# Talk

## Homework...

(13 Posts)
TheRoundTable Mon 30-Sep-13 10:43:39

Hello!

I am not sure about the dynamics of homework in England as didn't go to school here at all.

When I was in primary school, I remember we had homework practically everyday or at least once a week. The teacher marked homework and we had to do whatever we got wrong again under Corrections. I do not remember if the teacher took us through the task again though to ensure we got it.

My first question is this: we are told to let our children do their homework and if they cannot, they are to take what they were able to do/not do in, so the teacher has an accurate picture of child's ability.

I did that all through last year when my child was in Yr 3, but never once did she mention having to do corrections or having to re-do the work.

How do children catch up then? Won't this cause gaps in learning for some if learning doesn't stop and no extra help/support is given for times like this when the child obviously hasn't mastered the lesson?

This year, I decided to help my child a bit more, but I am getting frustrated already and here is why. Twice now, she has come home with homework and she has no clue AT ALL as to how to tackle them.

The first one had some questions on place value- Thousands e.tc. which she did with no trouble or help. Some, she had to say the place value of decimals and she had no idea! I told her her teacher said she wouldn't send home homework that had not being taught in class, but daughter insisted she had never seen decimal work before.

I decided to help her with that. I explained decimals and she did her homework herself. On her homework sheet, I wrote that C was clueless about this, so had some help.

Another question was to order decimals which I explained and she did that herself too.

Homework was marked and her teacher wrote back, "Did you do this yourself?"

This got me thinking... First: I told teacher that C had some help, so why ask that? Secondly, why did teacher doubt that C did it herself if she had actually taught them decimals?

So, I really am asking if teachers sometimes set homework on topics that haven't yet been covered in school so that parents can help their children with it first and then they, the teachers, consolidate learning in school when the children have got the basics from home first?

The homework from last week, she has taken in incomplete, because she had no clue either. It was on time, so a question like, "if C went shopping at 9.03 and returned at 2.34pm, how long was she out for?"

I thought not to help her at all and then thought it was in our own interests to support my child, but I didn't have a clue about how the teacher would want to approach this, so in the end, I didn't because I didn't want to confuse her.

Sorry this is long winded. Any thoughts/advice appreciated.

Thank you.

With DSs homework (year 5, but we've done the same since year 2) I'll usually do the first question or two with him is he's stuck, showing him how we work it out then leave him to do the rest, with a note to the teacher justs aying 'DS didn't understand this so we did the first one/two together, he's done the rest on his own'

The teacher then runs through it with the class by telling them the answer and saying 'who got that and what's to share how?' then writes the working outs on the board as the child tells her (if no chidren want to share she tels them how to work it out or asks the teaching assistant how she'd do it) they work through a few questions and she asks if everyone now understands.

If there is a chid still struggling then they will work on it one to one with the teaching assistant.

We've never had homework they've not covered at all but we have had stuff they've just started on and haven't got the hang of yet and have had sheets they started in class to finish so they may not have got that far with the teacher (like covering place values but not having got to place value with decimals yet.)

TheRoundTable Tue 01-Oct-13 13:29:52

Thank you. I hope it is the same in my children's school. I don't think so though... Will have to ask during parents' evening.

Do all children get the exact same homework here? We did when we were in primary, so corrections by the teacher was easy. If there is differentiation, how are teachers able to manage this?

It depends on the school.

DSs year is split into ability groups so everyone in his class gets the same homework but not the same as the other classes in his year and there is usually an extra question for the gifted children to do if they want to.

DDs school only have 1 class per year and as far as i understand they get slightly different homework depending on what level they are working at then the teacher marks it and talks to each child individually once shes got everyone settled down doing classwork, then sends it home if we need to work on it, DDs only reception though so not sure if that changes further up the school.

Tiggles Tue 01-Oct-13 16:07:33

We were always told homework would be based on school work (school policy). In year 6 after several weeks of DS1 in tears over maths homework which he was sure he couldn't do I went to speak to the teacher. Apparently she had decided to set them 100questions a night on any topic to see if they could already do it or not. I was absolutely . As if I had known that was what she was doing I wouldn't have made DS sit there for hours trying.

TheRoundTable Tue 01-Oct-13 17:45:49

Yes, because it won't be fair to the child if we assumed they'd been taught and left them to it while assuming again that if they do not get it the teacher/TA would go through it again with them.

I had started to worry about my child, wondering where on earth her mind was when her teacher taught her class all these things. Was she in the right group? I still do not know.

