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I am a useless parent. How much 'extra' do you do with your child?

70 replies

tortoiseSHELL · 01/10/2007 17:18

I am feeling a real failure - I really haven't done much 'extra' with ds1 outside school as regards academic work (he is Y2) and I think all his friends' parents have. We've obviously done his reading books and he is a good reader, but now I find the others have all been having coaching of one sort or another - some Kumon, some just extra work at home.

Now I feel like I've let him down - I've got him some workbooks which he loves doing (and tbh he HAS done this sort of thing before - the Gold Stars type) - he's doing the Letts ones. Dd is reception - should she be being coached???

I really don't like the idea of them having to work hard at home as well as school, but what REALLY worries me is that the 'coached' 'kumon' children are put in a higher group because they're naturally a bit further on, having had more teaching, and they then get stretched more, and ds1 misses out on what he COULD and SHOULD be doing.

Any advice? The G&T threads on here recently haven't helped either - really make me feel like I should be doing more for the kids. Their out of school activities tend to be gym, swimming, music etc.

OP posts:
NAB3 · 01/10/2007 17:22

I am always a bit suspicious of parents who do extra tuition. Why can't they let their kids be kids? They work hard enough at school.

I am in trouble with the teacher for not doing DS1's homework. He never told me it was homework but it is done now!

DD does loads of extras, she is in Reception, but she always has and is very bright. DS1 will do things when he is in the mood but it is always off his own back.

If you feel your son should be further on, then speak to the teacher or do something at home, but I say let them be kids!!

ShaunOfTheThread · 01/10/2007 17:25

I know the feeling. But really I think that none of the 'extras' are necessary, unless your dc would enjoy doing it, or unless there is some problem that the teacher advises you to address. Why are we all so hung up on pushing children?

Hardly did anything with mine and they are doing fine.

Reallytired · 01/10/2007 17:25

Kumon is as dull as ditchwater. My son has a friend who does Kumon maths, the little boy is ahead of my son in maths but has absolutely no enthusiam for maths.

I think there is a HUGE difference between parents giving extra help to a struggling child and a pushy parent who is pushing a child for the sake of it.

There are other things in life that are important like learning to ride a bike, doing hobbies and playing.

I am sure you are not a failure. You are just a balanced person.

pointydog · 01/10/2007 17:35


CaptainUnderpants · 01/10/2007 17:53

Out of school actities are sport much like OP. I have never even considered any 'academic' work with them otside of school.

Perhsps these parents are doing it as they hope to go private once Y3 is reached and ned to sit entrance exams ???

Twiglett · 01/10/2007 17:55

home is for relaxing

bollocks to work at home .. he's 6 fgs .. you'er doing the right thing giving him a childhood IMHO

Twiglett · 01/10/2007 17:58

trying to think what my yr 2 ds does now

DS does french club after school and kung fu on saturday.. he also has 1 or 2 playdates a week (am cutting back this year)

(in yr 1 he used to do football and recorder after-school as well as french .. but the recorder was free and the football was to appease DH )

he mainly chills, tries to be sportacus, practices handstands and cartwheels, watches tv, makes raincatchers (this is today .. he saw them on cbeebies), draws (because he wants to) and then I make him read to me

at the weekend he gets 30mins on the PC

jellyhead · 01/10/2007 18:02

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MorocconOil · 01/10/2007 18:04

Just about manage to get them to do their homework.

They are busy in the street now sweeping up leaves to raise money for Oxfam.

I'm glad they are having fun doing that rather than pushed into doing extra work.

fruitful · 01/10/2007 18:07

coaching? splutter isn't that what you do when they look like they're going to fail their iminent GCSEs?

dd (yr1) does swimming. And her reading when I can persuade her. I'm not even insisting on that because she is doing fine and I don't want her to start thinking reading is a boring chore.

I am vaguely thinking that I might teach ds some phonics sounds before he starts reception, since most of the boys in dd's class are lagging behind most of the girls (because they'd rather run around and throw things, which dh says is quite reasonable!).

clapton · 01/10/2007 18:12

You are not a failure. I would only go down that route if my child needed the extra tuition. Otherwise their lives are just about school and learning, where is the fun?

We want our kids to look back and think they had fun too.

