No spellings, hardly any homework - Y1

(35 Posts)
Ginmummy1 Fri 04-Nov-16 12:46:04

It seems from a number of threads on MN and talking to friends that most children get sent home with weekly spellings to learn from Y1 (sometimes YR). DD’s school have recently had a school-wide policy change and are no longer sending weekly spellings to learn and sentences to write, as they don’t feel it is working for the children.

DD’s Y1 homework currently consists of reading books and a maths game (both changed weekly).

While I’m grateful that DD isn’t drowning in homework (other friends say homework takes their DC 4+ hours per week!) I am uneasy about her having almost nothing.

If the school is no longer getting children to work on spellings and sentences at home, either they’re doing more of that stuff at school (reducing the time available to cover other learning), or it’s not being done at all. How much will the kids lose out as a result?

How can schools differ so much from each other in this matter?!

I suppose I’m a typical MN parent: a bit on the pushy side, with a child who is ahead of the curve academically. We’ve arranged our work hours so I pick her up from school every day, and in between after-school activities and playdates we do have time for homework (which we were expecting her to receive by this age), and DD would happily do a bit more ‘learning’. I would like to do some ‘work’ with her at home, but would prefer anything we do to support the learning at school. I do not want her to get ‘ahead’ so that lessons at school don’t teach her anything, but I would like to give her the opportunity to consolidate what she’s learnt at school.

Of course, she is learning in day-to-day life, and we talk about interesting things and try to give her a range of experiences. I am not looking for “she’s only 5/6 – let her be a kid” types of comments. I am sure I’m not being unreasonably pushy by saying that DD is very eager to learn, enjoys writing and maths, and has ample capacity for a 20-minute ‘homework’ session with me twice a week after school on top of her other hobbies, playdates and downtime.

Any suggestions what sorts of things we might benefit from doing together at this stage? (my dream would be a link to a website containing suggestions of weekly homework activities for Y1 to support national curriculum…)

Any comments on the school’s change of policy – pros and cons?

idontlikealdi Fri 04-Nov-16 12:49:33

DTs are in yr1 and IMO have too much homework. Ten spellings a week and a 4 page maths sheet every day, reading every day and ten sentences at the weekend.

I think I'm right on saying that the ben fit of homework has recently been disproved in early years.

I think your school are doing the right thing.

sepsisandAKI Fri 04-Nov-16 12:55:00

I don't think homework is important at that age. I'm sure it has no benefit to overall performance. If you're really keen why don't you get them some workbooks to do? There's lots of age appropriate ones. Not sure about the mumsnet pushy parent comment. Lots of differing views on schooling on here.

golfbuggy Fri 04-Nov-16 13:04:42

Spellings are not helpful and writing sentences is an absolute nightmare. Be glad you don't have to do it.
If you want your child to have "learning experiences" then cook with them, play board games, take them places ..

BroomstickOfLove Fri 04-Nov-16 13:08:35

Your school sounds as if they have the balance right. Spelling lists to learn seem to be of no benefit whatsoever. A mixture of phonics lessons in school, and correcting actual written work seems to work a lot better.

The reading books my DCs came home with often had suggestions inside of an activity that the child could do, and the DC had those as a sort of optional homework.

You can get workbooks which are pretty good, and which I have used in the past to build up confidence in areas where my DC didn't feel they were doing well, but to be honest, I'd do stuff like encouraging reading books he enjoys, reading stories to him, playing word and number games, giving him access to art and writing materials, going fun science/nature etc stuff, watching Newsround and discussing what's going on in the world, cooking, den-building etc.

gleegeek Fri 04-Nov-16 13:11:57

Well in your place I would celebrate! If your child is happy and keen to learn then there are lots of opportunities in real life for that, IMO and IME homework can be such a pressure and misery for many dc that it puts them off. Your dd can write stories/shopping lists/newspapers if she wants. Lots of games to play online. We loved the BBC Bitesize stuff. Workbooks if she's that way inclined. Homework apart from reading and maths games is just not necessary at this age.

Autumnsky Fri 04-Nov-16 13:36:20

I think it is fine without formal homework in Y1. You can do the ususal stuff with DD, like reading together, this can take quite a lot time if DD is interested, and ask her to write some story if she likes.

