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Y1 homework hell

(4 Posts)
HaveringGold Sun 23-Sep-12 13:34:05

So to get all the drip feeding out of the way and probably out myself to anyone else from the Overseas board ... we live abroad, were in a different system but switched to British system this summer. In effect this means DS (6) has missed the basic phonics reading and spelling and handwriting that most kids would learn in reception (not so much a maths issue). We also live in a country famed for its hot housing of kids so to be honest most kids are a bit ahead of the norm for Y1. Sigh... the plus side is culturally the British system suits him much better, and after an awful teacher last year who striped a lot of his confidence, we have not only a good teacher but a really nice one.
So we're trying to do homework - its streamed so I know he's doing the basic one - plus play catch up on phonics, plus rebuild self esteem... and I work full time with a helper who is lovely and adores the kids but not great at homework.
DS comes up with every excuse under the sun, fidgets , delays then cries and gets so frustrated - and I know to a degree this is kind of normal (I know possibly not the crying). But I feel a) we can't not do it as he is behind already and b) he does need to learn he can't just say "my brain hurts" and magically it will disappear.
I know half the problem is we have to cram alot of it in to weekends versus a little every day and/or its after 6.30 when I get home when frankly every one is tired and both he and his little sister just want Mum time
Honestly this weekend I wanted to cry myself and it was all I could do not to lose my temper. I almost wonder if I have to give up work, anything anything to make it easier. So instead I'm looking to MN - help, advice? I will talk to his teacher this week but ultimately some level of work has to be done and I just don't know how to make it less of a living hell.

Phew - and sorry its so long

Tiggles Sun 23-Sep-12 15:22:26

DS2 never wants to do his homework, although in his case it isn't a self-esteem/work being too hard issue, just he would rather be doing something else. So I have a few approaches which I use from time to time. The first, is that he loves to play on the Wii, so if I want him to do 10mins of homework, I might say "You have to do your homework, when your homework is done you will be able to play on the Wii until [the time in 1hr]. That means if you do your homework quickly you can have 50mins to play on the Wii. The more you complain the less time you have to play."
Or today, he wanted to play with his robots, so we had them sat on the table by his book, and they helped him think of silly sentences that he had to write.
I think it is working, there was only about 2 mins complaining today before he sat down and did some of the best writing I have seen him do.
However, I would imagine that your DS is not wanting to work more because he thinks he can't do it. DS1 had massive self esteem issues and in the end it took a few months of home schooling to get his confidence back (we knew we were moving house so home schooling before his new school in new area made sense). He needed a great amount of patience. A lot of encouragement and praise and trying to fit his learning into things he was interested in, and not working on to many things at once. e.g. to practice writing sentences/spelling he wrote on the computer, or dictated to me as he found physically writing a challenge, then we practiced writing letters by hand as a separate exercise where he could just concentrate on his handwriting rather than content. He loves history, so any writing I tried to make history based so that he would want to write about it e.g. writing a sentence about a historical place we went to visit.
With the phonics, can you try and fit them into everyday life without him realising it is homework - playing I spy etc? Or DS2 really enjoyed the phonic bingo cards that he was sent home with last year - the bingo cards had lots of pictures on, and a written word was pulled out of the hat.

HaveringGold Mon 24-Sep-12 04:24:13

Thanks I'm thinking of a combination of the two - he loves watching Lego animations on the iPad so that maybe a way to speed things up. But like your DS1 it may be better to split the two - sentence writing and spellings with me and the computer around history (which he also loves!), and keep it separate to the handwriting which is so hard for him. It is so heart breaking when you can see the frustration he feels. But thanks that's a couple of really helpful ideas

parachutesarefab Mon 24-Sep-12 05:48:07

Is he a morning child? Could you do 10 minutes every morning with him - doesn't have to be sitting at a table doing 'work', snuggle up and read a book maybe?
Lots and lots of boys (and some girls) dislike writing. Definitely speak to his teacher for support and ideas. And remember that he doesn't need to catch up quickly, it needs to be at a manageable pace; when he's older it won't matter at what age he could read / write / spell, just that he can.

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