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Homework for 5 year olds Year 1

(42 Posts)
Flumpf Sat 09-Nov-13 08:21:04

I saw that there was another homework thread, but I wanted to discuss year 1 homework specifically. Am I the only one who thinks that it is completely mad? We read a book and have to write in a reading record book everyday. I think that this is good and has really improved DS's reading. We also do enjoy it and I can definitely see the benefits of spending 10 minutes reading.

We also have 10 spellings to learn every week. He is only just learning to write and is being given spellings such as 'purple', 'nurse' and 'surprise'. His friend had the words 'quick' and 'quit'. I asked him if he knew what a magic 'e' was? Or a silent 'e'? He said that he didn't know.

I thought that these words were too difficult for a 5 year old. I would expect smaller words for them to start with. He does the spelling tests and scores 1/10. How is this supposed to make him feel? He might think that there's no point trying because he's never going to get them right.

Last night, a new homework book was sent home. We have assignments to do with deadlines. He has to design and make a puppet. One of the assignments is to research the history of puppets online and make a time line with dates and pictures. He's 5 years old.

It is becoming a real source of stress for me, and I do not feel equipped to support a tired, frustrated 5 year old with his homework after school.

Is this the normal amount to get? Do you see the benefits in so much homework in year 1?

Sorry for the long post, but I think it's madness.

maillotjaune Sat 09-Nov-13 08:31:07

When my older 2 were in Y1 there were
spellings - different groups so if they were getting 1/10 they'd be moved
literacy worksheet
numeracy worksheet
these usually took 5-10 mins max
reading 4 times a week

Yours sounds more like juniors homework but even when we have that it is usually a project over a few weeks with separate tasks each week building up to the roman bath / puppet / rainforest model etc and you know all the tasks in advance.

I do think yours is a bit much for Y1. Have you spoken to the teacher?

SilveryMoon Sat 09-Nov-13 08:31:31

I feel your pain!
This is similar to my son last year (he is now 6yo Y2). He'd bring spellings home once a week and have tests at school. Some of the homework was really crazy.
I called a meeting with the teacher and head (we had issues with his teacher anyway and I wasn't prepared to talk to just her), and I said that as my son was struggling academically, I really didn't see how this was helping him. That I felt the school was enabling him to fail where they should be enabling him to succeed and what is a test that he's going to score low on helping him.
The teacher said "he's not bothered that he gets a low score" shock This is exactly why I had to meet with her with the head because she came out with some shocking stuff.
They've now changed the homework approach and made it more "family friendly" so it involves everyone.
Ds1 now has spelling games, like snakes and ladders where you move alog the boxes and read the words you land on etc, answers questions on his reading book, they have the 'big write' once a week, so we talk about the topic of that and what he'll write about, and then also some kind of research/creative piece for any of the subjects. Generally, it's 4/5 pieces, brought home on Friday, due in on Wednesday. Is loads I feel.

Flumpf Sat 09-Nov-13 08:40:42

Thank you for your feedback. Maybe I should have a meeting with the teacher. I did mention that the spellings were too difficult before, and I the teacher just said "We'll see how he goes". So, my concerns fell on deaf ears really.

At the parent's evening, she seemed to think he was a superstar. His teacher is young, enthusiastic and very nice, so I wondered if she was just being polite. Last year, his teacher was an old witch and she didn't seem to think that he was anything special.

I'm not sure that I've got other parents on my side. Maybe their 5 year olds love doing the homework.

Snowbility Sat 09-Nov-13 08:59:57

It's madness, I remember some of the things we were forced to do and on reflection I wish I had said no or stuck the timer on for 15mins and noted the time on the homework because we had big battle to get stuff done and at 5 years old all that achieves is a loathing of school. Sometimes I wish the school took a more long term view - encouraged a love of learning rather than being obsessed with levels...but that is the system we have created, teachers are under pressure to prove progress.

Tanfastic Sat 09-Nov-13 09:06:31

That sounds ridiculous op, I'd be fuming to be honest. Sounds like homework for an 8 year old.

My ds is year one and he gets reading book every night, four spellings a week which are three or four letter words like day, say, hay etc and one homework sheet a week. He does have learning difficulties so the spellings for his peers may be more difficult but I feel this is enough for him and he gets his spellings right every week (and that's with a lot of practice!) .

