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Is 8.5YO DD doing too much? (Long)

(112 Posts)
notquitesureagain Fri 20-May-16 15:00:22

This is long but I would really appreciate some considered, non-judgey responses. DD is in year 3, she's 8 and a half. She does suzuki music, which is quite a big commitment (practice every day for up to half an hour, and an individual and group lesson each week). Other than that, she does a couple of sports clubs at school (one in the morning, one in the afternoon) - these are things she really wants to do (cried bitterly when I signed up two late one term and she didn't get to do one of them). There are no exams or certificates so there's no pressure associated with them.

She was doing a swimming lesson too but we're dropping that as of this week because she doesn't like it (and neither does other DC) so frankly I'm v happy not to have to pay for it and/or ferry them there each week.

At school they are given one homework a week (should take 30 mins a week but she really dawdles so it prob takes longer) and have to write comments about whatever book they've been reading.

So essentially all she does other than the 9-3 at school is 30 mins music practice a day, and the week's homework at weekends.

But, we tried to do music practice before school today and she got upset on the way to school because it hadn't gone well. I asked the head teacher if I could walk her to the classroom because she was upset and instead the HT swept her away into her own office and told me to leave it with her. Afterwards HT called to say she was concerned about DD's workload and thought she was doing too much for her age. there is a backstory here - 2 years ago, we made a complaint about a teacher at the school because we felt she just wasn't learning anything at all; she started off a really competent reader in reception/Y1 and then stayed at the same book level for two years without anyone batting an eyelid. She just stopped engaging in class.

Things have improved now and I really like her current teacher, and DD seems to be regained some of her enthusiasm for reading etc But I think the HT (who is VERY protective of her school and teachers) has just marked us out as pushy parents and therefore dismisses everything we say. I'm trying really hard not to be defensive about it, but I don't think we do push her too hard. We don't do anything above and beyond the homework that the school sets (which isn't very onerous) and she has a lot of time just mucking about with her sibling each day just making dens and whatnot.

To complicate things further, younger sibling keeps telling me she is bored at school e.g. the maths is really basic (they've got her writing numbers 1 to 100, which she could do in nursery). Lots of other parents in the same class have complained but I don't feel I can say anything because it'll just be another black mark against my name.

So, I guess I want to know what people think is reasonable for an 8-year-old to do?

notquitesureagain Fri 20-May-16 15:02:43

I should add, I think the upset this morning was a bit of a red herring. She was a bit tired - went to bed a bit later than usual last night, end of the week etc

Also, first para should read 'too late' not 'two late' in case that's a little confusing

amidawish Fri 20-May-16 15:07:09

it doesn't sound too much to me. does she have to / want to practice for 30 mins EVERY day? which instrument is it?

her daily schedule has quite an impact. if she has a 5 minute walk to school that is very different to leaving home at 7.45 for example.

notquitesureagain Fri 20-May-16 15:11:37

Thanks for answering amida. We live 5 mins from the school so not a big commute.

It's not 30 mins every day realistically - she doesn't practice on the days she has lessons so it's actually only 5 days a week, and often more like 20 mins. We do try to do something every day - that's part of the ethos of the suzuki method i.e. everyone can be 'musical' with a bit of practice every day. She doesn't always enjoy the practice (who does) in the same way that she doesn't enjoy homework but she enjoys the benefits (likes the concerts, and the friends she makes through it, the camaraderie etc)

notquitesureagain Fri 20-May-16 15:12:08

Oh, and she plays the viola

amidawish Fri 20-May-16 15:15:09

i think it sounds fine personally. probably just needs a few early nights / half term!

Paulat2112 Fri 20-May-16 15:15:23

My dd trains 6 hours a week at swimming club. She is 7. Homework is about an hour total a week. She was also riding on a Saturday morning for an hour but it was messing with her comps and making her.over tired so we dropped it. She is meant to train 8 hours a week at the squad level she is in, but her coaches think that is too much for her. I think what your dd is doing is fine smile

notquitesureagain Fri 20-May-16 15:17:53

Wow Paulat2112 good for her - that's amazing :-)

Thanks for letting me know

notquitesureagain Fri 20-May-16 15:18:55

'Letting me know' hmm - that sounded properly weird. Guess DD's not the only one who's tired.

amidawish Fri 20-May-16 15:23:34

my daughter's schedule, which is not that unusual (she is yr5) is:

Monday 1 hour tutor, 1 hour ballet
Tuesday 1 hour drama (+ 30 mins flute lesson, in school time)
Wednesday 1 hour orchestra before school (arrives to school 30 mins early) 1 hour chess
Thursday -
Friday 1 hour ballet (not every week, about 1/3 of the time)
Saturday - 3 hours drama
Sunday - 2 hours ballet

plus she gets homework every day from school and about 90 mins work/week for the tutor (she will be doing 11+ in Jan). she is fine. plenty do lots more. the important thing is that she wants to do all of it. swimming she resisted but she stuck to it until she got moved to squad, then she stopped. of course i haven't mentioned flute practice in there because in reality that doesn't happen much...

