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Reception homework - just don't know how to explain to dd

(27 Posts)
notevenamOoOooOoooosie Sat 15-Oct-11 09:13:54

DD is in reception, fairly bright and loving it. I am struggling with the homework though.

There's a fair volume of it - though I have spoken to other parents and they've said that they too were surprised and it takes other children 2-3 hours as well which seems a lot to me, per week, at only 4.

As part of it, they have 6 words a week that they have to be able to sound out, read, and spell.
DD can sound the letters, but not put them together. She says they don't do it at school and they don't get tested on them at school. I try and show her how the sounds join up to make the words but when we get them out again the next day, she often can't do them again. I think the ones she has learnt, she's learning by rote/ sight. Once she's got it, she gets sounding/ reading the whole word/ spelling out loud/ writing the spelling all at once iyswim. I've tried reading about phonics and how it's taught, as I read by sight and was reading before I started school, but I don't think I'm helping her.

What else should I do? Yes, I'm a first time mum, for a few reasons always think I'm going to be judged and found lacking.

CecilyP Sat 15-Oct-11 09:31:37

I don't think you are lacking in any way. It seems very early days to be getting homework. They also seem to be sending home something that she can't do yet - blending the sounds together to get the word, so no wonder it takes so long. It will probably click in the fullness of time, but until it does, this homework is going to be extremely laborious. What do they actually do in school? I think you should have a word with the teacher to try to sort this out.

mumto2andnomore Sat 15-Oct-11 10:11:25

I teach this age and it sounds a lot to me too. 2-3 hours a week is way too much, my 12 year old doesnt do that much homework ! I expect mine to practice their sounds and blending but only for a few minutes.

hocuspontas Sat 15-Oct-11 10:17:10

Are you sounding out correctly? (Sorry if that's insulting!) Some words they learn can't be sounded out yet, depending what they have learnt in phonics. Words like no, to, the etc.

FrightNight Sat 15-Oct-11 10:21:52

To give comparison my DS 4.3 yo just started reception gets:

- a book each night which takes about 10 minutes if we reaalllly drag it out

-2 new words in his book per week which we try to learn with him, he knows some now on sight, still not others

-each weekend some fun "doing" prep for their upcoming week, this week find things related to autumn and try to create patterns

I would be uncomfortable doing the sort of things you are attempting given I am not a teacher, also I think it is bad form to get stuff homework that then isn't measured or used in the classroom it has no practical relevance.

Have you had your parents meeting yet? That is all the parents opportunity to raise their concern.

Toobluntforboss Sat 15-Oct-11 10:27:01

Sounds normal to me regarding volume - we spend almost an hour each evening doing homework with my 4 year old. He's my eldest so also worried I'm doing it wrong. He has new words, letters and a book (book is once a week). He tells me they do teach them to sound out the words in school and he can do the letter sounds but struggles to blend also. I'm hoping with practice that will come! Sounds very much like your DD in that he is remembering the longer words by rote and guessing at others based on what the start of the word is. We have parents evening soon so I'm hoping the teacher will be able to tell me what I should be doing. Good luck with it as it is worrying.

Toobluntforboss Sat 15-Oct-11 10:29:30

I meant worrying that you're not doing your best for them - but I'm sure they'll be great!

HumphreyCobbler Sat 15-Oct-11 10:29:45

This is too much work. I would not be doing it and I am a teacher. I would go in and have a chat.

In the meantime just have a little read of the words with her and talk about them. If she wants to.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 15-Oct-11 10:31:01

An hour a night! Where are these schools that set this much homework for such little children?

It is of limited educational value imvho.

Cinders22 Sat 15-Oct-11 10:43:44

I would speak to the teacher and ask them to clarify how you are supposed to be helping your little one. My DS did Jolly Phonics at nursery and was just given the letters to learn (a few at a time). I had no idea what to do with them and asked the teacher who gave me a sheet with all the sounds/actions on which helped immensely, but I was told by the teacher I should only be spending 5 minutes at a time teaching these. My DS is now reading books (started reception in September) and has 2 books which take 5 minutes, 10 minutes if we talk about the pictures and drag it out.

Oh and you will not be being judged and being lacking, you are doing a great job in wanting to get this right and help your child.

AngryFeet Sat 15-Oct-11 10:56:42

Blimey! They have no homework in reception at our school (thank god!) - they do ask that we read with them once a day but we do that anyway. Quite a few mums are moaning about the fact that there is no homework in reception hmm madness. Anyway personally I would not push the whole thing or make it into structured homework time. Sounds very off-putting when they are still trying to get used to school. I would just do the word thing when you read the normal bedtime story and not make a big deal if he doesn't get it yet. It will happen in time. DD is above average in reading now she is in y2 but she only got the blending thing in the last term of reception/1st term of y1.

NedSchneebly Sat 15-Oct-11 11:42:33

My DS school goes to the other extreme! One letter sound a day, but no real expectation to practice it, although we do. A library book for us to read to him, and a 'reading book' although that is not issued or checked by teacher or TA, they are just taken from a box in the classroom whenever we want to swap them. No words to learn/ read/ spell etc.

Bit frustrating as DS knows all of his letters, some blended sounds and is desperate to learn to read!

scarevola Sat 15-Oct-11 11:52:11

It sounds far too much!

