When to go and see the teacher about work being 'too easy' without looking like an awful Tiger Mother?!

(109 Posts)
harrietlichman Sun 13-Jan-13 09:26:21

My ds2 is in year one and though by no means a 'G&T' candidate, he is pretty advanced at spelling and reading - he can easily spell the words that dd1 brings home (Year 4) for her spelling work, for example.
This week he bought home the class newsletter which asks parents to help children with their spellings for a weekly test, along with a list of new words. They were all two letter words (on, at, etc) and absolutely no challenge to him whatsover.
I am reluctant to go in to school in a way, because I don't want to come across as a pushy parent who thinks her son is some sort of genius (!) but at the same time I am slightly concerned about what appears to be a lack of differentiation in the class.
So my question is WWYD? My dh thinks I should leave it as that is obviously what everyone in the class is doing at the moment, but my gut feeling is that he is just wasting time on this and should be being challenged a bit more.

CecilyP Sun 13-Jan-13 09:29:32

If he already knows the words that might be in the test, then he won't have any homework, so he won't need to waste any time in doing it.

MoreBeta Sun 13-Jan-13 09:34:55

We had thiS with DS1 and it went on all the way up to Year 6. We went in to talk to the Head, wrote letters and so on. It didnt work. the school just taught to the average and refuse dto acknowledge there was a problem. In fact they tried to prove DS was not as advanced as we thought. We were not the only parent with a bright child who just wanted them to be stretched a bit more.

DS1 came home one day and told us he sat most lessons in maths just looking out of the window having completed the work in 10 minutes. In the end several parents took their children out of the school.

I actually think you will not get a good response form teh schol if you complain. They will be defensive and give you alls orts of excuses but teh reality is that some children even in Yr 1 are just so much more capable than others there is a hige gap and many schools just don't respond to that.

I would start looking for another school and start doing some work with your DS at home. Your gut feeling is right - yoiur DS needs to be challenged.

Highlander Sun 13-Jan-13 09:34:57

You can ask for him to be assessed for reading. He may then do literacy/writing with year 2, but stay with his own class for the remainder of the curriculum.

Year 1 is a funny year, though and the teachers may feel consolidation in other areas is required before stretching. It may be be more appropriate in Year 2 when generally the ability gap closes in the class.

However, if he is so bored that behavioural problems emerge (finishing work, chatting and distraction other children), then definitely step in. We had this problem with DS1. He was booooooored, and the teacher complained frequently to me about his chatting, yet failed to tell me that he was left sitting with nothing to do for 20 mins. There was PLENTY that he could do; work on his handwriting for example!

harrietlichman Sun 13-Jan-13 09:35:43

Obviously he won't have to do any work learning these particular words, my concern is that he is being given these words to 'learn' in the first place. It suggests the teacher doesn't know his level.

Highlander Sun 13-Jan-13 09:36:01

We did move DS1 to a selective private school at the end of Year 2.

MoreBeta Sun 13-Jan-13 09:36:06

Apologies for my appaling spelling.

harrietlichman Sun 13-Jan-13 09:40:08

Thanks MoreBeta and Highlander - this is another worry - that he will get bored and 'give up' without a challenge. Good point about consolidating in other areas, he doesn't particularly excel at anything else, just has always been able to pick up spelling and reading from very early on and has always had a good reading level. I just don't feel particularly comfortable challenging the teacher, but don't want to let him down by not saying anything.

mrz Sun 13-Jan-13 09:42:42

It suggests the teacher doesn't know his level.
It suggests to me that the teacher is following a script ..*.it's January so I send home these words* perhaps because the school uses a programme in a prescriptive manner?

mercibucket Sun 13-Jan-13 09:45:48

If it's just spellings, I'd be feeling happy it was one less piece of homework. Year 1 is a funny year anyway, and so long as he's not disengaging I wouldn't worry about it. Ours always had easy spellings but later on they were moved into higher groups for maths + literacy. You could stand for governor. That way you get to influence the approach the school takes.

mercibucket Sun 13-Jan-13 09:45:49

If it's just spellings, I'd be feeling happy it was one less piece of homework. Year 1 is a funny year anyway, and so long as he's not disengaging I wouldn't worry about it. Ours always had easy spellings but later on they were moved into higher groups for maths + literacy. You could stand for governor. That way you get to influence the approach the school takes.

Do you have a parents evening coming up?

DS is in year 2 and year 1 was a disaster for him in lots of ways. He had teachers job sharing which didn't work out at all. They also have the phonics test now in June so they may be concentrating on that depending on how bothered the school are ( ours aren't thank goodness)

However when I realised that the reading books he was being sent home with where the same ones he had this time last year I sent a note in to the teacher. This is an accepted communication method by the way as I work full time. She wrote back that she had assessed him and moved him up two levels!

