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Y3 and work far too easy

(24 Posts)
wantadvice Sat 24-Sep-11 09:45:22

Name changed so dont get accused of boasting.
DD has just started Y3 and homework so far has been the sort of stuff she was doing in reception. In agreement with her previous teachers for reception and Y1 I chose her spellings for her to ensure there was some sort of challenge otherwise she knew them all and there was nothing to learn. I didnt bother in Y2 as I find out from mumsnet that spelling tests are a waste of time and anyway the spellings set by Y2 teacher for her were about right.
Her maths hw was the 2 and 5 times table. She knows all her times table and so although I wouldnt have minded her being tested on say the 4s or 8s (as she has never been tested on these at school), she doesnt have to do any learning at home to be tested on the 2s and 5s.

Her teacher at an initial transition meeting for all parents asked that we write in h/w books if homework is too easy or hard and it will be adjusted accordingly so there is a level of managable challenge. I did this and asked for more challenging spellings (or I am happy to write own if this is a pain) and if she could be tested on other timetables.
Teacher's reply was that she has to do the same spellings as they are from teh national strategy and the maths timetables are in line with the rest of the class.
I assume that the teacher doesnt have to stay within the curriculum boundaries for Y3 and can give differentiated work. I understand it is early days but teh teacher isnt saying she will adapt work as she gets to know dd.

Do I just accept that she is one of 30 and suck it up (although I know she isnt the brightest in the class or that unusal, her school is a satisfactory ofsted school and is certainly not full of middles class children, that's partly I like about it) or shoudl I go back to the teacher to push for work that is going to challenge her?

Sorry it's so long.

EdithWeston Sat 24-Sep-11 09:49:54

I'd say "suck it up", but only for spellings and times tables. It seems to me that they are going through a fairly fixed programme, to ensure that every child is secure in all these areas.

There's no harm in having a bit of easy homework for a while.

I'd be keeping an eye out for the level of work/expectations in other parts of the curriculum.

rabbitstew Sat 24-Sep-11 10:16:03

Ds1 has been getting basic times tables to bring home to "learn" along with the rest of the class. I just view it as lucky for him that he already knows them - less time wasted doing homework - and hope that the bringing the tables home to practise means that not too much of his time is actually spent at school "learning" them in class time. A lot of the time, what he is doing in maths does sound rather easy (eg learning place value when he's been happily playing at writing out numbers in trillions and above for years and then telling us what they are, clearly demonstrating an understanding the place value concept, adding the numbers together, etc). However, we've never actively sat him down and taught him maths, so have no idea what he really does and doesn't know, or the way in which he understands it, and wouldn't want gaps in his knowledge, or people explaining things in ways he doesn't get because he didn't learn it like that, so we tend to leave things be. So far as we're concerned, there's school maths, which is sometimes a bit challenging and sometimes easy but is at least being taught in a thought out and consistent way, and there's non-school maths, which is sometimes him playing about with something from school that sparked his interest and taking it further at home, and sometimes the result of him asking us bizarre questions that lead to an interesting discussion. So long as we are happy that the school is covering all the maths that he has to know by the end of primary school and differentiating as much as it can within the topics that are being taught, we are happy. So, that's our take on it, anyway, but there are as many views on this as there are people in the world.

Spelling-wise the school has always been very good and given him totally different spellings to everyone else, which he puts into sentences to show he actually understands what they mean and how they can be used. That way, he is getting practise at extending his use of vocabulary every week and it's more enjoyable than learning a set of isolated spellings.

lilystar Sat 24-Sep-11 10:21:25

I'd be quite happy if my yr3 son had got any times tables in his maths homework This week he has a worksheet which requires him to write number bonds to 10.
He loves maths, and loves being challenged at it, so is uninspired by this - his little sister has done it instead and he is playing maths games on the computer. I has asked him if he does harder work in class, or gets given anything different to do, but he says that the whole class do the same stuff and it's really boring. We have a drop in session with the teacher next week so I am planning to ask when they will start to differentiate and provide some challenging work.

rabbitstew Sat 24-Sep-11 10:24:28

or getting practice, maybe?...

