Education · Happiness · Parenting

Learning Burn Out?

Now that Sausage has got past the anxieties that made her first few weeks at school difficult for her, she’s taking to it like the proverbial duck dipping his toes in the pond. She’s already on books with words, she has been for a few weeks in fact, and she’s excelling in just about every area. She’s even becoming more physical, something she’s been apprehensive of in the past because she’s not that confident when it comes to climbing or heights. All in all, it’s been a hugely positive experience for her and it seems only to be getting better.

If you read our review of the Jolly Phonics Home Kit, you’ll know that Sausage has also been coming home and wanting to do more learning. She’s given a new reading book once a week by her teacher, but this isn’t fulfilling her thirst for reading so she’s been attempting to read the books from her Dr. Seuss set too. On top of this, she’s been completing the exercise books that come with the Jolly Phonics kit, insisting on Husband and I holding word flashcards up for her to read, asking to practice writing and doing various things on my laptop and her Dad’s PC such as the Jolly Phonics CD-ROM.

Husband and I are both absolutely thrilled that she’s taking such a keen interest in learning and the increase in her confidence has been phenomenal, but we’re also both worried. The thing is, she’s only four and while we’re happy to encourage education it’s difficult to know when to say ‘enough is enough’.

This evening, Sausage was at her exercises until almost 8pm, having already done writing practice and some number work. She’s done a full days school and then probably up to 2 hours of extra work, which is the same amount of work that I was set to do at home each evening at my very academically focussed secondary grammar school. In saying ‘no’, are we limiting her or at risk of alienating her or putting her off? By letting her fill her boots, are we at risk of letting her burn out or lose interest? I just don’t know.

It’s a real noodle-scratcher, this one, and I fear it’s one of those things that we’ll only know by letting it run its course and adapting as we go. Hey, just like pretty much every other aspect of parenting, then, yeah?!

NaBloPoMo November 2012

5 thoughts on “Learning Burn Out?

  1. Learning is such a natural thing for kids to do…. I don’t see it as ‘work’, especially in the setting and circumstances you describe. Isn’t ‘work’ a label we give it? She sounds interested, curious, self driven, motivated, engaged so let her go with it and be thankful! It sounds beautiful, something to nurture and encourage rather than put boundaries around. Can kids ‘burn out’ from self driven learning? I don’t know, I figure they’re doing it all the time.

  2. I’d say that her age it’s probably just a novelty – she’s found something she’s good at and she wants to keep doing it. Enjoying education is a bonus. There will come a time when homework is boring and the doors will bang and you’ll be frustrated because you can’t get her to do that small task she was set in Maths. Make the most of this novel idea that homework and learning at home is fun.

    CJ x

  3. Don’t worry. It’s great that she’s up for it, but she’ll move on to a different craze and this will settle into a more sensible pattern. In the meantime just stick to routines for sleep and make sure you have lots of opportunities for play and getting outdoors. She sounds brilliant to me x

  4. I would say that while she is clearly enjoying it so much then let her, if this is currently her way of playing then fantastic! Enjoy it while it lasts because it won’t last forever, it’s all still new and exciting for her, but by allowing her the freedom to learn at this early stage you are helping to lay the groundwork for a much easier education later on. The sooner she becomes confident in reading and writing the easier everything else will be for her. Besides, it’s cold, wet and dark outside so it’s not as if she can be running about in the garden after school. And there’s always the weekend for crafts and active play 😀

    From reading your blog it’s pretty clear that Sausage is a very bright little girl who knows her own mind, I’m sure she will let you know when she’s had enough. Congratulations, you have clearly done a fantastic job in nurturing her natural curiosity and creating an atmosphere of self-confidence xxx

  5. Personally, I wouldn’t worry.She’s gained confidence and wants to practise, Its like when a baby learns to walk, they want to do it all the time but sooner or later they realise they need more balance between walking and sitting. The first term is such a massive leap for loads of kids and by christmas they tend to settle into more of a workable routine. I would always encourage and praise her dedication and let her know you are so proud of her. I actually remember dicsovering I could read and I was so amazed I just never put books down! Sounds like she is really adapting to school wellbutif you’re concerned about burn out, which can happen in this long term before christmas, then I would suggest a timetable. explain that our bodies need rest and play time too so schedule in activities in small fifteen minute blocks. Might help her to wind down.

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