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Teachers - do you expect that parents do a lot of teaching at home?

(29 Posts)
Gemma191 Sat 07-Oct-17 11:38:00

Please be honest!

Am specifically thinking of P1/early years teachers.

My son started school in September and from what I gather he seems really behind.

He wasn't taught to write a nursery and as far I'm aware, this is normal.

He is now expected to write his name on every piece of work, but I'm not sure how to get him to do this. I thought at school it would be a gradual build up focusing on a letter or sound at a time.

His homework in the first week was to learn to write his name. 6 weeks in and we still haven't got past the first letter, he has 8 letters in his name! Does his sound like a problem.

The homework in general is causing severe distress, he really hates it. He doesn't get home until 6 and by the time we get dinner and have story he's really tired.

I've asked if we could please have the homework at the weekend but the teacher said no. I just thought I'd have time to work with him more on Saturday and Sundays, I have other children so, like everyone else, it's hard to fit things in.

We've tried writing on the ground with chalk, using markers on a big page and even painting but his attention and concentration is v v short.

Apparently there ar children in the class who can read 100+ words.

I've printed the numbers 1-10 outnand stuck them on the fridge, he can say the number when I point to them but he can't write them.

What can I do to help him? We read lots at home (well dad and I read to him) and he seems to have a good understanding of what is happening in the books but I still feel he is behind.

First child at school so I don't know if I'm worrying too much.

JennyBlueWren Sat 07-Oct-17 13:46:23

I've taught P1 (and nursery) in the past. Children come into P1 with different previous experiences. At my previous school some children had pushy parents, some were neglected and had SW involvement and most were generally played with and parents took some interest. As a teacher you don't expect parents to do more than care for their child and show an interest but it does help if parents continue some of the work we do at home.

It doesn't matter whether other children can read 100s of words or not! Your child needs work which is right for him. Can he hold a pencil? Can he make a purposeful mark (e.g. straight line/ circle when he wants that)? Can he follow a straight or wiggly line? Does he recognise his name and individual letters in it? Does he even know that words are made up of letters?

As for what you can do: I would recommend meeting up with the teacher and discussing your son's needs with her. What can she recommend that you do? What is working in class? You cannot do homework at night if he only gets home at 6. Is he at a childminder who could do a little with him? Otherwise make it clear that weekends are the only time you can (and do) work with him. Don't spend all weekend working though especially if it is likely to turn your son off.

As for practical suggestions: as a teacher I would also encourage him to draw with chalks, paints or in sand (whatever would interest him to practise). To start with just encouraging him to do this, then with particular shapes/patterns and then introducing his initial letter.

If he recognises his name I would play games where he was "building" his name e.g. with duplo with letter stickers on, with magnetic letters, with foam bath letters, with cars with letter stickers on (on a car park with the letters in the right spaces).

Then, I would draw straight and wiggly lines with a highlighter, laminate them, and then have child go over them with a whiteboard pen. I would do the same with child's initial letter and when they've mastered that, their name.

For each of these areas actually I would recommend you go on Pinterest and type in what you want e.g. "teach numbers" and his interests "dinosaurs" and see what comes up.

JennyBlueWren Sat 07-Oct-17 13:47:26

Sorry just realised that was very long! I hope it is of some help and I'm happy to give you more ideas if you'd like them.

LottieDoubtie Sat 07-Oct-17 13:54:28

Surely the homework wasn't 'teach him to write his name?' With no guidance as to how you might do that?

babybythesea Sat 07-Oct-17 13:56:48

Not a teacher but I do have a Dd who also started school in Sept and your son sounds very similar to her. She can recognise 3 letters, and trace over them. She can have a stab at writing her name but several of the letters aren't recognisable and if you ask her for the letters from her name in isolation (eg, can you write a 'y' for me?) she can't do it. She doesn't recognise any numbers. At all. She's my second, and worlds apart from my first who could do all her letters and numbers by this stage. The difference is, DD2 is not interested. At all. Couldn't care less. DD1 wanted to master this trick called reading. DD2 doesn't. I'm not worried. I do bits with her but only when she's in the right mood as I don't want to put her off further. I just ask her what certain letters are if I'm reading to her, and if she wants to draw I suggest she writes a letter first. I think in the long run you do more harm by pushing - bet they learn a bit later and enjoy it than find it a chore from the outset. I'd have a word with the teacher but I wouldn't be doing work at 6. Far too late. He'll get there.

