The end of each school year brings a written report. I always think this is a little pointless and it would be much more useful to find out the progress of your child at the start of the last term, thus giving a little bit of time to work on any issues. Last year there was an issue with his maths which was odd as he appeared to go backwards from where he started. This year there are a few issues that I am very concerned about. The fact that he is working towards the levels between 30- 50 months at aged five personally gives me some cause for concern. I am also extremely cross as I have asked the school several times to give me an indicator as to where he is at and on each occasion I have been told he is doing fine and that we don’t need to worry. Well, I am worried now and I am furious that whilst I could have been giving him additional support so that he would have been within the levels expected at the start of Year One. He will now start behind where I would like him to be.
I have to admit this doesn’t come as a surprise to me, by his age I was reading proper books and doing little science experiments at home. This is the reason I have been so vocal at the school to try to discover where he is. Their reassurance made me think that perhaps it was some new way of teaching. Evidently not. I feel like I have been fobbed off.
So, the options:
- Not worry
- Teach him as much as I can at home at all opportunities (we do this, but it is a challenge and I do feel that he should have some time to play and watch television)
- Change schools
- Personal Tutor
I think I can rule out the ‘not worry’ option because although I understand that children develop at different paces I feel that it is useful to begin a programme of study from a level playing field. The boy has quite a complex personality and if he cant do something his peer group can he tends to give up rather than work towards trying when given the opportunity.
Teach him as much as possible at home. This is a difficult one as I do feel that he needs a chance to relax and consolidate his learning. However, I think I need to push him a bit more to do some productive activities. I am torn because I really feel that he should be taught the majority of things he learns at school and this does not appear to be happening.
I have looked into changing schools and this is a difficult one, the school which he attends is very local to us and the majority of his friends go there. He seems settled and goes in with minimal effort, we can walk or scoot there which is also a bonus. It’s hard to know whether if we changed schools it would be any different.
Personal Tutoring is the option the first sprung to mind because I think that the boy would listen to someone other than me and he would get some focused tuition. However, on reflection after discussing this with a few people I think he might well be too young to be able to sit there for any concentrated lengths of time.
A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of Kumon and I think this is the main thing we are going to do. Until looking into this the only thing I knew about it was that it is favoured by Chinese Tiger Mothers as part of their drive to make sure their children do academically well at school. I have to admit this has put me off a little bit. However, after seeing the work that is required and the way that the programme of study works I think that although it is quite expensive it is the best option for us as part of my plan to ‘bring him up to average’.
I have rapidly become a fairly organised mother, I have looked at the EYFS and made a plan of action on the points which he hasn’t reached to work on over the summer. The challenge will be to make the activities I have in mind both memorable and something that he wants to do. Not forgetting that I also need to make them appropriate for Fifi who mustn’t get left out in all of this. I have printed out next years National Curriculum and will be looking at that and writing a plan of activities to do over the next six months to reinforce his learning at school. On top of this Boy will be doing Kumon, swimming lessons and possibly PopDance. Fifi will be doing Ballet and swimming lessons. Ned will be playing with his toys, attending baby rhyme time, soft play and swimming lessons.
A few years ago I would never have thought that I would find myself in this situation. I don’t see myself as a pushy mother and I really want my children to be happy above all else. However, I think that there is an element of happiness derived from being able to do something easily, from not falling behind your peer group and being considered the stupid one. As a mother I feel like I need to give my children the best possible start in life and this seems the only solution.
Maybe I should buy myself a new organiser!