# Talk

(26 Posts)
Seryph Thu 12-Nov-15 17:33:46

Okay, so I'm a nanny and yes alright Boy1 goes to a private prep, and yes he's in his third year, but this evening I have finally had enough with homework!
He has a club on Thursday nights so after a snack I have a 45 minute turn around on homework before he has to go back out. Boy1 is 6 1/2 years old and tonight homework was, Maths: 8 sums (normal) and SIX word problems (normally two) which have to be answered with a vertical sum and a sentence.
Reading: eight pages of ORT stage 8 (normal)
Spelling: four spelling words (normally three) written out three times each in best handwriting plus two sentences each with an "interesting" opening word and containing some of his spellings.
We did not finish on time, so now when he gets back I will have to do a shower, sort his dinner and finish his homework with him in the fifteen minutes before supper and the lead up to bed time.
Every week it's been getting harder and harder to get it all done in time. He hates and and is starting to drag his feet.
I know nothing can be done, but please does anyone else think this is totally crazy?! Thankfully Friday is no homework night but this is every other day of the week.

BumpPower Thu 12-Nov-15 17:49:38

You say nothing can be done but if this is going to affect his motivation it will be detrimental to his.learning and needs to be nipped in the bud.
Obviously first suggestion is speak to the teachers but this is tricky as a nanny I'd imagine. So best to look at ways to speed up without missing learning. The spelling sentences could be written by you (dictated by him) as the point of them is to show he can use the word in a sentence. I'd use a timer for the maths - give it 20mins of solid work, complete 1 sum then 1 sentence etc so that if he only finishes half he has at least done some of both. Write timing on work to show to the teacher...
Hope some of that is helpful!

Thu 12-Nov-15 18:04:22

My two are at pre-prep. DD is exactly same age as your charge and also in year2 (third year at school).

Mine do nothing like the homework you describe.
We have reading, handwriting, spelling and some maths but not all of it every single night.

I allocate approx 20mjns to homework. Which can be a bit of everything or just one of the things.

The prep my DC are at does a lot of this work in the class room so it doesn't have to be done at home. DD is in a class of 14 and they have a teacher and two TAs who read with them individually daily etc.

Weekly spelling test and I run through the list of 15 weekly words with DD three or four times and she usually gets all of them.

Either there is a misunderstanding of how much is to be done every night or your charges prep are dawdling around during the day and letting the parents/nannies do all the work after school.

Could you get your charges parents and get them to speak to the school to find out what their expectations are??

Mishaps Thu 12-Nov-15 18:10:02

This is what you get at private prep schools - you will find that lots of the parents insist on lots of homework.

In my book, no homework at all is necessary at primary age.

nightsky010 Thu 12-Nov-15 18:13:37

The amount of homework sounds reasonable to me, but I think you need to talk to the parent and explain that their son cannot work any faster and that the extra curricular club is getting in the way of his homework. Suggest he does the club or a different club at the weekend instead?

Leeds2 Thu 12-Nov-15 18:51:58

Would it be possible for you/the parents to ask if the homework could be handed in on Monday if, because of his club, he is unable to finish it?

Sunnyminimalist2 Thu 12-Nov-15 18:58:38

I would talk to the parents and explain the workload has increased. It's far too much for him to do. Then speak to the school and ask them to tell you which homework they would prefer him to complete as you are unable to do them all. Then with the boy, give treats for homework completion.

Sunnyminimalist2 Thu 12-Nov-15 19:00:08

His club is very important. Having been at school all day, he needs some balance.

Jhm9rhs Thu 12-Nov-15 19:04:47

I think it's a ridiculous amount, and I certainly don't think giving up a no-doubt enriching and fun activity to do more homework is a good idea! Are you certain this is meant to be handed in the next day? If so, I see your point that there's not a lot to be done about it, really.

Seryph Thu 12-Nov-15 20:45:43

Thanks everyone, glad it isn't just me!
I'm only PT so the mum does Wednesday night. This amount of work is totally normal across the school, and we are definitely doing it right. We get a sheet each week with each night's homework outlined ie:
Maths: qu 1 a-d, 2a-d, 3 & 4
Spellings: spelling sheet (normally 3-4 per night) plus two sentences.
That's Monday - Wednesday, Thursday is normally maths, reading and practice spellings for Friday's test.

I think it takes longer with me because when I am there I have to do both boys' homework with them, and the little one needs more help (he's only 4.5, and learning to read through mixed methods, which is a whole other problem!).
All the other children do it every night and the school is very competitive, and the parents are quite high powered and well educated.

The irony of all this is I hope to be starting my PGCE for Primary in September...

Seryph Thu 12-Nov-15 20:52:18

I know that I'm not being the most helpful here, but I just had it today! Definitely needed MNers support! Thanks so much.

cherokeee Thu 12-Nov-15 21:51:59

I don't think it's too much. Perhaps you need to approach if differently. Writing 4 words 3 times each is not demanding, nor is writing two sentences. Perhaps you are setting expectations too high. Just let him write normal 6-year-old sentences and leave it to the teacher to help him develop a more complex style if that is what is truly expected! The maths is harder to judge without seeing the problems. As others said, just set a time limit and let him do as much as he can within a reasonable limit and then tell the teacher that's what he was able to do. Alternatively, leave a few to do by a rested child over breakfast. re reading: I don't know why people consider reading to be "homework". It should be just a natural part of a child's day. I also don't understand why reading is defined as a set number of pages rather than a set part of a book -- ie to the end of a chapter or story.
Perhaps rather than expend energy complaining about homework, you should just try to relax and set appropriate expectations for the child.
Good luck!