Devexity Sat 24-Sep-11 10:31:48

DS, also Y3, has the same deal. He hasn't had spellings to learn since reception. Now Junior school is issuing weekly lists, and they're very easy, the same for every child, and clearly part of a national strategy. I suggested to DS that he not bother with them at all, and he - Mr Rule Follower - freaked. So we've decided that he'll spend 10 minutes every Saturday filling out the week's spelling spreadsheet on the grounds that a) it's meeting the teacher's behavioural expectations, and b) it's good handwriting practice. Both of which seem valid educational objectives. If dull.

Following the advice of my teacher parents, I'm doing what I did in Y2 and waiting until the first parent's evening to discuss differentiation. It's very early in the term. They may start differentiating wildly once they've assessed all pupils' grasp of the basics.

AurraSing Sat 24-Sep-11 10:37:26

I think it's too early to worry. My yr 3 dd also had the 10,5 and 2 timetable homework and being able to do it gave her a good confidence boost.

As far as the spellings go, our school tends to use them to support spelling patterns taught in class (ph, ch, ght) rather than to learn random words. Could that be what the school is doing?

I would wait for a few weeks and let everything settle, before asking for harder work.

munstersmum Sat 24-Sep-11 10:43:26

We had this last year in yr2 where DS was given a learning objective of the 2x table. Thinking it was an error by the student teacher I just raised it as a quick query with the teacher at the end of the day. "It's a whole class goal." So we decided to let it ride. Was a tad miffed at parents evening (tho I hid it wellwink) to be told he was coasting.

We're adopting a wait and see approach going into yr3 as felt KS1 was more about social side.

Like lily we let DS play on maths games at home.

clutteredup Sat 24-Sep-11 11:47:15

My DC get very little HW and rarely if at all in fact I think never has it been challenging - not sure why the teacher is asking your opinion hard/ easy if they're not prepared to do anything about the feedback.
I would work through the x tables with your DD and do your own thing to keep her interested and she doesn't need to do the HW set for school if she's already learned it. She'll get them all right in the tests but you can take her forward on her own, do more reading and fun things with her. TBH IME most primary schools do HW to got through the motions in the hope that the lower end ability children might have some help from home. Ones who already do don't need HW ones who don't don't do the HW anyway.

adelaofblois Sat 24-Sep-11 15:09:36

There is clearly a problem here, and you should talk to the teacher, but there are also some reasons why this might be being done.

In both cases (2, 5 and 10 times tables and spellings) I have taken the view this year that even those in my (coincidentally Yr3) class who seem secure could benefit from speedier recall, from moving from knowing to knowing instantly and without thought, and have used homework to support this. But in class differentiation is more precise-some children might be working on simple recall, others on complex doubling and halving word problems; some on simply spelling words correctly, others on spotting spelling patterns and generating their own words using those patterns, or on finding other ways of representing the phoneme(s) tested. I would check carefully what the work is a preparation for and why it is being set before assuming there is no understanding of your child's ability or needs being shown.

But without knowing your DD who can say.

adelaofblois Sat 24-Sep-11 15:21:35

And I ask for parental feedback because it helps my lesson planning to know how quickly and easily recall is occurring, and hence how much of an obstacle it is to manipulating the learned information.

MindtheGappp Sat 24-Sep-11 15:24:44

I think that at the start of each key stage, the system resets and everyone is taught more or less the same material for the first couple of weeks.