TwoToTango · 01/10/2007 18:40

Agree with clapton. I get DS to read every night (just a few pages) and spend 5-10 mins on his homework (he is in Y2). I think that is plenty. I would rather he spent his time outside school playing with friends, playing football, in garden etc. I think they do enough school work at school.

newgirl · 01/10/2007 18:59

i dont know anyone in my dd yr 1 class doing coaching of any kind

i think it is a good idea if you are worried about the teaching in the class but in your case it sounds a good school so nothing to worry about

toomanydaves · 01/10/2007 19:06

just skimmed but I don't do any extra with either of mine, y4 and y2. Why would you?

motherinferior · 01/10/2007 19:17

Agree with Twiglett.

Cannot imagine coaching either of my kids. And would be extraordinarily surprised if any of DD1's classmates are being coached either.

Cammelia · 01/10/2007 19:28

Y2 is top year of what we used to call infants school in my day.

The whole concept of coaching for infants is

LoveMyGirls · 01/10/2007 19:29

Think about the words........Learning through play!

Your children are like sponges, naturally absorbing everything around them, to you they look like they are having a bath, they are playing with water but really if you pick it apart you will see they are doing much more than just playing with water..........they are measuring, weighing, discovering volume, texture, colours in bubbles etc etc etc and thats just in the 15-30mins they are in the bath - their day is about 10hrs long if they can learn so much in a short space of time think about how much they are learning the rest of the time with no effort from you! The best bit is they don't even realise they are learning!

tortoiseSHELL · 01/10/2007 19:32

Thank you for the responses - you all basically say what I thought, I was SO taken aback at the amount extra the 'bright' children are doing - I suddenly got worried I was letting them down.

OP posts:
Tamum · 01/10/2007 19:36

It's all I can do to hear reading, and I'm pretty bad at that, so no, no extra academic work here.

tortoiseSHELL · 01/10/2007 19:58

Cammelia - that was a great post, puts it in perspective.

I blame SATS. Makes everybody paranoid about achieving goals instead of enjoying life.

OP posts:
Marina · 01/10/2007 20:32

torty, we read with ds and dd, and we chat to them. Ds does a fun tennis thing run by the council on a Saturday morning, and he does Cubs. Dd does "ballerina-dancing" after school one day.
And that's IT. If dd turns out to be musical, think she might be, she can learn an instrument later on.
We've never permitted a single workbook into this house and we never will.
The only person I know of who does a lot of this sort of thing with her child is, IMO, barking, as I've said to you before, and the more I see and hear about her child lately the more I think he'd be a lot happier stuffing plasticine up his nose and learning cool fart jokes off some big boys.
REMEMBER that some of this is misinformed if understandable panic because of where you live (it happens round here too )

amicissima · 01/10/2007 20:35

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hassled · 01/10/2007 20:39

DS2 (9) does piano on Saturdays and that is the full extent of his out of school activities, bar football (watching, not playing) and friends home. DS3 (5) does gymnastics and tennis and that's it. BUT we talk to them, we read to and with them, we play with them - and I play computer games with them, most of which involve building Roman cities. They're only young once - I don't really care how they do in the next lot of SATS or whatever. They're not stupid and will do OK with or without hothousing. I feel completely vindicated in this because I had an even more lax approach with DS1 who is 20, and an enthusiastic university student who has found his niche and is pursuing it.

Marina · 01/10/2007 20:47

amicissima, tell me about it. I arrive home, ds seemingly slumped vacantly on sofa watching CBBC. Grandparents are being covered in stickers by dd.
Dh arrives back full of excitement (bless) about the new Microsoft Surface thing demonstrated at his workplace today. Starts to tell ds about it. Ds says nonchalantly "Yes, Surface. There was a really interesting piece about that on Newsround..."

tissy · 01/10/2007 20:57

Dd, who is six spends a lot of time in front of the tv, and I have spells of being wracked with guilt about it . I work full-time, so does dh. we pick dd up from the childminder on our way home from work, and when she has done her homework, the telly goes on.

We don't challenge this, as we have so much to do when we get in- dinner to get ready, homework to supervise, bath to run. One of us always read with/ to her after her bath, though.

At the weekends, the tv is often on in the background, while she does something like drawing/ tea parties, while we're doing the washing/cleaning/ cooking that needs to be done, if we go shopping she comes too.

This weekend, we were all slumped in front of the tv, dd turned it off and announced, "we are now going to play a game" and proceeded to draw a picture which we had to guess....I was quite enjoying Tikkabilla....

Tortoiseshell-I've got off the subject of your op, but I think, compared to me, you're doing fine!

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