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To be tearing my hair out about dd and school

(28 Posts)
tittybangbang Mon 19-Sep-11 16:33:47

DD just started in Y8 at the local comp. The school is 'outstanding' rated by ofsted, is well run and well resourced. But the pupil intake is from a very deprived area, so consequently the GCSE results are not the greatest. DD is in top sets for everything and is on the school's 'gifted and talented' register, whatever this means. Not much I think. She's refused to attend the additional sessions they run for bright kids, and actually, she's not really madly clever, just very sharp and quick, and with a very good memory. She's also very confident and articulate.

The thing I'm tearing my hair out about at the moment is the poor quality of the work she's doing at home. During year 7 she did about an hour, two hours at most of homework a week in total. She's been back a fortnight now and has done two pieces of work which took her about 30 minutes each. If I attempt any involvement in her homework she screams and shouts. She refuses to e

amicissima Mon 19-Sep-11 16:39:51

IME, they get less and less motivated from year 8 to year 11 when a panic sets in and they lunge at GCSEs (don't know how that works for early exams/modules). No help to you right now, sorry.

I wouldn't put up with shouting and screaming for anything. I recommend an icy 'don't speak to me like that' and walk off. Act as if she doesn't exist until she apologises. If she asks for anything (food perhaps!) just say calmly 'when you've apologised for your rudeness earlier'. Repeat as necessary. DO NOT ENGAGE!

tittybangbang Mon 19-Sep-11 16:43:06

Yarg - posted too soon!

Was going to add that she refuses to allow me to help her with her work. She won't explain what she's doing or why she's doing it (half the time I think this is because she doesn't really know what the purpose is herself. The work seems to be set in a really casual way with no clear guidance on what the she's supposed to be trying to achieve.

And off the work goes - with spelling and grammar mistakes, and usually poorly developed with very little thought or effort having gone into it.

And then we get the postcards home, saying what good work she's doing. Her teachers think the sun shines out of her arse, but I'm thinking - she's a bright girl and she's capable of doing better than this.

She really does very, very little work.

Those of you who've got their children in y8 - how much homework is normal? And how much input do you have? I'm very unhappy about the low expectations her school have of her and am wondering where to go next.

jetgirl Mon 19-Sep-11 16:43:26

Why don't you ring or email her form tutor to find out what hw is being set? Your dd presumably has a planner and hw timetable. You should find her teachers will be happy to talk over any concerns you may have.

squeakytoy Mon 19-Sep-11 16:52:11

Your daughter sounds exactly like me when I was that age... and you sound like my mum, so you really do have my understanding and sympathy. I was the daughter from hell.. I wouldnt do homework, I had way too much attitude, and all my school reports from the age of 13 onwards say that I was just wasting all my potential.

I did miraculously pull it together, and pass all my exams with surprisingly good grades despite all this though... and my attitude improved by the time I was 17 ... (I also have a very good memory too!)

I hated homework though, and thought it was an injustice... people who go to work are not regularly expected to go home and continue working, so why should children do 7 hours a day in a classroom then be expected to do another couple of hours each night at home.. I have no problem with schools expecting younger children to do reading at home with their parents, but even now 25 years after leaving school I would still have the same objections to excessive amounts of homework and the unfairness of it.

My mum and I would have regular screaming sessions until in the end she gave up, and just let me get on with it (or not as the case was). So I am sorry I cant offer much in the way of advice, but you are certainly not alone.

tittybangbang Mon 19-Sep-11 16:52:38

We've got a 'project' book for all subjects this term so she's supposed to know what she has do for each subject for the whole half term. But the tasks are set out in such a vague, limited way.
I think my main problem with the work that she's doing is that she's not clear what the purpose of iyt is. I'm not sure her teachers are half the time either.

We spoke to her form tutor about it several times last year, and she promised she'd make sure dd had her work written down in her homework diary so that she knew what she was supposed to be doing. But I'd look at what she'd written down and think 'what's the point of this homework?' There never seem to be any clear rationale for what they set, and dd has no idea what the aims or learning outcomes are supposed to be.

It just all seems so academically CRAP.

tittybangbang Mon 19-Sep-11 16:56:59

Thanks squeakytoy.

I feel that if I just let her get on with it in her own way I'm letting her down.

I know I shouldn't compare, but dd's best much less able friend who is exactly the same age has got into a top rated catholic girls school and is having a very different experience of learning. She's expected to put in the time at home, and as everyone else is doing it so does she.

