Loving School: Single Parent Dad

24/03/2011 18:16 | Updated 22 May 2015

Boy in receptionMy son started his second year of school last September, which bizarrely means he is in 'Year One'. I think it is termed that way, as his first year, his 'reception' year is not really considered to be the real thing, more an introduction to what is coming.

Max loved reception at school. Largely play based learning that he was free to choose, I wouldn't expect anything less. However my fear as his teaching became more formal is that he would quickly become demotivated and - worse case scenario - fear and not want to go to school.

My philosophy has always been he must get enjoyment in things first and foremost, that is my barometer of success, rather than a score in a spelling test.

He gets 'homework'. A reading book changed twice a week (if we record reading it in his diary), weekly spellings, and the occasional ad-hoc maths challenge.

I put him under absolutely zero pressure to do any of this, insisting that he doesn't have to do it, it is still a choice, and whatever he chooses to do I will back him.

And while that is true I do try to demonstrate some benefits that learning to read and write might yield, that his school may not be great at highlighting to him. Like knowing if I've short-changed him when reading a book, or what the particular Lego set he has his mind set on is actually called.

I am not sure if it is working, but we are in November, and he is still going to school with a beautiful smile on his face.

Ian is a widowed father to one son Max. You can read previous columns here.

Suggest a correction