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WWYD? Homework is too hard IMHO. How much support do you give to your DC?

(55 Posts)
AngelaMartinLipton Sun 24-Feb-13 09:02:36

DS is in a mixed YEAR 1/2 class. Up until now his homework has been electronic and that is the only reason I know that it has been Year 2. I know some 6yos would be able to sit and concentrate unsupervised. I am sure he is given work in class and expected to get on with it but he can't/won't at home. He can do the homework if we sit together. I don't complete it for him, I explain the question and jolly him along. If he gets it wrong, that's ok. It doesn't help that I use different terms and don't understand the methods he is expected to use.

The latest homework is on paper sheets and it is just way too difficult for him. We have a consultation/parents evening in a few weeks. There is no opportunity to talk to the class teacher. If I could have, I would have been tempted to ask if he had the correct work.

He doesn't understand the way the question is phrased (I'm a bit confused). For example: What number is 7 less than 15? 15-7 =? would be fine. To divide 16 by 5, the instruction is to add 4 to sixteen. Either the answer is an estimate or there is a second part to the question that I don't understand.

The instructions are to go over the first sheet together and then DS is to continue with the rest of the paper on his own (9 more pages). I think I should do as asked and then go over the questions so he understands what he was supposed to do.

How much input or support do others give to their Y1/ 6 yos when doing homework?

PolkadotCircus Sun 24-Feb-13 20:01:07

Jesus that is a lot.

I was doing it with them to keep them on track and Spider-Man pics at a minimum in y1/2 however I always made them do it themselves.My lot are in years 3 and 4 and don't get that much-thankfully!

I'd speak to the teacher.

AngelaMartinLipton Sun 24-Feb-13 20:07:34

I think the quantity has something to do with how much I feel I need to supervise. This particular hoemwork was too difficult at the moment.

simpson Sun 24-Feb-13 20:33:26

I would second having a chat with the teacher, there is little point in doing homework that is too hard.

I really hope DD is not in a mixed yr1/2 class next year. There is a vague possibility as she is in a reception year that has taken a bulge class.

difficultpickle Sun 24-Feb-13 20:46:39

If ds (yr 4) doesn't know how to do his homework I put a note in his homework diary. I won't explain how to do it or help him do it if he doesn't understand it to begin with. Homework should be about reinforcing principles learned in class and how will the teacher know if their pupils have understood the work if the parents sit and do the homework with their dcs? confused

Fwiw I see no benefit at all for setting homework in primary school other than reading.

nomadwantshome Sun 24-Feb-13 21:14:44

Very interesting thread. I have been complaining to my dh that dd y4 gets too much homework AND she doesn't understand it. Like other posters, it's so different to when I was at school and I don't understand the methods they use. It feels like I am a teacher too and I feel like I'm letting my dd down and I feel under pressure from the school. It really weighs heavily on me. I am dreading parents evening on Wednesday. I feel like I'll be defending myself and it's all my fault.

To put in to context, dd is having extra sessions under SN for maths and reading. Ds is in y2 and at the top of his class. I realised the other day, he has the same reading book as dd. sad VERY. He also is quicker at maths than she is. I'm sure he is more advanced. We don't do 'family' maths anymore because I don't want competition.

Dd is also doing kumon, which is a real struggle. There is so much for her, poor little thing. I just want her to go out and play

NonnoMum Sun 24-Feb-13 21:21:36

Poor little mites. I can't bear homework at this age.

Parents hate it. Kids hate it. Teacher hate it.

just remind me who thinks it is a good idea?

AngelaMartinLipton Sun 24-Feb-13 21:37:21

Don't feel bad Nomad. It sounds like she is really struggling. Loads of extra work at home isn't going to help if she doesn't understand.

At my ds's school a lot of parents are very competitive about their los. A bit of reading and practise writing is all that is needed imho. I really do want to do as I'm asked but I don't think masses of homework helps.

Getting on socially and behaving well is just as important at this age. I know my DS best and want him to do well. I don't think masses of homework that is too challenging for him is doing what is best. I know DS isn't perfect; he talks a lot. I tend have a 'what can we do together' attitude. I will say that I don't understand the methods being used and ask for examples.

I think by Y3 they should be doing homework completely unaided and with minimal supervision.

HorribleMother Mon 25-Feb-13 17:40:51

Unaided & minimal supervision...? Yeah, right. Well, it's a nice idea.

We are told to give whatever support they need to complete the task. Only caveat is all writing must be in their own hands.

teacherwith2kids Mon 25-Feb-13 18:52:47


Genuine question - what does the school think is the point of that?

Teacher gets in a pile of correct homework, but has absolutely no clue whatever who did it - the child or the parent. So they don't know whether the child can actually do what they were asked to do, nor how much support was needed. The child doesn't learn independent study skills, may have been 'taught' an inappropriate method (or may simply have copied out what a parent wrote) and may not receive the help in school that they need in order to actually understand the concept....