Caroian Fri 04-Nov-16 13:42:37

You could always start a diary or project book type thing. My son is in reception and has a "Sharing Book" for us to fill in each weekend about what we've been up to. As he's only in reception he usually draws a picture and writes a couple of words and I write the rest - although we do it together. Recording days out, things you've done at home, even routine things like a trip to the dentist can be fun for children and can help with all kinds of skills - writing, drawing, spelling, memory, storytelling etc. Plus it becomes a lovely thing to look back on. I loved making scrapbooks as a child and still have them now.

AmeliaJack Fri 04-Nov-16 13:46:56

I would have though one of the best things you could do would be to encourage reading in that slot of free time.

Regarding maths, there are loads of online maths games. Our kids use Mathletics.

Valeriemalorie Fri 04-Nov-16 13:50:47

My DS has only just started bringing home weekly spellings in y4. They get 5 words to learn at the weekend, and alternate between maths and literacy home work every weekend. In y1 they are expected to read every day at home and have homework over the weekend. This week they have to write a fireworks poem.

fizzicles Fri 04-Nov-16 13:57:57

Speaking as a teacher, the best things you can do are practise addition and times table facts, read with her and listen to her read, and talk to her about what she has been doing at school. Most homework is pointless if you ask me!

Ginmummy1 Fri 04-Nov-16 14:45:18

I’m getting very consistent and positive responses, which is very nice 

I must say I’m grateful she doesn’t get lots of ‘making things’ types of homework which seem to encourage competitive parenting – we could do more of this for fun, although the idea of spending many hours creating and painting a papier maché dinosaur does not fill me with glee!

She reads a great deal – she read over 40 books over the summer holidays (most of which were admittedly of the Rainbow Magic style but her interests are widening…). She reads to herself and also out loud to us, and we read to her every day. We talk about what words mean, we correct her grammar, encourage her to suggest alternative descriptions for things, alternative spellings for same sound, joke about the quirks of the English language etc. – this is all very natural to us and to her.

We’ve recently bought her a fairy door, and she has been writing to her fairy almost every day – totally self-directed and often quite an essay. I tend to check over it and ask her to check her writing and then highlight any mistakes which she will correct before leaving it by the door at bedtime. I’m really pleased with this as it gets her writing without any need for motivation from me, and her fairy expects good SPAG! DH hates it as he has to write the reply every night 

Maths she enjoys but we could do more of in everyday discussions. She’s solid on number bonds to 10 but we could work on them with higher numbers. She counts up and down confidently in 2s, 5s, 10s, 50s, 100s and is very confident with money – the two are obviously linked. We haven’t thought of starting times tables – school haven’t mentioned them – is it too early?

I think much of the problem is me – if she has a ‘target’ such as homework set by the school I will happily prioritise it, but without that it is easy to end up doing housework and wasting our time together.

However, I think I will try to relax a bit – go with the flow in terms of what ‘projects’ she naturally leads me to based on what she covers at school and what interests her, and maybe encourage mathematical thinking a bit.

TFPsa Fri 04-Nov-16 16:55:45

I hate traditional spelling tests. They rely so heavily on short term memory, which is incredibly powerful, even 4/5 year old kids who are reasonably able can usually remember some mightily impressive ones, but don't do anything much IMO to promote learning that sticks with the kids in the longer term.

Agree with other suggestions, reading books, with an equal focus on decoding and comprehension, mathletics, these are useful.

TeenAndTween Fri 04-Nov-16 16:56:11

What about mini science experiments / play? That could be fun and learning.

You could buy a suitable book of 'kitchen experiments' and work through it.

That might work well for you as it sounds perhaps like you are more word oriented than maths/science.

Little things like balancing a needle on water using surface tension, seeing what floats, making an electric circuit, growing salt crystals, making a needle-cork-water compass, peppermint(?) and coke(?) volcano etc

Coconut0il Fri 04-Nov-16 17:36:34

I would love this to be our school policy. Personally I don't think homework has much impact and spelling tests don't work.
I would carry on reading and talking about books. Encouraging writing about everything and anything, using capital letters and full stops and interesting vocab. Money, telling the time and tables, 2,5,10 if your DD is happy to do them.

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Fri 04-Nov-16 17:41:12

I would be thrilled! My DC's school had quite a chilled out homework policy so she doesn't get a ridiculous amount (Y1). However, they are just about to start a homework consultation with parents which I fear will lead to an increase.

irvineoneohone Fri 04-Nov-16 21:20:52

All the homeworks my ds had over the years are kind of pointless, imo.
Now he is getting even more, but still, I don't think he gains anything from it. So I would be really happy if he doesn't get any.

