Do you lie to parents about DCs progress?

(99 Posts)
TheNightIsDark Mon 13-Jan-14 22:52:42

Bit of an odd one. DS is 4.9. Homework on Friday- 2 reading books, key words, tally chart of 3D objects and putting 3 sentences in correct order.

Lots of the parents are complaining that their DCs found it too difficult and couldn't do it. I've found myself nodding along and saying DS did too. He actually walked through it I just had to show him a tally chart was lines for each one not writing 1,2,3 etc.

I feel a bit like I'm betraying him. He's in no way gifted, he just picks things up easily but admitting that at the gates would sound boastful. It probably does here tbh blush

Do I keep pretending he's not getting it if the others aren't? Or just stay quiet?

littleredsquirrel Mon 13-Jan-14 22:54:08

You make a comment like "we never even had homework in my day!" don't comment on your child at all and move on. Best way to avoid the awkward conversations.

TheNightIsDark Mon 13-Jan-14 23:00:29

Ah I'll try that smile

I made a flippant comment about how they'll have them on algebra and pie charts next. I've not gone through this school drama before so I'm never sure how to respond.

ReallyTired Mon 13-Jan-14 23:07:54

I don't discuss my children's progress with other parents unless they ask. 95% of the time most people are not interested in other people's children.

Our school has no homework in reception. Prehaps fellows mummies at my daughter's school aren't competitive.

TheNightIsDark Tue 14-Jan-14 07:04:56

Ours has a Facebook group that debates how hard they're all finding it hmm

Shamoy Tue 14-Jan-14 07:31:31

Yeah sympathetic comments that give away nothing is the way to go!
'Little x found it so hard, did yours?'
'There was a lot do wasn't there'
'We had a really busy weekend, hard to fit everything in !'
'It feels like being back at school myself!'

Cat98 Tue 14-Jan-14 08:27:00

Like a previous poster said - I only tell other mums from school anything about ds's academic progress if they ask.
They don't normally ask!
The exception is one mum who I'm friendly with- my ds and her ds are both down as g and t for numeracy and doing extension work together, which the teacher told us both about at parebts evening, so we discuss this sometimes. I have no idea how her son is doing with reading and other areas though, and she doesn't know about ds.

simpson Tue 14-Jan-14 08:35:24

DD now in yr1 also found her reception homework easy and had extension work which involved spelling tests etc.

I never told other parents but unfortunately DD came out of school one day clutching her new spelling list which another (super competitive) mum saw and queried. She then went into the school and demanded the same for her DC. After that, I say a big fat zero and make sure DD's stuff is in her bag ASAP.

columngollum Tue 14-Jan-14 09:40:11

I've only ever once had a (non-) conversation with one parent who asked me how I helped my daughter learn to read. (The parent is not English) I think the person asked rhetorically because they didn't wait for a reply before going onto the next topic. I suspect somewhere along the line they did have a general interest in the subject of helping their daughter's reading. But we've never pursued the topic since. We discuss education in general a lot, but without any reference to our children specifically.

I've never spoken to anyone else (in real life) about my daughter's education. I've once had someone tell me about my home education techniques, but not wait for my reply either.

Galena Tue 14-Jan-14 10:02:07

None of the parents have asked yet, thank goodness. DD is bright. Very bright (and yes, I know the others will probably catch up and DD will probably plateau, but at the moments she's way ahead).

I tend to smile and nod when people complain how hard things are. I would probably just say 'Oh, DD did ok' if asked specifically.

DeWe Tue 14-Jan-14 10:09:46

I only talk about academic issues with my child if either I know their are on the same issues as mine or they specifically ask. Although if they specifically ask then I will generally play down unless I know they are similar to my dc.

Generally if they specifically ask too, it's usually because they have placed my dc close to theirs and want to see if we had the same issues.

I go for the generic response. Usually along the lines of I don't like homework for primary aged children. Which I don't.

This has occasionally translated into a parent thinking their dc is much better (always better!) than my dc and getting indigant if mine then do as well or better. But I'd rather that way round than the other.

For your dc then the response along the lines of "he's really keen on doing homework at present. Wonder how long it'll continue..." would be quite good (I've used that one). Because if they unpick it, then they can see that he's not struggling with it, but it doesn't out and out say that.
But also do realise that saying that they're finding the homework difficult may not be more than they don't want to do work at home. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are not as good as your dc ability wise.

