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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?

posheroo Tue 26-Nov-13 11:59:06

How much you push depends on the child not the teacher

AnotherStitchInTime Sun 24-Nov-13 17:50:35

My dd is summer born, but knew all her letter sounds and could read some cvc and high frequency words before starting Reception.

I practise her high frequency words with her and read everyday. On the weekend we do that plus whatever homework the school has set. Generally maths based, practising numbers, writing numbers, hours on the clock, measuring. If she wants to do more I do it with her, but she learns through daily activities too like shopping.

I agree that if your child is too tired pushing him may be counter productive at this stage. He will get there at his own pace.

columngollum Sun 24-Nov-13 17:38:58

I suppose it depends on what you call work. My children were all reading fluently in kindergarten. We don't do any worksheets or repetitive exercises but we do talk about things quite a lot. So, apart from reading, which I don't consider to be work, we either do lots or none, depending on your definition.

YellowDahlias Sun 24-Nov-13 16:48:22

Not very much. We practice with the reading books that get sent home a couple of times a week - maybe 4-5 days out of 7. But that's no more than 5-10 minutes at a time.

She'll play with the Reading Eggs programme on the computer when she asks for it. We never suggest.

She's got free access to markers, pencils, paper, etc so will draw or practice her writing when she's in the mood.

We read to her every night at bedtime.

freetrait Sat 23-Nov-13 23:26:15

No, we don't do anything at home really.

Well, DD has a reading book that we listen to twice a week, but it is very easy for her, so that takes less than 5 minutes. It's always one she's read at school already, then we hear it at home, then it gets changed. Normally pleasant, short activity. They have just started getting "home learning" as well, but this is also a fun activity and DD was so excited that she had some like her older brother (Y2).

Tbh I am more concerned that my 7 year old is very slow on his number bonds, so we are going to practice those!! I told him he has to get as quick as me (only the easy ones..).

Plymwife2011 Sat 23-Nov-13 22:10:45

I am a reception teacher and my advice to all parents is not to push anything and make it like a chore. I say I would rather they read a well loved story at this point in the year and instilled that love of reading, than read Kipper & Chip and make the child frustrated! I am also horrified to hear that thegreylady's child has spellings!! This is totally against the ethos of EYFS and this comes from someone working in a fairly formal EYFS setting!

PaperMover Thu 21-Nov-13 13:42:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sharesinNivea Thu 21-Nov-13 13:24:12

Our school has morning family reading sessions twice a week at 9am for ten minutes, so I sit with mine in the library. Eldest reads, Reception youngest looks at pictures and counts the page numbers.

At home, he listens as I read his chosen book most evenings.

Reception is mostly learning through play, so I keep reading, so I'm certainly not pushing him academically at (summer born) 4 years old.
Fortunately his bossy older sister a couple of years above him likes to play teacher at home and sits and reads to him too !

BoysRule Thu 21-Nov-13 13:10:47

Really interesting and useful replies - thanks everyone. He is at a state primary. I have only taught in very deprived areas where children come into Reception with very low literacy levels, but it sounds like it is normal to teach a sound a day.

Since birth I have done all of the fun and play based 'teaching' which he absorbs really well. Of his own accord he is always pointing out letters he knows in signs and is extremely inquisitive about the world.

I just don't do any formal, sit down teaching as I know he is not ready. Apart from 5 minutes reading his ORT book every night (I read - he points to the words) and his weekly homework (which is play based) we don't do any actual sitting down and writing or reading. I do all of the other wonderful things that parents do to help with literacy and numeracy and have always done.

I feel reassured that I don't need to do anymore.

juniper9 Thu 21-Nov-13 12:43:49

Why don't you ask one of the reception teachers in your school? I frequently get asked by colleagues about what's expected in my year group so they know where their children are at. Their kids aren't in the school so it's not a parents' evening type situation.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

PS he sounds like he's doing really well smile

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.

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.

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.

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.

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]


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.

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.

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.


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