Are you happy with the school in other areas?

learnandsay Sun 13-Jan-13 09:48:43

By all means talk to the teacher about it but don't expect her to actually do anything. I've heard twenty or thirty stories of this kind often involving talking to the headmistress and the most common response is all sorts of procrastination and warm words but nobody actually does anything. In a way though it's a pseudo problem. Because if your son can actually spell the words then he hasn't got a problem. He's only got a problem if he can't spell them and nobody is teaching him how to. The wasted opportunity aspect of the issue is one which haunts a lot of parents but my own view is it's the parents responsibility to get down to the educational department of WH Smiths, buy workbooks and spread them out on the kitchen table if they want to maximise their child's potential. The local school might, but it probably won't. It's far too busy teaching everybody else's children who don't already know everything. Last term my daughter's teacher wondered if she could read the tricky words they will bring home at the end of the year. Yesterday my daughter ran off the list of their tricky words from memory and then she told me about the sounds that they haven't learned yet and where the teacher keeps them. Apparently the children aren't allowed to play with those cards. It's clear that some children can do more than the syllabus allots for them. But that doesn't mean they're allowed to.

loverofwine Sun 13-Jan-13 10:04:34

I would say don't worry about what the teachers think. The only person who is going to push for your child is you.

I used to adopt a 'school knows best' policy but recently woke up to the fact that they didn't want the hassle of reassessing my DS who kept on telling me how bored he was in literacy. I spoke to the teacher on a couple of occasions, wouldn't accept the pat answer and she agreed to reassess. He is now in a different group, much happier and any negative view she may have of me is outweighed by this in my eyes.

harrietlichman Sun 13-Jan-13 10:18:50

Many thanks for your replies - I am happy with the school in other areas, and my son loves it. We read at home together and he also does workbooks (he is a bit of a swot wink and loves showing off what he can read/write!)
Interestingly, JustaSmallGlass, he is also in a Jobshare class - it seems to work pretty well but I can't help think that one teacher full time seems a better option.
We don't have a parents evening until later in the year, which is a nuisance as I would bring it up there without a problem - it's the 'going in' that I am slightly reluctant to do, but taking on board your collective advice, I am going to go in and just get their views on his ability and find out what they are doing to encourage and stretch him.

Malaleuca Sun 13-Jan-13 10:30:46

Why be apologetic if you are a tiger mo. Go tiger moms.

We have had this as well. DD is year 2 now and her teacher has finally accepted that she is well above the average in the class and does individual work with her. I'm the same about appearing 'pushy' so just brought it up at parents evening when the teacher agreed. her levels are already at 3+. As an example, over the christmas holidays, dd was writing her own notes on space and the formation of planets and their 'project' was to make a collage of chrismas using cards and glitter...The trouble is they do have to work to the average, which is fiine, as long as they are aware that there are some who will be above and some below. Best thing to do is just make an appointment and be direct - if he needs harder work, he needs it! <I hate coming across as 'my child is a 'genius too>

musicalfamily Sun 13-Jan-13 11:28:52

My experience is not a great one - DD1 has had this problem all the way through, now in Y3. We have done everything we could wrt speaking with teachers, it just hasn't really worked, even though they always made the right noises.

highlander I hope you don't mind me asking - how did the move to a selective school go? We are going down this route with DD1 and I just hope that she will fair better. She is hugely bored and demotivated right now and she told her whole extended family on New Year's Day that her biggest wish for New Year was that we changed her school to one where she learned something....so we had to do something radical.

we're also doing the move to selective blush

pointythings Sun 13-Jan-13 17:24:47

I really don't think jobshare is the issue here. I think there may be a culture of doing things by the script in KS1, as mrz suggests, and it's not acceptable. My DDs are both bright and were given suitable work right from YrR - by half term, the teachers had the measure of the group and knew exactly who needed what. That is what a good school should do.

Throughout primary (DD2 is in Yr5) there were all kinds of flexible arrangements - able children being taught in the top groups of the year above, work being brought in from the local middle school (at a time when we were still 3-tier), writing work being structured so that it could accommodate the entire ability range. DD2's teachers are on a jobshare - it means she currently has a maths/science specialist and an English/arts specialist and is getting the best of everything. This is in the state sector, by the way.

I'd be looking at moving schools too in that situation.

A job share done right is great and it sounds like you have that pointythings

However a job share where teachers aren't talking to each other and seemingly little handover, isn't.

Start off by talking to them and see how you get on

This has made interesting reading, thanks everyone - DH and I have been having a similar conversation about DD, also in year 1, which began last week when she brought home a reading book that she was given in her first term of reception.

I think we were somewhat spoilt last year, her reception teacher was excellent and quickly pegged her abilities and worked out how to stretch her within the class, DD loved it and learned loads.