I feel gutted that the school has such low expectations of dd. They say they don't and that they cater for all students, but how can they keep rewarding her and praising her for work which is done with so little effort?

aliceliddell Mon 19-Sep-11 16:57:09

Am I alone in thinking the homework thing causes us, the parents, a load of work and grief? They should do it at school.<slack parent>

squeakytoy Mon 19-Sep-11 17:01:47

You are not letting you down, she is letting herself down, but it will be many years before she realises it, and wishes she hadnt thrown a few of her chances away.

I dread to think how bad I would have been if the distractions of facebook, computers, mobile phones etc had been around in the 80's. sad

squeakytoy Mon 19-Sep-11 17:02:40

Alice, I agree with you there. I had detention every night.. I did my homework while I was in detention. grin

FlubbaBubba Mon 19-Sep-11 17:05:43

I am a teacher and am wondering why your DD is seemingly not interested in doing well, and I wonder whether the easy praise from the teachers for (in your words) not doing very impressive things is making it seem boring. Most of the bright children I've taught enjoy being challenged, but it sounds like she gets 'well done' letters etc despite handing in shoddy work. It's a shame she's not going to the extra G&T lessons.

I would definitely have a word with her tutor or class teachers if tutor isn't helpful. Put it as you have to us - that your daughter seems not to be putting in much effort but is still being praised, but isn't rising to challenge herself further.

FlubbaBubba Mon 19-Sep-11 17:07:00

squeaky I don't allow kids in detention to complete their hw - seems to defeat the purpose of them otherwise! grin

niceguy2 Mon 19-Sep-11 17:12:23

Sounds to me like a typical teenager who'd rather take the easy option out. And as Flubba says, if she's getting told she's great without really needing to apply herself then why bother working any harder.

I was like this when I was a teenager. I managed to do just fine on my GCSE's although I do confess I could have done better. But I do remember the running battles with my mother over my attitude, homework and general laziness.

aliceliddell Mon 19-Sep-11 17:18:54

The G&T things are set up almost as a punishment; extra days on weekends/holidays spent at school doesn't have an obvious appeal to the average hideous and evil hormonally challenged teenager.

Maryz Mon 19-Sep-11 17:27:40

I don't interfere with homework any more. I have come to the conclusion that eventually the teachers notice that they are taking the piss and sort it out.

The end result is the same - the work improves as soon as it becomes important (course work or exam preparation) or as soon as the teachers start issuing punishment work. I do mention it to teachers at p/t meetings, but I presume most teachers know when work isn't up to standard hmm.

Nothing I do makes any difference to the work done, just causes me stress and causes many, many rows at home.

I wish someone had told me this with ds1 and dd - I'm doing much better with ds2 grin.

gethelp Mon 19-Sep-11 17:34:19

Same in our house with ds, just started Yr 10 and seems to have had about 2 hours h/w so far since the beginning of term. In top sets. In an outstanding school. I think his work is appalling but apparantly it's miles better than most, according to him. Hope you're right about pulling it together for the exams.

plainwhitet Mon 19-Sep-11 17:39:07

I have two dds, one in year 9 and one in yr 11. The older one is at a small independent school; masses of homework, organised in a planner, everyone knows exactly what is to be done by when.
The younger is at a huge state school in special measures. The focus at the school has been to improve results in public exams, and it has been v successful at this, this year.
Lower down the school, in yrs 7, 8 and now 9, the homework is a disgrace, very similar to your situation. "Make a poster about ..." " fill in the gaps ...", random nights for the work, most nights last summer term, no work at all. This is not her failing to bring it home, there is no homework.
I had discussions with head of year as well as form tutor, nothing materialised.
I have had to come to the conclusion that homework will be unexciting, unchallenging and randomly handed out and in. She also is G and T in some subjects.
However ... for what it's worth, my advice to you would be:
Lay off your daughter re homework.
Go and see the head of year and try to get a plan from him/her as to what is to be done when.
Do a deal (bribery?) with your daughter re going to the G and T events.
Keep in touch with the school so that you and they can start to put on the pressure at the beginning of yr 10 and on from there.
I do think it is much better to keep your daughter generally motivated this year, which is a tricky one for most secondary children, if you possibly can. Arguing about rubbish homework does seem counter productive.

Scholes34 Mon 19-Sep-11 17:44:57

The main thing is to get your DD to understand why homework is important and this is fine if the homework is re-enforcing things that have been learnt in class. Where pupils are given something that seemingly takes them off on a tangent, that's more difficult. The hard work she does is to help her progress and have a good understanding of the subjects and that if she's letting anyone down by not doing the work, it's herself. As a parent, you should be able to spot where making a real effort is worth it, and where she can take her foot off the peddle.

