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Extra learning at home

(17 Posts)
holidayseeker Tue 11-Feb-14 12:13:36

Just wondering, do many people do extra school work practice at home on top of reading work and homework set by school.

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 11-Feb-14 12:56:05

we have a few workbooks if the children want to do them on a rainy day or something, they do sometimes ask in the holidays to do some maths (odd kids) but very rarely. We talk about things. If they come home and say they are doing a topic on pets or something we might look at a few books or talk about what pets people might have or they might like but otherwise no.

holidayseeker Tue 11-Feb-14 13:26:22

Thanks for reply.

We have some workbooks but only occasionally do them but at dd2 parents evening teacher said about practicing times tables at home and made it sound like we should be doing things at home.

bellablot Tue 11-Feb-14 13:29:54

Yes I would say the majority of learning is done at home. I wouldn't necessarily say structured work in maths or literature but definitely fun games which incorporates these things. My DD is learning opposites at school now so we have read books and discussed opposites in a way she might understand it in her world.

bellablot Tue 11-Feb-14 13:30:22

I would say times tables are something that definitely needs to be learnt at home.

noramum Tue 11-Feb-14 13:30:40

We do times table because in the end it is something they need to learn by heart. They learn the foundation behind it in school but we are asked to practice them at home.

We have workbooks but apart from handwriting we don't do anything on a set rota. We take them with us for DD to them if we are anywhere and have to wait. And we normally do a bit during the holidays.

DD likes to research for new topics, so getting books from the library or trips to a museum is often on the agenda.

littlebluedog12 Tue 11-Feb-14 13:35:36

I read your OP and thought 'no we don't', but actually I guess we do things like, DD (Y1) was learning about money in school so we played games with the money in her piggy bank. She is now learning about telling the time so I have bought her own clock and we talk about what time it is when she gets up. So I imagine by the time she is on times tables I would practise that at home with her.

But if you mean actual worksheets etc then absolutely not!

Blackcathaireverywhere Tue 11-Feb-14 13:36:11

Yes, we do times tables at home (we vary how enthusiastically and regularly we do it), we read every night, we have done maths work books on and off and also used Maths Whizz. I also think learning to tell the time is something that should be done at home (it's covered in school but needs doing at home too I think).

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 11-Feb-14 13:37:17

timestables are something that yes they have to learn at home I agree, I forgot about those, I was thinking more formal work. mine are only R and Yr1 so we haven't had to do much on tables yet. We learned counting in 2s, 5s, 10s and the tables whilst going on a walk or when going up and down the stairs, that kind of thing, makes it fun.

newbieman1978 Tue 11-Feb-14 13:39:01

To be honest, we did a fair bit of work in the early days, before our son started school and then while in reception and year 1 and 2. At that time my wife was an early years specialist teaching in reception class so that played a part in it.

Once our son showed signs of being very able (maybe because of the work we put in) we eased of somewhat but always read each night, helped with homework and did extra's relating to targets.

Now the little man is in high school it has all started again and we put in alot of extra work in order to keep him in the top sets.

mumofthemonsters808 Tue 11-Feb-14 13:40:03

Yes, but only half an hour every night. DD in Year 7 at Secondary School and we work through a booklet (Science at the moment).

JimmyCorkhill Tue 11-Feb-14 13:46:15

Things that are useful to do at home are learning to tell the time and any measuring/weighing of solids and liquids (easily covered by doing baking).

As a former teacher, I never felt we were allowed enough time to teach these subjects. Plus there's also the fact that we never seemed to have enough equipment for each child to really investigate weighing and measuring.

The strange thing about learning to tell the time is that it seems completely separate to a child's usual math's ability. Some children grasp it easily whilst others have a real mental block about it. A simple analogue wrist watch is the best resource you can give your child. They need to be looking at clocks regularly, not just once a term.

Reading at home doesn't always have to mean sharing a story. Looking at language in everyday life is useful eg. signs, menus etc.

Spotting mistakes on shop signs is also fun --well, I think it is--blush

JimmyCorkhill Tue 11-Feb-14 13:46:52

Strikethrough fail - serves me right eh?!

Gladvent Tue 11-Feb-14 13:48:24

We do times tables in car on way to school, and they do have workbooks that they do now and again - tbh they are just like puzzle books really. And we read a lot. And they ask curious sciencey questions and I enthusiastically reply 'ooh let's look that up later!' except we never actually do...

Gladvent Tue 11-Feb-14 13:51:07

Jimmy that's interesting - DS has gone down a group in maths and doesn't know why. He thinks because he is not very good at clock work. Which I thought sounded unlikely and you have just backed that up, thank you.

PastSellByDate Tue 11-Feb-14 14:23:20

Hi holidayseeker:

I think doing extra work at home somewhat depends on what your school is doing. Some schools give a lot of homework, opportunities for extra independent work (Bug Club, My Maths, Education City, Espresso, etc... which can be used for electronically marked homework, game play and extra independent learning) and others do next to nothing.