ShoeWhore Tue 14-Jan-14 10:11:20

There is a mum I know at school who is always telling me how hard it is when your child is so bright like hers. Apparently other parents are really jealous and awkward about it and he is a nightmare to parent as you know, he's just SO bright. I just nod sympathetically and say as little as possible. ds is at least as bright as him if not more so but I wouldn't dream of going on about it

Thankfully, there's not a lot of discussion about levels etc at our school because it's not something I want to get into. But I wouldn't lie about it either.

TheNightIsDark Tue 14-Jan-14 10:29:47

That makes sense DeWe. I've steered clear of the maths issue as they're doing number bonds to 5 and DS has been doing that a while (no idea how he figured it out confused), and reading he's still on the first level despite what he's doing at home so I can use that to balance it out!

He's a bit of a handful so they wouldn't believe me even if I said what he could do grin

Danann Tue 14-Jan-14 13:30:44

I just say 'DD did alright, there was a lot though wasn't there?' or 'Ah DS is one of those weird kids who likes homework'. DS is in year 5 and G&T, DD is in reception and quite bright so I try to avoid the conversations if I can, especially with DS as he usually has different homework to most of the class.

TheNightIsDark Tue 14-Jan-14 13:45:33

That's a good idea. And not a lie. DS is the strange child who at 3 having seen DSD doing homework used to ask for his own workbooks!

I'll just stay out of the conversations, let DS carry on doing what he's doing and see how he goes. I'm guessing he's not G&T because the school haven't said anything so there must be other children finding it easier than some.

Danann Tue 14-Jan-14 13:52:04

He is quite young for them to label yet. I don't know if its the same at all schools but DS's and DD's (different schools) don't mention G&T until year 1.

TheBakeryQueen Tue 14-Jan-14 14:32:07

Nobody asks but I wouldn't lie. It would also depend on who I was talking to. So if I knew their child was struggling I wouldn't harp on about how well mine was doing. I'd steer the subject in a different direction.

If it was someone whose kid was about the same then I'd discuss it.

hoboken Tue 14-Jan-14 15:00:08

Some parents are so competitive. I remember the mothers of 6 year olds turning out school bags in the car park so they could compare spelling lists.

I wouldn't lie but would go for non-commital remarks about there being, 'lots to take in' or, 'how different it all is from my day' when dinosaurs roamed

Euthah Tue 14-Jan-14 15:20:19

That's quite some homework for the start of second term in reception. Either your child is in an exceptional cohort, or the homework isn't being differentiated properly.

I do sometimes underplay DD a bit - I think so that other parents don't think I'm boasting or pushy or any of those things - but it does sometimes feel like a bit of a betrayal, so I don't like doing it. I don't lie outright though, so if someone asks for an actual fact (like what reading band she is on) I suppose I would tell them. Fortunately everyone seems to be much more concerned about their own DC rather than mine, which I find odd, but each to their own smile

Gladvent Tue 14-Jan-14 15:25:03

I have a friend who is worried about her child's progress. One of my children is in the same year, but different school fortunately - she asks a LOT of questions and it can be tricky. Because if I answer her, she then doesn't really like the answers as they seem to confirm her fears. I have become a master at changing the subject...

My other DC is the one clutching the enormous junk model in the playground each week. I think other parents may be jealous that we clearly never fill our recycling bin as DD takes it all to school. But I don't think they are competitive!

TheNightIsDark Tue 14-Jan-14 19:31:09

Euthath how do you mean? Apparently some parents had complained that the school weren't giving the children enough homework shock so they gave all 40 children that to do.

DS used to come out with all sorts of crap junk modelling. He loves it but it was always a hassle trying to slyly put it in the recycling!

Euthah Tue 14-Jan-14 19:49:09

Dd is in reception and doesn't get any homework. They can choose their own books and change as they want, but I don't think their is an expectation that they'd get through two in a weekend as well as doing other stuff. Some of them don't have books with words yet either.

I don't understand why the school has changed it's policy in response to parents asking - surely they set (or don't set) homework according to their scheme of work and professional judgement - not because some parents -who can't be bothered engaging with their own kids in a way that is stimulating- asked for homework?

And to set the same homework for all 40 kids with no differentiation is odd too.

headinhands Tue 14-Jan-14 19:53:47

It's just the same social skills you'd use in all the other situations where you know it would be a little inappropriate such as if a friend explained they were struggling financially and you'd just bought a 2nd home.

