can't be 'polite' and good any longer....

(724 Posts)
swallowedAfly Sun 29-Sep-13 18:09:33

ds goes to a village primary with all the subsequent over-reliance on parents wealth, education, time, etc. re: assuming sahms are the norm, money is plentiful for fanciful trips and activities, we all know how to sew up costumes at the drop of a hat etc.

that's fine. i chose to live here. however....

homework is way over the top in terms of quantity and right from day one of school. one part of homework (there is loads) is the 'learning log' which is pretended to be something children could do indepndently and consolidates learning. except in reality it is not, by a long shot.

i've put up with it and put up with and felt enslaven to doing it until today when i've had enough. this week for ds (6yo and one of the most able in his year) it says, "show me what you've learned about number bonds up to 20 and what patterns you can see". then there's a blank page.

i don't know why (because this is far from the worst that's come home) but today i've had enough and found myself writing on the page that i have no idea what the learning objective is, what outcomes they're hoping for or how the hell they see this as differentiated. i've also asked how they think a parent with numeracy or literacy problems would tackle this task and whether they would actually set this as a task in class to 6yos and expect a meaningful outcome.

there is no context, no structure, no literacy support, no prompts nothing. same as ever. sometimes the tasks don't even relate to anything they've been learning.

am i totally unreasonable or would you after a year or so be fed up too? i am (if it's not obvious) an ex teacher and i know what education is supposed to be about and this is not it. homework should be meaningful. how could a 6yo read that question and face a blank page and do something a teacher could look at and assess to see what they've learnt? they couldn't.

on top of this learning log (given on a friday and expected in by tuesday) daily reading and signing of reading book is expected plus other bits and bobs. he's 6! he's been getting this since 5 at a point where some kids couldn't even write let alone face a blank page and an open ended task and produce something yet they'd get in trouble if they didn't. this is just a test of parents surely? and an unfair one given it assumes knowledge and literacy that some parents won't have?

sorry for long random rant but help! i'm not playing this game anymore and i'm ready to speak up. it's a joke.

swallowedAfly Sun 29-Sep-13 18:49:18

definitely given the same. all pupils the same task. all teachers presumably parroting 'differentiation by outcome' on their lesson plans if ofsted turns up.

MrsCakesPremonition Sun 29-Sep-13 18:49:38

Presumably the children have been working on number bonds in class and are just being asked to write down what they remember so the teacher can get a feel as to how much as sunk in.

I would also assume that different children had been set different homework, that those who are not yet working on number bonds to twenty, might have been asked about number bonds to 10. Presumably they are working in differentiated groups in the classroom, so the teacher can adjust the homework for the ability of each group?

The only way the teacher will know if the child is understanding lessons, is if you stop doing his homework for him. You are doing him a disservice.

BTW - ask the teacher how long they expect the homework to take - I suspect they will want to see as much (or as little) as your childcan do in around 15-20 minutes.

My reception child had a small piece of homework asking him to identify some split digraphs. I didn't know what that was (until I googled it), but he did because they'd covered it in class.

thecockyfoxreturns Sun 29-Sep-13 18:49:54

Yes maybe I expect too much, but I know that my son does lots of quick maths at school on the carpet on blank whiteboards so would not be daunted and that during those sessions they do things like number bonds.
I will ask my dad what he thinks next time I speak to him as he is an ex-head of an outstanding primary school and now a semi-retired education consultant.

jasminerose Sun 29-Sep-13 18:51:51

Dd is 5 and does daily reading, daily spellings and a piece of homework every weekend. I would say thats normal for state schools

JohnnyUtah Sun 29-Sep-13 18:52:45

I'm not making any assumptions. I'm saying I don't want my kids' education to be dumbed down to a point where everyone and their parent can manage it. I don't see why you would.

swallowedAfly Sun 29-Sep-13 18:53:42

mrscakes - nope definitely the same stock sentence on a printed label for EVERY child. zero differentiation.

absolutely cocky - number bonds are not expecting too much - a blank page and expectation of expressing your understanding of number bonds in writing without any prompts or questions or tasks etc to guide you is another matter.

incidentally spellings - if you're group one you have five words to learn, group two ten words, group three (poor ds) 20 words and a load of sentences to write.

ipadquietly Sun 29-Sep-13 18:53:54

I was in a meeting recently where other teachers were raving over learning logs. They were poring over pages and pages of pristine work that children had 'shared' and enjoyed with mummy and daddy. I inwardly cringed.

