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What do you do at home to help your DC's education?

(26 Posts)
FruitCakey Mon 01-Dec-14 16:21:53

Really curious as I want to do more!

I believe that your childs education shouldn't end at school. I want to do more at home with DS (He is six and in year 2.) without overwhelming him after being at school all day. Any tips?

What do you do to help your children at home with their education? Do you feel its necessary to do anything, even?

There's a couple of things at school that DS (I feel) needs an extra hand with. For example - punctuation, capital letters, full stops, etc. I would like to work on those with him at home, but as mentioned above, I don't want to overwhelm him. Can this be done?

Thank you! smile

Goingintohibernation Mon 01-Dec-14 16:27:51

I think at 6 they are spending all day having their heads crammed with information, and that is enough TBH. If I tried to get DS to do schoolwork after school I suspect we'd have meltdowns. We do read with him most days for a few minutes, and he learns spellings that school send home, but that is about it.

Is your DS actually behind where he should be? If not I wouldn't worry, if he is then I would ask the school what you can do to help.

ReallyTired Mon 01-Dec-14 18:04:43

I agree with you that education does not end at school. However there is far more to education than mere "school work". I suppose a lot depends on what you are trying to achieve. Are you wanting your child to grow into a rounded confident adult or are you looking to make them top of the class?

I listen to my five year old read and do violin practice every day. I try to complement what she does at school rather than duplicate it. For example she has swimming lessons, gymnastics, violin lessons outside school. I also take her to church and sometimes I lead sunday school. Her state school has very little in the way of music or sport. I would like her to experience drama when she is older, but she would probably have to give up one of her other activites.

Ferguson Mon 01-Dec-14 18:32:06

I worked in primary schools as a TA / helper for over twenty years. I started first as a 'parent helper' hearing Yr1 & Yr2 readers; one of my first 'readers' turned up again seventeen years later in another school, when she was in her final year of Teacher Training. Our roles were reversed, and SHE directed ME in the classroom on her teaching practice.

Education of a child takes around fifteen years, so they DO NOT need to learn everything in the first couple of years. Provided he reads regularly, with enjoyment and understanding, and if his numeracy, other academic subjects, and activities like PE, games, music etc are progressing satisfactorily then I don't think, at 6, you need to do much in the way of formal tuition. Doing construction, Lego, a model railway, learning music on an electronic keyboard (full size keys, ideally 61 of them) are things that will stimulate the brain, and help build success.

Support him in his endeavours, praise him when he does well, and console him when things don't quite work out. It is little more than three years since he learned to TALK, and things like punctuation do take several years to 'sink in' and become automatic and confident. When reading with/to him by all means point out items of punctuation, dialogue etc, but only if he is happy to accept it.

To help with writing and spelling, and reinforce Phonics, there is in the MN book reviews for children 5-8 a useful book, if you search on 'Phonics'.

For an alternative view of punctuation, try this:

BackforGood Mon 01-Dec-14 18:44:32

Same as ReallyTired - I absolutely agree with you that education doesn't end at school, however I totally disagree with the idea of making a 6 yr old do more school work once they get home.

I helped all my dc's become much more rounded individuals by taking them to swimming lessons, and other activities - the best being Beavers / Cubs Scouts IMVHO, but, between the 3 of them, they've done lots over the years - music lessons, football, drama, dance. Doesn't matter what it is, as long as it's not schoolwork.

CreamSubstitute Mon 01-Dec-14 19:19:27

Read with her/listen to her read, help her with spellings of words when she asks, take her to swimming, Rainbows and dance, play the occasional math games to practice what she's learning at school.

We also do things like listen to a wide range of music and talk to her about it, take her to museums, etc.

She always has markers, pens and craft materials available to play with as well as toys like Lego and Plus Plus.

She's 5 and in Y1. With the new curriculum, learning seems quite formal at school so I want to make sure that anything she wants to do at home is led by her.

Bonsoir Mon 01-Dec-14 19:22:47

Where do I begin?! I also seem to have become a 24/7 helpline for lots of other families.


FruitCakey Mon 01-Dec-14 19:23:07

All of your answers are highly appreciated. Thank you, so very much. smile

I will coninue with the after school clubs and his reading (we read every night) and then tone down on everything else. 6 hours of learning at school each day is plenty. You're all right! He comes home to wind down, I will stick to making him enjoy his evenings/weekends as much as possible. Thank you all again.

FruitCakey Mon 01-Dec-14 19:25:09

Creamsubstitute - Nicely put. I agree. smile

noramum Mon 01-Dec-14 19:34:13

DD does extra work at home. This is due to a totally wasted Year 2 with a teacher not telling us how far behind DD is and what difficulties she had. And this despite us asking again and again but not given any proper answers.

Therefore she does a maths workbook once a week on top of her normal school homework, lots of ipad app playing in times table, division and BBC bite size. This also happens in each holiday. And we play lots of board games to practise even more.

