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Aibu to make my 5yo do schoolwork in summer holidays

(31 Posts)
Lovemychocolate Mon 28-Jul-14 11:47:11

My 5yo is struggling a bit in school. I want him to spend some time over holiday each day doing some reading, writing and maths (no more than 1hr). My husband says I am being unreasonable and that he should just relax over summer holidays. We are doing activities such as swimming, going to park, beach etc most days so I think he should do both.

Am I being unreasonable?

Ithinkwerealonenow Mon 28-Jul-14 11:50:58

YANBU to get him to do some regular work if it would help him. But neither is your DH in saying he should be relaxing. I would not stick to a regular schedule of 1hr/day (which seems quite a lot), but just pick your time as and when he seems to be most receptive. It has to be enjoyable for him for him to benefit.

ElephantsNeverForgive Mon 28-Jul-14 11:57:39

Your both right, the trick is to get the school work into helping cook, working out how many Lego bricks you need, taking turns reading a bit of the book your sharing anyway.

Writing a shopping list, a menu for a tea party, a note to teddy bear hospital. Play schools. Practice pen control and reading finding a colouring sheet on the computer of his favourite super hero or animal.

Even very young DCs instantly dig their heels in if it feels like school. But they'll happily read the rules at the swimming pool or work out how much the car park will be.

Makingchanges Mon 28-Jul-14 12:00:31

It is commendable that you want to help your DS to progress but he is still so young. I teach Year 1s and each and every one of them were so tired when we broke up last week I really hope that they are allowed some time to just relax. I would let him have a few weeks at least to recharge and then I would be very relaxed about what you do. Are there books that he likes? Could you do some writing with a purpose, eg a letter to a grandma / best friend detailing something fun done during the holidays. Some maths that he doesn't realise is maths, 'can you come and help me count these.' If he is struggling a little at school give his new teacher a chance to help. They can put a plan in place in September to help, go in and see them a few weeks into term when everyone has settled in and see what they suggest. In my class there are people who can read long words and ones that struggle with cat, mat etc. Ones who are starting to multiple and ones who are struggling to add two digits together. It is great when parents try to help, as long as they don't push the child and the child sees it as fun. Work together with the teacher but make sure that your DS gets time to recharge his batteries as well.

Wozald1989 Mon 28-Jul-14 12:48:07

I think he's so young and needs a break from work! He's on holiday! When I have holiday from work I wouldn't want to have to do a little bit each day still!
Is he going in to yr1?
What do you mean he's struggling?
I'm letting my 5 year old do what she wants in the holidays as that's what I did as a child.
She likes books and looksat them a lot anyway and she wanted to join the summer reading challenge.
Then she will naturally learn through day to day life anyway- numbers on buses, shops ect. Words on street signs, writing in the sand, playing lego(motor skills) playing with friends(social skills) playing in the pool, playing card games, board games ect. Making cards
If you want him to learn I would personally do it through play and not make him sit at a table for an hour a day, my lo wouldn't last 5 mins at the table

redskybynight Mon 28-Jul-14 12:58:45

I wouldn't set aside time for formal work (he's only 5! How far behind can he be?) but definitely take time to read lots, play board games and do cooking together (good for maths skills) and maybe encourage him to write things like shopping lists or keep a holiday scrapbook.

An hour a day is way too much (and remember most of his learning in Reception would have been through play).

sashh Mon 28-Jul-14 13:50:31

Let him have a holiday

Hakluyt Mon 28-Jul-14 13:52:18

Could you say some more about how he's struggling?

Cheebame Mon 28-Jul-14 13:59:51

An hour is quite a long time I think. DD asks for work to do but unless it is exactly the right level of difficulty she loses interest quite quickly.

anchovies Mon 28-Jul-14 14:06:03

What do you mean he is struggling? What about just trying to incorporate some learning into the fun activities?

