On Wednesday I had parents evening at Joshua’s school to discuss his progress and how he is getting on in school. I was actually looking forward to talking with the teacher about him and was really interested in what she had to say about him. Me and his dad went together and were seen as soon as we walked through the door as she was ahead of schedule.
We sat down and she explained how she had wrote down notes to help her remember what to say. She started by telling us how she feels Josh is enjoying school more (we had a few issues before where he was scared of coming to school) and told me he still plays with the same children and named a few of the boys which surprised me as Josh told me he doesn’t play with them anymore and was quite confident about that. She then spoke about his books and how is he coming along and this is where I sat with complete disappointment. She told me how he has been having extra help every day with his english and maths as he was falling behind the average of his age group. She said they alternate each day with maths and english.
She told me he finds it hard to recognise his sounds, yet he shows me every single one when I go through them with him. She said he also struggles with his numbers and counting, yet when I do it with him he may get the odd number wrong as he says them too fast but I never really noticed an issue before and I know he is very capable. What got to me the most was when she said ‘I don’t think he will reach the average a child of his age should be at by the end of the year’ That honestly made my heart sink. Is this my fault? I felt like maybe my parenting skills aren’t up to scratch and should I be sat practising his learning with him every single day? Instead of sat doing role play activities and games with him. Should I be putting more pressure on him to work harder and concentrate more? His dad asked if it was down to concentration rather than his ability and she said she didn’t think so. She said maybe at the start she could blame concentration as the children aren’t used to the environment and routine of school life but they have had a few months now and have settled down.
She gave me games to play with him to encourage his learning without him realising he’s doing it. To ask him questions like ‘If me and you had to eat at the table how many plates would we need?’ I thought this was pretty simple so does that mean he is really struggling? Is he really not learning at the same pace as some of the others? I mean I know all children are different and all learn at difference paces but is it something I should be worrying about with him being only four years of age? He is one of the youngest in his class and to me he is such a bright boy.
Josh if mummy and Joshua were eating at the table how many plates would we need?
‘So if me, you and Freddie were eating at the table how many plates would we need?’
‘two mum, Freddie doesn’t use a plate silly’
He really makes me laugh and I left the school really worrying and panicking that he wasn’t clever enough and was really struggling with easy tasks. Yet here I was watching this bright and funny little boy and yes they spend all day every day with him but do they really know him as well as I do? Yes they may understand more about his ability with different subjects but I know my son, and he is a clever little boy. He is bright he takes absolutely everything in, his memory is incredible for his age. She also said to me that he really tries to please her by giving her an answer and really tries to give the right answer but really struggles. It got me thinking, he does love to please people. He absolutely loves being praised so is he just trying to think really quickly because he doesn’t want to disappoint. Is there too much pressure on them? They are still so little are they expecting too much? I think so. He learns a lot through play and playing with his friends and thats all I am concerned about.
I went home to my mum after parents evening and I was so upset. I told her we really need to crack down on his playing with his toys and encourage him to learn more. I was telling her how I would sit at the table with him every single day and practise our writing and numbers, but do I really need to every single day? No. Like I said at first I thought it was obviously my fault and I was failing but after sitting with him when I got home I knew I had done nothing wrong and he was perfect. He really is so kind and loving and that matters so much more than anything. I refuse to pressure him into learning at a faster pace and as long as he is happy then so am i. He comes home and he is so proud of all the new things he can do and nothing makes me prouder.
I know there are quite a few parents who really quite strict on their children at this age and want them to be the best at everything but for me, that really just ruins their childhood. Let them be kids, encourage their learning but why pressure them when they will have enough of that while they are growing up! Just let them have fun and the learning will just follow…
Being the best at everything doesn’t necessarily mean you are better.
This is nothing against Joshs teacher as I think she is a brilliant teacher! 🙂