'Help' as in hearing reading, encouraging over the hard bits, testing spellings [ if you happen to have a school that still does thme that way) or times table facts, discussing a possible plot twist or setting expectations that writing at home should be at least as good as writing done at school - no problem. But where help is given to such an extent that it is no longer clear that the child understood the task - pointless.

TomArchersSausage Mon 25-Feb-13 19:10:50

It is so very wrong to be sending home homework that hasn't been covered in class. If after a quick explanation dc still don't get it I've resorted to writing a note to teachers saying he/she doesn't understand and to please supply more support.

Sending things home to be taught from scratch is not on. Homework should be backing up what's already been taught. But then I'm not a believer in loads of homework in primary school anyway.

AngelaMartinLipton Mon 25-Feb-13 22:18:29

It could be that it has been covered in class. He seemed baffled but it may have been the quantity and disparate nature of questions.

He came home with a sticker and a book 2 levels in his current reading scheme. I have no idea of they are connected to my comments about the the homework being difficult.

I know for a fact that some parents are doing the online homework for their kids. That may be why we have had paper homework for the first time. I also know that other DC get spellings home as homework; DS never has but says he has tests.

I'll stick with encouraging the reading.

colditz Mon 25-Feb-13 22:23:06

They aren't expected to do it alone, from what I gather its perfectly expected for you to have to sit with them and basically push them through it, organising their time and possessions.

I can't do anything else at homework time. I have to sit and help. Help research, help with spelling, help with my nine year olds concentratn and focus, help with finding the right colouring pencils for my colour blind six year old.

I didn't used to help, but then they got punished, so now I practically do it for them if they can't do it.

learnandsay Mon 25-Feb-13 22:39:47

That's funny. If the parent has to do the homework then it's not really homework, is it? It's "parent work."

colditz Mon 25-Feb-13 22:41:23

Yes, it is parent work and I hate it! I would not do it if only my children didn't lose playtime for the sake of me doing homework for them.

I have made it clear to the teachers that if they insist on punishing for undone homework, the homework will always be done, but it might be done by me and they will never find out.

learnandsay Mon 25-Feb-13 22:45:56

I'm not up-to-speed with the "parent work" concept, but it might be a way of pushing the children harder without doing "all" the teaching. But I can't see how. Because if the parents have done the homework then who learned anything? It just sounds like an all round waste of everybody's time and effort.

3isthemagicnumber Mon 25-Feb-13 22:49:22

Sounds like he has been asked to do a Yr 2 SATS paper.Should imagine they have been sent home to familiarise the yr 2 with format ,style etc as much as to test or consolidate learning.
Not appropriate for a yr 1 no matter what level they are working at

JengaBlock Mon 25-Feb-13 23:18:04

Have a look on amazon for the book called 'maths for mums and dads'. Naff title but it is great. Goes through all the stages of maths and how they are taught ATM. Fab reference guide to have.

Also, ask if your school is going to run a maths and/or literacy evening for parents. Ours alternate years for these and they are a great way to have the current methods demonstrated. Ours also go through the expectations for each year and levels and policies etc.

My yr one and yr two ds's do their homework independently (yr one ds is possible dyslexic though so he does get a bit of help). They get one maths and one leteracy sheet per week, plus yr two has spellings, plus a book a night. Plus yr one does an extra sheet of maths per night as on an intervention program, plus yr two gets two extension grammar sheet every night. So that, is only seven sheets for year one and twelve for year two. Your ds sounds like heis getting almost double that. sad

TomArchersSausage Tue 26-Feb-13 08:52:50

Agree with Colditz. I did a project with for dd when she was 9. Project set was way beyond her capabilities, more the kind of thing she'd be expected to do now she's 14hmm

I saw the teacher who couldn't have been less interested. She was also the type to dish out punishments. Dd becoming increasingly demotivated and worried.

Then the lightbulb moment, the unwritten rule - the parents were supposed to 'help'. So I did and when they displayed the projects it was obvious so had everyone else's parents.

lougle Tue 26-Feb-13 10:12:03

My DD's school produced this guide to teaching methods in Infants (Yr R-2).

It's really helpful to see how they teach now.

For instance, they don't use the word 'sums' any more, because a sum is strictly an addition. They use, instead, 'number sentences'.

A number-line is something that can be drawn with a ruler on a piece of paper.

For example

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

'Johnny has 3 sweets. He goes to the shop and buys 3 more, how many does he have?'

The child would be expected to start on the number 3 and jump 3 places along to find the answer.

Number lines can be as long as you like, and can start from any number.

50 51 52 53 54 55 56

'Tracey had 50 pence in 2p coins. Her Mum gave her 2 more coins, how much money does she have?'

The child would be expected to start at 50, draw a line over the 51 to the 52 for the first 'jump', from the 52 over the 53 to the 54 for the second jump. Answer: 54 pence.

