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Are my kids behind

(40 Posts)
smileyreiley Wed 18-Jan-17 10:20:53

Hi, I have 2 kids in primary ed, 5yo in reception early birthday and 7yo in yr3 late summer birthday
I only ever practiced writing skills with my kids in nursery, not reading, and with both have gone at the pace of the phonics in reception - reinforcing and practicing what in see coming home from school.
However I think other parents are doing much more and their kids are in higher groups in their classes
7yo reading stage 9 at Oxford reading tree, and is in a mixed yr 2/3 class prob at higher end but in her year group (ie for transfer to secondary ) will be in bottom half- is she disadvantaged??
I work full time and have another 2yo
I get home round 6, and kids just want to play and spend time with me an DH at that time
I would have to consider cutting work hrs (big impact on family finances) if need to invest more time into extra work. Totally willing to do that if I think will bring kids on
I am surprised both not more ahead academically than they are as they very bright ( sociable and confident kids) and tbh I am secretly a bit disappointed as I myself was Gifted academically with excellent exam results that allowed me great advantage in professional life.
I am at a real crossroads here deciding what to do, don't want to lean undue pressure and become overbearing parent if child is at their max ability, but problem is i just don't know if they are or if I have allowed them to fall behind where they could be!!!
All honest advice and comments welcome

Blankscreen Wed 18-Jan-17 10:35:17

I think lots of parents do do a lot with their children but profess not to. I have a friend who claims.to never do anything but when I went round there her son was showing us the work books he's done with mummy!

You sound like you have enough on your plate with working full time.and.shouldnt feel guilty.

Where do the children go.after school if ypu get home at 6?

bojorojo Wed 18-Jan-17 11:14:06

I made sure I went to the library with my children so they were able to choose a very wide range books which I read to them or they read to me.

Lots of working parents do this on a Saturday morning. I think working parents are never going to have as much time to do homework as unwaged parents and you just have to work out how best to help your children in the time you have available. So do not feel guilty.

My children did loads of after-school activities and they did not read all the time. Some chidren did far less and read loads of books. I have one very clever child and one less so, but neither were avid readers although DD1 was a free reader in Y3.

Also, what many parents think of as a "bright" child is often a chatty switched on child, but not necessarily an academic one. What is the school saying about their achievements and progress? You cannot make them academic if they are not but you can facilitate a love of learning; take them out to see things, e.g. the zoo, a historic castle, a vintage railway, go to museums, get more books in the house, and spend the weekends doing more than playing. Just a little more may make quite a big difference!

SpeakNoWords Wed 18-Jan-17 11:17:03

What do school say about your DDs progress? My eldest is only in reception so I don't know if level 9 in that reading scheme is ok or not.

My initial reaction is to cut working hours and the resulting large financial impact seems to be a big step before exploring the issue.

efrieze78 Wed 18-Jan-17 11:34:59

I also work full time. I have often done extra work with my children but it happens after 6pm when I get home (I would never have considered reducing my work hours for it). I would also push bed time a bit later to get in both extra work and some fun. I also use the weekends for extra work at home. Good luck.

smileyreiley Wed 18-Jan-17 11:41:34

School has no issues with either child all good reports could improve on their mental maths- which I'm working on, practicing number bonds.
But i don't think they are maybe pushing the kids as much as I would like??? I would like to see if they could get more progress out of them.
But maybe that should be me doing that- the stealth pushy parent???

I would like to be better structured in evening to do extra work but 2yo needs lots attention, until bed at 7.30
Then older two are too tired to do extra work at that time. Last night there were tears over mathletics!!

Trying to squeeze everything into the timemis leaving them very late for bed - after nine usually

Ginmummy1 Wed 18-Jan-17 11:47:28

As long as you’re not heading for grammar school exams, I don’t think you should feel you have to reduce your hours to have time to push your kids more. There is still time for fun learning after 6pm and during weekends and holidays.

You’re probably doing some of this type of thing anyway, but I’ll mention it just in case: after 6pm on weeknights you could try playing some games as a family but choose ones with an element of learning to them – eg Brainbox games, or games involving maths or geography, or Scrabble/Boggle types of games. At the weekend you could do educational visits as Bojorojo suggests, and also watch the news / read newspapers etc, and just talk about interesting things. Books, programmes to watch, focussing on their interests to make them ‘experts’ in these things (whether it’s space or dinosaurs or trains of marine life or whatever). Foster a love of learning which will pay dividends in the long run.

If you are academically gifted and did very well at school, what is your honest opinion of your kids’ potential? Do you feel that they are as gifted as you, but are perhaps not being challenged at school? If this is the case, why not have a chat with their teachers, to see whether they think the children are fulfilling their potential?

Ginmummy1 Wed 18-Jan-17 11:53:17

Sorry, didn't read your latest post until I'd already responded.

I'm definitely a stealth pushy parent too! My DD has taken to asking the teacher for harder work because she finishes hers, gets no extension work and ends up helping others.