I agree, OP. Defo a middle-class thing! A bit of a competition to keep the yummy-mummies on their toes!

Good luck with your revolution! grin

ArgyMargy Sun 29-Sep-13 18:54:26

I agree with you, Swallowed. But that is our system now. When I was at primary school there was no such thing as homework, so pupils with parents who weren't interested or couldn't provide intensive support didn't suffer. It drove me mad how much homework my DSs got at that age. And parents were made to feel like shit if they didn't get it all done on time. I really don't think it has given them a better start than I had.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 29-Sep-13 18:55:37

We did things like that because the school didn't.

jasminerose Sun 29-Sep-13 18:55:52

I dont think its a middle class thing even the schools here which are very deprived have similar set homework

LifeBalance Sun 29-Sep-13 18:56:16

It doesn't matter if parents know what number bonds are. The point is the children do and the question allows then to show the teacher how much they know in their own way.

The problems start when the child in question hasn't understood at all or understood incorrectly.
Then they are faced with a blank page and no idea at all as to write in it. Talk about discouraging children!
And then the parents might help and support the child. Which is great in theory. Except that if the parent has no idea what number bounds are (me for example and my studies took me at master level in maths....), the it's impossible to help the child.
I've had with dc2. He tied to do something in a certain way, out of the blue, no support. Couldn't quite do it because there was some slight misunderstanding but I was incapable to explain because what was expected wasn't clear (for me as the parent and support for the child to encourage learning).

This is the issue on what homework is for. Is it for the teacher to check what the child can do with little or no parental input. Or is it about giving the opportunity for the child to get support at home on things he isn't fully confident about. Or is it a way tp push the patent to spend time with the child (ie there is no way the child can do the homework wo parental support).
We have a lot of the 3rd type in our school. You seem to have a lot of the 2nd type. Which is fine if you have a parent able to spend time with their dc to support + have the level of education adequate to do so.

LumpySpacePrincessOhMyGlob Sun 29-Sep-13 18:56:22

Homework at this age just doesn't do what it's supposed to. It doesn't consolidate knowledge learnt in the classroom, it just takes chunks out of an evening when they should be relaxing.

missinglalaland Sun 29-Sep-13 18:58:39

I think the reading record is standard. Until my daughters were both given three books a week to read to me. I then had to record the fact that they did it and try to think of a comment to make. It's silly, but with the first one, the first year in reception, I really resented it. I felt like I was being checked up on, and wondered why the teacher only read with my daughter twice a term. With the second one, I was more mellow. I realised I could just write the title and "read well" every time and that was fine.
My year 2 daughter gets a maths worksheet every Friday, which is usually straight forward. My year 5 daughter gets two math worksheets a week which is also fine. Now and then a math work sheet requires us to "play a game" or something annoying, but we muddle through.
I am not a teacher, and the open ended stuff frustrates me sometimes. Sure I understand the maths/reading etc. But that doesn't mean I can explain it to a primary child! That is a skill in itself. I'd much rather support a bit of extra practice on the basics, laid out by the teacher.

swallowedAfly Sun 29-Sep-13 18:59:08

it's a nonsense. 'look at the lovely work they've done' - err no look how competitive and insecure their mum is that they've spent three days working on a learning log. tells you nothing about the child.

i'm an educated and creative person - i teach and extend my son every day. do i need to print out pictures and get a pat on the head from teacher from how neatly i (as a grown adult) can produce a piece of homework? no. and that's what they're marking - the work of insecure mummies.

cakeandcustard Sun 29-Sep-13 18:59:39

I think the OP is entirely right. My DS is in yr2 aged 6 and he gets 4 worksheets a week and two reading books which I think is an awful lot of HW for someone still in the infants.

