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Is this because of OFSTED? Level of homework given to reception

(30 Posts)
alreethoneyhonhun Tue 11-Oct-11 22:23:04

DD has been at school (in Reception) just over a month now. She loves it thank goodness but must say I'm surprised at the amount of work she brings home...

At the start of the week, we receive a school week plan which tells us what she will be learning in class including phonetics, counting, stories from the bible, as well as themes such as halloween amongst other activities listed on sheet. We also get a homework sheet with sums and letters that she needs to hand in the following week. PLUS midweek, we receive a bookpack with 2/3 books to read and sign off each week.

As I said she is enjoying and I'm very happy that school is encouraging reading and learning but I wanted to know what other MNers' experiences of homework and expected parental support is at primary level, particularly Reception? Is this about right at other schools?

I'm sure when I was at school we didn't have homework until much later!

Thanks for your replies.

rushofbloodtothefeet Tue 11-Oct-11 22:28:35

Umm, DD also in reception. She has had 2 wordless reading books home. That's it. No maths, no letters (they start phonics after half term apparently), no idea of topics covered or ideas for things to follow up at home.

Feel like we are at the other end of the spectrum!!

Elibean Tue 11-Oct-11 22:29:16

Sums, in the first month of Reception? That we certainly don't get.

The week plan sounds a bit like our class newsletter, but we get it on a Friday to tell us what kind of things the children have been doing during the week. It does include phonetics and counting, but also making things, playing, meeting the guinea pigs etc etc.

Other than that, children have a number of high frequency words sent home each week, and as they learn them they get given a few more. Once they know about a dozen, they get their first reading book (as opposed to story and information books which parents read to them). We are asked to encourage a bit of reading every night, but also asked to back off if the child is over tired, fed up, etc. so as not to turn them off reading, basically. The books (apart from one which is used by the teacher) can be changed as often as one wants.

So less than your school, but also more flexible - iyswim.

Chaotica Tue 11-Oct-11 22:30:04

Our experience is closer to the second poster's.

Shakey1500 Tue 11-Oct-11 22:32:26

Way more than here! Ds also in reception since Sept. He gets given a "homework" book on a Friday to be handed in by the following Wed. All he has to do is copy a row of the 4 letters they have learnt that week. And find/draw something that begins with each of the letters.

Hatwoman Tue 11-Oct-11 22:33:02

outer london primary - a bit of reading and some spelling iirc
small rural - nothing

I much prefer the latter

alreethoneyhonhun Tue 11-Oct-11 22:35:33

Thanks all of you, this is why I wander if connected with OFSTED? We've been given all these activities/tasks to help learning but I do feel a bit overwhelmed and tbh clueless - I can read with my daughter and have been encouraging her with numbers and drawing since nursery but this does seem relentless with no flexibility Elibean. No way of monitoring if I'm helping her learn the right way. Hence me asking you all on MN.

alreethoneyhonhun Tue 11-Oct-11 22:39:28

I live up North and DD goes to CofE school, we chose not just because of OFSTED reports but for the caring environment, etc .

I thought Reception was about fun!

yellowsubmarine41 Tue 11-Oct-11 22:42:15

Similar to elibean. Newsletter sent home on Friday with topics for next week, sounds they've learnt to practice at home, HF or tricky words to practice. Homework has been simple numeracy and practising forming letters. Also, 'read with adult' book comes home every night and 'learn to read' book gets changed within the week once they've read it with someone at home.

I was anti the idea of 'homework' in reception, though I appreciate knowing what they're doing and being guided as to how to help.

VirtuallyHere Tue 11-Oct-11 22:43:08

In the week - a book each night (either to be read or a 'reading book', i.e. just pictures to talk through at the minute. Also adhoc stuff to prepare.

Weekend at moment - book + 2 letters to practice + homework (e.g. trying to get words from letters) + flashwords to learn + photos to write description (more practising handwriting).

sunnyday123 Tue 11-Oct-11 22:43:58

in reception dd got 2 books per week and letters to learn (forming different words) every 2 weeks - not to learn the spellings though and she only not gets maths in Y1 and thats only number bonds and times tables!

dilbertina Tue 11-Oct-11 22:48:06

Ds is in reception. So far he has brought nothing home apart from models, paintings and a bag of apples he picked on a trip out to a local farm. I know he's doing phonics because he tells me what sound/sign he's learnt. He's learnt lots about tigers and has announced to the class that his daddy drinks lots of beer(!). I am very happy with it all (although concerned about his attention to detail since it is wine his daddy drinks lots of!)

LoonyRationalist Tue 11-Oct-11 22:55:39

DD1 just started reception in September.

We had an info sheet on how they are teaching phonics (1 letter/sound per day)at the start of the 2nd week. DD1 is the oldest in her class (5 already) and could read some words before she started school.

Second week they started sending home books without words. Third week she was onto simple word books which she devours enthusiastically. Even so she probably has a max of 3 per week.

Every friday they get a sheet with the 5 letters/sounds they learnt that week & some words to sound out. There is often a second sheet with some kind of numeracy activity. Sheets are to go in the next Monday but it is stressed that they are truly optional. In total they take a maximum of 10 minutes to complete. I hear her read her current book over and over again daily

Mum2be79 Wed 12-Oct-11 08:55:11

Hmm - a bit much for Reception, especially in the first term. I do not think it's because of OFSTED - they aren't really interested in how much homework 4 and 5 year olds get.

Our reception children take home flash cards (high frequency words) as well as little cards showing the sounds learnt during the week and the actions (jolly phonics). They do take home a reading book, but they can choose and change their own book as the purpose is to get them interesting in reading and enjoying it rather than practising what they have learnt, which at this time of the year is not much because reading doesn't begin until they've mastered Phase 2 of Letters and Sounds - and they haven't started yet. The first term is re-capping Phase 1 - which is all to do with sounds they can hear and make (fun sounds!).