As evenings are so busy with your 2yo, maybe the focus should be on weekends, and during the week just keep expanding their minds with great questions to foster a love of learning and a thirst for information - hard, I'm sure, when you just want to collapse in a heap after a day at work smile

Brokenbiscuit Wed 18-Jan-17 12:13:58

Your kids are still very young. I think it's too early to make a proper assessment of their academic potential. Kids do genuinely develop at different rates.

My dd was a very advanced reader in reception, despite being one of the youngest in the class. I didn't do loads of work with her outside school at all (I also work FT in a demanding job!) I did read to her regularly, but nothing else. She just picked it up very quickly and then progressed through the stages very quickly.

My dd has always been on the "gifted and talented" lists, from early primary onwards. Now she is at secondary. Some of the kids who were G&T in year 1 are still G&T now. Others are not. Similarly, some of the kids who weren't classed as G&T at primary are now in that category at secondary school - the late bloomers. You just can't tell when they're really young.

I'm 100% sure you could bring your kids on more quickly if you gave up work to hothouse them. The question for me would be whether you might then risk destroying a love of learning forever.

If they seem happy and confident, and the school has no concerns, my advice would be to encourage gently by giving them access to plenty of good quality books, and perhaps fun days out at the weekends that are also educational. Model a positive attitude to learning yourself, but don't push too hard, and don't quit the day job. smile

mouldycheesefan Wed 18-Jan-17 13:28:42

Hi mine are tired at night we do reading to in the morning before school.
Carol vorderman maths factor is a great site.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Wed 18-Jan-17 14:24:09

Oh Jeeze- this is going to be me in a few years time. I was also a gifted child at school (with some assistance from mildly pushy mum). Even though I know I should accept and love my kids for who they are, there's a sneaky little part of me that would love them to be little genius's

God knows why. I mainly use my own intelligence for thinking up new things to worry about and more complex ways to experience anxiety.

Also- I don't think you have to be that bright to do well.
Perseverance and diligence are probably more important and they are qualities that can be taught in all sorts of ways. Playing sports, building things with lego etc..

I think in all honesty, OP, you are doing great. Parenting isn't about doing "The Best" for your child. There is no best. There is only the best under the circumstances.

You have obviously sent them to a school with a high general standard and you are doing what the teachers have asked you to- working on the number bonds. By 6pm your kids will have had a long day. its fine to enjoy some down time with them.

Autumnsky Wed 18-Jan-17 14:30:10

I think it is not necessary to change your work time just for the extra work you can do with DC, however, part time working do allow you to be with your DC a bit more. Considering you have 3 children, the cost of after school childcare must be high, maybe it will save you some stress and not lose much money if you reduce your working hours.

I didn' do much extra work with DS2, but as I only work part time, I take to and pick up him from school. I guess we often talk on the way, sometimes the topics are wide. At home, I do my own things alongside DS2, but DS2 may benefit from constant attention from me, he likes sharing the interesting reading with me, and ask questions whenever he has any.

PovertyJetset Wed 18-Jan-17 14:45:58

My DH and I work FT, but I get the kids home around 5pm

DS- he reads to me and I read to him and we will talk about something he or I have spotted in the book (alliteration, adverbs, using italics, inferential questioning skills), quick spellings check (we do this verbally and play round with it), and we will do some
Work towards his twenty project. He is to practise the piano for 15 mins 3* times a week which he is in charge or deciding. I'll throw around some multiplications or mental maths. I read his class blog everyday and try and keep on top of what his class are doing.

DD- she reads to me and I'll read with her and talk about it. She helps me cook and we do some number work then. We will do a little work around her class project and then if she is happy to we do some handwriting (set by the class)

Between that stuff and eating it takes about an hour then we play or watch tv, get ready for the next day x

jamdonut Wed 18-Jan-17 17:42:47

See , I never understand why you send your kids to school all day then feel you have to do it all again at home?
It's not fair on your kids, and also it seems you just do not trust schools to teach your children.
Which is quite galling for staff, who spend all day trying to sort your kids out.
Being on both the parent and school staff sides of the fence, I have never felt the need to do anything other than read with my kids at home, or just encourage them to get on with any homework they may have had. I've helped if requested, but never sat and actively taught them or bought workbooks or anything like that, I've always trusted school to get on with the job of teaching them...And they've all 3 of them , come through perfectly well.
If your child has actual learning difficulties, then some general practice at home is useful... But it seems some parents are impatient, and want their children to fly through the curriculum, when what they need to do is do it at their own pace, and understand it properly before moving on.

We all want our kids to be clever, but some need longer than others to get there. There is too much competition over reading levels, or the table they are on etc etc. Some children blossom much later on, in secondary and overtake the 'clever' primary kids.

PovertyJetset Wed 18-Jan-17 17:47:30

We don't do work books and we do homework set and do trust our school.

The stuff we do is fun, sideways stuff.