Work levels should now intensify for bright children and ease up for those who struggle.

wantadvice Sat 24-Sep-11 15:34:27

Hi, thanks for all responses. I will let the spelling lie and tell dd just to do them. Not too fussed about these as I realise there is no benefit to having harder ones as test anyway.
Re timetables, I agree about needing speedy recall. However she has instant recall of 2s and 5s and has been tested on these lots of times already in school. I would be interested to see what her recall is like on the ones she's never been tested on in school. That would be useful for her.

adelaofblois Sat 24-Sep-11 15:44:35

I wish the system reset-would have saved me a lot of work over the summer and last few weeks!

If I were teaching this child and were challenged I hope I would be able to show the benefit of the homework and how it fitted in with broader aims. This might be through increasing speed of recall, or by showing examples of writing in which these or similar words were misspelt, or through observations on speed of handling number.

Children and parents often see the point of homework as in the test that follows or just in completing the work. It rarely is-it is about consolidating learning needed for class activites. As such, consistently getting 10/10 or 20/20 in a spelling test need not mean the work is too 'easy'-the test was easy, but the learning involved in making it so can now be used to set work at the right level.

adelaofblois Sat 24-Sep-11 15:52:11

Sorry, cross posted.

Basically, you need to check the teacher understands your child and is differentiating appropriately within the confines of a 30-child class.

That is a bigger question than whether the homework is at a challenging enough level, but the fact it isn't gives you a right to gently ask.

But getting harder times tables (say eights) sent home if the class is working on appropriately differentiated word problems with 2s and 5s would not be a 'victory', the question is whether the problems are well enough differentiated...

smee Sat 24-Sep-11 16:43:15

We were told what MindtheGappp said by DS's teacher. Makes sense to me.

BusterGut Sat 24-Sep-11 22:23:11

Why do you want challenging homework? Surely, the challenging stuff gets done in class and the more quickly the homework is done, the happier the child is at home?

I can't see why you all want homework to be harder!


wantadvice Sat 24-Sep-11 23:41:05

Bustagut- "the more quickly the homework is done, the happier the child is at home?"
But what if the child enjoys homework and wants it to be challenging?

merrymonsters Sun 25-Sep-11 08:43:53

If your daughter wants harder spelling, Spellodrome is good. It's done by the same people who do Mathletics and it has different levels of spelling.

Devexity Sun 25-Sep-11 09:02:33

Bustagut: Because learning is fun? Surely? And words are fun.

DS and I play a psychotically competetive version of The Minister's Cat in spare minutes, so the words he's written down in his 'Tricky Words I'd Like To Learn To Spell Properly' notebook are bibulous and haemorrhaging. Fun words. On Friday, the personal target words on his spelling sheet were 'or' and 'aren't'. Not fun words at all.

lilystar Sun 25-Sep-11 11:27:50

"Why do you want challenging homework? Surely, the challenging stuff gets done in class and the more quickly the homework is done, the happier the child is at home?"

Because my ds is not keen on homework at the best of times and if I am going to have to make him do it, it might as well be something worth doing. There's less chance of it being a battle if the homework is interesting for him. If setting appropriate homework is beyond the school, fine, don't set any and I will find interesting stuff for him to do.

lilystar Sun 25-Sep-11 11:29:26

Oh, and by his account, so far the work in class has been on a level with the homework, so not challenging there, either.

bebanjo Sun 25-Sep-11 20:20:41

IMO, if she gets homework and she already knows it let her do what she wants, be it reading a dictionary, having a hobby or learning spellings.
if she needs someone to tell her what to do to be challenged, i would focus on that.

Elibean Sun 25-Sep-11 20:30:24

dd1 is Y3, and has only had two lots of homework so far (plus spellings) and as far as I can see, they are of an easy standard but require her to be more independent in her thinking/execution - ie involve independent research, coming up with her own number sentences to solve maths problems, etc.

The spellings are divided into three sets of either 5, 10 or 15 new words weekly and if children get three tests right in a row, they move up to the next set. The 15 set has more difficult words, obviously.

I think its very early in the scheme of things though, and am sure our particular Y3 teacher (who has a great reputation) will differentiate more as time goes on, and she gets to know the children.

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