TheNightIsDark Tue 14-Jan-14 19:54:31

What's bugging me more than the homework is the reading scheme. DS didn't start until late November at this school and has been on pink band since. He was given 10 new key words last Monday, knew them by the Tuesday and hasn't struggled with any of the books since he started at the school. The teacher hasn't commented on any issues yet he hasn't moved up.

I'm wondering if everyone gets the same homework, reading books etc but that seems a bit odd.

DoItTooJulia Tue 14-Jan-14 19:57:09

Dd's teacher, at parents evening, has a colour coordinated spreadsheet in from of her with all of the classes' NC levels on and their progress, so green for exceeding target etc.

Its on the desk in front of her and she uses a ruler to show you where your child is. All of the parents looked at everyone's levels! So everyone knows where everyone else child is.

My dd had exceeded all of her targets and got the highest level in all the categories. The morning after parents evening a couple of parents came up to me and said how well their sons and daughters had done, and that there was a cohort of clever ones.....hmm

TheNightIsDark Tue 14-Jan-14 20:00:27

shock the teacher showed everyone the levels?!

DS was asking tonight why he couldn't go up to red books. I just gave him a level 3 ORT and he seemed happy enough. Other days he couldn't give a hoot about doing anything.

Could the homework be linked to he curriculum changes? I assumed it was preparing them for next year but one of the other mums said her yr2 child has only just done tally charts!

DoItTooJulia Tue 14-Jan-14 20:01:59

Oh and the TheNightIsDark, I would totally not worry about the school reading bands and his books. Do your own thing at home, read with him, give him access to a range of books (as Im Sure you do already!) and that's where his reading skills will come from, honestly.

I gave up with school reading schemes, now dd is in Y4 she reads the books out of courtesy, but will read 6 long chapter books a week from home, (costs me a fortune in kindle books) You also get to choose what they get. Most school books are boring and stale and just not interesting enough! (Imo)

TheNightIsDark Tue 14-Jan-14 20:05:38

grin I've been collecting books for the DCs so they have a nice selection from across genres. They all love books which is good. DS likes non fiction at the moment so I read those with him and he'll ask what words say.

He was scaring DP earlier with the key words. DP was shoring DS a word for half a second and covering it whilst DS just went "school", "play", "have" etc in a rather bored manner.

I'll keep giving him a variety of books at home and let the school do their thing.

I'll fight the urge to be that parent who prints off the 100 high frequency words and highlights what her DS knows. I will also fight the urge to put it in his bookbag

DoItTooJulia Tue 14-Jan-14 20:05:59

Cross post!

She didn't actually show them the levels exactly, they were just there for everyone to see IYSWIM?

Euthah Tue 14-Jan-14 20:24:51

I still think two books is too many. If you can read, it's not a problem, but then nor is it educationally valuable. If you can't read, and the books are at the right level, reading them is quite hard, and you'd be better reading one book twice I'd imagine.

It just reads to me as homework set without much thought for what benefit it might bring, which given that it seems to have been set not because the school wanted to but because some parents wanted it to be set is perhaps not surprising.

Also, as other have said, reading scheme books are dull. I don't think Dd has read more than 4 or 5 since September.

columngollum Tue 14-Jan-14 20:42:58

Eutah, I don't think reading scheme books are supposed to be approached as proper story books. They're dull for educational reasons! They're supposed to have lots of reading theory incorporated into them. (Whether or not you actually believe that is another matter entirely.) But anyway, supposing that either you believe it, or you're willing to go along with it in order not to rock the boat, then you read them dutifully and sign the reading diary.

My hope is that reading them helps someone in the school somewhere (maybe the teacher and the literacy coordinator) even if the books don't actually help my daughter.

simpson Tue 14-Jan-14 22:01:35

The relationship between DD and reading scheme books is finally over!!

<<does happy dance>>

TheNightIsDark Tue 14-Jan-14 22:13:47

envy simpson grin

headinhands Tue 14-Jan-14 22:19:53

It's never struck me as overly important what band/colour my child is on at school. Reading is a whole life skill, not a school skill. Getting stressed about the possibility that your dc might be on a level too easy is stress wasted.

Imagine that HV's came and assessed your toddlers for walking levels every few weeks. Even if they said 'oh your dc is a level 3' which you deemed technically lower than where your dc was functionally then so what? You're dc isn't only walking in front of the HV so where the HV pegs them isn't going to matter too much.