RebelRogue Wed 18-Jan-17 17:49:35

So you have two bright,confident,sociable kids with good school reports and no concerns. Great!
The issue seems to be they are not doing as well being as bright as they should be,using yourself as a reference. Guess what? They are not you! Leave them alone! They're happy and learning. Fits of tears won't help anyone,especially not them,or increase their love of learning.
They're too young(one of them is 5 ffs!!) to be made to feel they're not good enough because their mum has some made up,self imposed standards!

RebelRogue Wed 18-Jan-17 17:52:04

Btw stage 9 is for aprox 7.5-8 yos and your kid is 7. So they're ahead.

Artandco Wed 18-Jan-17 17:58:13

We do do stuff with ours every evening. But not sit down writing stuff beyond school homework

Both practice piano 10 mins, both read to us 10 mins, and we read to them 20 mins every night at bedtime ( one story between both of them together). They have 20 mins school homework also.

But this is naturally what we would do, not chores, they had bedtime stories 20 mins at 7months and do still at 7 years. But all helps

At weekends we encourage them to work things out like weighing ingredients for baking, measuring stuff, multiplications in shops, telling time all throughout the day but just as we go about doing stuff. Ie cinema entry is £9, how much for 4 of us then?

bojorojo Wed 18-Jan-17 18:00:59

I would also ask the school what progress they think your children are making. The national curriculum is harder now and children are not labelled as gifted and talented as much these days. Schools are expected to set appropriate work, easier or extension work, to cater for the differing needs of children be they gifted or not gifted. Therefore there is flexibility as they get better, so ask what work (easier questions or the extension ones) your children are doing within the curriculum. I would not be going in to see a teacher and say they are coasting though, if the teacher has assessed them as making good progress.

If the school says their progress is slow and they are below expectations, then you do no need to ask what you can do to help. I would also be very wary of turning them off education. I know parents who both went to Oxford who do not have bright children. It happens.

Crumbs1 Wed 18-Jan-17 18:01:41

Don't believe the "they're young so don't worry" brigade or the "too young to tell their academic potential" lot. I think it was a Jesuit who said " Give me the boy before he is seven and I will give you the man". It's true.
Reading and number skills form the foundation of all future learning. Concentration and behaviour are embedded by the time a child is about 7 years old. You can change things after then but it's hard to rise from a position of lower than average to the top of the tree. Time spent helping children acquire the skills with which to continue learning is time well spent.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 18-Jan-17 18:22:14

I agree with RebelRogue on this. I think your DC are far too young to be doing extra "work" and being "pushed". However, developing a love of books, a natural curiosity of number and useful simple opportunities at home for number skills can only be a good thing. The curriculum these days is all about going deeper into subjects and extending their learning that way, rather than zooming ahead with the older children to cover as much as possible.

Instead of worrying that you're not pushing them, make a cake or something - get them to do fractions whilst doing it, read the recipe, do the measuring, that sort of thing.

I have two very bright DC, but I don't push them 'academically' at home. I barely get the 6 yo to do his homework diary. But I do encourage them to read lots and get loads of interesting books all the time, and they both play instruments, cook, limit screen time, etc. There are so many amazing things in the world to develop an interest in, without worrying which "level" they are at.

Maybe a chat with their teacher will set your mind at rest, especially if you don't get to see him or her on a regular basis because of work.

RebelRogue Wed 18-Jan-17 18:23:09

Don't believe the "they're young so don't worry" brigade or the "too young to tell their academic potential" lot

But there's nothing to worry about. School reports are good, the kids are progressing and worst case so far they are working at expected level. It's just not OP would like,as in her own words she's disappointed they're not gifted and talented as she was.

irvineoneohone Wed 18-Jan-17 18:37:59

I think if you can find time in the evening or in the morning, doing 5-10 minutes work everyday will help massively in the long run, imo.

user1483972886 Wed 18-Jan-17 21:23:34

15 mins reading 5 days a week will make a massive difference. Sometimes I get our 6 yo to read to me whilst I am running the bath or even in the morning when we have spare time. Also at the pool whilst the other child is swimming.
DD is Y2 and ORT 10 but the kids in her class go from ORT 4 to 10 so the range is massive.
You don't need to give up work but just find 15 mins a day for each child (maybe you can do one child whilst DH looks after the others)?

smileyreiley Wed 18-Jan-17 23:17:28

Thanks all- the variance in responses is a mirror of my own thought processes- we read consistently, both together and more recently on her own, maths needs lot more practice and have maths factor for 2 weeks now, find it v good
I, like previous poster, tend to overthink and create issues, where may not be any
But with the kids education I don't think I can take any risk- I believe a good education is the greatest gift I could give my child
And I just wish it were a bit .... easier for them, more effortless, iykwim
Thanks for the comment on the late bloomers, again comparing to myself ( and yes I know they are not same people but it's my only yardstick) I probably "bloomed" more in secondary, where specific subjects interested me more.
I just want to make sure their basic English and maths skills are the best they can be!

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