Is the school system turning me into a tiger mum?

Three weeks ago the girlchild went up to Year 1 at school. That’s the second year of primary school for anyone confused.

So far so good. We had a good reception year and I felt confident my independent mini me would be fine.

Over the summer everyone seemed to say ‘it’s soooo much harder in Year 1′, ;the step up is tough’, ‘there’s no playing now’ in that slightly fear-inducing way people with children who have been there before you do. So despite thinking it would be fine, there’s been a niggling spectre of concern she was in for a rough ride.

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But it’s been OK. Until last week.

Hello the weekly spelling test. WEEKLY.

She turned 5 in June.

So despite muttering to Mr MotherFudger that perhaps we should move to Sweden and let her climb trees until she’s 7, we cracked on and encouraged her to practise her words. Her 10 words included ‘fright’, ‘turnip’ and ‘brown’. Pretty full on I thought. Did I say she was only 5 in June?!

She really tried – like usual – and always makes us proud, but¬†all week I was completely torn about encouraging her to do it the required three times (as stated by the note with the spelling test book) and just letting her have some much-needed rest time. I’ve tried to feel hugely positive about the process, that if we’re chilled out about a ‘test’ she will be too.

Mr MF and I both felt unchallenged and still remember being frustrated at our primary schools – so perhaps having a challenge to sink your teeth into isn’t so bad. But I just can’t help feeling it’s too much, too young.

Over the week I had various convos with my mum chums who were a mixed bag of love/hate/not really sure about it all.

But we did do the required homework. We sat with her and went through what was required. Each time a bit of me wondered whether my encouragement and enthusiasm was a bit too much of a tiger mum style. When she resisted doing it, I’m not going to lie – I didn’t say ‘oh well, go and play’, but instead my encouragement (and Mr MF’s) pushed her on to finishing it and telling her she needed to do it. Eek. It’s not sat entirely comfortably with me.

It’s also taken up pretty much the only time I have to spend with my daughter. Once in from work, it’s a rush to sort tea, do bath and bed. Squeezing in all the homework has sapped that brief period in between.

Then the night before she had a meltdown while practising. And I didn’t blame her. She’s exhausted.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT – SHE’S 5.

Friday came, she did the test and did very well. We’re really proud – mainly because she worked hard all week and tried. But now we’re onto the next set of questions and the next test on Friday. That’s as well as the maths homework she has, the daily reading of her own reading book and us reading to her.

So I’m sat here wondering how right it all is.¬†Surely it’s too much? How gently coercing her to do all this through the week is a good thing? She’s engaged now – but will she be week after week of doing the same thing every evening? I hoped school would inspire and engage, not just force-feed the building blocks of learning…and not turn us into parents who are supporting our daughter by becoming tiger parents about what she’s ‘learning’.

 

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