Pushy Parents Pay the Price
One of my favourite TV series ever, The Fast Show. This screen shot from a skit called ‘Competitive Dad’ (watch this episode here). An extreme version of what many parents do without thinking: push the rules a little too hard. Hands up, guilty as charged! It’s not all cooperation and progress in my house as I try to steer my daughter to learn to read (perhaps the most important skill a parent can give their bilingual child). Despite all my experience within the classroom, I pushed one point a little too hard and the result was a drop in motivation and a feeling of ‘can’t do’. What happened?
In a previous post (practice makes perfect) I added a link to some printable sheets that can be used for extra writing practice. They are great, but my mistake was a simple one. My daughter is four years old. She had just started out on the journey towards competence in writing and reading in English. Extra practice of the repetitive kind that I advocated in the post is just a developmental stage to early. She didn’t like it.
The difference between introducing the letters and repetitive practice of that sort is huge. I wanted her to write using the spacing on the sheets, to clearly distinguish the lower and upper case. I pushed the point. She pushed back. The session ended quite abruptly and I found myself reflecting on my own (good) intentions and found them mistaken.
Since then we have stuck to the Jolly Phonics workbooks practice. The size is very manageable for a four-year old, and indeed so is the volume of practice. My hat off to the Jolly Phonics developers yet again for a well thought out series.
Older children would certainly benefit from extra practice, and once we have gone through the workbook series I shall try again with the prints. Untill that time, I have to keep a clear picture on my mind of the current goals for our study time, namely the introduction of letter shapes and their relations to sounds. Age specific practice. Keep the good intentions in check, and enjoy time learning with your child without pushing them to do too much. Just keep thinking that in the long run it will pay off.