At our school, the children were expected to read for 10-20 minutes a night (and it didn't matter a jot if you skipped some). It might be practicing letters/words or a reading book, depending on whether the child was yet reading. And it was meant to be simple and confidence boosting.

Once in a blue moon there would be some topic work - again about 20 minutes worth.

I hope you find out soon from the teacher to find out how long it's meant to be taking, Because I'm sure it won't be intended to be this long or a source of stress, and it does sound as if adjustments need to be made.

Iamnotminterested Sat 15-Oct-11 13:02:36


Begs the question what the hell are they doing at school for 6 hours every day if parents are spending that amount of time at home?

moogalicious Sat 15-Oct-11 13:06:20

Homework at 4 years old? Ridiculous!

2littlecherubs Sat 15-Oct-11 13:52:12

Hi. My ds in reception and We get on average half an hour a night and a couple of hours at the weekend.. In the week we get a book a night and a pack of 10 flashcards to learn. Then at weekends a couple of books, phonics practice and letter format .
It may seem a lot but ds really enjoys it and his progress so far has been amazing

2cats2many Sat 15-Oct-11 14:01:20

My DD is in reception and gets NO homework at all. They will start to get reading books after half term. All other homework is optional and it is entirely up to you whether you do it or not.

I think homework at 4yrs old is ridiculous. My dd can only just about manage to stay awake until teatime at the moment, never mind sitting down for more formal learning.

I support her phonics and maths learning by talking to her about letters and sounds when we are out and abut (reading licence plates, labels on stuff, that kind of thing), but I would be having a word with the teacher if she was expected to do anything more than that.

KatharineClifton Sat 15-Oct-11 14:35:40

I think you and the other parents should get together and let the school know that homework in reception is unreasonable and you all wont be doing it. Utterly ridiculous.

Haberdashery Sat 15-Oct-11 16:11:15

Could you turn it into a game? I play a game with my daughter where I say 'Can you P-A-T the D-O-G?' (toy dog, not a real one) and she has to work out what I mean. If you put a bit of time in to think about it, you can come up with a fair list of intructions eg R-U-N to something, T-OU-CH something, G-E-T something, J-U-M-P on something etc etc. I wouldn't worry about the actual words she's meant to be learning yet, but playing sounding out might help her get the idea.

But I do think that sounds like way too much work. She must be exhausted.

Chestnutx3 Sat 15-Oct-11 16:15:52

You need to have a word with the teacher asap. My DC gets quite a bit of homework in reception, more than I thought would happen but there you go, you don't have to do it as they cover it all in class.

The main problem is you don't know what you should be doing. We were given a talk about what they would come home with every night and how to support them. Are you really sure they need to spell the words - that does not sound like most reception classes.

notevenamOoOooOoooosie Sat 15-Oct-11 18:02:09

Thank you for all the feedback. They have 6 worksheets (numbers and letters) a week, and we were told how to explain these to them, so that they are writing them "properly" - for me this has been ok as DD could pretty much write her letters, but a bit time consuming just to get through so many. It sounded like blending just sort of happened - it doesn't seem to with DD.
I will keep getting her to sound the letters and wait for parents' evening (this week) to ask how exactly this is expected.
I don't do it in the evenings because she's too tired to concentrate properly - we do an hour on Sat am, an hour Sun am, anything left after lunch on Sunday. It's just an English state primary so I assumed this was normal!

Lifeissweet Sat 15-Oct-11 18:14:28

Blimey. I'm a primary school teacher and this amount of work for a reception child scares me. The school day is long for them and quite a few are almost asleep on the carpet at story time before they go home.

My DS is in year 2 and I couldn't cope with that much work in the evening. By the time I finish at my own school, travel to pick him up from his Grandmother's, get him home and feed him; it's time for bath, 10 minutes reading and bed - How do you manage to fit it all in?!

Lifeissweet Sat 15-Oct-11 18:19:36

Also, the school where I work has a fairly high proportion of children who do not speak English at home and who did not attend nursery, so we may be a little behind other schools, but I know that the children in our reception classes are in the process of learning a letter sound a day. They are nowhere near ready to blend them yet (although some are more able, the class would not be set homework at that level across the board). If your DD can't blend her sounds yet, then the school needs to make sure she has been taught in their way and that she is secure enough to do this before they send the homework home IMO. Homework should be consolidation and practice, not teaching. That's what the school is for!

notevenamOoOooOoooosie Sat 15-Oct-11 19:26:08

Lifeissweet I do it at the weekends (which is not ideal either really). Neither I or DD could be doing it in the evenings after school.
hocuspontas I think I am, but maybe I'm not explaining that the sounds join up, they are straightforward words
haberdashery I sort of tried that the first week but maybe need to try it again.
Who knew this parent-of-a-school-aged-child was so difficult!? Not me, that's for sure.

PointyBlackHat Sat 15-Oct-11 20:48:37

I think you should be pointing out the government's guidelnies on appropriate homework to this school - it is nothing like this much: guidelines here Ditto for the poster whose DC is doing an hour a day. My YR6 DD does not do this much and I would not want her to - and she is a very high achiever. I too would be wondering what the h*ll they are doing in school all day to need this much homework!

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