For minus, they tend to put the arched lines under the number line.

so 4 + 2 -3 means that they would jump forwards 2 places on the number line (on the top), then jump backwards 3 places (underneath) to get to the 3.

lougle Tue 26-Feb-13 10:14:50

The other thing is that the whole point of maths these days is 'application'. So it's all very well and good knowing that 2 x 3 =6, but if you don't understand that being given 2 bags with 3 carrots in each bag means that you have 6 carrots, then you really don't know that 2x3=6, you just remember the answer.

MammaMedusa Tue 26-Feb-13 14:13:05

I usually provide whatever help necessary to get it done but ensuring that it is understood and completed by the children. e.g. we might use counters, number lines, draw pictures, etc.

I then write a note to the teacher at the bottom of the page about what we have done.

If there is too much or it is way too hard then I will write a note to that effect.

The teachers are very good about writing back / changing level. e.g. one note in January said "Quite a few of them found this hard, we will do more in class, and send something similar in a couple of weeks. Please let me know how she gets on then". The almost identical sheet came at half-term, and DD could do it all unaided.

AngelaMartinLipton Tue 26-Feb-13 19:42:34

3isthemagicnumber I've googled Y2 SATS and it does look like a sample paper I've found. I'm not very clear about SATS I thought they were in Y6; my friend is a Y6 teacher. I shouldn't think he will do them until next year when he is in Year 2.

JengaBlock. I've checked the sample on Amazon and the book looks really good. This was homework set for half term and so is a little more than usual.

lougle The guide is excellent and may help with the communication issues we've been having. I'm sure I was in Junior School before we started timetables but he has done some. He knew 5 x 4 = 2 but had problems a liitle later when 4 x5 was part of the answer because he hadn't done his 4 times tables. As I was sitting with him I could say that it was the same calculation and he could finish the rest of the problem without further help.

MammaMedusa That sounds constructive. I doubt we will get any feedback as homework isn't marked. You make a good point about making progress. He will be able to cope with the change and variety within the paper if he does this kind of thing regularly.

At Angela Towers we supervise rather than teach; we don't do it for him. DS cannot (yet) be left to do this totally alone. What do others do support to do?

I'm off to learn about number lines and partitioning.

Bakingtins Tue 26-Feb-13 20:01:01

My son is Y1 in a Y1/2 class. They get homework set for all of KS1 related to their topic for the half term, about 10 activities, but it is usually differentiated for y1 and Y2 (e.g. Y2 expected to work with bigger numbers or write more). It's left up to the parents how much to complete. He gets reading book changed twice a week. We read every night for about 20 mins and do one piece of the homework each weekend, which takes maybe half an hour. He wouldn't do it without help, but of the talking about it, working out what is expected variety. I don't do it for him or correct wrong answers - what's the point? for half term he had an art project which we did together, each producing a picture (1 hour).
I suspect I'm the pushy end of the spectrum at his school where a lot of the kids get v little parental support, nobody would bat an eyelid if no homework was done. If I didn't facilitate it, he wouldn't do any (he's only 6 FFS).
The amount that is set/expected at OP's school sounds ridiculous to me.

nomadwantshome Tue 26-Feb-13 20:39:09

It's parents evening tomorrow, gulp. Was going to get dh to do it but that would be like not facing up to things. Dd's teacher is very results driven, it seems. That's good up to a point. Last parents evening I listened to her tellin me what dd should be doing/ how to do it, setting targets etc and then it was meeting over. No talk about what she's good at, or her emotional development of questions from me so I had to force the point. She was just trying to close me down all the time. I appreciate it might be very time sensitive and all that but ffs! Rant over. I suppose that is why I'm not looking forward to tomorrow. Her teacher in y3 praised dd for her exceptional artistic skills and was very concerned about her emotional development. Oh well.

I am also a little concerned about dd being pushed to go on the blog all the time. Her current teacher thinks that it's great for bonding with other children. She told me about a boy who never went on it but then posted something, like a joke. He got some really positive comments and he was dead chuffed. Maybe I'm showing my age but I'd rather she go out and play with her friends down the road. She's not particulary interested in computers and I don't want to set a habit of social networking, whole other can of worms.

I'll get the talk about going on the blog no doubt. Don't know whether to voice my concerns or tell them (truthfully) but as a kind of excuse iyswim that we have had Internet problems for about a month and I'm really not particularly fussed if we get them fixed quickly. Btw she can't get onto the blog properly from my iPad which I'm using at the moment. Its the laptop that we use that is the faulty link for the Internet.

Sorry very long rant there!

thegreylady Tue 26-Feb-13 21:01:18

If he is on ORT stage 10 he is well into the Yr2 expectations and approaching Yr3 surely. My dgs is 6 and in Yr1. He only talks about book colours not stages but he is on Turquoise and the girl who is acknowledged as the most advanced in the class is on Purple. Obviously the yr2 pupils are sometimes beyond that. (This is a mixed 1/2 class).

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