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To think teachers overuse parents

(215 Posts)
RichTeas Mon 08-Dec-14 13:09:14

I am really starting to wonder about the received wisdom that parental input is crucial for a child's schooling success? Every politician and every teacher (especially in the state sector) repeats this mantra over and over, and clearly some parental teaching is not going to hurt, but is it really an efficient way of doing things? Most of us are not experts, and end up wasting time finding second rate examples or demonstrating old ways of calculating etc.. Not to mention the inevitable arguments from children who don't wish to be taught by parents. Teachers seem quite happy to assign hours of homework at primary with the cheerful reminder of not to spend more than 20 minutes on it, meanwhile in the school they're doing all manner of arts and crafts, dress-up, cooking, while parents get stuck with the boring sit-down learning.

PenelopePitstops Mon 08-Dec-14 13:19:03

Sutton trust research shows that homework is the cheapest and one of the most effective ways to improve performance in pupils.

When schools talk about parental input I don't take that to mean teaching. It means being supportive of the school and rewards and sanctions. It means providing your children with the correct equipment and dressing them in uniform. It means ensuring they do homework. It means taking an interest in your child's progress and attitude in school.

MrsCakesPrecognition Mon 08-Dec-14 13:19:18

I don't recognise this situation at all. It certainly doesn't happen at my DCs' school.

PenelopePitstops Mon 08-Dec-14 13:20:40

In Lower primary it also means reading with your child. It is heart breaking to speak to secondary school pupils who can barely read and they say no one at home has ever tried to help them.

noblegiraffe Mon 08-Dec-14 13:25:15

Making sure your child gets enough sleep, has enough food and actually gets to school is all crucial. Yet sadly some children don't get this.

If the homework says spend 20 minutes on it, then spend 20 minutes on it.

RichTeas Mon 08-Dec-14 13:25:23

Well obviously I am not talking about the lowest end of the scale, where the children aren't wearing uniform properly or don't know how to read. That cannot be a high percentage of the total pupil population, so I am not sure if that's what the politicians are referring to.

TheWanderingUterus Mon 08-Dec-14 13:25:51

As others have said, it means delivering your child to school correctly dressed and with a full stomach.
Attending parents evenings
Listening to them read
Taking an interest in what happens at school
Practising spellings
Supporting the teachers in behaviour management
Answering their questions
Providing things they need for projects
Talking to them about the future and the importance of education

We had to sign a parent -school agreement stating this when we enrolled the DC in the state primary school they attend.

PenelopePitstops Mon 08-Dec-14 13:29:12

Richteas come to my school, almost 90% of pupils lack parental support in one area or another.

Parents see school as an entitlement and will ring up to cover for their children not doing homework etc. Parents will ring and argue against the uniform policy /attendance policy, you name it, they think it doesn't apply to them. Parental buy in is important.

I'm assuming you go to a middle class bubble school if you haven't seen or heard this attitude.

OfaFrenchMind Mon 08-Dec-14 13:30:17

And I would think that Parents overuse teachers! the kids are yours, obviously the teacher has to teach, but educating and tutoring goes to the parents!

misskangaandroo2014 Mon 08-Dec-14 13:31:16

Supporting the learning of your child is part of parenting and nothing to do with teachers offloading work?
There is absolutely no reason why parents are restricted to only doing homework with their children (OK there aren't hours everyday) my DC help with cooking weekly, do crafts weekly it's just part of life really hmm.

capsium Mon 08-Dec-14 13:40:53

I wonder how many posters on this thread work within the education system?

I think there can be far too much help expected from parents. My DC's school have been unable to adequately deliver whole areas of the curriculum without any parental input in the form of volunteers. My own DC attended school only part time for nearly a whole school year due to SEN issues even though there was a full time 1 to 1 fully funded by a Statement of SENs. I have been given IEPs, supposedly there to outline the school's provision (how they spent additional funding) which have detailed the support that I should give at home.

RichTeas Mon 08-Dec-14 13:43:12

PenelopeP, that must be awful. I can't imagine why parents wouldn't buy in. OfaFrenchMind, that doesn't sound like French thinking: they deposit les enfants at the school gate and let the school TEACH. Which is really what I'm saying should be happening here, less reliance by teachers on parents to get across aspects of the curriculum. misskanga Of course we all do cooking and crafts at home (when we can) and doing a bit in school for fun is perfectly acceptable too. I agree that parenting should be about support, good food, good sleep, washed, ready, etc., and I don't see a problem with extra parental tutoring if that's what the parent decides (11+ etc) but I think teachers should not be assuming that we are unofficial classroom assistants.

NoelleHawthorne Mon 08-Dec-14 13:44:51

I have three kids, I can count on ONE hand the times I have done homework with them

if they cant do it after having a go, then send it back!! Its wrongly set

Nanny0gg Mon 08-Dec-14 13:48:10

but I think teachers should not be assuming that we are unofficial classroom assistants.

With all due respect, the amount of homework your child brings home in no way resembles what a TA will be doing with children in the classroom.

And if you think meanwhile in the school they're doing all manner of arts and crafts, dress-up, cooking, while parents get stuck with the boring sit-down learning. is true then I suggest you ask to have a look at the class timetable. Even if you're talking Reception classes, this is not the case. Or are you just meaning the Christmas time curriculum?

ilovesooty Mon 08-Dec-14 13:49:18

If the OP thinks teachers spend their days doing arts and crafts and she thinks they're having such a fun time offloading the actual learning I'm sure there would be opportunities for her to enrol for teacher training.

