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Have I been negligent?

(20 Posts)
OrmIrian Mon 15-Sep-08 13:30:13

DS#1 is just starting Yr1. He is having trouble settling down according to his teacher, and he isn't happy that they 'don't get to play at all' hmm. In Reception he was slow to read and write but he was improving slowly - progress was being made. His reception teacher was happy enough with his progress. DH and I have always steadfastly refused to push the children - we encourage and do lots of reading to and with, but nothing more. It's worked OK with the older 2 - DD is doing very well in Yr5 and DS#1 got good SATs scores and a fantastic Yr6 report - but I am a little worried that it may not be the right approach with DS#2. I went with him to put his book bag away this morning and noticed that he was on a table with 2 boys that don't have English as a first language and the one child that has mild learning difficulties. Which worries me a little. Teacher hasn't mentioned any real problems with his learning but is this significant? It seems to me to be. Wondering if my stratgy is failing with DS#2.

Help! sad

cory Mon 15-Sep-08 13:34:51

May not be anything to do with your strategy at all; perhaps he's just a slow developer. I'd have a word with the teacher and see what she thinks. But if the school offers any extra help, be supportive of them. It is much better that he should be given extra support at school than that you should feel you have to nag him at home. Ds had a lot of reading support from Year 1-Year 3, but now it has suddenly clicked for him. I made hoim do his usual homework and read him stories etc, trying to keep him interested, but did nothing out of the way; my instinct was to keep relaxed. He has now been moved from the bottom set, and my feeling is that he will eventually move up another set.

Niecie Mon 15-Sep-08 13:37:52

It might be wrong although only you know your DS. What works for one may not work for another.

I was very much of the same opinion as you for DS1. Don't push them as they start school early enough as it is and it all evens out in the end.

However, when he ended up being one of the worst readers in the class at the end of Yr R I decided to actively work on the reading with him. We concentrated on the key words and his reading took off and he was a confident reader by the Easter term and overtaken most of the rest of the class.

Now, part of that would be because his time had come and he was ready but I don't think he would have done so well if we hadn't put the extra work in and just stuck to the bare minimum we did in Yr R.

Could you try working more with your DS at home for a couple of weeks? If it makes a bit of a difference then carry on but if it doesn't then ease off again and let him learn at his own pace. At least you know that you have done what you can then.

LaylaandSethsmum Mon 15-Sep-08 13:39:45

Quite a lot of kids seem to struggle initially with the transition from reception to yr1, my DD did last year and it took really until about october half term for her to get the hang of what was going on and the increase in structured work. I agree totally with the not pushing thing, its still early days and he'll get used to it.
The table placement thing is probably just a coincidence, in DDs class anyway, the kids move around into different groupings all the time.

OrmIrian Mon 15-Sep-08 13:43:19

Sorry - I meant DS#2 not ds#1.

Thanks. Cory - I will take any extra help willingly. Actually DS#1 did have some extra help in Yr2 which made some difference.

neicie - that seems a good idea. We already read his school books every night but only for 10mins or so. Problem is that he is the most stubborn human being I have ever met, and his reading only started to improve when he decided he was ready. It's so frustrating.

Niecie Mon 15-Sep-08 13:58:33

Mine is stubborn too - it was a bit hellish sometimes but we stuck at it because it was making such a difference and he could see for himself that he was getting better because he kept going up a level in the ORT books.

A fair few bribes were involved too.grin

Once he got the hang of reading I have let him get on with it and backed off although now he is in YR 4 battle has recommenced because he has other types of homework apart from reading. <sigh>

OrmIrian Mon 15-Sep-08 14:02:46

Yes. Other types of homework hmm Maybe that's why I was so hands-off with DS#1 last year. I was too busy battling DS#1! Thankgod DD just gets on with it.

Niecie Mon 15-Sep-08 14:15:28

I am hoping DS2 will just get on with it too but after just one week of school, it doesn't bode well. He isn't keen on looking at his books even though he is very proud that he actually got a book with words in on Friday!

I am not looking forward to the teenage years at all, as far as homework is concerned. I think their attitude to that is probably already set in stone.

OrmIrian Mon 15-Sep-08 14:17:08

Noooooo <sobs>.. Please don't say that!