So our situation is DD1 is in Y6. No reading books are coming home. Guided reading books don't come home in KS2 because children lose them/ do not return them. Library books aren't coming home because there is some glitch (which has been going on for years) in the computer system so books can't be checked out. Volunteer librarian is also in poor health and often away. Allegedly DD1 has 2.5 hours of homework over a week - 2 hours of which is reading. The reality is that if I didn't buy books, borrow books or encourage trading books with friends DD1 wouldn't read. She's meant to read 15-20 minutes a night - on average I'd say it's more like 30 minutes + as she reads to relax before bed (bedtime is relatively early at our house 8 - 8:30 p.m.).

30 minutes a week she gets 1 photocopied maths worksheet (usually from a Heinemann maths book) and one photocopied grammar worksheet (usually from CGP/ Letts/ etc...) and one brief writing assignment (write about your favourite character, write a review of the book, write a letter to a character, etc...).

This is enjoyable and manageable - DD1 can do all of this on her own with very little help from me, save maybe finding a pen or relocating a book. However....

It doesn't match what her incredibly bright friend (who did pass the 11+) gets (also at a state school - 1 mile from us):

2 books sent home from school a week
Guided reading includes assignments to read Chapter X by Weds or by Monday twice a week

option of 3 homework assignments in English/ Maths/ Science:

Science might be to draw the parts of a plant, refract light off a mirror (provided by school) and see where it lands (and draw a sketch of how it worked).

Maths homework might be an NRICH maths problem to solve. (She has got wise to this and sometimes if stuck checks answers - but her mother says most of the time she works it out herself).

English homework might be to write a play, write a formal letter to someone you admire inviting them to speak at your school (which has resulted in visits from authors & a musician), write an alternative ending to your favourite story, etc...

In the main this school gets 90% - 95% uptake on all 3 homeworks - and the fact that they are relatively loose assignments where you can do as much or as little as you like.

Our school gets ca. 10% to NC L5 and their school gets 60%+ to NC Level 5.

I'm sure there's more to it than just homework - but one does get the impression that the curriculum, what they're asking of the children and encouraging interests makes a huge difference to enthusing them as learners - and gets the results.


For us, and because maths was literally endlessly drawing bead patterns in KS1, I gave up on the school curriculum and joined Mathsfactor: It is a monthly subscription (£14.99) - and they recommend your child uses it 5x a week - so roughly 1 to 1 1/2 hours commitment each week - but that works out to about £1 a time - and frankly the improvement and solid calculation skills my DD1 has now are totally totally worth it.

Others here have suggested:


Math Whizz:

Komodo Maths:

Khan Academy: - click LEARN on black menu bar, then click Math. This is a US curriculum so bear in mind US grades are one year behind - e.g. GRADE 5 in US = YEAR 6 in England. Khan academy does have one advantage - it is totally FREE.


I highly recommend Woodland Junior School Learning Resources: - again TOTALLY FREE OF CHARGE.

ESPECIALLY their wonderful MATHS ZONE:


For times table practice - again woodlands junior school MATHS ZONE - select TIMES TABLES & search out appropriate resources or games.

A really useful game to play once you sort of know your tables but need to improve speed of recall is TIMEZ ATTACK. You're cast as a small ogre and in the free version you run through a dungeon or a castle solving multiplication problems - which are presented as both the traditional vertical numeric problem and also as multiple additions. Link here:

Personally I think spending a bit of time to help your kid truly master their times table is the best investment you can make because sound times table facts & inverse facts (e.g. 36 divided by 4 = 9) underpins so much further maths in secondary & beyond.... e.g. - the second image shows the multiplication/ division of whole numbers underpins the entire GCSE maths curriculum.

Finally because our school was in denial about the roll-out of SPAG last year - I invested in CGP literacy Year 4/ 5 workbooks for DD1 (also in run-up to 11+ thought it may be of help). They're funny, a page takes next to no time - 10 minutes tops - and they review most of the grammatical rules a 10 year old needs to contend with.


Every parent has to make their own decisions and that has to be in the context of the delivery of curriculum their school is providing for their DC. Our school frequently 'forgets' to send homework home, seems to struggle with sending books home and is 'light' in many areas (i.e. I had to teach DD1 that XX meant 20 - she couldn't understand what it was doing at the front of a chapter in a book she was reading). Officially things like Roman numerals and spelling numbers to 20 are on the current national curriculum - but many schools cover it only briefly in school and never reinforce it with homework (spellings, worksheets, etc....).

An experiment:

Ask your child how to write the number 15 in a binary system? This should be taught - it's on the old national curriculum - but it isn't.

How do you write the number 15 in a system with only 0s and 1s - by the way your computer works in this system:

here's a quick video explaining it:

and a game for practice:

It's not the end of the world of course - but wouldn't it be amazing world if every Y6 kid just knew about this & could handle it. Given it underpins all these ipads, tablets, computers & mobile phones in the technology surrounding us - it utilises multiples/ patterns/ exponents/ indices/ 'code' - isn't it worth learning about?

holidayseeker Tue 11-Feb-14 16:33:24

Thanks for the replies everyone and pastsellbydate thanks for the links and depth of answer.

At dds school we always have access to reading books and the library books but the homework is often very little and quickly completed compared to children that go to neighboring schools. Thanks for the help and I'll get having a look at these sites.

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