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My 4.5 year old dosn't understand her very simple homework at all.

(45 Posts)
mummyloveslucy Mon 14-Sep-09 22:09:18

Hi, my daughter has just started reception. She is four and a half.
She has a reading book home every day, which just has pictures and big words saying things like "Look in here" on each page.
She memorises these words and she "Reads" the book to me.
I have been trying to get her to write her name since she was about three. I do dot to dots and she traces over it. It is usually very messy even now.
She had some home work last week, it was simply practicing writing the letter U.
The teacher wrote it on 4 different lines and she had to coppy. This sounds so easy, but she just couldn't do it.
I explained and showed her with my pen, but she kept doing it upside down. Then she did an m shape. She could do it if I did dot to dots, but not on her own at all.
She is the sort of child that is eager to please and was getting very frustrated by the fact that she couldn't do it.
On friday she got another piece of homework. She had a picture of 5 socks, she had to cut out a picture of 6 socks and a picture of 4 socks and put them in order and say which is one more and one less.
She didn't get this at all. I tried explaining it in several different ways but she just started talking about butterflies.
Can most other four and a half year olds do these things? I am a bit worried that she appears to be behind her class mates. I have a parents evening comming up soon so I'll ask her teacher. I just wondered if there was anything I could do to help her or if it's normal for her age.

screamingskull Mon 14-Sep-09 22:19:10

My son has just started school, he can't write his name either although he does know which letters are in it etc, also his handwritting is a bit shakey i sometimes feel it will take ages for him to get used to.

Also he very much so gives the impression at homework time that he can't be botherd doing it with me as it's too much like schoolwork i.e too much effortsmile. Think he is more interested in playing at home.

Do you think this may be the case?

At least at parents evening you will get a chance to talk to the teacher. Can you not make an appointment sooner if you are worried?

colditz Mon 14-Sep-09 22:24:22

I think you need to talk to the teacher, because (and my ds1 has his own 'issues' so believe me I'm notbeing deliberately mean here) in all honesty I WOULD expect a 4.5 year old who has been repeatedly shown what to do to be able to grasp it.

mummyloveslucy Mon 14-Sep-09 22:25:49

Thanks, she can recognise her name when she sees it but only knows the names of two letters in it.
She does usually like writing and drawing, but only if it'd dot to dot writing.
I will see if I can speek to her teacher sooner.
Her teacher has said that she is setteling in really well and is becoming more confident etc. smile

littleducks Mon 14-Sep-09 22:26:03

dont do it for her
let her teacher see what she can and cant do, i would have thought at this point in the year they are still assessing children's ability

roses12 Mon 14-Sep-09 22:26:09

shes so little, time enough to get stressed over homework. my middle dd got frustrated at not being perfect. i put words on everyday objects like window,clock,bath,tv. asked her to quess the words. i said look you can read. really improved her cofidence.

its not about the technique as every kid is different but about her feeling she can do it.

Quattrocento Mon 14-Sep-09 22:26:46

I'd have a word with the teacher

It'd put your mind at rest if nothing else

mummyloveslucy Mon 14-Sep-09 22:28:41

colditz- I find it quite frustrating as I really want to help her and make her learning fun. I just feel as if i'm banging my head against a brick wall though.

mummyloveslucy Mon 14-Sep-09 22:34:19

She also has a severe speech disorder which is improving slowly, but this adds to her frustration.
I try to get her to reccognise sounds in words by playing eye spy etc but she often says "something beggining with F", and it ends up being a tree.
She dosn't seem to be able to tell which sound a word starts with.

Heated Mon 14-Sep-09 22:45:14

They'll be doing lots of phonics at school this year with actions and songs, so she's very likely to absorb letters and their sounds that way.

There was a fab post I came across the other day whilst doing a search listing all the things you can do to help your child develop better hand/pen grip control which could easily be adapted to her h/w...will see if I can find it.

But please, please don't you, or her, get too stressed about h/w - I actually don't believe in h/w very much at primary anyway, but especially not at 4 and a half. Keep it light-hearted and fun.

Anyway, will see if I can find it.

mummyloveslucy Mon 14-Sep-09 22:48:06

She has been at the nursery of this school since she was two, so they know her really well and know what stage she's at. There are only 10 children in her class at the moment, so she gets a lot of attention and we give her loads of attention at home too, eg reading, playing games, drawing etc.

mummyloveslucy Mon 14-Sep-09 22:50:22

Thanks Heated. smile

Quattrocento Mon 14-Sep-09 22:52:59

MLL - just reading your last post made me wonder if it was worth getting your DD's hearing checked out.

<sorry if this is massively unhelpful and adding another source of potential anxiety. agree entirely with Heated about not getting stressed>

CarGirl Mon 14-Sep-09 22:54:57

THe eye spy bit is completely normal!!! It is one of the most hysterical games to play with children until they are about 7 and have really grasped reading & writing.

Sadly MLL your dd may have other issues in addition to her speech & toileting they could all well be linked neurologically? - The handwriting think is motor skills I should think?

I would back off from all the educational stuff and just enjoy your dd for who she is and what she can do now. They spend a long time at school trying to conform and learn etc etc so long as she is co-operating at school and confident spend the rest of her time having fun, life is for living.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thisisyesterday Mon 14-Sep-09 22:57:14

she sounds exactly lik emy 4.5yr old!

he HATES writing full stop and refuses to do it lol

you know, i think homework in primary school is absolutely ridiculous, and even more ridiculous when they've only just started!

bigstripeytiger Mon 14-Sep-09 22:58:37

Has your DD had her eyeight checked? If she is having difficulty with writing it could be that she is struggling to see what she is doing?