Similarly there are ample opportunities for your dc to read outside of their scheme at school and it would be apparent quite quickly if your dc was given a band considerably below their ability. If it's a bit below it's not an issue. Actually better below than above, that can really put them off.

simpson Tue 14-Jan-14 22:30:04

Headinhands - totally agree, the books DD was getting were so below what she reads (and understands) at home it was a joke.

But finally the school have realised this and have given her an appropriate book.

If it was just a couple of levels, I would have dropped it and done my own thing (as we have been doing).

To me its more important for my DD to have a book that she wants to read and will enjoy rather then scheme books.

OwlCat Tue 14-Jan-14 22:33:56

My DC is very advanced at reading and top of her reception year of 60, even though she coudn't read before school and is late summer born. I'm pleased for her because she was late to walk, jump, etc compared to other children and I think that the reading is good for her confidence as she has found something that she's good at. Parents at her school don't appear to be competitive but I would still never discuss where she is at unless I was asked specifically. The only person I've actually discussed it with is a friend whose DC of the same age is at a different school and is way ahead of my DC, as I felt that I wouldn't be perceived as boasting!

Euthah Wed 15-Jan-14 08:15:39

I guess by your logic though, OwlCat there will be some parents who can't discuss progress with anyone without lying or being seen as boasting.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 15-Jan-14 09:13:06

I have never discussed it with anyone so much so even my ExH, her Daddy doesn't realise just how bright she is.
At parents evening last year three teachers said to me ' you are aware she really is very bright' - Umm yes who do you think talks to her about mitochondria etc.

Frusso Wed 15-Jan-14 09:22:53

. I'll fight the urge to be that parent who prints off the 100 high frequency words and highlights what her DS knows. I will also fight the urge to put it in his bookbag .

Don't fight it. It's so satisfying.

columngollum Wed 15-Jan-14 09:30:55

I agree that the difference between school and home books can be huge. But some teachers are saying the difference is supposed to be like that.

I guess the argument centres around what "supposed" actually means.

MoominMammasHandbag Wed 15-Jan-14 09:42:29

My DS is a very bouncy, rumbustious, scruffy, smiley boy. He is also very bright. Him and his best friend, who is a gentle, studious little lad, are way ahead of the rest of the class, in a very high achieving middle class school.
Because he doesn't fit the stereotype I don't think lot's of the other parents realised he'd was bright for a long time. Then I got the odd comment after play dates, about his reading level, because his book had apparently slipped out of his reading bag. hmm

TheNightIsDark Wed 15-Jan-14 09:43:25

Frusso I'll stop fighting it then grin

It's DS who keeps asking me about books and levels. I might just ask the teacher what they need to do to move up and mention he's asked.

Iamnotminterested Wed 15-Jan-14 10:34:42

I discuss my DCs with one friend, good or bad, warts and all, successes and concerns. We have oldest DCs in the same year at secondary school and younger ones at primary. She knows that if I mention something about DD2 its with genuine surprise as DDs progress and attainment shocks me frankly, she'll be starting on level 6 literacy work soon and she's only in year 5. I do, however, steer clear of FaceBook and all the associated pitfalls of trumpeting about your offspring on there.

SlightlyTerrified Wed 15-Jan-14 12:44:32

People are crazy when it comes to children's levels etc. My friend's DS is in the same class as mine and she lies about where her child is in the class and what reading level he is just to get me to tell her what my DS is doing. I have posted about her before and I got flamed but she is actually crazy about it all and getting worse.

leolion Wed 15-Jan-14 14:05:52

Stealth boast thread or what?!! You poor people with your 'very bright' children and their not so bright classmates. Amazed at how all the people on this thread seem to be offering advice to the op but slipping in 'my child is very bright too' nonsense. Are there any 'average' kids in the world anymore?

SlightlyTerrified Wed 15-Jan-14 14:17:43

leolion that is compeltely unfair, people are sympathising and giving advice as they have been in the same or similar position. This is the sort of comment that always happens on these threads and turns it a bit nasty. Unnecessary in this situation I think.

I cannot help having a bright child but I also have a pretty average one too who I think is awesome. I also use my experiences with him on MN and if you are on MN regularly you will know that there is a wide range of experiences and levels of children talked about on here.

columngollum Wed 15-Jan-14 14:20:03

I can't really understand leolion's problem. How does it help to reply, no, I don't have to lie; my daughter's stupid?

leolion Wed 15-Jan-14 14:30:40

Apologies if my post seems harsh. Just get fed up of these first world problems. Slightlyterrified-you say that people are just coming on here to sympathise. There is nothing to sympathise about, this is a complete non- issue. I think the op knows what the 'right' and gracious thing is to do in this situation, without having to ask.