In addition we ask her to practise writing as this is another topic where we didn't know how bad it was.

Reading is obviously mandatory but luckily this is the one thing she is really good at.

If I had a child in line with expectations I doubt I would do so much.

FelixTitling Mon 01-Dec-14 19:34:44

Tonight I have assisted my dc's education in the following ways:

taught my son how to cook pasta, (cookery)

answered ds's questions about his skin (biology)

Tried to explain to dd why Shakespeare spelt his name in a number of different ways (literature)

Taken dd to gymnastics and ds to squash (p.e)

Played monopoly(maths)

Helped dd to polish shoes (home economics?)

None of this planned, or asked for by school. You're probably already doing a lot of enrichment with him without realising.

Lindy2 Mon 01-Dec-14 19:48:47

We do reading and spelling practice. For other things I tend to just add it in subtly into day to day things. For example after school they did a Christmas craft. I gave all the pieces to my 6 year old and asked her to divide them equally with her 3 year old sister. We then talked about how they each had half. I also keep a little alarm clock on the table and I ask her to let me know when it is a certain time so that I can do a certain job then etc. Just little and often things that she enjoys helping with, without her realising it is linked to learning.

PesoPenguin Mon 01-Dec-14 20:02:22

Ds is 5 and in year one. He's an avid reader so will read his school book every night and then often some of a a library book after I read to him at night. He enjoys writing when something captures his imagination but it's his choice. We do do about 15 mins of maths every week day though as, although he's not behind as such, DS finds it harder and needs lots of visual aids and I can ensure that he has these available. He's happy to do this though and we've found a set of workbooks that he loves for some reason.

For extra activities he does swimming and football and will be motorbike riding after Christmas (santa is bringing one) and doing beavers once he is 6. Oh and he did street dancing but I got cancelled sad

bigTillyMint Mon 01-Dec-14 20:13:09

Read to them. A lot. Till they went to secondary school.
Listened to them read.
Bought them lots of books.
Took them to the library regularly.
Took them to lots of interesting places/events/countries, etc.
Talked with them. A lot. About all sorts of things.
Did things with them - like cooking, etc.
Encouraged them to try different activities and persevere with the ones they liked the best.
Socialised with them and other families.

And encouraged them with homework/helped them where necessary.

howtodrainyourflagon Mon 01-Dec-14 20:36:17

surround them with books from conception onwards.
then read to them. Every night, even when you think you can't ever face Topsy and Tim have itchy heads ever again.
music lessons
maths in everyday life. Let them keep the change (small amount) if they work it out before the number appears on the till.
And talk to them, using words they don't yet know.
And switch off the television set sometimes.
If you're looking for computer packages rather than whole-life stances, and are good for pre-schoolers, reading eggs is good for early readers and to my surprise I rather like Carol Vorderman's maths factor as she is very good at explaining topics, in the little videos she does. I only used the online resources for dc2 really, as he likes this sort of thing.

mrsmortis Mon 01-Dec-14 20:49:17

Definitely reading. We live in a houseful of books so they are surrounded by them anyway. But I've made a point of designating a bookshelf as theirs. It's got all the childrens books on (well except for things like by Judy Bloom which I don't think are appropriate for my DD1 who is in Y1).

I do a lot of cooking with them. Both DDs help me decide when I have enough on the scales. DD1 reads the recipes and tells me what to do next. DD2 (who is 3) loves monopoly junior an several other games so I play those with her as often as possible.

I think that one of my most important jobs is to make sure that they understand the social niceties. So we write thank you letters, send birthday cards, etc. I make sure that they say please and thank you. At the moment DD1 is writing her christmas cards at the rate of about 3 a night (Between pupils and teaching staff she has 33 to write so it's going to take a while). DD2 is colouring in christmas cards to send to family.

marne2 Mon 01-Dec-14 20:59:21

Tbh I think they do enough at school, at home I like to teach them life skills, what use are good qualifications if they have poor life skills? We do cooking, cleaning, crafts and in the summer we spend a lot of time outdoors having fun whilst learning. Dd1 reads a lot but I don't force it on her ( she's a book worm ), I rarely help her with her homework and never do any extra work, she is on the g&t register for maths, literacy and reeding so the lack of me pushing her has not held her back. Dd2 has ASD so to me teaching her to look after herself is the most important thing I can teach her in hope she can live independently one say.