Its not HW for the child its HW for the parent and the quality of the work will be entirely down to how much time the parent is willing to spend doing it with their child. My son does not have the nouse to be able to plan his work over a week to be in to a deadline, he does not have the inclination to do it. As a parent I have to organise his time and sit down and persuade him at a convenient time.

I don't however 'do it for him; but he does need a lot of input at this stage. That's even with worksheets that are very well structured and have tips for helpers on them. A completely blank sheet would probably be binned in our house, its not structured enough for him to engage with and I'd have got annoyed with it.

Children this age do not need HW. They spend 30 hours a week in school, I don't want the time I spend educating my young child at home to be also dictated by the school. There is more to learning than tick the box worksheets!

FWIW I am also a qualified teacher with an MA in Education.

LifeBalance Sun 29-Sep-13 19:00:30

Btw, a white sheet of paper with no line IS crap.
That's what they did at my school until I pointed out that it was impossible for dc1 to improve his presentation skills and writting when he is working a white sheet of paper.
I asked if I could use some lined paper.

Cue for the teacher to think a bit more and give lined paper for eaxch homework lol.

That was in Y2. Now in Y5 and Y6 they are all trying to teach children how to present work on a piece of paper and how to make it readable by others because.... they never had the chance to learn...

swallowedAfly Sun 29-Sep-13 19:00:55

lifebalance - exactly. it is ALL type three here and the school seems to rely on it.

RandomMess Sun 29-Sep-13 19:03:04

It's ironic that YR is all about learning through play and they YR1 is formally learning with no time to play after school either!

swallowedAfly Sun 29-Sep-13 19:03:41

honestly - i was a secondary school teacher and i would not dream of giving an open ended task on a blank piece of paper to the whole class (re: zero differentiation or support) EVEN to fifteen year olds.

the idea it's appropriate for six year olds is ridiculous.

swallowedAfly Sun 29-Sep-13 19:05:31

it is ridiculous random. by the time we get home it's about 4 and children of this age are meant to have 12 hours sleep still so need to be in bed by 7. meant to have an hours activity each day and apparently sitting at the table together and eating is essential too and must have a bath oh and we need to fit an hours homework in too.

do fuck the fuck off. my child deserves some semblence of a life and so do i.

Dayshiftdoris Sun 29-Sep-13 19:08:35


I love you grin

I have this exact issue and I do have a child with SEN (ASD tho average attainment)...

I feel so alone with it so its lovely to read of a parent thinking of the wider class rather than 'I'm alright Jack' mentality.

I have been differentiating homework for years, creating resources & providing the 1:1 support... I am so tired of it hmm

Oh and the poster who mentioned it - we go to libraries & museums too wink

Anyway must go and create resources for 'find out as much as you can about Guy Fawkes. Be imaginative' for my child who does not do blank pages and imagination hmm

spanieleyes Sun 29-Sep-13 19:11:06

Just pop in and see the Head and say "My child will not be doing any homework".

Job done.

niminypiminy Sun 29-Sep-13 19:11:18

I thought research had shown that homework has no or negligible effect on children's learning at primary school level anyway?

Quite why, after having been made to do all this stuff all day, they should then have to come home and do more of it, when it will have zero effect on their learning, I do not understand.

Wandastartup Sun 29-Sep-13 19:12:44

Maybe you're helPing too much? My 6 year old would manage a food diary for the weekend with no help from me. I usually look at her home learning book and check she understands the question and that she has everything she needs to do it and then just make sure she's finished. I'm always in the kitchen if she has a question.
The creative ones need a bit more input e.g. Measure your garden and see if a dinosaur would fit or a 4 week homework to make something Greek...

YouHaveAGoodPoint Sun 29-Sep-13 19:12:44

I don't know what a number bond is blush

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