This year, DD seems to have regressed (during the school term, not over the holidays) and I've been spoken to about her "low level disruptive behaviour" a couple of times. DD herself tells me that she spends "lots of time" in each of her groups "helping A/B/C do their work" and when questioned, this appears to be because she's finished her own and has to wait to be given something else to do. Our first parents evening is in a couple of weeks, so I'm busy outlining a list of questions I want to ask. Fingers crossed it gets us somewhere...

harrietlichman Sun 13-Jan-13 18:42:55

I am definitely going to go in and have a chat with them after reading this thread - I know it will continue to bother me if I don't. I think mrz was on the money with prescriptive teaching, and it just doesn't sit well with me, so I am tigering up and going in!

Many thanks to you all for your advice and experiences - I thought this must be a fairly common occurence, but it just isn't easy to talk about it with the other 'playground mums' without sounding like a total stealth boaster!

wearymum200 Sun 13-Jan-13 18:57:50

Yup, tiger up (a bit). Ds1 had a poor y1 from exactly these sort of issues. When I tried suggesting he was bored, teacher always said "no", but she never managed to send home a reading book anywhere near his level (or listen to him read; I only knew the phonics test had happened because ds1 came home announcing that "i had to read to a teacher for the first time today"; in June of y1). maths was similarly frustrating.
I went to the head in the end and she helped quite a bit in ensuring that things were a bit more challenging.
Y2 has been somewhat better, teacher is good, but I'm sorry to report we are going down the selective private route for y3 too.

GW297 Sun 13-Jan-13 19:37:32

I would talk to the teacher or write a letter outlining your concerns. As long as you are polite and show that you wish to discuss spellings as you both have your child's best interests at heart, it should be fine and the teachers/school won't label you a 'tiger mother.' Why not give him some of your elder child's spellings to learn and let the teacher know you have done this and why?! Explain that you are planning to continue to do this unless the school can provide suitably challenging spellings for your child.

Sad so many parents have had to withdraw their bright children from state schools and pay for their education in order for them to be sufficiently challenged. Sad also for the bright children who are not being stretched who have parents who do not have this option for financial reasons.

Wobblypig Sun 13-Jan-13 19:45:11

This is not just a state school issue though. Ds is in a pre prep and coming home with words like drop, drill, dragon, which he is to practise but knows them without thinking. With the reading they are more flexible and giving books from yr 3. Maths also frustrating . The irritating thing is that Ds now doesnot try, nothing is difficult at school so why try hard at anything else

cakebar Sun 13-Jan-13 20:05:57

Am reading this thinking thank goodness for our school. They differentiate for year 1 and it doesn't seem too much of a big deal for them to do that........I would definitely go in.

simpson Sun 13-Jan-13 20:08:30

Personally I would go and speak to the teacher about your concerns (as others have said)...

But I would outline (or make a list so that you can remember yourself, not to hand into the teacher) where your concerns are ie that your child is doing yr4 spellings, what your child can do in numeracy at home and what type of books they read at home (to prove they are doing harder work iyswim)...

TBH it sounds like your child has not been properly assessed yet and is getting the same work as the rest of the class...

harrietlichman Sun 13-Jan-13 20:14:21

Writing down what I plan to ask is a great idea - I don't want to go in all doffing my cap and deferential but neither do I want to be defensive and challenging (!)
I will tiger up a bit though and go tomorrow - thanks for getting what I was trying to say and not having a go at me for showing off about my child-genius!grin

Overdecorated Sun 13-Jan-13 20:18:50

Please don't assume nothing will change as some posters have suggested. Teachers are only human and she may have misjudged your child's ability. It is also possible that your child is not showing their teacher what they are capable of so be prepared to listen to the reasons for the level of spellings given. Some children perform significantly better in a home environment than they do at school. Good luck smile

simpson Sun 13-Jan-13 20:34:35

If you go in to speak with the teacher emphasising that you want to support your child at home etc it will be fine grin

FriendlyLadybird Sun 13-Jan-13 22:37:59

I don't think everyone needs to be 'stretched' in every area, all of the time. A bit of consolidation is no bad thing -- especially in something like spelling in which even the cleverest people can sometimes lose their way or get into bad habits.
Also, remember that reading and writing are quite different. There are loads of words that my DD can read, for example, that she can't actually write.
Finally, how lovely to get 100% in a test without having to make any effort. It's a nice experience to have occasionally.

TotallyBS Mon 14-Jan-13 08:18:41

We had the same problems with our DS. When we complained about DS not being challenged to the HM, after getting nowhere with his class teacher, we got a patronizing speech about how parents like to think their kids are smarter than what they actually are.

