Breaking my heart over Monday morning spelling test worries

September 24, 2018


Today was the first day that we’ve ever had a sad face before school. Not because Little Button doesn’t want to go to school, but because she was worried about her Monday spelling test.


Her first ever spelling test, that is.


Mr Button has all the fun of doing the morning school run. But today I only made it through the front garden gate, before having to turn back home again because I could see her worrying at the window. *Cries (me).


Nothing that we could tell her would console her. That awful Monday morning feeling already getting its grip on her perhaps?


Year 1 is a huge step for 5 and 6 year olds. And no matter how amazingly prepared they are, it’s not always going to be an easy ride at the best of times.


But spelling tests. And on a Monday? I think I’d be crying myself.


spelling test



Spelling test woes

In fact, if I think back, I’m pretty sure I did spend most of my own Primary school years absolutely dreading Mondays, and crying about it too, all because of a weekly Monday spelling test. But that wasn’t in year 1. We luckily had a few grace period school years before testing came into place. But still. I don’t want that worry on my own daughter’s head at such a young age.



Too much pressure, too soon?

I’m doing a bit of a U-turn and starting to think there’s possibly too much pressure put on little ones at school in the infant years. I know this isn’t a new thing. But we’ve always been extra proactive with reading and homework at home, thinking a little pressure never hurts, right? But, maybe I’m wrong. Because the evidence from this morning tells me that actually, the pressure can be a bit damaging. To confidence. To wellbeing. To wanting to go to school.


I don’t really know what to think right now.



The results are in

So, it turns out that spelling test aren’t that scary after all, phew!! I picked up a beaming Little Button who, as it turns out, quite enjoyed her spelling test *shocked face – who enjoys their spelling tests?! Is this really my child?! When I asked what she liked about it the most, she produced a piece of lined paper with extremely neat handwriting and a big fat 10 out of 10 grade. Oh wow! 10 out of 10. Of course I couldn’t be prouder of her.




My mind wondered back to the whole pressure thing again this evening. If she hadn’t got such a good mark, would spellings still be fun? I’m not sure.


What do you make of spelling tests for year 1 little ones?

Did you dread having a spelling test or maybe you loved the competition of getting the highest mark?





35 responses to “Breaking my heart over Monday morning spelling test worries”

  1. I’m surprised the school call it a test at that age. My daughter had spellings at that age which we practised all week but the ‘test’ was to write a sentence using those words on a Friday. It was a test but it didn’t feel that way to the kids. Key stage 1 SATS were the same – the kids just thought they were doing some fun booklets when really it was an exam. I really have an issue with young kids feeling the pressure of tests and exams. At 5 and 6 they should be enjoying school not worrying about Monday morning.

  2. Bryony shaw says:

    Glad it went well in the end! #dreamteam

  3. I think it is important to refrain from both exaggerating, and downplaying small pressure situations like these. I think if approached in the right way, a child will achieve the confidence to believe they have the ability to take on a test, or task, and do their best. That way lies resilience and self-confidence. Avoid too much, and the danger is “snowflake generation” cosseting. #DreamTeam

  4. Oh bless her – pressure for children is just so unnecessary. Putting pressure to learn spellings is almost counter-productive because I know that when I’m under pressure I struggle to be as productive as normal. But well done to her for getting 10/10 and I hope the pressure isn’t too much 🙂

  5. Laurie says:

    Congratulations to your daughter on her perfect spelling test. Maybe it was just the unknown that scared her, not the actual test itself. I hope future spelling tests are less stressful! 🙂

  6. I still have nightmares about spelling tests myself at that age, it was back when you had to read your result out to the class too, humiliating, and I never remembered them once the test was done! #DreamTeam

  7. As a first grade teacher, I give my parents loads of tips and tricks to working with spelling lists. I hear your pain. Keep at it. She will have many many more in front of her. #dreamteam

  8. Sophie says:

    I’m surprised it was on a Monday; we usually do the Year 1 and 2 tests at the end of the week so that they have practised each day in school. Its honestly not a big deal and the ‘test’ is usually gentle and within each child’s ability to get them all right. It’s part of school I’m afraid. Blame the government if you like -its about raising standards. Wait until year 2! The jump is huge; especially in maths. If she’s enjoying it, then amazing. Keep reminding her of that. Some kids hate PE day, some kids hate spelling tests….all part of the school day. Tests are a huge part of our education system sadly but that’s a post that I won’t write!! #dreamteam

  9. It’s definitely far too much pressure too soon! We’re in the same boat! Spelling tests every Monday which fills little heads with worry. Bella has been doing spelling tests since last term of Year R to try and get her prepared for Year 1. Crazy eh?! #DreamTeam x

  10. Kate says:

    Well done to your little one. Having said that I do think the whole education system is going in the wrong direction leading to mental health issues in our children and I am so pleased to be out of the system entirely as an home educator now although home education has its own challenges too. #DreamTeam

  11. Sally says:

    Well done little button.I agree – it is quite young for a test though.

