I don’t know about your child’s school but ours recommends that we read with our children for at least 15 minutes a night. We also have spellings to learn each week and about an hours worth of actual homework each week to complete.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with helping my children to learn and I genuinely believe that it’s as much my responsibility as it is the schools to provide them with a well rounded education. But, if I’m honest though, I don’t read with them every night. In fact, I probably read with them less than once a week – does that make me a bad parent?
I don’t think so and I’ll tell you why….
I do encourage my children to read to themselves as often as possible and I’m always happy to listen to them when they want to read to me but I never tell them that they have to sit down and read for a set amount of time. If they want to read, that’s great but if they don’t that’s fine too. I really believe that if you want a child to grow up with a love of books, you need to let them discover them in their own time and you let them read what they want to read (within reason) when they want to read it.
I’ve already discussed this with the school as the books that Miss Frugal has been bringing home to read in Year 5 are plain boring. How can she possibly learn to love books when all she is reading about are deserts and spiders and whales? Luckily, her reading age is above what it should be so her teacher has agreed with me that she can read books from home instead of having to choose from the ones available at school. So, we’re currently working our way through the Enid Blyton Mallory Towers books and enjoying them much more than learning about the life of a spider.
I’m more willing to follow the school’s lead with Master Frugal and the books that he reads as he’s only seven at the minute and I’m a bit stumped with what to give him to read. He has a reading age of 9 and a half but there’s a bit of a difference in what he can read and what he actually understands so I’m happy for them to advise on the books that he reads although I still just let him read when he wants to.
I’m feeling bad even as I’m writing this because not only do I not read with them very often, I also don’t practice their spellings with them through the week usually because they find them quite easy usually. More often than not we leave it until the night before they get tested on them and I give them a quick test while I’m cooking the tea. Any they get wrong, they write out again or spell out with the fridge magnets but that’s it. In my defense they usually get them all right but that’s no thanks to me really!
With their weekly homework, I’m not one to do it for them or to stand over them while they do it. There’s no point me doing it for them or giving them the answers because then the teacher won’t know where they need help. I’m happy to explain things to them when they ask but again I usually sit them down and let them get on with it. Today for example, Miss Frugal has has to fine the dates of 20 important events that have happened since 1930 (first woman prime minister etc) and then put them into chronological order and I just handed over my laptop and let her get on with it. Some parents in the class have done the homework for their children and some have sat with them and told them how to find the dates out.
Surely my way is better because she learned how to do it herself! (I’ve checked and it’s all right BTW)
How often do you read with your children?