We couldn't afford to switch to prep school so we did additional stuff with him at home while saving up for a selective secondary indie.

catnipkitty Mon 14-Jan-13 08:52:53

We had exactly the same thing in every year for DD1 in every subject. She was permanently bored at school - under stimulated, under challenged. Talking to the teacher made no difference - she's a quiet, conscientious child who always got overlooked. So...we now home educate. Just came to the conclusion that the state system cannot possibly cater to all levels, and we couldn't afford private ed.
C x

bruffin Mon 14-Jan-13 09:03:59

I suspect it tends to be a problem with the child rather than the school or teacher. Often in these cases there are far brighter children in the class who are not bored. I had parents complaining to me their child was bored, My dcs (now teens) had the same teachers over the years and in some cases in the same class and are just as bright and they weren't bored. They just had a different attitude to learning and didnt expect to be spoonfed.
Homework is to reinforce what they know not to stretch them. If they can do it, then just get on with in it in a few minutes and then can carry on with playing or doing what they want.

learnandsay Mon 14-Jan-13 12:31:23

bruffin, I think what you're saying is very interesting, but a little unfair. The idea that the child takes a glass half empty or a glass half full approach to her schooling is one to be given some consideration. But, on the other hand, children didn't ask to be sent to school. So, if the kid is Marie Curie or Liser Meitner and she's routinely being given my first number problems to solve then I'm afraid the teacher needs a kick up the proverbial.

PuppyMonkey Mon 14-Jan-13 12:33:40

My DD is Year One and her spellings last week were stuff like check chicken etc. on and at sound a bit too easy.

drjohnsonscat Mon 14-Jan-13 12:44:03

I think you would be wise to go in and see the teacher. DD is in y1 and sounds at about the same stage as your DS - those spellings would be pointless for her and would suggest a lack of attention either generally by the teacher or specifically to the level DS is at.

I was also anxious about being too pushy (about reading books in our case) but in the end decided to go in and talk to the teacher who at least reassured me that he was aware of DD's abilities. I did get some pushback of the sort morebeta encountered (suggestion that her comprehension wasn't up to her reading level which is really not the case at all - I think it might be the case overall in the class and the school was worried it was something Ofsted would pick up on hence the overemphasis on it) but overall my being just a little bit pushy did help.

Karoleann Mon 14-Jan-13 13:04:11

DS1 went to a state school until this academic year (we moved house an he's now at pre-prep, we didn't move schools to make work harder).
I've just looked at the spellings he got at his state school the week after christmas last year - year one and they were: make bake thing monday and shake.
Those spellings sound too easy.
I did however find that reading books that came home were far too easy and we ended up just getting books from reading chest.
I did speak to the teacher and the head on a few occasions and got absolutely no where, so in the end we just read his harder books and ignored the ones he got from school.
Strangely enough maths wise they were doing things in Year one that his prep is only covering at the end of this year (times tables, division).

musicalfamily Mon 14-Jan-13 13:07:46

Of course every child is an individual and will react to an environment in a different way. Our job as a parent is to understand why a child is unhappy, work with the school to change things and ensure they receive an adequate education. Just because the last 3 things are not happening for one child but are for others, doesn't make one right and one wrong - there might be lots of reasons why it is all happening for that particular child and their unhappiness is very real to them.

I have 4 children and they have all had a completely different experience in the same school. But just because 3 are happy and one is desperately unhappy, it doesn't mean I should just tell them. to "get on with it" - that would be failing in my responsibility as a parent.

Having said all of the above, it took us 4 years of working very closely with the school to understand that for lots of reasons our DD will never be happy there and I would urge anyone to work with the school as some have had a happier outcome.

Mutley77 Mon 14-Jan-13 13:15:20

I don't think it is ok for a state school to just teach to a curriculum, it is very clear in education policy that children should be taught according to their policy.

My view is go in and see what happens - chances are they will be fine with it and take appropriate action, and if they're not (or they don't) then you can think about what to do next.

PuppyMonkey Mon 14-Jan-13 14:34:51

My DDs spellings for this week ( year 1)


Well after adding to this thread over the weekend, today dd has come home and told us (not in so many words!) that she's been put into a literacy extension group with one other child from her class - it's across the year so approx 6 of them I think working together. And her home reader today is a real step up from the last few she's had. And I haven't even spoken to the teacher yet! Not quite sure what's gone on grin

<slightly bemused emoticon>

Just wanted to add my DD year 1 spellings this first week back
Glow grow glue glide glass grab grin and other gr gl words. Her entire class seem to have the same sheet, no differentiation and I would say DD is one of the brighter children so these are probably quite hard for some.. (Tiger mum grin )

Although we have never been officially told they are spellings the child must learn in anyway, just to copy out the words. They come home on fri and the children have a spelling test following fri. Spelling test by stealth.

I never thought to teach my Dd them, but one week she didn't get 10/10 and was a bit put out. I also discovered at same time other mums were practising them every night shock. Now we usually pick one or two words that need a bit of practise during the week. Brother is one that we had to learn last term and blast.

Yours sound far too easy OP.

mrz Mon 14-Jan-13 19:14:31

shock why on earth !

Houseworkprocrastinator Mon 14-Jan-13 20:09:06

The spellings do seem a little easy. I think the way they do it in my daughters class (y1) is separate spellings for each child but even so this last week we have had things like lamb, comb, thumb, climb etc... i could be wrong but would two letter words not be catering for the less able in a year 1 class not even the average?

pointythings Mon 14-Jan-13 20:29:55

When it comes to spellings I take the opposite view to most people, apparently - I don't make them practise at all. They either know these perfectly common words, or they don't. If they don't know them, no amount of drilling will make a difference. I don't think learning a list of words off by heart means they can then use those words correctly in their writing, so I'd rather they tried using challenging words in their writing and then worked on learning editing skills.