Seryph Thu 12-Nov-15 22:04:09

Hi Cherokeee.
I so wish I could just say we'll do 20 minutes or half an hour and that's that, but I'm just the nanny, I do as I am told. As for the reading as homework, it is a school reading book, Oxford Reading Tree. No chapters and the school often work through the book each week in class too. Child does do reading for fun before bed, what I think of as proper reading (Faraway Tree etc) but the ORT books are set work by the teacher. Nothing to do with me.
I know I shouldn't have posted here to rant, I'm just so frustrated not being able to have more than half an hours play in the afternoon because homework now takes 45 minutes or longer.

Sunnyminimalist2 Fri 13-Nov-15 00:08:31

The most important thing is them reading to you and you reading them engaging books.

barefootcook Fri 13-Nov-15 07:13:43

Is there anyway that you can do at least some of it before school? DS has a nanny before school from 7.30am. He is 6.5 and has about the same amount of prep to do. They spend about 30 minutes maximum on it and when he finishes it he can play before getting ready for school. Seems to work well as he isn't tired.

MidniteScribbler Fri 13-Nov-15 07:15:43

If it were my child, I'd be doing what could be done in a reasonable amount of time (probably about 30 minutes) and sending a note in to that effect. But since you're the nanny, it's really his parent's choice what to do or what not to do. Definitely talk to them and keep them informed.

And remember this when you get your own classroom and are thinking about setting homework ;)

Autumnsky Fri 13-Nov-15 13:58:48

To be honest , I don't think the homework you mentioned is so much, as there are only 3 nights you have got homework. The trouble is he has a club that day.

You can get him to do math and writing first.Math would only take 10-15 minutes. Then 20 minutes spelling and sentence. Reading is an enjoyable activity, you can let him do it before bedtime.

saltedcracker Sat 14-Nov-15 09:32:57

I don't think this is an unreasonable amount of homework for a Pre-Prep boy aged 6.5 years to do in 45 minutes at all. Set out a 15 minutes sandtimer and tell him he's going to beat the sandtimer and do his 15 maths questions. Give him a haribo if he has completed it in that time. Get him to write down 12 spelling words then you each make up a silly sentence and there are your two dictation sentences. Give him another haribo. Then finally, sit on the couch together for a cuddle and read ORT together for the last 15 minutes. Give him a star for each section he finishes in the allicated 15 minutes. I'm more perturbed it sounds like you are more annoyed than the homework than he is.

Youarenotthebossofme Sat 14-Nov-15 11:19:42

I disagree with the Haribo bribes/rewards. He should be doing his prep without a dangling carrot. My son would take forever with the handwriting work. Not because he couldn't write but because he wanted it to be meticulously perfect so he wrote very slowly. It was so frustrating for me but he enjoyed the process and his end product. I am just grateful that his written work otherwise was at a normal pace. I'm sorry for you and him that you don't have the luxury of more time.
I think that is a lot of prep for a year 2 child per night. At my sons school it is one or the other, not all subjects together. I'm sorry that's not very helpful...My son is also in a prep school and he doesn't have as much work as that. I think there should be a maximum 20/30min of prep a night. Are his parents home for bedtime? Could they do the ORT book with him and then he could then read his own reading book until lights out?. ( why is he still reading ORT at his age!?)

DD yr4 is in a selective Indie; we rarely get more than 10 minutes' homework/night (a lot of it is just finishing classwork).

It sounds like the work he gets is "not negotiable" so you need to think about how to fit it into the schedule.

How do you get to/from school & clubs? Could you take snacks to school and get to the club early? It certainly works for the sorts of clubs that have many classes running through the evening.

I take a photo of spellings on my phone and drill DD on the way to/from school (if you only have 4, you could even pop them on a post-it in the car).
If you are walking or on the bus you could get him to think about the sentences and dictate them into a phone (or you scribble them down for him to copy).

With a stage 8 ORT book, Boy1 is hopefully a moderately confident reader. Could you not let hm read while you drive/sit on public transport/cook supper? His school are bound to place emphasis on public speaking/reading aloud (so he might as well start learning how to project and read with emphasis now).

In other words, just sneak as much homework as you can around all the routine things (and don't attempt anything if he has an empty stomach!).

mrz Sun 15-Nov-15 06:43:29
mrz Sun 15-Nov-15 06:47:47

Early research showed that more homework didn't result in better results and often resulted in worse
And www.literacytrust.org.uk/assets/0002/6752/EEF_Toolkit_pdf_version.pdf concluded that homework in primary has little impact

PenelopePitstops Sun 15-Nov-15 07:45:31

Why are you trying to do it all on one night? It sounds like it's supposed to be spread across the week.

mrz Sun 15-Nov-15 08:25:34

The OP said that was one nights homework so presumably they have similar quantity every night?