You can do all the things at home that your dd don't do so much at school. Music lessons and MFL are the things I wish I introduced to him earlier.
You can also find extra resources for what she is learning at school at the moment(topic, science, history, geography etc.) and explore even more on that could be fun.

SellFridges Fri 04-Nov-16 21:28:17

DD is Y1. We haven't had ANY homework so far, other than reading book which is changed twice a week.

Zoflorabore Sat 05-Nov-16 00:35:11

Dd is in year 1, gets 2 books Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Maths and English homework once a week and has a week to complete and 10 spellings to learn.
She is above average ability in a class of 30 in a deprived area( hate that phrase sorry but that's what our head teacher described it recently ) hmm
Anyway I think it's really hard when the homework is not tailored to ability. Dd's school has a huge amount of sen and there are 5/6 dc in her class being assessed for autism, I have spoken to several parents who have said their children simply cannot do the work. How demotivating for 5 year olds!

When my ds was at the same school there was no way the amount of work and pressure on the dc, he left with good SAT results despite me fighting for years to have him assessed and turns out he has HFA, the school are drowning.

I wish I could move her but all local schools are full, I do so much with her at home which she loves, reading, spelling, French ( my language ) etc.
sadly I feel that I have to do extra as the school is struggling, it's a shame.
Sorry for the diversion...

HeCantBeSerious Sat 05-Nov-16 00:38:13

DS is in y1 and gets 2 reading books a week. That's it. I oppose all primary homework so I'm thrilled with this. He's already completed most of y1 maths and is ahead on everything else so I'm happy for him to be free after school rather than tied to the kitchen table. I'd be resisting spellings and other such bollocks.

jamdonut Sat 05-Nov-16 09:56:11

Does she do Read,Write,Inc at school? They don't recommend "learning" spellings, it is all done as part of the programme.
In Year 2 we try to encourage the learning of high frequency 'red words' ( not easily decodeable ) , but not with any regular homework, just a sheet to learn at their own pace, maybe when reading.
Reading at home each night is the only homework we insist upon.W e encourage counting on and backwards, number bonds to 10, or 20 if able, counting in 2s, 10s, 5s etc., but no formal homework.

I think as long as you are doing what you are doing, that is fine. Talking about things is always good. Sadly, many of the children in our school don't come from homes where that is a consideration.
What is useful is learning to tell the time, analogue and digital, and, therefore, halves and quarters of things, in a practical way.

There's plenty of time for 'proper' homework when they are a bit older. Don't wish it on a 5 year old.

jamdonut Sat 05-Nov-16 09:59:22

*forgot to say, using money, too.

sirfredfredgeorge Sat 05-Nov-16 13:57:33

DD yr 1 gets no real homework, there's stuff they could do "set" each week, which is really just a continuation of the stuff that's been happening in class, but it would take her about 5 minutes, and she rarely bothers.

She gets two books a week, we do those, that's another 5 minutes (they match her phonic knowledge probably, as she reads fluently, they're just short)

They also have an ixl account for maths, no idea what happens with this, DD sometimes uses it, but I don't think she ever does YR1 stuff, and I don't think the YR1 teachers look.

What the school does have though if you want to do homework is everyone in the school having "thinkers projects" - as they call them - which are just ideas of projects that anyone in the school can do if they want to, no idea what happens if you take them in.

There's been no spellings, no worksheets. I also pretty much avoid doing anything that the school is likely to heavily focus on - so we do no phonics specific stuff, no number bonds or times tables or anything like that. Obviously if DD was or was likely to struggle in these areas we might've, but generally we avoid as much as possible the heavily focussed school group work.

smellyboot Sun 06-Nov-16 22:54:53

Our school and many other very high performing state schools have no homework until yr2-3 and only then do you get spellings. Before that just a bit of reading. Homework is nit needed that young. Enjoy

BikeRunSki Sun 06-Nov-16 23:01:38

Spelling lists didn't teach my son to spell,they just taught him how to memorise a series of letters for a week.

Reading, reading with me, reading to himself, reading out loud, reading silently, reading books, cereal boxes, number plates etc is what taught him to spell.

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