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AIBU To ask Y7/8/9 parents are you encouraging DC to do remote school work?

(71 Posts)
Chaotic45 Mon 15-Jun-20 15:41:56

My son is Y8. His school have asked they he does 3-4 hours of school work a day. The provision has been extremely patchy, with feedback only provided in French and some English, plus maths marked automatically by the website he uses.

Every day he has sat and slogged over this work. He has struggled with motivation, some of the more tricky work, PSFs that are hard to follow, links that are broken and the sheer boredom of dry worksheet after worksheet and work that TBH I feel in many cases is of questionable benefit.

I am still asking him, sometimes nagging even to make sure that he does all school work. He is now quite resentful, and sometimes the work gets drawn out all day as I try to give him some level of autonomy as to how and when it gets done.

He gets little praise from school for doing the work- just an occasional non personal group email. I've tried to tackle this with school but to no avail.

I'm aware from what he tells me and contact that I have with other parents that many of his peers are just not doing the work. I was initially quite shocked, but I'm beginning to wonder if I'm in the minority and have taken the wrong approach.

A parent I really respect who is also a primary school teacher told me yesterday that i should let DS off the school work and encourage him to enjoy this time. This has made me doubt myself further.

I guess I am very worried about the effect of no schooling for so long, and I don't believe it will be remotely easy to catch up- so I reacted by insisting he did all work. But maybe I'm on a hiding to nothing!

May I ask what whether other parents of similarly aged DC feel if is important that they do all remote school work?

I want to add that I'm aware many schools are providing excellent remote learning, and that I have raised my concerns with DS's school but they have no plans to improve the current set up.

OP’s posts: |
CoRhona Mon 15-Jun-20 15:59:12

Encouraging but not forcing.

DD (Year 7) has a Teams meeting once a week; her form tutor phones every few days; and if she isn't keeping up I get an email from school.

She is one of those who will do just enough to get through. I have suggested she makes models etc but she was not interested, although she has been doing a lot of extra curricular baking / cooking so I think, like adults, it's whatever interests them.

Noodledoodledoo Mon 15-Jun-20 15:59:25

I'm a teacher of a lot of KS3. In my school and in a broad level of sets, I am getting between 60-90% completion rate still. I have tried to mix it up, I am not very good at the feedback - marking is taking an massive amount of time - trying to check work on a photo is really hard work, I would normally for 50% of my lessons run through answers in class and pick up any issues there.

Personnally I would get him to keep focused on subjects he is opting to take if he does options at y8, or just core subjects and leave it at that for a few days. Speak to his tutor - I am getting loads of messages about students really struggling with motivation currently.

I try to mix up the style of lesson to break the monotony - for them and me! Perhaps get him to have a look at subjects he enjoys but using different resources.

Lots of lectures on line that might inspire if he is into Science/Maths things.

Maybe make him do x number of hours a day and thats it.

Noodledoodledoo Mon 15-Jun-20 16:00:12

I really feel for KS3 once again have been forgotton.

bottle3630 Mon 15-Jun-20 16:00:48

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

hoxtonbabe Mon 15-Jun-20 16:03:03

My sons school is ok, has about 4 hour shifts worth of work to get on with. They send regular “start pupil of the week” emails and most of the teachers give feedback, however they don’t update the parents often and unless we physically go into the kids accounts we are kept in the dark, so they changed the system last week to one where both parents and pupils can see if the work has been completed etc but now the teachers aren’t updating it so I have given up on that one. I don’t think they are challenging him enough and that is where I think they need to do online lessons but they wont so no point me mentioning it to the school and stressing them out about it as countless other parents have and the school have said they aren’t doing it.

He is top set and capable of doing better than what he has been producing of late but motivation is the problem. He can’t wait to get back to school, he’s had enough of all this remote learning especially as it doesn’t work well for him, but he plods on all the same. He has no problem with the core subjects but he hates RE with a passion, and Spanish & drama he could happily do without so those subjects set him in a grizzly mood for the rest BUT he does do it and thankfully they aren’t as often as the core subjects.

I have signed him up to some free online programs some of which he doesn’t mind, and others he can’t stand ( like science on century tech) so I’m still looking out for some others. I am also looking for a tutor to help him with English. For him to be home and do any school work is not an option for him. Most kids will be behind as a standard to some degree, however there’s a difference between being of 6 weeks behind and 6 months behind so it’s important for my DS to do all his work to try and lessen that gap.

sugarbum Mon 15-Jun-20 16:04:36

I have a KS3 (and a KS2) He's in year 8. They have a full timetable and homework and are expected to do a full school day. Which is fucking difficult. It is doing my nut in because I'm having to manage him as well as my own work, because he just hasn't got the capacity to 'teach himself'. He can't keep track of everything, and its stressing him out, so I'm tracking it all so I get the stress instead because its just not fair. He has no motivation at the best of times, and its just relentless. He needs schooling, but all there is is just constant sheets to complete and only some of the teachers are bothering with feedback.

listsandbudgets Mon 15-Jun-20 16:06:49

If the school are giving him bo real structure or feedback I can totally understand why he.feels demotivated.