Comingfoccacia Mon 01-Dec-14 21:12:52

I agree with all of the above. But talking is a winner, answering questions, learning about the stuff around us. Encourage their inquisitiveness! Dts' teacher once said it was obvious I spoke to my son and wished i could "do a workshop" to teach other parents! I don't tend to do any formal learning at home other than their homework ( which takes 10 mins max) as I think it's pretty full on at school. We read school books, newspapers, recipes and online articles too. Plus they have a load of books to dip in and out of.

fredfredsausagehead1 Mon 01-Dec-14 21:42:41

Hot food and sleep lots of love and care do they're ready to learn the next day smile

catkind Mon 01-Dec-14 23:13:15

Hmm, for capital letters and such - would he like to write Christmas cards? Or maybe a diary in the holidays? DS school asked him to do that last Easter and he's wanted to do it again each holiday since. He likes reading through the old ones and gloating about how much better his writing is now seeing what he did. He doesn't do writing at home very often in term time, he says he does too much at school.

avocadogreen Mon 01-Dec-14 23:20:53

The best thing I've done recently is stick a box of plain paper and a box of felt tips in the living room. Mine are 6 and 4 and they are forever drawing and writing. I read with them every night but other than that nothing... my 6yo barely does her homework, we quite often forget and to be honest I don't agree with homework for 6yos, let alone extra work!

PastSellByDate Thu 04-Dec-14 11:21:32


Without going into huge detail - but starting with the proviso that for us we had some pretty grave concerns about the quality of education at DDs primary school what we did:

Reading: bought/ borrowed/ traded books and ensured ~30 minutes a night reading KS1/ KS2 lower. KS2 upper girls moved on to reading on their own - but I would listen to them read 1 or 2 times a week (depending on how hectic things were).

Writing: I'm evil - I make them write thank you cards for every present. I also am big on having them send postcards to friends/ family when on vacation. Of course they must write Father Christmas - explaining whether they've been good or not.

DD2 really struggled picking up cursive - so we got some Collins handwriting workbooks and she worked through these (often in front of the tv) at her own speed.

Maths: This really was an issue for DD1 who finished NC L1 in KS1 SATs and was barely able to take 1 from 10 by end Y2. We opted for an on-line maths tutorial late Y2 - steadily putting in between 1 hour to an hour 1/2 over 5 installments across a week between late Y2 - end Y6. DD1 adores computers/ video games - so never really viewed this as learning - although sometimes she did find it tricky.

DD2 got jealous of her sister doing this 'fun maths'- so she joined as well - basically because she thinks it's fun.

For us - the issue was that core concepts and appreciation of number patterns was clearly not sinking in with DD1. (I'm not saying it wasn't taught - but for whatever reason it wasn't being retained by DD1). She just didn't have any calculation skills to speak of by the end of KS1 and was utterly hopelessly confused between when to 'estimate' and when to actually all out add. We actually had a major row about whether 2 + 2 was 5 or not - she said her teachers told her it was right.


Geeky things we do anyway that children get dragged along for:

audio books on long car journeys
visiting museums
visiting gardens
visiting historic houses
going to plays
going to concerts
going on holiday (and doing a lot of the above)

watching documentaries/ Sky at Night/ Spring Watch/ etc...
watching Royal Institute Christmas lectures


Overall I'd say the girls probably put in about 45 minutes to 1 hour a day, 6 days a week on 'extras'. Not done all in one block - and often broken up into 15 minutes (after school writing/ on-line maths), 15 minutes during sister's bath reading to me or DH, 15 minutes+ us reading to them or them reading to themselves before bed.

Writing (thank you cards/ letters to competitions/ etc....) usually happens at the weekend and often takes place whilst we're cleaning/ cooking. DDs both keep diaries and also write little stories in special notebooks I buy them - tend to do this if phases (lots of activity and then maybe nothing for a few weeks).

It sounds like a huge amount - but split up into 3 blocks of 15/ 20 minutes - and done in a relaxed way as part of normal day to day routine - it really wasn't that noticeable. There was still tons of time to play with friends, go to clubs/ lessons, bake, slouch in front of the tv, play video games, etc....

MoreCrackThanHarlem Thu 04-Dec-14 11:27:01

When she was small:
Reading to her
Trips out with education value
Cutting, drawing and craft practise
Writing birthday or christmas cards
Puzzle books
Encouraging independence skills eg tying own laces, use of knife and fork.

Now she's 14, a nice desk, laptop, expensive stationary, a shelf groaning with books and copious cups of tea made and delivered to her as she revises smile

FairyPenguin Fri 05-Dec-14 06:58:42

DD in year 3, DS in reception.

- one-to-one time with each child doing something just for them rather than compromising because of the other child
- extra-curricular clubs where they've shown an interest, incl swimming, drama, rugby, ballet
- independence skills such as folding laundry, emptying dishwasher, laying table
- saving up pocket money to buy things, not buying them everything they ask for
- sitting round dinner table for every meal, very interesting conversations there, plus learning table manners
- days out to a variety of places, eg London open-top bus, museums, plays, concerts, festivals, camping holidays, 5-star holidays, group holidays
- getting First News paper for DD - she loves having her own newspaper and also helps to explain some of the bad-news stories better than we can

2cats2many Fri 05-Dec-14 07:46:51

Mine and 6 and 7. I read with them and talk to them. Those are the main things you need to do.

Also TV and computers are not on all the time. There's much more interesting stuff to do.

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