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Would you reply to the head?

(34 Posts)
mosschops30 Thu 21-Jul-11 18:48:36

we had a survey sent out a couple of weeks ago, the usual 'do you think you child is treated fairly and with respect' etc.
There was a question about homework and i wrote thst i thought the 'learning log' they do is a nightmare. Its not smething they can do without a large amount of parental input mostly, and i put that ds1 dislikes doing it. I said i woukd rather they have structured homework like they had in reception, e.g. Handwriting practice, phonics etc. Or spelling lists or times tables.

The head teacher has written to me and said the following:
The purpose of learning logs is to consolidate learning that has taken place. Parents often like to be involved, but it should not be parents who complete them, the objectives may include spelling or writing.
Also waffles on about home reading which i didnt mention in the survey and have no problem with as its something we can both enjoy.

So would you reply? Im a bit hmm that she is suggesting i am not one of those parents who enjoys being involved!

Some of the stuff we've had to do is:
Share and complete a jigsaw, make your own puzzle, record with photographs or drawings.
Whilst driving talk about traffic you see. Record this in the log and draw and label.
Make a fruit salad, discuss what you like in it, record with photos or drawings.
Take your child to the local library, choose a book, talk about different types of books, people who work there. Take photos of your visit.
To celebrate St Davids day please make a symbol of wales (love spoon, daffodil, rugby ball) these are to be displayed in school.

And so on. This is every bloody week and it drives me nuts.

treas Thu 21-Jul-11 19:10:28

My dd loves doing her learning log as there is no right or wrong way of doing it.

However, I am in complete agreement with you that it requires an awful lot of adult input / guidance. The only plus side for us is that each log or mini project (because that's what they are in the end) is given a fortnights deadline.

My main concern with our learning logs is there is rarely any maths based topic (2 instances since starting in December 2010).

Also how are your learning logs marked? Ours are 'assessed' by class mates and voted on who deserves a merit / award. Teachers don't even make a comment other than a ink mark in some positive shape/word. Comes across as very lazy teaching.

Maybe you could suggest alternating learning logs with more formal / structured.

pleasekeepcalmandcarryon Thu 21-Jul-11 19:20:14

Just had a learning log home for the first time yesterday and I am a bit hmm

Similar stuff to OP- watching traffic, making tables, recording data, photographing book covers etc..DS3 is 4 so will need me to do this stuff for him.

During the hols I consider it a good day if we have all managed to get dressed an fed at the appropriate times grin never mind constructive stuff!

mosschops30 Thu 21-Jul-11 19:52:06

smile well im glad its not just me.
It is a pain to have it every week, we dont have a printer set up so its a real drama photographing everything.
Our teachers do write on there usually 'good work' or 'lovely pictures'. I just dont see how taking photos of my ds at the library or making a daffodil is constructive to his learning.

Good idea about suggesting alternate weeks, would also allow more time for the learning log

SE13Mummy Thu 21-Jul-11 20:16:54

I set learning logs for my Y4 class; one per half-term i.e. 6 weeks or so to complete it. Not only that but it is optional and there is usually a choice of Learning Objective such as 'find out why numbers never end' (suggested by the class) or 'find out about an aspect of Viking life' (sort of suggested by the children).

Optional maths homework is available each week for those children whose parents want them to do it - they work incredibly hard during the school day and, whilst I am happy to provide work so parents know what we've been learning about/so those children who can't get enough of school can continue at home, I would be far happier just saying, "read to an adult/listen to them read to you each day and practise your timestables for a few minutes en route to somewhere each day".