Some great ideas already, some others that we do are
I spy something beginning/ending with a sound
I spy shapes
Adding up during shopping and paying for shopping
Looking at patterns
Spotting different numbers of things (first one to bring me 5 shells for example)
Tick lists for in the car (eg tick when you see a van or a cow or whatever)
I wouldn't structure time for learning during holidays for a 5 year old, they learn through play at school so why not just give it a go at home as well?

BookABooSue Mon 28-Jul-14 14:15:41

It's not unreasonable to want him to practise during the hols but I do think it's unreasonable to be so structured about it. We use board games, counting games, have downloaded some fun books which we read together and ds has also been playing some addition games on his Leapfrog.
If you asked ds, he would probably say he hasn't completed any work at all because it feels fun and I haven't mentioned that we're practicising reading, writing, maths, etc.

KnittedJimmyChoos Mon 28-Jul-14 14:36:59

Yes def help him but be more laid back about it....dont forget a tiny bit of one to one with you is going to be worth hours in a class of 30 with a struggling teacher...

I was able to help mine with 10 twenty mins every day, every other day, and only when she seemed keen. at this age they do like your attention so should be ok.

also do more to incorporate it into every day life. when at the shops much change and so on.

KnittedJimmyChoos Mon 28-Jul-14 14:38:01

Days are very long - I really do not think your stealing his holiday with a tiny bit of a very long fun packed exciting day.

BarbaraPalmer Mon 28-Jul-14 14:41:51

IMO 10-20 minutes two or three times weekly is ample. DD1 has just finished Yr2, and fairly high achieving, and I think she would struggle to retain enthusiasm and concentrating to work well for an hour.

I quite like comics and magazines for a bit of stealth education, so we get a few in over the holidays.

Hakluyt Mon 28-Jul-14 18:16:18

An hour is a very long time. My 13 year old and I have agreed that he will do an hour a day over the holidays. 15 minutes is enough for. 5 year old- assuming that you will be reading stories and baking and shopping for sweeties and playing games and counting stairs and writing postcards to Grandma and so in.....

May09Bump Mon 28-Jul-14 18:33:07

I would do half an hr formal work - mine doesn't like sitting down (he is in reception, but is capable of yr 2 work). So needs practice as will be doing more sitting down work in sept. He was assessed by a really good teacher as below average for reception work as he was just reluctant to do the work with her, preferred modelling (which is ok). But when he did the same test with me in the room he was assessed at year 2 level. I would rather he learnt slowly over summer with me, than have a shock going into sept. Formal work can be fun too - try education city etc. Balance is always the key - I also bribe with activities, if we do this then we can swim, bike ride afterwards. Learning through playing doesn't work or doesn't increase the concentration span with my son - he just take advantage and will play all day without learning the rules of schools.

All children are different - find a solution that fits with your family.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 28-Jul-14 19:05:11

I have a 10 year old due to sit 11+ in November doing 30mins 4 times a week, so yes an hour is probably to long.
I found games like pop to the shops, junior monopoly and junior cludeo so useful for helping at this stage. Then at night they choose a book to read (a toddler book with few words tht they are familiar with) then you read.

catkind Mon 28-Jul-14 19:40:49

My DS has also just finished reception. We're doing a little just to keep things ticking over. We try to make sure DS writes a holiday diary (1-2 sentences and a picture, 5 minutes?), and reads a book (again, maybe 5 minutes). He doesn't realise it's work at this age anyway. Maths seems to come into play naturally, but we also have a couple of apps that he likes.

So I'd say we're ensuring a minimum of say 10 minutes a day. Which is probably more 1:1 teaching than he was getting at school anyway! He probably ends up doing more with his own random projects most days anyway.

I'm a big believer in little and often.

BackforGood Tue 29-Jul-14 00:00:07

Yes, YABVU to make the poor wee thing do schoolwork throughout the holidays.
As many others have pointed out, there are so many ways to help his learning, that do not present as schoolwork.

Lovemychocolate Tue 29-Jul-14 04:56:30


Thanks for all the replies. We have signed up to the reading challenge in the library. When I said one hour we do it in little bits and through play, today was 'let's play cafe' so he wrote a menu and took orders for food from his teddies.