Anyway, your DD has to know that she has one go at this, that to work at a steady level throughout secondary school years is more helpful than cramming everything in at the end. My DCs have the chance to do twilight classes at school (Latin, Spanish) and I've tried to get them to understand that they should make the most of this opportunity whilst it's there and free, as if they wanted to do it later, it's going to cost them.

Yes, people who go out to work don't usually carry on working once they're home, but school pupils don't have to run a household and look after the well-being of other people. However, if they think watching CBBC is more important than homework, they'll eventually realise it isn't.

I know it's hard, but you've just got to gently keep on at her, without seeming to nag.

I've a friend whose wife has just had their first baby. They think it's hard having sleepless nights at the moment. They don't realise that that's easy bit!

Scholes34 Mon 19-Sep-11 17:46:20

Also meant to say, our school - a state comp - has all homework listed on the school's website so you can check and your child can ensure they've got everything they need to know. Teachers are very responsive to e-mails.

Oakmaiden Mon 19-Sep-11 18:11:30

My son got hardly any homework in year 8 - and things don't seem much more organised in Year 9.

I would say, though, that by Year 8 if your daughter is a reasonably able child (which she sounds from your OP) then you really shouldn't NEED to get involved in her homework. She should be capable of organising and doing it herself - it could be that she knows this and it is one of the reasons to her loud objections to your interest. It might be that she perceives your interest as an indication that you don't trust her to be able to do it herself?

Mandy2003 Mon 19-Sep-11 18:18:18

This month's homework for Year 8s, top set, vastly improved comprehensive:

1. Cover your exercise books (they strung this out for a week and a half)
2. Draw a picture of Mecca in the Prophet Mohammed's time
3. Complete the table of Latin verbs
4. Do a mood board of fruit for Design Tech (2 weeks to do this)
5. Write about an explorer (2 weeks)
6. Find a poem with assonance

Numbers 2, 3, 5 and 6 could be completed by using the internet - not much thought required. Perhaps things will get more difficult soon grin

Feminine Mon 19-Sep-11 18:19:22

Totally agree with squeakytoy

That was me,that was my Mum ...and delightfully it is now my son (12)

Sympathy to you op I am still hoping my son gets his act together!

tittybangbang Mon 19-Sep-11 18:24:05

I'm just so disheartened by the basic.... crapness of the work she's doing. sad

She does piano outside of school with a really old fashioned teacher - very strict, quite rude and quite eccentric. This teacher gives her a bollocking if she hasn't practised. Threatens her with the sack if she doesn't pull her socks up - and dd knows she means it as this teacher always has a waiting list of children ready to step in and take dd's slot. DD's learned more with this teacher in 1 year than she did in 3 years with her school piano lessons. She really responds well to people having high expectations of her and putting on pressure. Except when it's me that's doing it. sad

Mamateur Mon 19-Sep-11 18:29:25

We had this. DN is at the local comp, Ofsted outstanding but rough intake in London, he got almost no homework. The school kept swearing he was given in but there was never anything in his homework planner. We kept signing it but the teacher never did. Lots of meetings came to nothing. All his work was things like 'write a paragraph about your favourite Simpsons episode'. hmm...He got 4 and 5 grades with a sprinkling of 6s. My nephew is 10 and regularly gets 5s but that's a whole other thread.

Admittedly DN's behaviour was quite bad and he was sent out of quite a few lessons so that did have an impact but this year, year 9, they are properly streamed and he's suddenly started getting lots of homework.

If you want to be evil you can get hold of the homework timetable (probably not volunteered' and write 'assume no homework given' where appropriate. MaryZ is probably always right grin though - things will hot up and the teachers will be more on her case.

At the moment DN is massively excited about gcse options and is working quite hard.

BakeliteBelle Mon 19-Sep-11 18:30:13

My DD hardly ever told me about her homework, used to kick up a fuss if she had any and produced shit work full of spelling mistakes that the teachers then didn't mark. This was in a big, 'outstanding' comprehensive (for outstanding, read 'oversubscribed, too big, with middle-class catchment area').

She is able (she's now at Uni and getting 2:1's and 1sts in her exams), but disorganised to the point that one teacher queried whether she had ADD. Don't assume an able child is an organised or engaged one.

Looking back, I would have been a lot more pushy and asked for direct email contact with teachers. The school was so distant and unapproachable and she was so resistant to me getting in contact with them.

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