I shall slope off now......Didn't mean to be nasty.

Huitre Wed 15-Jan-14 14:37:13

How is it a non-issue? Sadly, the culture in schools generally is such that if your child happens to be doing especially well (possibly without much particular input from the parent), other parents somehow see this as a threat or think you are doing their child down in some way by admitting to it. It does feel horrible when you have to minimise your child's achievements and sort of pretend that they're not really doing as well as they are. Yes, of course you do not have a problem compared to someone who is worrying that their child is falling behind. But that doesn't mean it's a total non-issue. It can be very embarrassing and if you don't think on your feet quickly it's useful to have some stock responses ready so you don't end up saying something that you may later regret.

TheNightIsDark Wed 15-Jan-14 14:49:32

Actually Leo my DD is average. I did also say several times in no way do I think DS is gifted. He just has a good memory and enjoys maths weirdo

TheNightIsDark Wed 15-Jan-14 14:51:06

Also it wasn't meant to be a stealth boast. More of a do I ignore the conversations and look rude or nod along pretending DS is doing the same.

Apologies if anyone thought I was boasting. I haven't got older children so school gate politics is a new thing for me.

SlightlyTerrified Wed 15-Jan-14 14:55:58

It's only a non-issue if you have never experienced the nastiness that some parents project if their child is not 'top of the class'. I think Huitre puts it pretty well.

If someone comments about my son I often say yes but he's rubbish at this or that, I feel awful but I feel I should justify him being good at one thing by saying he's bad at another.

columngollum Wed 15-Jan-14 17:30:28

If you can it's better not to get involved at all. It's easier all round.

Euthah Wed 15-Jan-14 19:08:26

Thank you, Leo, for demonstrating exactly why people might feel the need to lie about their child's progress.

RockinHippy Wed 15-Jan-14 20:20:49

It is so sad reading this isn't it, I find that its perfectly okay to discuss SN, sporting prowess or anything else at the school gates, but woe betide anyone who owns up to having kids who love to learn & do so easily & don't whatever you do mention the dreaded G&T -

Mines a very bright one too, has exceeded in everything all through school, yet I have to play it down, have never talked about it to anyone there & DD herself didn't know she was on the G&T list until more recently, as Ive heard them bitching already about the ones who they guess to have the brighter kids - probably me too[rollseyes]

I have occasionally had a DM of a DC who are not in DDs groups in any subjects, so not doing so well, go on & on about how bright their own DCs is & how the school fails gifted kids, no G&T scheme there etc etc - as her DS should be on it - even telling me she had complained to ofstedshock I just knew I had to nod & smile -

Ive had another DM who quite aggressively cornered me demanding to know who tutors DD out of school & how often as seems she had somehow seen the parents evening paperwork when working at the school hmm She refused point blank to believe that no one does - I found myself having to pacify her by reminding her there was quite an age difference between hers - the youngest in class & mine who is an older one - that seemed to calm her a bit, but I know she still doesn't believe me.

So yes, nod & smile & speak without talking - lots of great phrases that are my school gate mantra too above smile

RockinHippy Wed 15-Jan-14 20:25:03

Stealth boast thread or what?!! You poor people with your 'very bright' children and their not so bright classmates. Amazed at how all the people on this thread seem to be offering advice to the op but slipping in 'my child is very bright too' nonsense. Are there any 'average' kids in the world anymore

& there you go, right on cue

Point made - this is the saddo attitude that means we cannot just be proud that our DCs are bright - sad world sad

simpson Wed 15-Jan-14 20:31:26

RockinHippy - could not agree more. Had parents eve for both DC on Monday and did not realise how strong academically they both are (well I knew they were bright) to the point where DS is not being challenged at all in maths (I saw his numeracy book - was shock at what he was doing, and not in a good way sad).

So am going to have to think of a plan B for him.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 15-Jan-14 20:40:10

I'm afraid I used to lie but now just answer honestly, see the reaction and walk away.

Notaddictedtosugar Wed 15-Jan-14 20:40:34

I seem to have completely missed all this. No one has ever asked how DD is doing at school. I know she is doing well, from talking to the teacher, but I have no clue how she compares to the other children in her class, at all, and I don't really want to.

