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Homework in reception - Torn !

(12 Posts)
Tillyscoutsmum Mon 12-Sep-11 20:52:42

I'm torn, not the homework smile

DD started reception last week. She was 4 in May. She is my first child to go to school and I've always thought that children start school too young in the UK.

She's never really been interested in sitting down and learning things. She's not stupid. She talked early, has a good vocabulary and never shuts up and is reasonably bright but she's never really done any "formal" learning with me.

On her second day at school, she came home with a list of words which she needed to learn. I have suggested a few times that we sit down and look at them and she doesn't want to. Her teacher is obviously testing her to see which ones she has learnt and so far, she knows three of them. I have learnt that, apparently, most of the other children in her class know most, if not all of them.

I don't want her to fall behind her peers but at the same time, I don't feel comfortable pushing her to do something she doesn't want to. She is utterly exhausted at the moment, which makes matters worse. I frankly think homework at this early stage is ridiculous but if everyone else is doing it and she isn't........ I'm just not sure what to do.

Any advice please ? Be as harsh as you like <<wibble>>

Meglet Mon 12-Sep-11 21:00:56

That sounds like a lot for the first week. I'm new to all this school business (my OFB started last week) but surely they should be doing phonics before giving them words to read confused.

We haven't had any homework yet. I do know some other local schools have started giving the reception children books to take home to read with their parents.

MigratingCoconuts Mon 12-Sep-11 21:02:40

I agree....mine couldn't recognise any word except their own name at this stage of reception!

Tillyscoutsmum Mon 12-Sep-11 21:16:03

Thanks both.

I wouldn't mind a reading book. We read books together so we could do that without it seeming like "work" iyswim ? Apparently, they have 4 word lists and when they know all the words on all 4 lists, they get their first book hmm

She might get a book by Christmas, if we're lucky confused

RhinestoneCowgirl Mon 12-Sep-11 21:21:06

We had 'tricky words' early on in reception last yr (words like 'the' that can't be worked out phonetically). They were used along side the children learning phonics. We looked at them a bit half-heartedly and continued to read to DS (who was just 4yrs when he started). They didn't bring home reading scheme books until after half term

He can read simple books now, but still isn't that keen on the reading scheme books - today I bribed him with the promise of looking at a recipe book that he likes if he read his school reading book to me...

Meglet Mon 12-Sep-11 21:22:05

I think we get our first books in a couple of weeks actually.

Must be a pushy mum and check grin.

An0therName Mon 12-Sep-11 21:25:25

it sounds a bit full on - my DS got homework in reception but it was things like find signs of spring, and he had reading books without any words up till about Christmas
I wouldn't push it - at least until she is less tired

CecilyP Mon 12-Sep-11 21:47:02

DS just got books without words in when he first started school but another mum told me that another local school started giving words out during the first week. About mid-October DS got about 5 words in a tobacco tin to learn, which was a nightmare and we spent the best part of the evening trying to drum them in to him. Still, he must have managed to remember them at school the next day because he got his first reading book with words to bring home and really never looked back. (And luckily we never saw another tobacco tin or any more random words).

What I am getting round to is I think trying to rote learn words outwith any sort of context (often words that mean very little on their own) is actually quite difficult, so I not surprised at your DDs reluctance.

I wouldn't worrry about her falling behind. Like AnotherName, I would leave it until she is less tired - or maybe just leave it. Or perhaps have a word with the teacher to find out the rationale behind this early homework.

Ferguson Mon 12-Sep-11 22:29:27

Hi

Having worked, mainly as a Teaching Assistant, with R/Yr1/Yr2 children for 20 years or so I am horrified at some of the things that some schools are still doing!!

Reading is now supposed to be taught by Synthetic Phonics, NOT by 'look and say' or 'lighthouse' methods which were used in the past! And Reception class (in England at least) is supposed to be mainly play, learning to share, take turns, talk and ask/answer questions etc. We also start our new children on picture books, where they make up a story or describe what is happening in the pictures, then go on to words which can ALL be sounded out.

Yes, children need to learn how to use books - which way up, which end to start - and most MN offspring will already have had plenty of contact with books at home and know all that. But I have worked with less privileged children coming from homes that do not possess ANY books, never go to a library or bookshop, and parents hardly even talk to their children!

So teachers somehow have to cater for that very wide spectrum of experience and family support that children have, or have not, experienced in their first 4 or 5 years.

I don't doubt you will get some dramatic replies from our MN expert teachers, who are hugely more experienced and qualified than I. 'Pushing' a child too much at this very sensitive stage of their education may well do much more harm than good.

firstgreatholswiththree Mon 12-Sep-11 22:47:10

Just some thoughts on Look Say. If your child doesn't seem ready to pick up the words quickly without much effort wait a few weeks and try again. I'm not kidding I tried doing it with my son at 4 and it was a waste of time. Tried again at 5 and he learnt the pack within 1 week. I really think that some of these things are pushed too early. By the way I would never have left any of it with my first child as I thought we just had to do it but when it feels like I'm not getting any where fast with number 2 I just wait a little longer and we avoid the stress of pushing too soon and you know what he learns just as much as my first child.

CustardCake Mon 12-Sep-11 22:57:24

I would check with the teacher - is the list very long? If so it could be a list of the key words they need to aim for by the end of the term or even the end of Reception. We got given all of the Reception key words in the first few weeks of term but they weren't expected to actually know them all at that stage.

With homework in general, whether you are for or against it, they are likely to have some each week even at this young age. It never worked for me asking my DCs if they fancied doing it - we just got into a routine that it was done after a drink and a snack at the kitchen table - once they go off to play its impossible to coax them back again.
Try not to let her see that you think it is punishing or hard or unfair or boring - even if it is boring or hard give it 10 minutes or so and then sign the book off and put it away. Let her explain things to you and try to make it fun and see it as a chance to have a chat and do somethign together. They only get more of it as the terms and years go by so its best to not so much be firm about it but to normalise it if you can.

CocktailQueen Tue 13-Sep-11 09:52:24

We haven't had homework yet but do have reading books..... I agree, they are v little and after a day at school it seems like a lot of work to get them to do homework as well! Maybe try to make it a game??

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