And of course reading a varied range of books is the best thing of all to teach spelling.

mrz Mon 14-Jan-13 20:32:13

It looks as if the OPs school are sending home high frequency words from the first 100 HFW list as spellings (following a script)

mumchat Tue 15-Jan-13 03:39:04

Why on earth what? Genuine Q (not being rude).

We have been sent sounds to learn (following RWI) and had set 1 & 2 sounds so got up to ay, igh, air etc. Also 1-3 sight words on the sheet. These now stopped & next sheet is "spellings" of the, to & I. Until now it's been reading the sounds now it's gone back to earlier words to spell/write them I assume? Is that correct Mrz? Or should we be learning more (set 3) sounds first/as well? My daughter can sound out to read better than she can write/spell.

TotallyBS Tue 15-Jan-13 07:03:29

grin at pointy. DS had a boy in his primary school class that regularly scored 2/10 in the weekly spelling test. At the time I thought that the parents simply couldn't be arsed. I now realised that it was part of a well thought out parenting strategy.

bruffin Tue 15-Jan-13 07:39:52

Agree with pointy
My ds used to be ok at spelling tests because they usually had a pattern ie thisweek we are doing ,"ough" He still couldnt spell when it came to writing

pointythings Tue 15-Jan-13 18:10:59

That depends, TotallyBS on whether the boy's parents were bothering to check their DS's writing and make him check and correct. I've always been draconian about that part of it. I'm not sure it's a well thought out parenting strategy for everyone...

mrz Tue 15-Jan-13 18:15:25

Why on earth ....Glow grow glue glide glass grab grin and other gr gl words.

ipadquietly Tue 15-Jan-13 18:47:15

Why on earth is everyone getting so het up about spellings? Most spelling in KS1 is learnt through phonics lessons.

Spelling lists are generally given out to appease mummies, and make no difference to the children's ability to spell in day-to-day work. Constant repetition in phonics lessons does make a difference.

This work you say is 'too easy' refers to a 5-10 minute test. As your ds is keen to write at home, it implies that he is being challenged to write independently, and, even better, is enjoying it. I'd celebrate that, rather than question a pointless spelling list.

It's a print out Mrz Andrew Brodie publications.
We get one every week.

Can I ask why it shock you? Generally curious

mrz Tue 15-Jan-13 20:34:08

because of the choice of words, yes they all begin with gl or gr (that's very easy for any child who has basic phonic skills) but the more difficult digraphs are muddled

<ow> <ue> <i-e>

Children are no longer taught "blends" such as gl and gr as a whole (it was once common practice) but very limiting in application.

Tgger Tue 15-Jan-13 20:50:45

Hooray, we have no spellings in Y1 smile. And DS can spell pretty well. Hooray!

Wobblypig Wed 16-Jan-13 19:42:09

Ipadquietly, if most spellings are given out to appease mummies, then they are not doing a very good job by the looks of this thread

plainjayne123 Thu 17-Jan-13 00:10:40

No spelling tests ever in our (outstanding) primary. Old fashioned and useless apparently.

TotallyBS Thu 17-Jan-13 09:09:20

Every now and then there is an article or report about school leavers and their inability to submit a cv or job application that wasn't riddled with spelling mistakes.

Look into the crystal ball ladies and see what the future holds for your DCs grin

purrpurr Thu 17-Jan-13 09:34:59

MS Word Spell check?

TotallyBS Thu 17-Jan-13 10:56:42

Interesting response. I'm guessing that when a thread is going about teenagers being unable to give the correct change you will be injecting "calculator"?

Elsewhere there are threads about getting into selective schools, getting into med school, landing that great job etc. It's a "refreshing" break to be in a thread where the people have such a laid back attitude towards their children's education smile

learnandsay Thu 17-Jan-13 12:42:29

These days the till tells you how much change to give. If the teenagers still can't get it right it's going to need far more than a calculator to sort it out, lobotomy is closer in that case.

TotallyBS Thu 17-Jan-13 13:40:25

Well, the till at Homebase told the assistant that my change was £5.36. I offered him 14p so that he could give me £5.50 change (I wanted a 50p coin)

A look of confusion decended. I half expected him to go like something out of Star Trek ie this does not compute. Error. Error. And then explode.

pointythings Thu 17-Jan-13 18:08:33

TotallyBS oh I have soooo been there! grin

My DCs spell very well in their normal writing, by the way. But I'm evil in other ways - when they ask me 'how do you spell {fill in whatever word they're about to use}'?, I always tell them to write it down on a piece of scrap paper, see if it looks right and then spell it out to me. 9/10 times they get it right, the 10th time I end up spelling it out for them and telling them the derivation/component parts of the word. They nearly always end up remembering and using the word correctly next time. That's probably a bit tigerish of me, though.

learnandsay Thu 17-Jan-13 18:27:42

Why is it tigerish to spell a word for a child and explain to her the word's origins and its components? The OED doesn't look like a tiger it looks like a dictionary.

pointythings Thu 17-Jan-13 20:09:06

I was being flippant, learnandsay and referring to the 'tiger mum' phenomenon. I'm not one, but I do appreciate language and want to pass that on to my DDs. Which in the view of some may make me a pushy parent.