TheNightIsDark Wed 15-Jan-14 20:58:14

You're lucky Notaddicted. There's a fucking Facebook group for DS's reception class set up by the alpha mummies grin

Sometimes I'm bloody tempted to shout at them what he can do if only to stop the judgey looks I get because I committed the grand crime of having a child before 25.

But then I would be completely blanked so I'm just going to not say anything unless directly asked how X is doing. Then I'll smile and say really well thank you and walk away.

Frusso Wed 15-Jan-14 21:31:14

It gets worse thenight wait til they have the phonics testing in year 2. And sats. And levels at parents evenings. Oh and sports day. grin

TheNightIsDark Wed 15-Jan-14 21:34:06


We had the nativity. That was bad enough. DS burst into tears on stage and had to be carried off. Obviously this is a stealth boast at how moved he was by Mary and Joseph's plight.

I hate SATs. They don't mean anything except a boost or plummet for a schools reputation angry

MoominMammasHandbag Wed 15-Jan-14 21:50:29

Thing is, to me, all this stressing about how bright they are and how well they are doing in primary is pretty irrelevant really.
My two eldest were just like little DS when they were in primary; absolute sponges for knowledge. But at secondary school they had both had a very poor work ethic and seriously underachieved. DS1 has come through ok in the end and is now in a good university, but he is by no means the straight A student he really should have been. DD1 is similar, though she has recently found her niche and is working hard now in sixth form.
So I take little DS2's excellence now with a pinch of salt really. In the long run maybe learning to work in school is of more value than learning to coast.

TheNightIsDark Wed 15-Jan-14 21:53:18

That's why I'm not up in arms about homework. I'm trying to get him used to the fact that every night he does some reading or key words and every Sunday he does homework.
The problem is in class he's the fidgeting talking one but the teacher says he's not the worst!

I figure the novelty of homework and school will wear off soon and I'll be the one starting "how do I get DS to do homework" threads grin

simpson Wed 15-Jan-14 22:02:03

God, an FB page shock

I am not bothered by homework at all to be fair, whether DD gets any or not.

TheNightIsDark Wed 15-Jan-14 22:03:35

Yup a Facebook page. Such riveting posts have included headlice updates, reminders for £10 per child donations for teachers Xmas presents (40+ children in reception shock) and every post is started "hello mummies of our lovely reception children"

headinhands Wed 15-Jan-14 22:05:54

A Fb isn't an entirely bad idea though is it. You need the alpha mummy types to have the confidence to start that sort of thing. It could be quite valuable for connecting people.

TheNightIsDark Wed 15-Jan-14 22:08:20

It can also isolate though. It's just a more public school gate clique really.

Huitre Wed 15-Jan-14 22:22:10

A Facebook page doesn't have to be awful. Ours is quite nice. It's just reminders about events (cake sales and pub nights and such) and a bit of congratulation for the PTA who do a job that I wouldn't want to do and do it pretty well. I like being able to say well done to people who I don't always see at school and have given up a lot of time to raise money to buy nice things for the children.

£10 donation per child for presents for teachers is just stupid, though. Ours does a teacher wishlist where you can buy actual practical things that would be helpful ranging from pritt sticks and tissues right up to the big ticket playground toys etc. There's something that everyone can afford and feel helpful for buying.

simpson Wed 15-Jan-14 22:23:00

FB can be great for a disorganised mum like me who loses the spelling list, forgets what the homework is etc blush

But not for the show offs.

TheNightIsDark Wed 15-Jan-14 22:25:04

I did say the donation was ridiculous and that having a non set amount donation would be better. I was ignored grin

The area the school is in though is wealthy so they don't seem to grasp that for me some £10 is a few days electric blush

TheNightIsDark Wed 15-Jan-14 22:26:43

It is quite handy for non uniform reminders etc.

It just makes me feel a bit crap sometimes. It's my own fault for looking on it though!

simpson Wed 15-Jan-14 22:28:22

"Hello mummies of our lovely reception children"


I have never given Xmas presents to teachers before (but have always given an end of year thank you one) till this year as DD's TA and teacher are fab smile

simpson Wed 15-Jan-14 22:29:00

But I did not spend a tenner.


simpson Wed 15-Jan-14 22:29:08

But I did not spend a tenner.


TheNightIsDark Wed 15-Jan-14 22:31:44

I gave alpha mummy a tenner <mug> next year DS can just make a nice card.
His TA and teacher are amazing though so I don't feel like I've lost a tenner. He has bowel issues and they've not once moaned about cleaning him up and just said "he's not the first and he won't be the last". Which after having to move his school is a fucking relief!