Except for French, maths and English, I'd be tempted to scrap everything else and encourage him to do an extended project of some sort on something hes interested in. Promise him a prize if he does a good job. -- probably cash at that age--

Wading your way through worksheets with next to no feedback or interaction is utterly soul destroying.

DD is year 9 and fortune enough to have a full timetable via Microsoft Teams but even with that she sometimes gets demotivated.

Sh05 Mon 15-Jun-20 16:12:52

It's really difficult for children to stay motivated if they're not getting much recognition from school. Are you wfh? Do you maybe have some time to just do some English maths and science with him, it doesn't have to be loads and not necessarily what the school is setting just something that's a little more engaging.
I understand this may not be possible if you are also working full time but just an idea.

cassgate Mon 15-Jun-20 16:14:05

Parent of a year 9 DS here. I have been ensuring that all work that is set gets done. Before May half term I said he only needed to concentrate on those that he was taking forward to GCSE next year and it would seem that the school were finding the same with other children as they put the children into their GCSE groups and starting teaching GCSE content after half term. The work being set is patchy some subjects he is getting loads and others hardly any. He is managing but I am facilitating a lot because he doesn’t learn by just reading PowerPoint presentations and text books. We discuss a lot of the work together. He said himself that he needs a teacher to teach him. Last week he had a zoom lesson for one subject and only 5 turned up. He has zoom lessons for 2 subjects tomorrow so we will see how many turn up for those. I think the school will have to start again in September assuming they are back as if the 5 who turned up to the zoom lesson is anything to go by then participation is low. If it was causing him to be unhappy or he was struggling with it then I would allow him to stop but at the moment he is doing ok. His school are very good though at sending out praise e mails and when he gets one it makes it worthwhile and he can see that his efforts are not going unnoticed. He also gets feedback on the work he submits so knows teachers are looking at it.

Chaotic45 Mon 15-Jun-20 16:15:25

Thank you so much for the replies. It sounds like maybe concentrating on core subjects may be the best option- maths and English then?

He enjoys and is good at science but the work being sent is so very hard to follow, so I'm tempted to maybe find a more interesting way of tackling this. Any ideas gratefully received.

I find the idea of allowing him not to do all the work really hard- this is a reflection of the fact that I'm a terrible people pleaser, and I worry what his teachers will think of him and me as his parent. Also I am in essence criticising the work they are putting together and I'm frankly afraid that they will think I know better than them- which is absolutely not the case.

He's a good kid mostly, but I think he's just so so fed up with it all. He does look to take the easy path in everything though and I guess I'm attempting to discourage that. I have an outdoor job that he could join me in doing and every day I'm tempted to take him and tell him to leave his school work.

OP’s posts: |
sassbott Mon 15-Jun-20 16:16:40

Yes, doing 2-3 hours a day. Real focus on core subjects of maths and English. Plus weekly extra tutoring to keep progression in (again on the two topics).

What am I doing to keep them motivated? Bribery. Plus the view that if they keep their head down and continue to work, they will stay in the top sets. Most schools will subtly reassess children in their first term back and adjust accordingly. If mine want to stay in their sets (with their friends) then they need to work.

MuddlingMackem Mon 15-Jun-20 16:18:07

Our Year 8 is on a skive, so unmotivated and has gone nocturnal. Does occasional pieces of work with friends if in the zone, but otherwise. Nah!

And the school know. And they're not hassling. They're putting up work online but they understand different kids are handling this differently. Some are using schoolwork to keep them going, others just can't face it.

We're both working from home so just can't nag the kids during the day, and don't have the energy when we're not working as our current work days are much more draining than they would be under normal circumstances, so we pretty much reached the sod it stage with schoolwork at around week 3.

Chaotic45 Mon 15-Jun-20 16:18:38

@Sh05 I am working but sadly only for a few hours as my work has shrunk due to lockdown. I tend to work 10.30am-2pm, which always ends up being the hours he chooses to do school work, but when I have sat with him and we've discussed things it has made an enormous difference. Maybe this would be the best plan.

OP’s posts: |
FourTeaFallOut Mon 15-Jun-20 16:19:23

Yes. I do. It's five more weeks and it's my expectations that he gets on with it and does a proper job of it.

Noodledoodledoo Mon 15-Jun-20 16:19:24

I'm going to be honest - it is flipping hard trying to provide work that will keep them motivated, a huge part of learning is the rapport between student and teacher, its the random questions someone else asks in class that you didn't know you needed to ask, its the odd comments and style of teaching - all different but will have an impact. Even if you had live lessons you don't get as much of that as its so hard to watch 9 different screens!

I will admit I am also finding motivation really hard currently, I know its my job but its not the job I signed up for, I like walking around my classroom, spotting that a student is looking a bit baffled, needs a bit of a prod in the right direction.