<Puts stripy covering paper on copy of OED>

learnandsay Thu 17-Jan-13 22:44:11

The only person who isn't a pushy parent has no right to be a parent.

simpson Thu 17-Jan-13 23:34:45

Pointy - when my DC ask how to spell a word I ask them how they think it is spelt first (I guess the same as what you do as a lot of the time time they do know it)...

I cannot work out DD's books ATM she came home with a gold book last week and read it ok (but thought it was the correct level for her tbh) then this week she has a stage 5 book <<sigh>>

madwomanintheattic Fri 18-Jan-13 00:40:43

Pointy, you need to add in country of origin. <sage>
You're just skimping on info, otherwise.

mrz Fri 18-Jan-13 06:29:48

[hangs head in shame] as learnandsay claims I have no right to be a parent sad

Lavenderhoney Fri 18-Jan-13 06:57:11

I've often popped in to chat to the teacher about stuff like this. She is more than helpful and will give me ideas of what to work on at home and how she will push a bit more in class, ie writing has to be neater for some etc.

I don't see my self as a tiger mom, just interested in my ds and keeping him interested in learning. I don't discuss it with other mums though, i don't think they'd be that interested and there is nothing they can do anyway. A few moms go in for extra tutoring after school but it's more to do with the mom making the child than the child actually wanting to or needing it.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 18-Jan-13 09:35:39

To be honest the spelling test isn't going to take much class time so if he doesn't have to revise the spellings (or perhaps just one quick run through) then that's great. Take the time saved at home to test him on trickier words in your own time. It sounds like he does his sister's spellings which is great extension work for him. If he is bored of other work then chat to the teacher but spelling is one area where consolidation is good and extra work at home is easy.

We've had the same with ds1. He's very bright and grasps maths and literacy amazingly fast. Even though he's the youngest in his class (18 months younger than the eldest) he's always been one of the top few at reading and maths. It's frustrating as he has SN and the school complain of behavioural problems but every specialist we've seen has said most of his in class behaviour issues are due to being bored out of his mind with the work.

He cried his first week back this year as he had no homework and the work was too simple.

Asking for extra reading books or extra work got me nowhere so now I just concentrate on keeping him stimulated at home, lots of books at his level and chatting about science and maths that he's interested in. He's still bored in class but he's in a mixed room with 2 older classes and I think he eavesdrops on their class work a lot grin

madwomanintheattic Fri 18-Jan-13 14:23:15

None of my three have ever bothered to 'learn' their spelling lists. Ever. They have never even bothered to get them out of their school bags. Not once. They are now 12,11 and 9. It is entirely possible to not bother and for no undue consequences to result - if the kid is ahead enough, they just don't need to bother.

They each won their year group spelling bees, and dd1 always won out in the school bee to go to regionals.

I'm not sure why the angst about spelling lists being challenging, tbh. Dd2 once brought home a list with spelling mistakes on. grin she hadn't noticed (because she didn't ever bother looking at them) but I fished it out of the bottom of her bag to put in the trash and noticed. grin

Ds1 was notorious for correcting the spelling on the board in yr 1. Fortunately his teachers found it amusing, rather than a pita.

The key word for you is 'differentiation'.

learnandsay Fri 18-Jan-13 14:28:41

Aren't weekly spellings designed for children who can't spell them not for the ones who can? Presumably the words could continue to get ever more obscure (the way they do in national competitions) but I don't think that's what school is about, competitions are different; they're looking for a winner.

We glanced at the spellings and tables for the first time at 8:45 this morning. Both my children got all of them right. Ds1 says no-one else in his class got any of their Irish spellings right at all and those children probably did learn them all week long.

So much as it can be frustrating when he's bored, I'm very grateful that at least he isn't working his arse off and still struggling like some of his peers.

cece Fri 18-Jan-13 15:09:04

Just before the Christmas holidays DS1 came home with a certificate for getting 100% in spellings tests for the whole of the Autumn term. I was a little surprised as I didn't know he had been doing them. Apparently he had been given lists every week but hadn't brought them home as he knew the words already!

Cece grin

The only reason I even bother on a Friday morning is because of the Irish spellings, they don't even look up from their breakfast the little sods.