Pengggwn Sat 07-Oct-17 14:04:38

If the students have been learning to form letters and sounds at school, then learning to write their name is fine as homework: it extends learning that has already been put in place at school. Otherwise no.

crunchtime Sat 07-Oct-17 14:04:46

you say he has a long name-is there a shortening he could use? My son has a 9 letter name but use a 4 letter shortening which made it all much easier.

A tray with a layer of glitter in is great for practising letters.
How old is he and when was his birthday?

magpiemischeif Sat 07-Oct-17 14:09:40

You could also attach a small toy, as a pencil topper, to the top of a pencil. Do a similar thing for a pencil you hold. Draw the letters of his name quite large on a learned sheet of paper. Then play 'chase' or 'follow the leader' with the toys attached to the pencils. They have to keep to the letter 'paths' or 'roads' and keep the points pressed to the paper.

gillybeanz Sat 07-Oct-17 14:11:29

It's a long time since mine were little, so can't help with the specifics.
However, in answer to your question parents are expected to do a lot with their children at home as schools aren't always enough.
It gets worse and more time consuming as they get older if you are a parent interested in their education.

1frenchfoodie Sat 07-Oct-17 14:16:39

Lovely suggestions JennyBlueWren, hope they help OP.

SquidgeyMidgey Sat 07-Oct-17 14:20:34

I'm a secondary teacher so my hopes irrelevant and I don't have any other practical suggestions. When mine were in school nursery they could write bits and bobs including their names. My DS' writing was actually quite lovely but then the school nursery enforced bloody cursive writing and it's all gone downhill from there, his writing is still pants and he's in high school now.

It sounds to me like there are some seriously pushy parents in that class, your D'S is probably quite fine in his development just that you're seeing the effects of hot-housing in the kids he's in with. Please don't panic, he will get there just keep it fun and stop when he needs to.

Maximummonkey Sat 07-Oct-17 14:35:24

I remember this so well. When my son started school he was told to learn how to write his six-letter name, for weeks he could only write three letters.
He took his GCSE exams in May and passed both English language and English Lit with flying colours.
All children learn at different speeds, try not to sweat about it.
We were told to put paper on a vertical surface for him to learn writing on, that did help a bit.

JennyBlueWren Sat 07-Oct-17 14:36:15

Good idea crunchtime my little brother couldn't spell his long name even when he was 10 partly due to dyslexia. DM's attempt to shorten it was squashed as it sounded like his friend's sister's name. Our head though came up with a great three letter name which has stuck! The family joke is that he still can't write his full name (we all struggled with our surname).

But glitter! shudder it's not December!

chocatoo Sat 07-Oct-17 14:36:52

I always made sure DD did homework and read with her but no more. I also let her watch CBeebies, etc. sometimes as some of the programmes are quite educational these days.
She's gone on to do really well academically.

BlackAmericanoNoSugar Sat 07-Oct-17 14:39:02

My DS has poor fine motor skills. When he was learning to write his name I used to do dot letters for him, you do his name as a series of dots for each letter and he writes over the top in a smooth line.

viques Sat 07-Oct-17 14:44:53

I wouldn't worry about writing numerals at the moment, what is great is that he recognises them. What he also needs to do is understand what they represent so you could play games with small bricks or toys. Show him a number and he has to see how quickly he can count out the right number of toys. can he put the number cards in order? can he do it backwards (rocket countdown) . can he tell you which number comes next in the sequence. Which number comes before? Do lots of counting, shoes in a row, pegs on a line, cars in the street , steps to the gate, stairs up to bed etc etc. When he is ready to start writing the numerals try saying the direction he needs to go. I used "around and zoom" for 2. "Around and around" , for 3 ," down around and a hat on" for 5, " down across and a leg " for 4 -school 4 not this 4! "Right around and down " for 9' , a race track noise for 8, etc. There are lots of online resources to show you where the starting places are for writing numerals.

for writing letters ask what script the school uses, some start off straight away with joining hooks, others don't, so check! concentrate on lower case letters except for the first letter of his name which should be a capital. as others have said, a lot of it is to do with the ability to make small controlled movements, which hands have to learn, making larger freer movements in sand, or using a brush and water or paint will help muscle development and hand eye coordination, as will activities like cutting, sticking, threading, tracing, building things with bricks, playing with jigsaws etc.

