Benign Neglect Is No Way To Get Results

Having four children (or even three or two) means that your youngest child will always seem like a baby. As a result, I was taken aback when Theo’s teacher informed me that his reading skills were progressing nicely, but that he could benefit from more at-home practice. This occurred when Theo was five and a half and in year 1. I was completely flabbergasted. Theo, reading? "But you don’t understand," I wanted to protest. "Theo’s just a baby…"

This is vastly different from my aspirations for my older daughters. When Zoe was five, who is now 16, I was continuously buying reading books designed for eight-year-olds and older. However, ten years have passed, and Theo is now in the beginning of year 2. My parental pride was invested in my older children, while Theo entirely brings me joy. If he reads on par with his peers, that’s great. My primary focus is learning that Theo has grown into a well-rounded, happy, thoughtful, and pleasant person.

As such, I have become the polar opposite of a pushy mother. I am not interested in having my youngest child grow up too quickly! If Theo is not meeting his math standards, does it truly matter when he is a "little ray of sunshine"? In our area, where forceful parenting is the norm, Theo’s teacher appears to respect my perspective. However, I believe I’m receiving a different message now. Due to minimal attention to Theo’s homework during year 1—where Zoe’s GCSE coursework and even Louisa’s Sats took precedence—Miss Smith, his teacher, informs me that a modification should be made. Easy-going parenting may have been beneficial in the 1960s, but today’s education system necessitates involvement from middle-class parents like myself. Provided that I "get my act together," I’m certain that Theo will have the potential to excel.


  • joaquincain

    Joaquin Cain is a 39 year old school teacher and blogger from the United States. He has a passion for education and is always looking for new and innovative ways to help his students learn. He is also a big believer in the power of technology and its ability to help improve education.