They certainly don't get it from me, my spelling is tragic grin

ipadquietly Fri 18-Jan-13 15:30:40

I think certificates for spelling tests are ridiculous. Some children (as we've heard) don't have to look at the spellings to get them all right, and some children learn them night after night after night, and still get some wrong. IMHE it's grossly unfair to reward for something that has taken no effort whatsoever.

madwomanintheattic Sat 19-Jan-13 02:11:23


But then if you are rewarding effort, it would be mostly impossible for bright kids to get anything, as school don't bother to challenge them. grin <which, um, kinda happens, tbh. Stickers and weekly awards anyone?>

musicalfamily Sat 19-Jan-13 07:36:18

Yes that's another bugbear of mine - ie no rewards for bright, well behaved children - and it does affect their confidence. Every child likes to be recognised for achievement and effort.

learnandsay Sat 19-Jan-13 07:42:10

Parents can give rewards and make them as "school inspired" as they want. I once wrote in my daughter's reading diary praise for her written stories because the teacher seemed to have ignored them. My daughter was made up and I took her to a cafe, her favourite thing to do at the moment, as a treat.

mrz Sat 19-Jan-13 07:51:31

I find the idea that bright, well behaved children aren't rewarded very odd and that it would be impossible to reward them for effort.

mrz Sat 19-Jan-13 07:54:36

too early for me that doesn't make sense!

I find the idea that bright, well behaved children aren't rewarded or that it would be impossible to reward them for effort very odd.

learnandsay Sat 19-Jan-13 08:09:26

It's a half truth, of course they're rewarded all the time. But the impossibility statement came in relation to children who have learned things effortlessly, and therefore theoretically shouldn't be rewarded for effort in those cases. And the angst about good children's rewards commonly stems from bad children being rewarded for being good, exceptional children being rewarded for being exceptional and decent children in the middle getting nothing.

mrz Sat 19-Jan-13 08:21:03

Effort is also about the care you take with your work not just knowing the answer before the other people in the class. It's about doing the best you possibly can regardless of ability.

learnandsay Sat 19-Jan-13 08:27:11

Sure, but isn't that pointing towards the lower end of achievement? At the higher end were starting to talk about differentiation. If it takes no effort for a child to remember her spellings, so little in fact that she never even takes them out of her bag, then should she get a certificate? Why not give her a certificate for putting all the spellings into a lovely poem (at least she read them!) and give Little Jonny a certificate for spelling five out of ten correctly at his fifty fourth attempt?

learnandsay Sat 19-Jan-13 08:35:27

Obviously with my daughter it's too early to tell; they haven't had any spellings yet. But we all know they're coming. For some reason my daughter has memorised the whole list of tricky words. That's the list that she's going to be asked to spell. I think it's a bit unfair if she memorised the list several months before the words were set and someone else learned them as weekly spellings (the way they are supposed to be learned) that she would get a certificate. That's not the idea of weekly spellings. If there was a remember the whole list a month in advance certificate then sure, give it to her.

mrz Sat 19-Jan-13 08:44:29

Personally I wouldn't give spelling lists to take home to memorise as all the research suggests that it's a pretty pointless exercise (and I wouldn't reward a child for behaving as they should).

cece Sat 19-Jan-13 09:15:51

I agree about the certificate. I was quite cross when he got it as I knew how little he had to do to earn it.

I have the same problem with the times tables test each week. He does them with no effort whatsoever, whilst his friends/peers struggle to learn them every week. However, recently he's been getting one wrong every week, so I have been asking him why he's not getting them all right? LOL

learnandsay Sat 19-Jan-13 09:20:44

Hey, well don't tease him, cece. Once or twice maybe it's funny. The chances are they're odd numbered tables and he actually has to think about a couple!

Or he's getting one wrong on purpose as he was getting comments from the other kids...

simpson Sat 19-Jan-13 10:13:09

My DS (yr3) finds times tables effortless and spellings too (we never practise at home blush) but he forgets to apply the spellings in his writing...

DD (reception) gets 10 spellings a week which she insists on doing most days <<sigh>> and a test of Fridays.

She also knows her tricky words so one of her homework tasks is to write sentences with certain tricky words in (4 a week).

However the difference with her is that she does seem to remember her spellings and put them in her writing...

She got three (pointless IMO) certificates for knowing tricky word list 1, 2 and 3 but the school gave up after that as she knew all the other lists too....

LivingInAPinkBauble Sat 19-Jan-13 10:24:21

Currently teach year 5 but send out 6 levels of spellings-from very simple high frequency to new vocabulary and words much harder to sound out etc. it is all on a spreadsheet, I print out the words and children stick them in their homework diaries. Takes very little time and I don't have a TA. I also differentiated spellings in year 1. I would ask.

skullcandy Sat 19-Jan-13 13:47:30

my ds is yr1 and they have no problems acknowledging that he is far and away ahead of his yr group with his reading.. he goes into the yr2 class 3 morning a week for reading group... and it only took a little bit of prompting from me to get them to allow him to choose books from the reading level above the one they set him on to try as well as his set level books as i thought they were too easy.