Paulat2112 Fri 20-May-16 15:24:12

Yep my DD does get tired but she enjoys it like you dd, also enjoys the social side of it, making friends outside of her own peer group and she is good at it. I think just continue with what you are doing, doesn't sound excessive to me at all. As long as she gets the chance to rest and play, which you've said she does, then I don't see the problem. My DD enjoys going to bed early on the nights she doesn't train (Mon and wed) with a book and just reading in bed.

GregorSamsa Fri 20-May-16 15:31:43

I have a string player, and she does 30 mins practice a day every day, and has done since she started lessons age 5 - they have to really, otherwise they don't make progress. She also has a lesson and a group lesson every week (not Suzuki tho). We've always done practice in the mornings before school, which feels less effortful than after school. When she was in primary she did clubs as well during the week, and other activities at the weekends, always at her own request.

I think that's fine, tbh, assumign she wants to do the activities, and has plenty of downtime as well. My string player is now at secondary and does school orchestra, school choir, string quartet and county youth orchestra as well, plus various other lunchtime clubs at school. Nobody's making her do those things, she signs herself up to them. She does get tired, but she enjoys them all and manages to get her homework done, so it's all good.

lavenderdoilly Fri 20-May-16 15:35:29

Sorry to sound judgy but when do any of your busy children get time to play or to kick back and read or watch TV or chat about rubbish?

GregorSamsa Fri 20-May-16 15:37:39


lavenderdoilly Fri 20-May-16 15:42:26

Thanks, Gregor but I meant it genuinely.

Artandco Fri 20-May-16 15:45:48

She sounds like little homework is done, is this why her school work is not as high?

As comparison my 6 year old in year one has 15 school reading, and 20 mins homework ontop every night. Everything has to be done and handed in the next day

irvineoneohone Fri 20-May-16 15:49:01

My ds practice piano 30 mins everyday. That's what he does straight away after having some snack and chill out after school.
He does 3 x clubs a week as well. I don't think it's too much, because he wants to do it.

lavenderdoilly, so what do your dc do off school?

Paulat2112 Fri 20-May-16 15:50:42

lavender my dd gets plenty of time. As i said she trains for 6 hours a week. That's not a lot. She does no training on a Monday, Wednesday or Saturday. On Tues, Thursday and Friday she doesn't start until 6pm and we stay near the pool so she has after school on those days. And trains on a Sunday afternoon for an hour, so has the rest of the sunday to chill, etc. She is currently out playing right now in the football pitch at the bottom of the street with her friends playing games smile

irvineoneohone Fri 20-May-16 15:52:18

"She sounds like little homework is done, is this why her school work is not as high?"


amidawish Fri 20-May-16 15:59:48

at the moment dd is jumping on the trampoline with her friend. ballet is later this evening
a lot of her friends are from ballet/dance/drama - so plenty of playing before and after the activities (helps the parents too with the ferrying about)
school is only 15 mins walk away. home by 3.45. bed at 8. LOTS of time.

lavenderdoilly Fri 20-May-16 16:06:17

My dd does Dance once a week. We go walking at weekends. I'm teaching her sewng skills. Obviously we are terrible slackers. I check regularly if dd wants to try something new and even though money is tight, we would make it work. But I am also mindful of too much pushing.

irvineoneohone Fri 20-May-16 16:25:54

lavender, my ds loves sewing as well. And he loves cooking. And building fort in woods. and....
Why do you have to think "too much pushing" if other children do more than yours? Nobody said you are "terrible slackers", you judged other people first.

amidawish Fri 20-May-16 16:49:41

oh please.

my older dd does very little. that is her choice/preference. she likes to "chill" as she says.

dd2 is into ballet, drama- both take a lot of time

i would actually say that dd2 is less tired...

Paulat2112 Fri 20-May-16 16:50:24

Too much pushing is of course not good. As is not pushing them enough. Just because my child does more than yours does not mean I am pushing her too much. She actually begs to do more training but her coach says no and I agree. We are all different and I am certainly not judging you because your dd doesn't do more.

OSETmum Fri 20-May-16 17:42:56

DS is nearly 7 and practises on his motorbike for about 1 hour after school then has practise or competitions for at least 3 hours each Saturday and Sunday. He also does Beavers on Tuesday and street dance on Wednesday and Thursday.

For homework he has reading for about half an hour a night ( he does this at bedtime and its reading for pleasure now rather than learning to read) then a bit of literacy and maths.

Yes he's very busy, but tbh his hobbies ARE play time to him as they're what he loves to do and he's interacting with other children as he's an only child so can get bored on his own.

He also watches one hour of TV a day and plays in his iPad when were travelling to his events.

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