  12. That seems too young for me, even more so since we moved to Portugal. Here, children don’t start formal school until they’re 6 which seems a better age as it allows them to be kids for longer before the pressure of real school starts. I think there’s plenty of time for spelling tests later on!

  13. Marie Blake says:

    It does seem a little young to have a ‘test’ – would be better if they could make it in to a game or song! Maybe I’m too soft!

  14. Anosa says:

    I always loved spelling but not in year 1, I think it’s a little too soon for year 1 but glad she liked it in the end

  15. Wendy says:

    Oh bless her!! I’m glad the test went better than she thought but how sad that she was so worried in the morning. My boy is in year one and so far he hasn’t had any tests. I don’t know how he’s going to cope when he does xx

  16. Oh no…I’m dreading this to come when my daughter moves out of reception class. I do hate the pressures of school on older kids. I’m so glad she enjoyed the spelling test in the end, but you’re right..what happens if she didn’t get a good score? Are there going to be other areas she dreads? It’s so sad there is so much pressure on them when they are so young. I wish they would wait till they’re a little bit older. x

  17. Jo says:

    My other half is a year one teacher. Unfortunately they do start young with the testing. But it’s not all work. A lot of what he shows me is fun things that they do.

  18. Glad to read that the spelling test went well #dreamteam

  19. Those pesky spelling tests. We always had it just before going to school too, last minute test. Then came the homework which also added to the woo’s.

    Hopefully the worries will go over time and it just becomes that Monday thing

  20. berni says:

    its a horrible pressure for everyone. The child and the caring parents. Noone likes to see their kids worried and its really cruel doing these things on a mnoday morning – spoils the weekend. At least at that age call them spelling practice or something less scary . #dreamteam

  21. It’s sad when they start to worry like this. One of the joys of childhood is supposed to be not having all of this pressure #dreamteam

  22. We have Friday spelling tests here. At least that’s something. But I do hate seeing my little man’s worried face as he contemplates them. I’m not sure they are necessary so young.

  23. Stephanie says:

    Oh Monday morning spelling test, gosh that is tough. It’s tough enough to get them to school on a Monday anyway!! I hope it was just a worry as it was the first one and she settles into it soon

  24. I’m glad it turned out ok in the end! I personally think it’s ridiculous children so young have tests. Our school downplay them but obviously still do them but it’s too much pressure #dreamteam

  25. They are worth while, but maybe not Monday mornings #dreamteam

  26. Dynamic Dad says:

    Not everything can be fun, and we do have to start testing at some point – the earlier the better. Kids are resilient and will get used to it, this is where it’s our job as parents to show how much we relished the challenge and loved being able to show what we’d learned.

    The later we leave it, the greater the fear – and if we don’t learn early that being able to pass a test is important, we could face tougher tests later in life. I explore this more in my post Why failure is the only option.

  27. That’s a bit cruel to have a spelling test on a Monday! I think it’s too young to be testing them. I don’t remember how old I was when we started having spelling tests at school but I’m sure we were older than that. #dreamteam

  28. Chloe says:

    Gosh I would be worried about having a spelling test especially on a Monday, fantastic result though, well done #dreamteam

  29. natalie cox says:

    Ah well done to your lovely girl. My little girl has started year one and it is such a jump from reception! #dreamteam

  30. My daughter is in Year 1 and I don’t think they have spelling tests. I think my son only started them in Year 3! #dreamteam

  31. Heather Keet says:

    Our spelling tests were always on another day so we didn’t have all weekend to worry that we were forgetting our words. Sometimes too much advanced notice can wreck even the steadiest nerves! #DreamTeam

  32. Kirsty says:

    We also have Monday spelling tests, but I have to say my boys don’t worry about them. I quite like having the weekend to practice. I am glad that she did so well and I hope her nerves ease as she gets more used to it.

  33. Talya says:

    Oh I feel your pain! My daughter has also just started year 1 and is also about to have spelling tests. I’m really hoping she won’t be anxious about it….it just feels too young and such a massive step up from reception!

  34. Lamb is also in year 1 and had his first spelling test (he’s had two now). I’m trying not to make a big deal of it but he wants to succeed so it’s taking a lot of work to learn them!

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