I'd be having words if it were me.

Beehatch Sat 09-Nov-13 09:18:17

Homework for parents really makes me fume, because what else is all this researching and making timelines and so on? Plenty of research out there to show primary level homework produces no measurable benefit for the child (reading aside).

We get a bit in Y2, but nothing like what you have described OP. Plus I'd have no qualms about not doing it if it was basically a task for me to show off my powerpoint skills or whatever <rant over>

Flumpf Sat 09-Nov-13 09:35:45

Thank you for your replies. I'm surprised that other people agree that it's too much.

We went to a meeting about how to get boys to do better in school. It was run by a guy called Gary Wilson. He said in the meeting that it's largely pointless to sit a 5 year old boy down and have him writing. It just puts them off. It's more beneficial for them to learn through play at this stage, and start sitting them down writing when they're around 7. So, I mentioned to him about my son's spellings, but he just said that it sounds normal and fine. So, he just contradicted himself in my mind.

I've been trying to find evidence online for and against homework, but it all seems to be talking about older children. There doesn't seem to be much research in the benefits of homework in 5 year olds. His old headteacher said that research has shown homework has no real benefits at this age, and they were talking about scrapping it. He has this new headteacher now who obviously loves it.

Can any body please give me any links to research or evidence that I can refer to? I'm hoping that it will back me up when I say to the teachers that this is really too much. Will they actually listen?

Snowbility Sat 09-Nov-13 09:41:17

I think when you talk to the teacher you need to describe the impact homework is having on your child and home life, you need to ask for guidance on how long is should take and then agree that you will only spend that time. Ime it's an exceptional teacher who will listen and learn from a parent, they are the professionals and they are determined to be right despite any evidence you may present.

GwendolineMaryLacey Sat 09-Nov-13 09:47:35

Definitely too much. My 5yo yr1 has a book as often as she reads it, so every night at the moment, and 10 spellings a week. They don't give homework until year 2 and even then it's not much.

noramum Sat 09-Nov-13 09:59:15

Wow, that's more than my DD did as a half-term topic in Year 2 the week before last. We had 10 days just to make a puppet.

In Year 1 she got homework each Friday, to be handed in on Wednesday. This was the same in Reception after half term in Autumn.

But: it was basically 15 minutes, normally a couple of words to write or a very simple task to "research" the house to find certain shapes. One was thinking about where you live and what you do at the weekend locally. I doubt DD wrote more than 2 sentences each time.

We had no spelling but got each term a set of maths tasks, mainly little games or little experiments about numbers, volumn (look at different size glasses and how much liquid each holds) and time. We could do this in our own time, it just had to be handed back before the term finished.

Now in Year 2 it got more but still ok to do at the weekend. Luckily DD loves it.

I would have a word with the teacher and stress how it affects your child. If he gets such difficult spellings there is a problem how he is assessed or he shows more at school than at home (normally it is the other way round).

milkysmum Sat 09-Nov-13 10:04:01

My dd has just started reception and the homework is madness. Dh and I both work so have to use after school club so by the time we pick dd up, pick day up from nursery, get home, have tea etc... there is very little time to convince an exhausted dd to do homework! She is only 4 it seems so ridiculous.

Catchhimatwhat Sat 09-Nov-13 10:10:20

My DDs are six and seven and our school gave a similar amount of homework in year one. And reception come to think of it.
It eats into every evening, creating stress. I hate it even now, at the age they are I don't think it offers any benefit.

Get home.
Activity (we do gymnastics, swimming, piano and art club).
Finish homework.
No time to rest!

Or leave it all to the weekend and spend half a day forcing then to sit at a table instead of going out doing something nice.


Catchhimatwhat Sat 09-Nov-13 10:12:41

I have thought of giving up their hobbies, because they get very tired, but they want to do them!

TheNumberfaker Sat 09-Nov-13 10:13:29

Wow that's tough. My DD1 in y1 (summer born so she'll be 5 throughout y1) has 9 spellings to learn each week but they are really easy like bag, bed, pen etc. She's got a couple of reading books each week plus an extra bit of homework each week. That extra homework hss varied from researching baby info to talk about in class to some fairly simple numeracy exercises. Her teacher has said parents can help as much as we need to and it's meant to be fun!