My own children love school and learning and I have been a bit of a stickler, but even they are getting fed up with the same old thing once again. It's the unplanned stuff that makes it more enjoyable.

SnowWhitesRestingBitchFace Mon 15-Jun-20 16:22:09

My DS is year 8. He has a full school day everyday, a mix of live and pre recorded lessons on Teams. Work set for every lesson with feedback and them all and I have been getting a report every two weeks. He found it difficult at first but it's almost normal now for him!

Chasingsquirrels Mon 15-Jun-20 16:23:00

Yr 9 state secondary.
Work set on Google Classrooms for each timetabled lesson by 8am each day. So 5 lots of work a day.
A mix of read this and do that, watch this, learn this, answer these questions, write this essay etc.
To be submitted and marked.
Some of the "watch this" is pre-recorded 15 min teaching from their teacher (maths & science) followed by questions.
Plus some live class lessons from maths and science and some small group live lessons for maths.
And fortnightly live assembly that is recorded if you want to watch it later - don't think he is engaging with those, or PHSE either.
Most of it he is doing in less than the hour that the lesson would take.

I "check in" with him - what have you got, what have you done, what's left etc. But I've not been engaging with the actual learning.

Feedback from school via his form tutor and no issues raised by teachers.

Just had options choices agreed and school has said they can unenroll from subjects they won't be doing to GCSE - so he has dropped Geography and practice subjects from this week. They have also set up new groups for Business Studies and Health & Social Studies which are yr 10/11 offerings only, so he's joined the Business Studies one as he's taking that next year.

Chaotica Mon 15-Jun-20 16:24:06

Yes. Both my DC are doing the work the school sets. (It's all set at the beginning of the week and they can do it when they like, so we have a timetable.) They're happier doing this and were getting bored and frustrated with lockdown restrictions during half term when they had nothing to do. There are fun things on the timetable too though (from both me and the school).

Bubbles07 Mon 15-Jun-20 16:24:47

My son is in Yr9 and the school set four lessons a day. In theory they should be an hour each, many are but some have taken considerably longer. He is doing all lessons but is focusing on the subjects he is taking at GCSE. For those, he does every bit of work that is set. For the subjects he is dropping he does the bare minimum. Some days he has found it tough going but he is pretty motivated. I think we've just about found the right balance.

40somethingJBJ Mon 15-Jun-20 16:26:41

Ds is yr9 and is being set his normal timetable via google classroom. He’s getting on with most of it independently, but I need to sit with him to encourage him in a couple of subjects and help where needed. It’s working pretty well. I’ve not really had to force him to do work, but he sometimes needs more encouragement than others!

Grasspigeons Mon 15-Jun-20 16:29:43

My son does everything he is asked to do but the school is good. Gives feedback, has its point system runnung. He got a prize after easter and a letter from the headteacher at May. So they are motivating him, not me.

CherrytreeView Mon 15-Jun-20 16:43:14

Mum to Year 8 DD.
Her school has set a huge amount of work. Enough to fill the typical school day and some! however, typical distractions of being at home mean she's often still doing work way past the normal school finishing time. I know many parents have different views on this, but we are making her do her school work and reminding her that this isn't a holiday - those 6 weeks are coming up. However, DD does have a tendency to be particularly lazy - so if we don't instil this in her, she will not apply herself when she goes back. She'd merely find ways to continue doing the bare minimum if we let her do that now.

However, the work is particularly "dry" - the same format of reading the PDF and then answering questions/completing a quiz, so I do feel for her.

In the last couple of weeks we have told her not to spend too much energy on lessons she will not be taking with her options, and instead encouraging her to spend that time on the core subjects!
I'm also finding that feedback from most teachers is exactly the same - she recently did a piece for Drama (not an option she'll pick) and she really did just throw it together. Her mark was "Amber" but feedback was "amazing job" - exactly the same as she'd had the previous week when her work had been "Green".

zoemum2006 Mon 15-Jun-20 16:48:46

DD13 is in year 8 at a grammar school and (as far as I can tell) the expectation is everything is done.

She's given a list of work at the beginning of the week and she works her way through it.

She probably only does about 3 hours a day but she is very focused during that time to get everything done.

I say she can wake up when she wants and finish whenever's she finished as long as it's done.

DD's friend's dad is waking his daughter up at 8am and making her work until 5!! She doesn't want a system like that so she's happy to stay focused to avoid it.

Shesaysso Mon 15-Jun-20 16:53:12

I have a child in Yr 8 - she’s seriously lacking in motivation now and it’s hard to blame her. Out of 5 lessons a day she probably has work set for 3. All very unchallenging, she’s generally finished in 1 hour. The problem is that she will happily do work that is set but nothing that is deemed ‘optional’ so I have been unable to get her to do any ‘suggested reading’ or ‘expand on this if you wish’. She’s very much coasting. I think a GCSE in Fortnight may be heading our way though! - Far from ideal but it’s the only contact she has with her friends and I can’t take that away from her right now.

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