Fennel Mon 15-Sep-08 14:22:24

I don't think it's negligent to be hands-off, but maybe worth putting in the effort now you can see he's struggling.

we tend to be quite hands-off, we paid no attention at all to dd1 learning to read, til we noticed, belatedly, that she had learned nothing in 6 months in reception (the others had, the teachers were fine). and then we put in a bit of effort which in our case meant tried to actually remember to do reading practice with her a few times a week.

and when her reading improved, we stopped. I think a hands-off strategy as a baseline is fine but you have to monitor it a bit if you don't want to slide into negligence.

OrmIrian Mon 15-Sep-08 14:25:22

Hmm...yes I think that is true. I think we were maybe lulled into a false sense of security because he was improving last year.

lljkk Mon 15-Sep-08 14:28:23

I think OP should discuss outright with the teacher her concerns, teacher knows the child and knows how children can learn, right?

Besides, OrmIrian is reading regularly (?daily) with and to the boy, what else is she supposed to do? Workbooks? Will backfire unless he's keen, anyway.

HonoriaGlossop Mon 15-Sep-08 14:33:17

I think it does depend on the child. Have had similar worries with my ds, six. I have absolutely resisted making him do school stuff/reading practice at home because he HATES the thought of it and does not want to do it, so I have been really reluctant to make him. I'd rather he has school and hom as seperate things, and has the freedom at home that he obviously needs and doesn't get at school.

However there does come a point where it kind of scares you to keep 'hands off' in case it really hinders their development...and I've reached that with ds, who to me doesn't seem to be making progress reading, and has resulting huge frustration that his abilities at school do not keep up with his mind.

What I've done is roped in my mum to do reading with ds because she is his favourite person in the world and will do things for her that he won't for me, also she is not 'home' so it still keeps home as a sanctuary for ds.

Is there a relative/good friend who could step in to help in this way?

Also I would want to check the school as well; the 'learning through play' thing should I think be carried on right through the infant stage, surely? Obviously more and more sit down and work stuff does get included but in ds school they made the transition to year one easier by keeping to the same timetable as Yr R for the first few weeks....

Niecie Mon 15-Sep-08 14:35:11

lljkk - we worked on the keywords. We tried to learn them, 10 at a time, after we were given the full list at the end of Yr R. It is tedious but DS liked the simplicity of it, I think. He was learning those words and not having to faff about with reading large chunks of text to do it. Reading books was something different and we did the normal 10 mins a night on that as well.

The teachers are more than likely to say don't worry because they probably aren't. However, until you try to go the extra mile you don't know for sure whether your child is underachieving as my DS was. I think the teacher had him down as slow - not in itself a problem but we knew he could do better and he did.

As I say, it only takes a short burst of effort to pay dividends and then you can relax a bit again.

OrmIrian Mon 15-Sep-08 14:37:31

That is a good idea HG. My mum would love to get more involved. If I can just persuade DS#2 to sit still for long enough hmm

Fennel Mon 15-Sep-08 14:40:33

I would be wary of putting a 5yo off reading though, if you are already doing the reading practice. With us, we weren't really doing it with our 5yo (blush but we did have toddler and new baby at the time and 2 jobs and we were a bit busy) and when we did put in a bit of effort, she started improving.

I'd work on making it fun. not doing more reading, but thinking of games and activities, maybe not ploughing through the books. 5 is very young.

Incidentally my 5yo poor reader is now an 8yo very good and avid reader. I wouldn't have expected that 3 years ago.

OrmIrian Mon 15-Sep-08 14:45:58

Yes. It is hard when there is more than one child and 2 working parents. But I actually tried to do more with this one because we had had a phonics workshop to help us, and because I didn't want a repeat of DS#1 - but he simply doesn't want to do it and I resisted forcing the issue.

DS#1 is still a reluctant reader generally but quite fluent and capable.

OrmIrian Tue 16-Sep-08 13:44:48

I spoke to DH about this last night and (as expected) he told me not to make assumptions.

Me: 'But DS#2 may be struggling to keep up.'
DH: 'So? He'll get there.'

FFS. Why do I have to be the only worrier in the family? hmm

Niecie Tue 16-Sep-08 18:02:44

Because if he admits there is a problem he might be required to do something!

OrmIrian Wed 17-Sep-08 08:07:51

Hmmm.... you may be right niecie. He's actually a primary school teacher (not working as one atm) and is very keen on hands-off parents. But I think he needs a different perspective with his own DCs.

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