is ready, even if that is summer holidays at end of reception or even later. Then because I know the phonics sounds etc I will teach them to him myself (if class in general has moved on to other things). And I am sure he will learn much quicker when he is ready.

So if I were you I would sit back and not push phonics until he is keen and then have a concerted effort helping him catch up with the majority when he is ready. You have the skills to do so and you will avoid putting him off by pressurising him before he is ready.

CecilyP Thu 21-Nov-13 10:26:27

I don't think you are doing anything wrong - so no need to feel guilty. If the school are rushing through the syllabus at a pace that a bright 4-year-old can't keep up, then they need to know. If the parents are doing extra coaching in the evening just so their DCs can keep up, the school will think everything is fine.

I wouldn't worry. In the fullness of time he will learn to read and write. No need for all this angst - most of us weren't even in school when we were his age!

KuppiKahvia Thu 21-Nov-13 10:53:51

My dd's school does a sound a day - I think it is normal. They then revisit them all for the rest of the year within streamed groups.

DD2 is 5 at the start of March.
We read her school reading book every morning - this is non negotiable and I do this with her 7 year old sister too. She is good at blending but reluctant to sound out so we currently have a deal that I will sound out the majority and she will blend them, she sounds out 10 or so words in each book. This has kept her keen to read with me. I also read to her - several books at bedtime and a couple during the rest of the day if she asks.

She has a short piece of homework each week (5 minutes max)
Otherwise I ensure that varied opportunities to explore and build on the learning she is doing at school and follow her lead. She has various letter formation workbooks, access to phonics apps, a mountain of numeracy workbooks (numbers are her "thing") I think it helps that she had a very keen older sister and tends to follow her lead in choosing to look at workbooks etc. We also play games in the car - eye spy, what does the word start/end with, counting games etc.

Basically I don't think I push but I do make time ask her about her day. What was the best thing about school today? etc and if she asks me to do things with her I try to be available to support her.

I agree with those who have said that the most important thing at this age is that they enjoy school and enjoy learning.

richmal Thu 21-Nov-13 12:35:03

nilbyname I did not use the word pushed, so I cannot answer a point I did not make.

If a child were constantly tired or disliked doing extra work then that would be pushing. I found with my dd there were times when she was tired and times when she was not, so I picked the times when she was not. Also, I enjoyed teaching and she enjoyed learning.

The point I was trying to make is that teaching something to a child increases their ability in that subject, whether the education is at school or at home or both. It is up to each parent whether or not they want to do any teaching at home. However, the children getting extra tuition at home will be further ahead.

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