Ds is partially hearing so he finds it difficult to concentrate sometimes. His teacher was aware (and was fantastic smile ) and so bless him, it's hard work to have to concentrate all day in school on listening and then doing.

I have decided that one hour is probably too much so it's now what he will do happily (generally 20 mins)
Thanks everyone for your replies as really helpful.

We are off to France on holiday in a few weeks so will give him a total break then

Hakluyt Tue 29-Jul-14 07:01:09

The important thing to remember is that you can give them a total break but still be doing loads of activities that support learning- you don't need to be doing formal stuff. A holiday in the heat is a perfect opportunity to lie under a parasol and read him loads and loads of stories. A different house or a hotel has steps and windows to count. Different routines means clocks to look at...... It is endless and effortless!

JustRichmal Tue 29-Jul-14 07:36:55

6 weeks is a long time, especially for a child. I doubt very much they need all that time to recharge. Generally my dd would only need a day at the most if she had got over tired. It is though quite a long time to forget what they have been taught.

We live in an 11+ area and I often think, when children are cramming for exams, why did the parents did not do little and often from a much earlier age so that their children were much more secure in their ability?

With one to one teaching children learn much quicker so I would definitely teach over the holidays, but rather than 1 hour I would do a lesson of maths and some time later a lesson of English.
With dd, I liked teaching and she liked learning, so she was happy to sit down to a lesson. If you have the attitude that it is fun rather than a chore they tend to pick up on that. (Everyone has days when they don't want to do anything, so just forget it that day). Also you sort of get a feeling for when the child has had enough and wants to stop.
If going away somewhere I would not teach then.

Another advantage is that when they return to school the idea that they can do the academic things really encourages them.

I use the Letts KS revision guides and workbooks. CPG do similar books. Other ideas to try are:
BBC bitesize
Khan academy
The Mythical Maths and Enchanted English series in Letts books.

Impressionslast Wed 30-Jul-14 22:58:32

I'm doing an hour every day with my five year old who is struggling. Not all at once but it must be about that. We do reading eggs one day and maths seeds the next (one lesson takes about 20 mins). We read a couple of books together during the day (probably about 15 mins in total) and we write a summer journal together. She only writes a sentence but that takes about 15 minutes. So that's 50 minutes. There's days we miss it and we won't be doing anything whilst we go on holiday. I did the same with my others and they benefitted enormously. And she enjoys it too : ))

3catsnokids Fri 01-Aug-14 21:46:23

I have 2 boys in foster care placed with me. One is 5 and 1 is 6. We got them a few weeks before the schools broke up and their end of term reports said both are very behind. The 5 year old got all 1s/emerging in his end of EYFS assessment. The only one in his class to get all 1s as I noticed the assessment sheet on parents evening. The 6 year old was at pretty much the same level. Both total non readers etc. They were also being quite disruptive at school and refusing to do work.

I've been doing work with them every day. Not for hours at a time but we do some phonics, some maths and then write a sentence at the end of the day about their day. The change in what they are capable of is evident after only a couple of weeks. They have gone from not hearing the initial sounds in words to spelling CVC words, and the oldest one's confidence has vastly improved. He will now get on with the task with no complaints. As he hated school with a passion I am hoping that if he catches up a little over the summer he will be a bit more positive about it.

We are also going to loads of parks and other nice places so I hope I'm not spoiling their summer too much!

duplofrenzy Sat 02-Aug-14 10:50:44

3catsnokids, I had to login (inc password reset as hardly ever post!) to say what a fab job I think that you are doing. A massive well done. Your little and often over the summer might really turn things around for your foster boys. If they are a little more ready/ able at school then the way that they view school might be transformed. I think that you are doing them a real favour. They might not get that much 1:1/2 in a whole term and it might really change how they view themselves and at this age and given that they have probably had a tough time before coming to you, that is a big thing to have a positive impact on.
You are amazing! Well done for being so thoughtful about it and organised enough to do it.

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