Perhaps you could reply with a suggestion that the Learning Logs were optional so that they could be enjoyed as and when the subject interested your DS?

swash Thu 21-Jul-11 20:20:51

Oh I would hate a learning log. As if life isn't busy enough without having school tell you which activities to enjoy with your child! We get one sheet of maths or occasionally literacy homework - much better.

swash Thu 21-Jul-11 20:21:24

I wouldn't bother answer though - pointless dialogue. Just don't do it - or do it sometimes but not others.

mosschops30 Thu 21-Jul-11 20:33:34

Swash, thats whats been happening, some weeks i just havent got the time ir the interest. Ds1 does lots of fun stuff out of school and we read most nights, i really dont like being told what to do all the time.
I would prefer maths or some spellings, or handwriting tasks

RoadArt Thu 21-Jul-11 20:42:11

Seems like a lot of work, but when your kids are older you will look back at these logs with pride. I love looking at the stuff my kids did in the early years of school.

They are the start of presentation and research and gets the children thinking and investigating. it doesnt have to be fancy OTT, it should be about what a 4, 5, 6 year old can do themselves. Let it be their work, not yours. But you shouldnt allow it to absorb all your time either. HOmework is something that should be done within half an hour and it shouldnt become a big issue.

With regard to OP question, if a school does a survey, I wouldnt expect individual comments to be responded to, they should be collecting all opinions, and I would be quite miffed about this, unless I had asked for a response. It is a personalised letter directed at you, or a general letter to all parents? Maybe lots of parents complained and the teacher wanted to give a general explanation about what the log is meant to be about?

It would depend onmy relationship with the HT as to whether I would respond.

mosschops30 Thu 21-Jul-11 20:51:43

No the letter is addressed to me personally, i dont have a relationship with the head.
Its all very well saying it should be what they can do, but he cant takehimself off to the library, take pics, print them off then stick them in the book.

So shoukd speak to the head again or just leave it

RoadArt Thu 21-Jul-11 20:56:44

I would perhaps pursue the original purpose of the survey. For the HT to make individual responses to comments on a survey is not usually how school surveys are analysed. THeir purpose is to get a general view of how all parents feel about the school. Do you remember if the original survey mentioned that the data would be collected anonomously?

It might be that this is her "personal baby" and she has taken umbridge that someone has criticised it.

mosschops30 Thu 21-Jul-11 21:01:10

You had to put childs name on the survey.
They only got a 17% response.
The results showed 4% thought homework was unsatisfactory.
I am a bit miffed that she has replied in this way, its not even constructive, have no idea why she has mentioned the reading.

mosschops30 Thu 21-Jul-11 21:02:16

It puts me off replying in future, why bother if youre just going to be made to feel that if you disagree you will get a letter from the head singling you out as an uninterested parent

RoadArt Thu 21-Jul-11 21:08:50

Me personally, I would talk to the head, but thats because I do have a good relationship with her. It might be worth you having a chat, rather than putting things in writing, because written records can be brought up again in the future.

startail Thu 21-Jul-11 21:17:37

What a pain in the neck, the more often you forget it the sooner the school will stop bothering.

startail Thu 21-Jul-11 21:26:00

Sorry, to be so negative, but with one dyslexic DD and another who throws a tantrum at being asked to draw anything. I know Mummy would have ended up doing this and given Mummy's report once read "I hope Startail will get less scatterbrained when she gets older" you can see that this is likely to be a task for late on Sunday nights.

CecilyP Thu 21-Jul-11 21:48:22

I would have have hated that sort of homework when my son was small and was quite happy just to have a reading book home. It sounds like they feel they have to run every aspect of your life for you, like you would never have thought about giving your child a jigsaw, or providing drawing materials, or talking to him about what you see when out and about, or making a fruit salad, or taking him to the library, all by yourself.

You do not say how old your son is but would he be able to make a daffodil, love spoon or rugby ball by himself.

It does seem odd that the HT sent a personal letter back when you simply responded to a survey. The purpose of a survey is to see what people think and that means being prepared for all responses, not just those you want to hear.

I would be tempted to write back that I am more than happy to be involved in my child's upbringing but do not need the school to dictate to me how I should do it. But I would probably advise resisting that temptation.