Huitre Wed 15-Jan-14 22:34:59

We're in a wealthy area too but with a v mixed intake at the actual school, which is rather unpopular (mainly due to the mixed and varied intake). I know what you mean. Someone who moved into the area was telling me that at her last school people were giving £20 and £30 each for teacher presents (she's class rep and was organising the collection and asked for my advice). I said 'there are parents at this school who would struggle to find a couple of quid so far better to make it clear that everyone can sign the card even if they haven't given anything and get something small with no pressure' etc. And she did, to her credit. I like our school. Most of the parents/PTA are pretty sensible. It's just the odd one or two who I want to give a good talking to!

TheNightIsDark Wed 15-Jan-14 22:45:58

The child's name only went in the card if the parent gave money hmm the teachers gave out thank you cards at the start of this term. Made me feel horrible for the children who's parents couldn't afford it or wasn't on the Facebook page.

Danann Thu 16-Jan-14 02:09:17

There is a Facebook group? That is my idea of hell! Not that I'd be allowed to join because I'm only 25 and have 2 kids, so the alpha mummies at DDs school won't talk to me and the alpha mummies at DS's school are all friends with my parents/their kids are friends with my brothers and sisters (small catholic school and very large family) so they treat me like I'm still 12

Danann Thu 16-Jan-14 02:16:11

and I've never spent £10 on presents either, I usually get the kids to help me make a card, bathbombs, a candle and some cakes.

Euthah Thu 16-Jan-14 12:25:27

Headinhands I like your health visitor//walking analogy, but I don't think it works. In your analogy, the assessment of your child's walking wouldn't stop them trying more challenging walking skills, and they'd get better, whereas only being given books you can already read makes it hard to improve.

If your child is consistently given books that are too easy, they will be more likely to get bored, or fail to see the point in reading books - and they won't have much opportunity (in school) to get better - which given that they spend the majority of their non-tired hours there during term time specifically so they can learn things, cannot be right. DD got a new book yesterday. She read it to herself, in her head, in about 2 minutes - but (and this might be me being paranoid) I am sure I clocked at least one parent weighing up what colour band it was.

columngollum Thu 16-Jan-14 12:30:52

Euthah, I guess it all depends on what you believe the school reading book is actually for. If you believe it is for reading/decoding/comprehension improvement, then yes, a too easy book is no good. But if you believe it's for consolidation, confidence, testing/assessing then a too easy book is about right.

And what it's for depends on who you talk to...

Euthah Thu 16-Jan-14 13:17:31

I fear we are getting off topic now, but you can't use a too easy book for assessment as it won't allow a distinction between 'can do this and no more' and 'can do this and lots more'. DD has only gone up 1 level since pre-school and by not giving her challenging tasks I feel the school is not allowing her how to learn to learn. But that really is off-topic; I'm not going to lie to school about it smile

columngollum Thu 16-Jan-14 13:25:30

But that's not fair to assessments in general, because you might only want to know about the "can do this" topics. (A driving test is such a test. You might be a great formula one driver, but your examiner won't find that out.) We got the wrong book once and comments about reading dates, foreign names and all kinds of things. Having found all that out the teacher still hunted out the old books again.

Sometimes people want not to know about all the abilities they're not specifically checking for.

TheNightIsDark Thu 16-Jan-14 21:35:09

Apparently DS hasn't gone up a reading level yet because he's going too fast and they don't know if he's reading the words or guessing them from repeated refrains.
She did say he was very bright it's just getting him to focus that's the issue.

So that's the reading drama dealt with and I haven't heard homework mentioned for a while so I've avoided that one smile

VworpVworp Thu 16-Jan-14 23:16:02

Our school don't move you up a reading level until your writing catches up to your reading.

Poor DS- he's on ORT stage 3 (I think...) but reading Tintin by himself at home.

SlightlyTerrified Fri 17-Jan-14 14:49:47

Vworp - that seems odd as often reading and writing levels are miles apart, at one point DS1 had a difference of a whole NC level but it wouldn't make sense to have kept him back with his reading as the more they are reading then their writing is likely to improve. I would be very unhappy with this.

Onesiegoddess Sat 18-Jan-14 09:17:45

Three suggestions

Use reading owls on line. Lots of biff and chip books to be read on a computer at all stages.

