I stand on the school playground daily and chat to the other mums. I’m very fortunate in that they are a lovely group of people, so the conversation flows as we all talk about our children.
There are often birthday parties to look forward to over the weekends, then there are the chats over missing items from PE kits, who plays with who and what toys they are all enjoying.
Then invariably, the talk turns to school, homework and education. It stands to reason, doesn’t it?
Boo’s in Year 3, Little Man in Reception, so I am now very used to the levels of homework that she has, familiar with the targets for this year and the concept of having such clear targets for 5 and 6 year olds. It has become the norm, yet I’m pretty sure that if you’d have told me the level these children are expected to work at a few years ago, I’d have been horrified. Every week they have spellings, a reading book, maths and some sort of project to prepare for. It seems like quite a lot for young children.
There is so much to do whilst they’re in the classroom, a lot for them to take in. A pressure upon the school and teaching staff to deliver give you the feeling that you don’t want your child to be left behind. These early years build foundations for them, and though I am still fairly relaxed about it all, I wonder if part of being relaxed is simply because the kids are meeting these targets?
My thoughts on schooling for them is that I want them to be happy and feel safe there, I want them to enjoy their friendships and throw themselves into trying and learning new things. Reading is something that I have always been passionate about as I think it underpins all other learning, and of course maths as they need that daily. Fortunately, they are both doing well in these areas so we are content, they are enjoying school.
This isn’t the case across the board and whether it remains so over the coming years remains to be seen. I’ve been surprised by how many parents already have tutors for their children. I think the key concerns are over reading, with some additional support also been given in maths. I can only see this increasing as the time comes for end of year exams, with people turning to support from the experts.
This didn’t seem to happen when I was at school. Or if it did, I was totally oblivious to it. Yet now it seems to be the norm. I think tutoring is more accessible now, more widespread and is seen as an extra support in the days of an overly bureaucratic education system. But then I’m also pretty sure that we didn’t get anywhere near as much homework, teachers had more flexibility and were given more time to simply ‘teach’. Things have definitely changed.
My daughter’s only in Year 3. My Little Man is in Reception. It’s going to get tougher, isn’t it? Before we know it they’ll be applying to unis and dealing with university acceptance rates. Ah well, all in good time!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post