BlackAmericanoNoSugar Sat 07-Oct-17 14:47:10

I also remember printing off a lot of dot-to-dot pictures. It helps with counting and pencil control but it doesn't feel like homework.

PebblesFlintstone Sat 07-Oct-17 14:53:19

It doesn't sound like he's ready to write his name yet. I would focus on strengthening his finger muscles, using play dough/Plasticine, squeezing a peg etc. Then practise different types of straight/wavy/zig zag lines. This can be done with a finger, paint, in sand, drywipe marker as well as a pencil. Personally, I wouldn't keep pushing the name writing at home if it's stressing him out and I would say this to the teacher.

Liadain Sat 07-Oct-17 14:55:39

I think it depends very much on what the need is. In your case, no I wouldn't expect you to teach him to write his name, but I might suggest working on making his initials with playdough, paint etc. It's ok if it's revising work that's been done in school. It definitely does help and as a class teacher I just don't have the time I need to run 1 on 1 work with certain children.

If it was a social skills issue I would be suggesting activities like social stories, groups like Beavers etc (and have done in the past). I can think of another case where the parent took the child out of school all the time for ridiculous reasons - and I did state that I was not going to be held responsible for catch up work.

Having said that though, your son sounds like he's at an average level for starting school.

Mummyoflittledragon Sat 07-Oct-17 15:03:23

I remember what my dd wrote in the first couple of years was unrecognisable yet I could read and write recognisably before I went to school as I was learning with my elder brother. Even though he was 2 years older than me, he didn’t want to learn and I did so I was way ahead of him. My mother is a School ma’am type.

Despite dds writing being difficult to read in beginning, for the past 2 years so since yr3, her handwriting has been the best in her class and she was told last year it was the best in the school. My handwriting otoh despite being able to read aged 3 and write aged 4 is dire.

So just to say, children learn at different paces. I never did anything other than dot to dot type things with dd to trace over the letters.

Please don’t put your ds off by forcing him to do something he doesn’t enjoy. This will be counterproductive to his learning and will discourage him if anything. You’ve had some good suggestions and if he is really turned off by it all, it’s best to leave him as he will likely catch up very quickly when he decides he wants to read and write. The teacher should be telling you this.

sortingmyselfoutslowly Sat 07-Oct-17 15:30:55

Not teaching, no. I would like parents to talk to their children, encourage good manners, show them how to get dressed and use cutlery, play with them, give opportunities for mark making eg using chalks or drawing in sand, read them stories and give them exercise. My job is teaching and I'd rather not undo bad teaching of phonics etc.

Kokeshi123 Sat 07-Oct-17 16:07:57

I thought schools were supposed to be teaching synthetic phonics systematically, not training children to do party-pieces like painstakingly copy their name. What if their name is Phoebe or Chloe? It risks completely confusing children about what sounds the letters most often stand for.

mirime Sat 07-Oct-17 16:51:18

DS is four and has never been very interested in drawing, although I have tried gently encouraging him.

What's made a difference for him now he's in reception is having a magna doodle type toy. It was a cheap thing we bought on a long car journey. Now he's often drawing letters on it and showing me or we're doing letters together on it. He'll also play a phonics game on my phone and given that he never tells me what he's done in school apart from what he had for dessert and if anyone pushed over anyone else I'm astonished at how much he knows.

MakeItRain Sat 07-Oct-17 16:57:15

I teach EY and u wouldn't expect a 4 year old who gets home at 6pm to do anything other than have lots of cuddles and a bedtime story or two!
As a mum I did no hwk with my little boy when he was in Reception. He started knowing very few sounds and unable to write his name. He's a few years older now and is a good writer. I always read him stories though. I think that's the most important "homework" for young children.

MakeItRain Sat 07-Oct-17 16:59:00

I mean "I wouldn't", not "u wouldn't"!

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