With school mums I'd just joke and stay quiet. Some parents are very competitive.

With proper friends I'd be brutally honest about my boys strong and negative points. id want the best for their kids and they would want the best for mine.

columngollum Sat 18-Jan-14 09:22:55

The dynamic between proper friends and school gate mums is completely different, by definition.

BerylThePeril44 Sat 18-Jan-14 09:32:40

Huge sigh!!!!! From a primary school teacher.

TheNightIsDark Sat 18-Jan-14 11:36:02

No homework this week. Not sure if they had too many complaints!
And no comment on last weeks to say it's been looked at so next time I won't be making sure it's done straight away.

What's the sigh for Beryl?

The not going up a level until they can write seems very strange! You don't need writing to be able to read.

TheNightIsDark Sat 18-Jan-14 11:37:15

Thanks onesie. We signed up to Oxford owls. We have a vast range of ORT and songbirds phonics here but it's only DD (3) who likes them. She obviously doesn't read them she just has an odd biff and chip obsession!

SlightlyTerrified Sat 18-Jan-14 12:56:00

What's the huge sigh for?

BerylThePeril44 Sat 18-Jan-14 15:17:09

Parental obsession and competition with reading book levels. Children learn to read at different rates and its important to foster a love of books alongside this. The home reading scheme supports the reading which is taught within school and is not the be all and end all! Also important to develop confidence and build self esteem...not all books have to be 'difficult.' Children can learn to decode letters and sounds pretty quickly...doesn't mean they will master the higher order comprehension skills at the same pace or have the maturity to understand trickier texts.

columngollum Sat 18-Jan-14 15:56:28

Then take all the levels and colours off the scheme books and just call them all books. Problem solved.

SlightlyTerrified Sat 18-Jan-14 16:12:06

So Beryl would you keep all children in your class on the same reading level even if their ability (including comprehension) was a lot higher? Surely it's not about actual reading levels but about making sure children are given the right work for them.

simpson Sat 18-Jan-14 16:32:51

But some kids do master inference/comprehension early (DD) and was refusing to read the school books (so we didn't at home) but it was also starting to show in school as well.

tiredbutnotweary Sat 18-Jan-14 22:53:58

Beryl I think some parents would feel frustrated at the implication that they can't determine for themselves the correct level, as if most parents are so driven by competition that they would happily have their child struggling and frustrated either with decoding or not following the nuances of the plot.

Many parents, especially those taking an active interest in teaching their children to read, are more than capable of realising when a text is a good fit for their child.

Some schools, at least anecdotally from MN posts, have bizarre rules, from insisting that a child reads every book in each stage to the example above where writing is used to determine the reading level.

I am grateful that in reception DDs school listened & responded to me when I thought she was ready to move up a band. They always assessed, using PM benchmark & always moved her up at least 1 band.

Now, in yr 1 & 5 & 3/4 she's on copper/brown (the level above lime) & not only loves the scheme books (she always has) but reads for pleasure too.

As for comprehension skills well surely learning new things you don't already know about is one of the benefits of reading? For example currently reading Spider McDrew which uses the phrase "you're a hopeless case". No she didn't know what the phrase meant - I would never say it to her, so why would she. She knows what it means now because I explained it to her.

Despite not knowing everything (you know, being 5 and er a human that will hopefully be learning new things all her life), I (& her teacher) know her comprehension skills are more than ample to read at this level.

In The Wonderful Wizzard of Oz (her current bedtime story that we read to her) there is a line:

"All the same" said the Scarecrow, "she needs a heart as much as the Tin Woodman."

The Scarecrow is referring to Oz, who had appeared to him as a "most lovely lady", "beautiful creature" that "looked upon him [the Scarecrow] sweetly." I asked DD why the Scarecrow thought the lady needed a heart as much as the Tin Woodman. She replied "the lady wasn't kind" ... "because she wants the Scarecrow to kill the Wicked Witch of the West." Which I think most would agree is a lovely bit of inference on her part.

If schools have rules that inhibit appropriate differentiation, or if the default view is that parental information about their DCs capabilities can't be trusted then this is, in my view, a disservice to children.

Thankfully I think the majority of schools & parents get the balance right most of the time. But what is the justification for the schools engaging in this limiting behaviour?

TheNightIsDark Sat 18-Jan-14 23:01:05

Very well put tired

Keeping a child on an easy level will bore most of them. Sure fire way to put them off reading.

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