If you dont ask, you dont get.

learnandsay Sat 19-Jan-13 13:49:12

skull, you're probably just lucky. In a lot of cases people do ask and don't get.

mam29 Mon 21-Jan-13 01:20:26

my dd nearly always got 10/10spellings test in year 1.

same happened in 1st term year 2.

She passed phonics tesr year 1 so was in top phonics group.
There were 3phonics groups within her class of 30.

they all had different spellings.

lower groups had easier and less words I gather.

dd moved schools.

shes now getting xtra help with spelling.

They recognise shes good at phonics but spelling and readings diffret whereas old school felt everything was just fine.

The problem was she could learn and memorise words

few weeks later couldent remember some of them.

her written works littered with spelling mistakes.

so now she gets something called zapper cards the teacher identifies ords within her written word that are wrong and they get sent home to to work on which seems more sensible.

drivemenuts Mon 21-Jan-13 18:26:35

Sorry Harrietlichman, what is wrong in being a tiger mum if ur child is capable. We've had similar concerns where we felt the teachers were not pushing our DS enuf, when approached we got a lot of excuses as to how he likes being in his comfort zone & does not want to be challenged. But after a lil more encouragement from the same teacher he is now performing above his yr.

Even though his class has children in diff groups according to their capabilities, so each child can work at their own pace,we still faced this problem. I cannot understand how can teachers miss such talent.

Sadly for this very reason, we r moving our son to independent schools now, as we are afraid in a class of 30-32 kids he may not get the attention he needs & may lose all the momentum & interest he shows in his work rt now. But please speak up for ur child because it is a matter of thier education.

Feenie Mon 21-Jan-13 18:31:37

Teachers were not pushing your ds 'enuf'? confused

Thier education?

Wow. shock

madwomanintheattic Tue 22-Jan-13 02:08:29

Bwah ha ha.

TotallyBS Tue 22-Jan-13 09:40:41

Actually it's spelt with two 'f's ie 'enuff' smile

Feenie: If all you are going to offer is a typo flame why bother at all?

Some of us post from phones while on the move or on the bus etc. and occasionally the odd spelling mistake or typo gets through. So what? Does being careless with our spelling preclude us from making comments about how are children aren't being challenged by their schools?

TotallyBS Tue 22-Jan-13 09:42:31

Before you rush to point it out Feenie, yes I know I wrote 'are' instead of 'our'.

Feenie Tue 22-Jan-13 10:48:23

'Enuff' is NOT a typo.

I would have thought my point was obvious - in view of your apparent lack of Literacy skills, I am doubting your ability to know whether teachers are failing to 'push' your child 'enuf'.

TotallyBS Tue 22-Jan-13 11:26:48

grin at Feenie.

I once made the mistake of saying to another primary school mom that I was doing extra reading with DD because her Literacy wasn't as good as it should be. You should have seen her face. I later found out that her DC was on a lower table than mine.

I have since learned that a lot of parents don't like to hear other parents going on about how their bright DCs aren't being pushed. Some, like you Feenie, choose to respond by making the OP's literacy the issue.

So Feenie, I feel for ya. I'm gonna go and make myself a cuppa but don't let dat stop ya frum ignoring the elelpant dats in the kitchin grin

learnandsay Tue 22-Jan-13 12:34:39

It's probably not a very good idea to rub other people's noses in it. One day your child might not be doing so well. I don't think you'll be happy if the mother starts rubbing your nose it it.

Feenie Tue 22-Jan-13 13:44:11

That makes no sense, learnandsay, confused

I have been in a situation where my child wasn't doing so well - had I come onto MN and complained that I thought teachers were not doing 'enuf' for my PFB, I would fully expect to have someone take the piss for it.

learnandsay Tue 22-Jan-13 13:50:23

I was talking to totally. She seems made up that her child is doing better than someone else's and thinks it's good to have been going on about it in the playground. But a few years down the line things may well be the other way round. She won't feel so great then if the other mother is going on about it in the playground. It's fine to be proud of your children. But discuss it with your friends and family. Don't rub other parent's noses in in in the playground because it'll come back and bite you in the *.

TotallyBS Tue 22-Jan-13 15:10:39

Feenie/Learnandsay -

I get it that some MNetters DCs can try very hard and can only manage to be 'average' academically speaking.

But it gets a bit ridiculous where the OP gets flamed for complainiing that her bright DC isn't being challenged. Should the OP just shut up and let her DC coast because, to say otherwise, would offend those whose DC aren't doing so well? This is an education forum as opposed to a support forum.

In my case, DD wasn't reading as fluently as DS at that age. Hence my concern. It was Year R so I wasn't yet use to the sensitive egos at the school gate. Once I realised that some parents were like this I learnt to confine my conversation to safe subjects.

Its 'funny' how you see this lack of tact as an attempt to rub the mum's face in it. It says a lot about you that such an admission on my part is seen as a stealth boast.

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