I do appreciate that teachers do a lot! When I get frustrated teaching my two DC, I wonder how teachers and TAs manage to teach over 25children and still have their hats on and smiles at the end of the day, but I just want to have the true picture of everything. It would definitely help all concerned. I hate having to see the teacher all the time or at all to ask questions except during the consultations.

MrsTruper Wed 02-Oct-13 11:39:37

oh dear sounds familiar.

To cut a long story short after toing and froing with the teachers, I decided to always help dd with h/w because then at least I knew she had learnt it thoroughly with me and could now do it.

Rather that than not knowing how to do it and then not followed up properly at school.

joelizabethsouthend Wed 02-Oct-13 12:13:04

At least you are getting homework!
I have just spoken to my children's school again because my elder son has not had ANY maths homework since the beginning of the term. He is in year 5 and I am extremely concerned that I have no idea what they are even doing at school as homework is a great way of knowing what they have been covering and whether they understand it outside of the classroom.
The school subscribe to MyMaths (an online Maths learning tool) which is good and in Year 3 & 4 they were set homework on there but this has not been happening this year.
When I spoke to his class teacher and his maths teacher they apologised for the lack of homework but were obviously not that bothered as their first response was that there are games on there for the children to do and they have not been shown how to put the homework on. The games are on random subjects and my son always chooses the same one as he likes shooting the planes down!
I do not call this targeted work to increase their knowledge and ensure they are secure in their learning.
His teacher is new to the school and new to teaching juniors but surely how to put homework on is not that hard to learn. I have been told by friends with older children that at senior school they have a couple of hours homework every day so going from none to that seems very challenging.
I am really unhappy and angry about this as he will be sitting his 11 plus exam next year and this really won't help. I am seeing one of the parent governers later today to speak to them but would appreciate advice from other parents/teachers that have maybe experienced this too.
Many thanks

TheRoundTable Wed 02-Oct-13 13:08:15

MrsTruper: That's what I think the best way forward is too. To always support them with their homework, particularly those they find hard...but how do I know if the method I use is the same as the teacher's, so child doesn't get confused??? Aaaarrgghh

Joelizabeth, I really don't know. Have you looked at websites like Bitesize numeracy or literacy? I'm not sure if they are for older children like yours though. Do you use any books with him? Bond books and CGP books are quite good.

MrsTruper Wed 02-Oct-13 17:23:29

If I'm unsure I check on the net for methods used, and ask dd - has your teacher done it this way in class? If the two match then I go ahead.

PastSellByDate Thu 03-Oct-13 15:06:45

Hi TheRoundTable:

The good news is you're getting homework and the bad news is that it clearly is set above your child's ability.

The question to ask yourself is this - whether you prefer to introduce how you would do something first (to ensure learning progresses) or want to risk not doing homework and the repercussions that may cause (moving down tables in class, easier (possibly ridiculously easier) homework).

The reality is this is a no win situation.

If you feel that the work in general is what a child in Year 4 should be able to do (i.e. the average 9 - 10 year old should be learning about this where you're from) then my advice is show your child 'your way' but make it clear there may be other ways to to do this - ye olde there are more ways than one to slice a tomato.

We've had everything at our school from months of no homework at all (especially in maths) to lots of easy homeworks (colouring in patterns) to appropriate homework (right type of work and right time).

I've taken the view that if instinctively the homework seems achievable (even if really time consuming - 4 hours was our worst by a teacher that just photocopied 2 pages out of a Letts comprehension book) that we should do it, because my DDs will benefit and, in the main, they enjoy homework (although the 4 hour stint was outrageous and no fun for anyone).

I tend to do it because not doing it at our school has the repercussion of the children being moved down tables (and indeed several of us feel homework/ books get really tough when the teachers are struggling with too many pupils on a table and can't decide who to drop - the one's who complain get dropped and at our school never access this higher level work again).

HTH

TheRoundTable Fri 04-Oct-13 20:01:06

Thank you PastSellByDate.

I am supporting her more with homework now.

With the Time one I mentioned above, I still don't know how to help her with that at her level/age.

For example, "How long between 9.02am and 2.34pm?"

How do I approach this without confusing her? And she doesn't remember this being taught in class. Teacher hasn't yet responded to letter.

Foreverweeding Sat 05-Oct-13 15:52:49

When I was at school we had absolutely no homework until we went to High School. I am unaware of anyone in my class who went up to High School who wasn't a fluent reader and capable in maths. Why is it so necessary to bog young children down with so much homework when they've been at school for six hours?

When we went to High School most of us felt quite grown up bringing text books home and doing homework. Now I think a lot of children loathe and resent it taking up so much of their own time and are sick of it all by the time they get to High School.

Of course this is just my opinion!

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