Ruprekt Sat 09-Nov-13 10:28:45

If I were you OP, I would set a timer of 5 mins to do spellings, so that he practises for just a few mins and write a note saying what you have done.

I would keep reading every night but swap around so you read to him too.

I would buy lollysticks and card, get him to draw a picture on the card and stick it to the stick. A child led activity led by the child. There will be those who sew hand puppets and go wild but screw them! He will have made a puppet.

I would not do a timeline. Your son can only just read and it is ridiculous. I would write a letter stating this.

This weekend my boys have to make a castle out of clay, do a collage of a sea creature, write a love sonnet, write a report about a great leader, a literacy piece on conjunctions, a maths paper, 15 spellings......sad Good job we are not going away!!

(They are 11 and 8.)

Flumpf Sat 09-Nov-13 11:07:52

This does probably stress me out more than it should. I never did like school. haha I'm feeling stressed just reading about these homework assignments.

I think that he's going to be at school until he's 18, and aren't they talking about them starting age 2? Why don't they just take them as soon as they're born and stick them in school?

Thank you for the advice Ruprekt. smile I'm quite creative myself and I was getting carried away with ideas. It is probably best to do something as simple as possible and age appropriate.

starlight1234 Sat 09-Nov-13 14:52:50

Learning should be through play at this age.....

Make it fun..We often did spellings through walky talkies all sorts of things....

We are told homework is not compulsory and the children so long as they do the reading..and made an attempt...

You can refuse to do homework if you don't think it is helping...but would do the reading no matter what level they are at.

My son loves playing educational games on my laptop which actually he is practising without noticing.

starlight1234 Sat 09-Nov-13 14:56:53

also to add..I see some parents have done topic...

My son's looks like he has done it and he has...I have helped but it is his homework not mine...

If he can't do it with my support he doesn't do it.

simpson Sat 09-Nov-13 17:50:52

DD is in yr1 and gets 6 spellings a week for a weekly test on Friday. Words such as petrified, horrified, frightened, flies etc.

She gets 3 literacy tasks to do ie read a poem and find the rhyming words, write your own poem about X and underline the adjectives, write a sentence including each word in the spelling test, write any words they found hard from the school reading book and practise reading them daily.

Numeracy is also 3 tasks a week such as learn 2 times tables, practise addition using coins and record it in homework book, ask your family which animal thry like best (out of 5) and record it in a picture chart.

She gets a reading book a week (sometimes up to 3) and is expected to read on bug club too.

Periwinkle007 Sat 09-Nov-13 18:56:16

erm we get reading - 20 mins a day
and spellings - 10 a week on a monday for the friday test. Some children get 5 spellings but from the same list. Our words seem to be 4 or 5 high frequency type ones and then the others will all be based around the sound of the week so we have had qu, th, sh,ch, and so on. words vary from fish and car to squirrel and frightened.

that is it.

slickrick Sun 10-Nov-13 07:33:44

Look at a year 2 SATS paper. There is a lot to learn in the first 2 years of school. The more work you do now the better it is for them in the long run.

Education is like building a house, get the foundations right and the rest is easy.

Snowbility Sun 10-Nov-13 08:44:52

Setting down good foundations isn't all about lots of homework. There are many skills to be learned - for eg socialisation, problem solving, gross and fine motor skills, encouraging an open enquiring mind. A child with internal motivation will go far, learning persistence and patience. Lots of children in ks1 are not reading for pencil and paper learning - that's not such a big deal if they haven't been forced to endure hours of torture at home doing homework they find excruciatingly painful. The battles that parent have over homework cause damage to the child's attitude to learning and aren't great for family relationships either.

BrandybuckCurdlesnoot Sun 10-Nov-13 08:48:34

In Yr 1 my son's class gets 1 reading book a week and a homework task every Friday to be completed by the following Thursday. What you describe sounds an awful lot to me OP.

Mumof3xx Sun 10-Nov-13 08:54:03

My ds is yr one
He has 3 reading books per week
At weekend he gets homework -
10 words to look cover write check
A piece of written work or number work (10 sums, write about your favorite meal etc)

He manages fine with these, although the op did say her ds is only just starting to write, my ds is writing quite well already. The abilities in each class will vary and I do think homework should suit each child's ability

Oh and so far my son has had no "spelling tests"

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