My Y1 class take home a reading book (which is book banded) that is the level below their guided reading book as the purpose is to continue reading for enjoyment. Easier when you can read the words rather than struggle to read words that are currently being taught! They change it once a week (at the moment until they get used to changing it freely) and spend 2-3 minutes with an adult reading some pages and talking about it in school (all timetabled). I give them a handwriting sheet (a practise one) to do at home and tick off the ones who do it. They are rewarded but children who don't are not punished - it's not their fault. They are only 5 still. They get weekly spellings (the amount is differentiated) and that is it. It goes home on the same day as their handwriting but they have a week to do it and the handwriting is a 10-minute task.

Some parents like it, some don't. But we give to every child as some children start feeling left out when we only give to those whose parents want it. Also, we found a big difference in the attainment of children who DID do their homework than those who DID NOT.

craftynclothy Wed 12-Oct-11 09:31:35

Blimey, we haven't had any homework yet.

The teachers have had a meeting with us about what they're doing with the children and how we can help at home. They are also making up a phonics book for each child in the class - this shows all the phonics they're doing and tells you which your child is struggling with/needs practice on/fluent with so you know how you can help them most.

They are starting reading soon but I don't think they start bringing books home until after half term.

spottypancake Wed 12-Oct-11 09:35:16

Sounds like more than average homework for this stage in reception.

But I am very jealous of the sheet telling you what they're doing at school. My DS has finished reception but I have no idea what he did for the whole year!

jo164 Wed 12-Oct-11 09:40:19

My daughter has just started reception and she gets a book every night - so 5 a week, which she has to read at home and I have to sign to say she's done it. She gets sheets of 'key words' to learn each week - but if she hasn't learnt them then she won't get the next, so there is no pressure, they learn at their own pace. At the weekends we get worksheets sent home to practise letter formation and writing short words. She is at a private school though, and I know some of my friends children at state school have just had a couple of books a week so far.

DeWe Wed 12-Oct-11 11:39:08

My dc were/are at an OFSTED outstanding school. They've all but scrapped homework, they have reading books (reception x2 a week, y1&2 as often as you read them), a library book and occasionally spellings in y1&2, and that's it.
So I don't think it can be OFSTED lead.

Interestingly there is another infant school up the road that sets vast amount of homework. They arrive a junior school roughly the same ability range so I suspect it makes no difference.

Pancakeflipper Wed 12-Oct-11 11:49:41

My son goes to an 'outstanding' school..

In reception they get no homework. After Christmas they begin to bring a reading book home. They are too busy 'playing'. It is a happy school.

The teacher said to the parents at a meeting about learning to read when a parent asked about homework "if we can not teach the kids what they need to know in reception in the 6 hrs a day we have them, then we are doing something seriously wrong."

The headteacher says they could give out homework but they say the time taken in collecting it back in, nagging those who don't do it, don't bring it in, setting it, marking it and recording it - it's time wasted in an infant school environment. Time would be better spent with the kids, making learning in the class fun and productive.

I don't this is OFSTED led.

BabyGiraffes Wed 12-Oct-11 12:06:30

My dd started reception in September and has only just turned four plus is immature for her age. She really struggles with homework at the moment and I try not to push her if she gets unhappy about any of it. She is 4!! She has a reading book every night, handwriting practice (cursive!) on Wed to be returned Fri, and English/maths homework on Fri to be returned next Wed. It's not a lot really and most only take a few minutes, but for a 4 year old who's been at school all day it seems a lot. Last night she asked me if she could change school... she thought maybe at a different school she might get away without having to learn to read sad. I am a bit concerned that the level of homework puts her off learning and will discuss it with her teacher at the next parent evening.

Hatwoman Wed 12-Oct-11 12:12:04

our school is also rated outstanding - and has virtually no homework throughout the whole of primary.

Bluewednesday Wed 12-Oct-11 13:10:25

My dd has just started reception. They will get their first reading book after half term, no homework so far. We get an info sheet every Friday with topic for the following week. So far no letters, a bit of counting only.
This is an OFSTED outstanding school that teaches cursive writing from the start, and apparently gets well above average results. I just have to trust them I suppose. They know what they are doing!

2littlecherubs Wed 12-Oct-11 13:16:17

My ds started reception in September (in a pivate school). We have a book every night (and 1 for the weekend) They tend to be picture books for him to talk through. We then get a set of flashcards once a week with high frequency words and if he knows them the following week he gets a new set to learn.
He learnt all his phonic sounds last year in kindergarten but if there are any he does not know when he has had a test they too are sent home to be re learnt.
We also have worksheets to work through to practice letter formation in our own time.

builder Wed 12-Oct-11 14:28:12

Schools should be more honest about homework because - if you choose the wrong school - you can get overwhelmed with homework. My children just like to play, to homework is not welcome in our house. (Plus as a Cambridge grad who did no homework until secondary age, I see no need for it - as research has also confirmed)

My dds in reception got the following:

A book each week. More if they read quickly, less if they read slowly.
A sound book to practice phonics. A word tin. Luckily, our school lets children read at their level so my dd1 could progress quickly without having to read every book in the scheme. So, she could finish the reading scheme without having to have read every book in it.

However, at the next school along from us, reception children were given 3 books a week, a word tin and a maths challenge each week.

Our school's homework policy is also good; 1 piece of homework a week in juniors. The homework should be easy enough to be done independently and not involve an exhaustive piece of project work that needs lots of parental help.

builder Wed 12-Oct-11 14:30:04

Pancakeflipper - your school sounds great. I like their attitude. Especially the ...if they can't teach them in six hours ...bit

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