Cathycat Thu 21-Jul-11 21:52:07

I appreciate this completely! I have three, soon to be four, school children. My daughter has very routine homework (spellings, maths worksheet, two reading books a week) and because it is so routine, it gets done. One of my sons gets creative and unpredictable homework, that doesn't always fit easily into our short weekend. It doesn't always get done. I think that your teachers are trying to make learning interesting, which is great. However, if like me you have been to work all week, at the weekend and in the evening, sometimes you just need boring, routine, predictability.

campergirls Thu 21-Jul-11 22:08:43

How old is your son? My dd started getting learning log homework in year 4 and we thought it was great - interesting, she could set her own agenda, etc. But we did require her to be pretty autonomous. So hers was illustrated with drawings which she did herself, not with photos that required our input. And it seems to me from what you say in your op that it would be fine if your son did the same. Rod/own/back etc...

Also I am sorry to have to say that although spellings and handwriting tasks might be more familiar to you as a kind of homework, they would be pedagogically futile. So hardly a good use of your son's time! And other parents who realise this and appreciate the value of the learning log would then complain... (yes I am one of that awkward squad wink)

yellowkiwi Thu 21-Jul-11 22:46:19

I'm finding this thread so interesting as we have started using learning logs where I work. They were introduced in response to parents asking how they could find out more about what the children were doing at school and how they could support their children's learning at home.

They are much more work for the teachers than a worksheet or spelling list! Ours have to be marked with a lengthy comment.

I think it's a shame that the Head felt it necessary to justify the learning logs to you in this way when you were only responding to a questionnaire. I hope it doesn't put you off answering in future.

I think that the voices of some parents seem to get heard more than the voices of other parents. I often see threads on here saying that young children shouldn't get homework and I think many teachers would agree with that sentiment. Schools are often put under a lot of pressure from a few parents who do their best to dictate how the school is run.

mosschops30 Fri 22-Jul-11 10:04:48

He is in year 1 so not able to do it all on his own.

So do i speak to the head and ask why she felt it necessary to reply to me personally or just leave it and learn a valuable lesson not to reply to further surveys along with the other 83% of parents

jollymollie Fri 22-Jul-11 10:24:06

I HATE learning logs with a passion! I get two per week, one for dd1 (8) and one for dd2 (5). There are about five tasks in each one that are lengthy, seem to be completely random and some are totally pointless. Most of our weekend is taken up doing them as the dds are too tired on school day evenings. They require TONS of parental input and there have been numerous occassions where the teacher hasn't even looked at them or marked them. I wouldn't mind if the children enjoyed doing them but they don't.

Smallstuff Fri 22-Jul-11 14:25:52

These things are the bane of my life. I have DS1 in year 2 and DS2 in Year 1. Next year DD starts Reception and all three will have them (yep they get them in Reception!). I complained on the school survey and the HT said it did 'polarise opinion'. Some parents love them as they feel involved in their kids education, probably those with only one DC.
None of them are old enough to do the tasks themselves so all need my input. TBH with three lots of reading, two lots of spellings, instrument practice, and other after school clubs (swimming, beavers etc) we end up doing them on weekends. My kids will be 7,6 and 4 for most of next year and I think it is just too much.... Rant over!!!

thejaffacakesareonme Sat 23-Jul-11 19:50:48

I probably would reply to the Headteacher but am aware that this could make me unpopular with her. I would stress that I do wish to support my child's learning but that I do not find the learning logs in their current format are helpful. Whilst I appreciate the sentiment that they should be completed by the child many of the activities require large amounts of parental involvement and trips to the library and it is not always easy to fit this around employment / other family committments etc particularly when the learning logs are handed out at short notice.

Can you tell I get fed up sometimes when my DS1 gets given time consuming homework that I think is pointless?

bigTillyMint Sat 23-Jul-11 20:10:09

Thank God DS's Primary school is old-stylie and doesn't do this!

However, DD has had quite a few "projects" this year, but as she is now in Y7, she is able to complete them far better than if I was "helping"!

I would probably just leave it, but moan like mad at home blush

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