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bringing school books home

(15 Posts)
tiptoemum Sun 04-Sep-11 19:48:48

My son is just about to start year 2, his birthday is in August. At the end of last term he was sent home with all his school books and I was staggered by the content of them. I had given them a cursory glance at parents evenings but it wasn't until further investigation that I realised how unhappy he is with his numeracy.
I realise he is only very young but he has drawn sad faces at the end of various pieces of work and comments like " I can't do this", or "I don't like maths". Over the holidays we have tried to give him some confidence as he really is quite able but seems to lack some of the most basic understanding and yet is being tested weekly on division when he has no clue what division means. Do you think I am allowed to ask for his school books to come home weekly on a Friday so I can help fill in any gaps and improve his confidence?

RosieBP Sun 04-Sep-11 20:26:53

Personally I don't like to send books home - risk of being lost and with books scrutiny etc, that is a huge problem. What I have done before is to start a home-school Maths book (yr 2)- I had parents in and we discussed calculation methods etc and I gave copies of what we would be working on in terms of level work etc. Then I used to send home-school book. If child had completed anything I would mark it and make a positive fuss of the child for having done some at home (team points etc). I sent home weekly in the book what we had been doing that week and gave some examples.

Brain a bit fried due to holiday break but hope that helps? Feel free to msg me if I can help any more.

plinkplonk Sun 04-Sep-11 21:18:54

I'm suprised the teacher didn't raise this with you. I'd write a note to the new teacher telling her about what he's written and asking if you can have a quick meeting a couple of weeks in to the term so she can tell you what to work on with him.

AChickenCalledKorma Sun 04-Sep-11 21:27:33

I wouldn't ask for the books to be sent home, because it will be a hassle for him and for the teacher to organise each Friday, it will highlight to his friends that there is an "issue" and he will potentially feel quite discouraged at the prospect of spending the weekend poring over them!

I would, however, make an appt with his new teacher after a couple of weeks, tell him/her exactly what you've written here, and try and work out a strategy for helping him.

I'm also astonished that a child just going into year 2 is having weekly division tests. My daughter is the same age, performing well in maths (above expectation for age, blah, blah, blah), and I don't recall seeing any division at all in her year 1 books!

DorisIsAPinkDragon Sun 04-Sep-11 21:55:15

Korma I agree. DD1 is august born and going into year 2. She is working above her expected level in maths 2 something (bad mother I can't remember!) But she has not done ANY division and would struggle to explain if i asked her what it was.

I would ask if the work was appropraite for him if he feels so often unable to do it.

As for weekly tests apart from a spelling quiz (not a test!) dd doesn't have anything like that (thank god!)

blackeyedsusan Sun 04-Sep-11 22:03:23

if he is unhappy with maths, you need to do lots of practical activities with him at home. for division share out grapes and raisins and sometimes smarties into different numbers of groups. make groups of raisins for multiplication. children need to see and do lots of things practically to gain confidence.

tiptoemum Mon 05-Sep-11 08:24:28

Thanks for all the input. I should add that his class contains both year 1 and 2 so he will unfortunately be keeping the same teacher, the teacher is however leaving at Christmas so fingers crossed for better things.
I am glad to hear that the whole division thing is not appropriate for his age group. I have spent alot of time over the holiday doing maths games in the form of dominos, dice games, tables snap and I definitely think that this is helping but really think it is a confidence issue.
If you think the whole bringing books home is not the way forward then I'll ask about the home-school maths book. Thank you so much.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 05-Sep-11 10:13:03

Orchard toys do some great games with a maths element that children love but dont "see" as maths.

If your school has Education City then ask if they run a scheme where children can have access from home - its usually a few £s rather than the full subscription cost and is in school years so you can see the range that they are covering.

tiptoemum Mon 05-Sep-11 10:53:36

Thanks happymum for the suggestions, I'll ask at school.

PastSellByDate Mon 05-Sep-11 12:27:53

Hi Tiptoemum:

I'm slightly surprised that your son was taking on division in Y1 - which as a concept would be taught after addition, subtraction and multiplicaton. Are you sure it wasn't something more fundamental like halving numbers?

Division or halving seems very ambition for Y1. I think you should look at the national curriculum website which generally outlines what children should be achieving by the end of Y2: curriculum.qcda.gov.uk/key-stages-1-and-2/subjects/mathematics/keystage1/index.aspx

At your first parent/ teacher evening I would recommend that you talk to your son's new teacher about how he is doing and what you could be doing at home to support him. Also try and find out the type of mathematics they will be focusing on with your son - for example, will he be working on subtraction? addition with bigger numbers i.e. 20 + 55? Multiplication? If multiplication - which x tables (usually x0, x1, x2, x5 & x10 are taught first). This should give you a clearer idea what is going on.

if you feel your son needs more practice can I suggest the free download - tux of math command: tux4kids.alioth.debian.org/tuxmath/. It's a bit like the video game asteroids - you have a math problem moving down the screen toward your penguin and you shoot it away with the right answer. you can select difficulty and the type of maths problems.

Finally the thing I would say is that practice does help. If you feel the school isn't giving your child this opportunity - try Mathsfactor themathsfactor.com/. There are various options from worksheets to signing up to the on-line tutorials. You will have to pay for this - but in our case it has made a huge improvement for our DD1 with math and given her a lot of confidence (she also thought she was 'no good at math').

tiptoemum Mon 05-Sep-11 13:18:28

Thanks pastseelbydate, the division is definitely correct, he has stuck in the back of last years maths book pre-printed division and multiplication tests with marks out of 20, sadly most of these are only 1 or 2 out of 20. He obviously shouldn't be doing this from the various feedbacks I have recieved.
I shall definitely be having a chat with his teacher about the various strategies and with all the online support I'm sure we will make great progress. It just seems such a shame that additional support seems to be necessary and whilst we have no problem doing this it makes you question how kids get on who don't get any home support.

treas Mon 05-Sep-11 13:45:55

tiptoemum - My dd was in Yr3 last year and the teacher mentioned in passing that her weakest subject was maths, roll on to end of year report to find that dd has made no progress for yr 3.

Now technically dd is making progress as she jumped 5 sub levels in Maths in Yr 2 to get a level 3 in her SATs. However, dh and I were unhappy with the way the teacher just allowed dd to do very little work in class.

We therefore, are taking dd's maths work book home at the end of each day that she has the subject in order to see what she is working on and to work on a few additional questions which are not part of her class text book but are the same subject.

So YES you are entitled to take home the work book but ensure that it is returned the next morning.

Worringly, we are not the first parents to have to do thisshock

tiptoemum Mon 05-Sep-11 17:14:41

Thanks treas, I am in a bit of a dilemma about what to do now! I guess I just go in and have a chat armed with various ideas and info. I hope your daughter has a better year this year. Frustrating isn't it!

forehead Tue 06-Sep-11 12:38:33

In my dc's school they give us a weekly class newsletter in which they outline the areas that they are gpoing to covered the next week. Perhaps you could ask the teacher to write this info in your ds's contact book.

tiptoemum Wed 07-Sep-11 11:00:59

I went and saw ds' teacher yesterday and have organised a weekly meeting with him to go thru' the school books and highlight any areas of difficulty or misunderstanding that I can help with at home. The idea of bringing school books home was not acceptable as it was thought this might lead to misunderstanding as I am not in the classroom when the work is being covered and am obviously not a teacher, which is a fair point.
So hopefully this is the right way forward. I shall tackle the division tests at the first meeting I think! Many thanks for all feedback.

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