Nomama Mon 08-Dec-14 13:50:24

No, you are right, You are not unofficial TAs. You are the parents.

If you choose to tutor your own child go for it. But don't be surprised if your methods are so at variance with those used in schools that your kid becomes disaffected and then a problem student because of their confusion.

Or, as friend of mine was constantly doing, don't take your 5 year old's drawing book and colour in between each line impeccably well and then hand it in for the Year 1 colouring competition. It sets standards your child with never be able to achieve and you will almost certainly mask your child's weaknesses, which is all we are really interested in - as these are the things we are educated and paid to address.

Basically, we are paid to educate your kid, not the version of it you choose to let us see. Play nicely, now smile

TimelyNameChangey Mon 08-Dec-14 13:50:24

I accept it because I know that it helps my children. Support from home really makes a difference in performance.

DuelingFanjo Mon 08-Dec-14 13:50:50

What penelope said.

when they say stuff like this they are referring to those parents who don't even see the importance of getting their kids to school other than for free childcare. The ones who have no books and don't join a library, who don't read to and with their kids.

They don't mean the middle class mumsnetter.

KittyandTeal Mon 08-Dec-14 13:51:29

I'd say regular reading, helping learn spellings and times tables are really essential things that need parental input. We don't have a huge amount of time at school to 'practice' spellings in the same way you do at home, you can never read too much with a child and regular practice of times tables anywhere and everywhere is invaluable.

Anything else is mainly because we feel are told my ofsted that home learning should be set.

I'm a teacher and I agree that hours of home learning are pointless.

Do the stuff most a parents do with their kids.

Nomama Mon 08-Dec-14 13:51:43

I have three kids, I can count on ONE hand the times I have done homework with them

if they cant do it after having a go, then send it back!! Its wrongly set.

grin Or your kid wasn't paying attention and now has no idea what they are supposed to be doing!

It really can be your child's fault, you know!

DazzleU Mon 08-Dec-14 13:52:26


I do think my DC would still be struggling if we hadn't stepped in.

Yet the yr1 teacher did get DD1 assessed, the yr 2 teachers did go up against that assessment and desperately try for help for DD1 before tell us the best way of helping her at home.

Problem was there was a limited amount of resource and children who were struggling more.

Two of ours did start to get help by KS2 - with some things. Though sometimes they help the offer isn't really as relevant to their needs as stuff done at home - but its what they have to offer at the school.

I dispute the assumption teacher like to give homework - I think that comes from Ofsted requirements and other parents who have DC who sail though education unimpeded and lack imagination.

Some of the stuff that is set - times tables and reading - is pretty basic and good stuff anyway. The project stuff - especially at the younger ages where it feel more like work for us parents that really grates.

Sutton trust research shows that homework is the cheapest and one of the most effective ways to improve performance in pupils.

I'm surprised as I though the research showed at least at Primary school it didn't have any effect. Once you get to secondary I image it would.

So yes I feel like this at times - I seem to end up doing a lot more of the basic stuff at home than the fun inspiriting stuff than we ever expected - but part of that is because my DC haven't sailed through. Then it can grate when their school time is spent singing or in plays or watching DVD - but they do get things out of these group events as well.

Their teachers care a lot and seem so much more professional than DH and mine were. They have them 6 hours but there seems so much to pack in.

I also think that to the internet and sites like this with the primary section full of parents and teachers sharing ideas and advice - that it's never been easier for parents to offer help or find resources that do help.

I know there are parents who just don't care about their DC - there a child in one of my DC classes that I've seen that with and it heart breaking. I do wonder what happens if and when they start to struggle and have no access to parental support.

noblegiraffe Mon 08-Dec-14 13:52:55

If schools need parental volunteers to help in the classroom, then I expect those volunteers will be well aware that it's not because the teachers are slacking off and fancy outsourcing the dull stuff. It's because schools are completely overburdened by expectations.

capsium Mon 08-Dec-14 13:53:15

Nanny I have taught my DC at home. Yes, my teaching will probably in no way resemble what a TA does as school as I have a degree in English and Education. I have felt I had to teach my DC, on occasions, because the education 'professionals' had some very limited ideas concerning what my DC was capable of. Thankfully, now my DC has progressed so much the Statement has ceased and is actually attaining above what is expected for his age group in many areas.

ghostyslovesheep Mon 08-Dec-14 13:53:38

Yabu parents SHOULD absolutely be invested in and involved with their child's education. This does not mean teaching or doing homework it means getting them to school, ensuring you back the school, attending parents events, allowing time and space for homework, encouraging and supporting your child ..:this is part of being a parent not 'being a teacher or TA'

BarbarianMum Mon 08-Dec-14 13:56:55

<<And I would think that Parents overuse teachers!>>

This. A large number of parents and many in authority now seem to believe that schools are responsible for teaching their children basic life skills (getting dressed, basic cooking, table manners, not dropping litter), plus all things educational, plus self-discipline, motivation, work ethic etc etc

We now have schools and preschools that have to run breakfast clubs in order to ensure children arrive fed in the morning (and I'm not talking teenagers who can't be bothered with breakfast here). Homework clubs cause so many people have so many more important things to do than support their child's learning.

I do agree that parents of children with SEN are generally often left to fill gaps in provision and that sucks - but there are a hell of a lot of lazy parents out there.

PS If homework is supposed to take 20 min then spend 20 min on it. Or speak to the teacher if its a persistent problem.

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