CarGirl Mon 14-Sep-09 22:59:52

I've bought my dds smove pencils to try and get them to hold their pencils correctly before they move onto pens at school!!!!

My 4 year old loves drawing & art but can't write anything legible yet and does it all back to front, reverse etc etc probably partly because she's left handed and only chose a preferred hand about 10 months ago!

Heated Mon 14-Sep-09 23:00:05

This was the thread, MLL. Mrz had some fabulous ideas, that sounded like fun to do and sounded nothing like work.

alypaly Mon 14-Sep-09 23:02:07

i know it sounds silly but have you tried to see which hand is definitely the most dominant. hold a crayon out absolutely in the middle of her vision on several occasions and see which hand she takes it in. It could be that she is left handed and trying to do right handed or vice versasmile

hocuspontas Mon 14-Sep-09 23:03:42

I agree with the ridiculousness of the homework. It stresses both the parent and child at this early stage. Is this an independent school by any chance?

Heated Mon 14-Sep-09 23:08:12

I'm going to use some of these with my dcs and with some students.

It's Cut & paste, courtesy of mrz:

Upright working surfaces promote fine motor skills. Examples of these are: vertical chalkboards; easels for painting; flannel boards; lite bright; magnet boards (or fridge); windows and mirrors; white boards, etc. Children can also make sticker pictures; do rubber ink-stamping; use reuseable stickers to make pictures; complete puzzles with thick knobs; use magna-doodle and etch-a-sketch as well. The benefits for these include: having the child's wrist positioned to develop good thumb movements; they help develop good fine motor muscles; the child is using the arm and shoulder muscles.

Rolling play dough into tiny balls (peas) using only the finger tips.

Cutting play dough with a plastic knife or with a pizza wheel by holding the implement in a diagonal volar grasp.

Tearing newspaper into strips and then crumpling them into balls

Scrunching up 1 sheet of newspaper in one hand. This is a super strength builder.

Using a plant sprayer to spray plants, (indoors, outdoors) to spray snow (mix food colouring with water so that the snow can be painted), or melt "monsters". (Draw monster pictures with markers and the colours will run when sprayed.)

Picking up objects using large tweezers such as those found in the "Operation" game. This can be adapted by picking up Cheerios, small cubes, small marshmallows, pennies, etc., in counting games.

Turning over cards, coins, or buttons, without bringing them to the edge of the table.

The following activities ought to be done frequently to increase postural muscle strength and endurance. These activities also strengthen the child's awareness of his hands.
Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking

Clapping games (loud/quiet, on knees together, etc.)

Catching (clapping) bubbles between hands

Pulling off pieces of thera-putty with individual fingers and thumb

Drawing in a tactile medium such as wet sand, salt, rice, or "goop". Make "goop" by adding water to cornflour until you have a mixture similar in consistency to toothpaste. The "drag" of this mixture provides feedback to the muscle and joint receptors, thus facilitating visual motor control.

Picking out small objects like pegs, beads, coins, etc., from a tray of salt, sand, rice, or putty. Try it with eyes closed too. This helps develop sensory awareness in the hands.

The joints of the body need to be stable before the hands can be free to focus on writing.
Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking, and wall push-ups.
Toys: Orbiter, silly putty, and monkey bars on the playground.

Fine Motor Skills
When a certain amount of body stability has developed, the hands and fingers begin to work on movements of dexterity and isolation as well as different kinds of grasps.

Children will develop fine motor skills best when they work on a VERTICAL or near vertical surface as much as possible. In particular, the wrist must be in extension. (Bent back in the direction of the hand)

Attach a large piece of drawing paper to the wall. Use a large marker and try the following exercises to develop visual motor skills: Make an outline of a one at a time. Trace over your line from left to right, or from to bottom. Trace each figure at least 10 times . Then have the child draw the figure next to your model several times.

Play connect the dots. Again make sure the child's strokes connect dots from left to right, and from top to bottom.

Work on a chalkboard, using chalk instead of a marker.

Paint at an easel.

Magna Doodle- turn it upside down so that the erasing lever is on the top . Experiment making vertical, horizontal, and parallel lines.

Ocular Motor Control
This refers to the ability of the eyes to work together to follow and hold an object in the line of vision as needed.

Use a flashlight against the ceiling. Have the child lie on his/her back or tummy and visually follow the moving light from left to right, to bottom, and diagonally.

Find hidden pictures in books.

Maze activities.

paddingtonbear1 Mon 14-Sep-09 23:08:35

she sounds a bit like my dd at 4.5. When she started school, my dd wasn't interested in writing at all though - she just preferred playing. Her speech was slow to come and she still has a lisp. Getting her to do homework was like pulling teeth! She is better now but her writing still isn't great.
I wouldn't try to push it too much at this stage, honestly - it will come with time. Agree with Heated and Tmmj re homework for little ones!

vInTaGeVioLeT Mon 14-Sep-09 23:17:10

my son is 5 in december and just started reception - he can't write his name doesn't know his letters can't consistently count to ten - it never occurred to me to be worried either, he's just interested in other things IYSWIM - my daughter could write her name and i think even read a little at reception age,
your daughter will get there when she's ready , i shouldn't worry.

kreecherlivesupstairs Tue 15-Sep-09 08:10:25

Another one in the what use is this chuffing homework at this age camp. My dd is 8.4 and, although she doesn't get a lot of homework, none of what she has brought home in the last two years has (IMHO) had any value whatsoever. This year has started off a bit better with homework that has a purpose (she has to use the dictionary to find meanings of words then use them properly in a sentance), but, homework is toss.
To the OP, I'd guess the school is just assessing whereabouts they are in term of ability. I'd point out to the school what she is struggling with, although I'd hope they would have spotted it in the class, and, stop doing it for her.

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