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No homework in year 1 and reading only once a week - is this ok?

(20 Posts)
Dodo76 Thu 13-Feb-14 21:23:09

DS1 is at an outstanding Ofsted state primary which is widely known in the local area to be the best school and one that everyone tries to get into. The school seems lovely and DS1 is very happy there. My only concern is that it doesn't seem to be very academic, at least not at this stage. Year 1 do not have homework as such, just a home-learning every half term. They also only do reading with the teacher and only get their 2 books changed once a week. My friend has her child at another local school and tells me that her daughter does reading every day and comes home with a new book every day and they have proper homework every week and a spelling test each Friday! Bit worried as DS1 isn't doing any of that! However, the school seems to get very good results at KS2 (average score of 31 I think) which better than the results at my friend's daughter's school. Is this normal and should I be worried?

MigGril Thu 13-Feb-14 21:38:07

My DD is also at an outstanding primary. She's in year 2, she had no homework and reading only in year 1. They now do two homework sheets a week and reading.

I don't think to much homework at this age is a good idea and spellings I don't think are great either.

I'm not one for them having lots of homework at this age, as they still need to come home and play. And the school is obviously doing a good job to get good results, so I'm not worrying about it.

Huitre Thu 13-Feb-14 21:56:39

There's lots of evidence to show that homework at primary level doesn't have much effect on outcomes. I wouldn't worry about that. DD has had precisely four pieces of homework in the last two years (she's in Y2) and seems to be doing fine. Spelling tests are also not thought to be particularly effective in producing good spellers. The school is likely to be working on spelling in school time - pointing out patterns and differences and helping children learn to use dictionaries etc.

However, two books a week doesn't sound much - DD was always allowed to change them whenever she'd finished hers and so was keen to get home and read the new book. Do you have time to spare in the week? All the book-changing is done by parents at our school, so there is someone there every day for every class to provide the opportunity to change books. You can also ask her to read other things to you if her reading is good enough to do so, or use Oxford Owl or similar to supplement what's available from school.

ladyquinoa Fri 14-Feb-14 07:00:27

Reading is the main thing at home at this age. Everything else is much less important

ladyquinoa Fri 14-Feb-14 07:01:09

Try reading owls on line. Free biff chip books

Mumof3xx Fri 14-Feb-14 07:06:49

My ds is yr 1

He has 3 books a week and once a week gets 10 spellings and either a small piece of writing or maths to do

overmydeadbody Fri 14-Feb-14 07:06:58

Yes, that is all ok.

He is in Year 1, that is still very very young.

They will be reading every day, all the time, throughout the day, just not sitting down and reading a book.

Homework is not necessary at that age, they are already doing six hours of learning at school.

Spellings would be pointless at this age too.

In some countries children don't even learn to read until they are seven, and they are not behind us academically.

What year 1s should be getting is lots of opportunities to explore, enjoy learning, be inquisitive, try new things, anf have a love of learning fostered on them. The pressure of spelling tests, homework and lots of formal reading will not do this.

Mumof3xx Fri 14-Feb-14 07:06:58

His school is rated good

mintyneb Fri 14-Feb-14 07:11:16

Sounds perfect to me! There's nothing to stop you doing more reading yourself with your DS if you want to.

My DD, now yr 2 had 10 spellings and a maths challenge to do every week last year and I found it a right pain. But then I'm firmly in the NO homework brigade!

hels71 Fri 14-Feb-14 09:23:28

Can my DD come to your school? Homework every week here, maths, literacy, spellings. Reading books changed when finished, that's ok. And as it is half term I expect more homework will be brought back today...
I hate homework in primary (except reading and practicing tables) and I say that as a parent and a teacher.

BrianTheMole Fri 14-Feb-14 09:27:52

Mine gets a new book every day, spelling test every week and maths / english homework once a week. I have no idea whether homework is a good thing or not, I have nothing to compare it to. Dd is doing well and enjoys the work. If she didn't enjoy it, then it would be more of an issue.

littlebluedog12 Fri 14-Feb-14 09:32:58

DD's old school used to do spelling in Y1. It was torture trying to get her to learn them, she was in the 'top' group and frequently brought home words like 'phantom' and 'rickshaw' hmm. In the end I said if she didn't want to learn them she didn't have to, so she usually only got 1 or 2 right in the test. Totally pointless and disheartening for children who are still learning to write.

Her new school has no homework but reading books can be changed as often as you like. Much better!

Cat98 Fri 14-Feb-14 09:43:55

Only homework we get in y1 is reading, and the occasional activity that is optional (maybe one thing a term?)
I like it. Ds does lots outside of school and I help him with anything he's struggling with when I can, but wouldn't like it timetabled out for us.
Ds's school is also outstanding.

PastSellByDate Fri 14-Feb-14 09:56:13


My first piece of advice is talk to parents with children in other years - perhaps some of your DC's friends have siblings further up in the school. Find out from them how things progress - or if they're doing extra at home. You may be reassured that things gradually pick up over Y1 and from Y2 there's a steady stream of homework coming home.

It's very tricky not knowing your precise situation - but if you're worried there are resources out there.

First port of call for early reading/ maths would be OXFORD OWL (from Oxford University Press):

Our school's homework was highly skewed to reading with little or no written work & rarely any actual maths work in YR through Y2. So we opted to use an on-line maths tutorial. This is a subscription service - but in our case with a school with a very poor approach to maths tuition - this was a solution to some fairly deep problems in tuition & practice for maths (a subject we as parents value).

There's lots out there -


Maths Whizz:


Komodo Maths:

Khan Academy (this picks up from 3rd Grade US curriculum = Y2 England) & is free. - on black menu bar select LEARN and then select MATH.

There are also a ton of workbooks out there - any bookstore/ large newsagents will have a wide selection.

Either way you go (workbook/ computer tutorial) include your child in the decision - let them chose the book/ computer tutorial that appeals to them.

We've been using mathsfactor since Y2 - doing about 5 x 10 - 20 minute homeworks a week (usually 3 in the week done whilst I'm cooking or whilst waiting for a sibling to have their bath/ 2 at the weekend). Our solution has been little and often and stressing that core calculation skills are soundly understood. Given DD1 was in serious trouble with maths leaving KS1 on NC L1 for Maths on KS1 SATs - we were convinced something needed to be done and although we'd approached the school for help, they said it was not necessary. So from late Y2 to late Y5 DD1 used arithmetic school and since start Y6 DD1 has been using algebra school. She adores maths, responds well to video explanations of how to do things (she's very visual) and enjoys the gaming approach to learning/ practicing maths skills. She's gone from bottom table to top table and is apparently on track for L6 in maths. We're thrilled for her but also know that many who were streets ahead of her in maths at Y2 are now struggling in Y6 to achieve a L4 - which really does have to be down to the school's approach to maths tuition/ practice.

You'll know your situation - and you'll know what areas of curriculum concern you.

With reading, do what little the school provides - but don't limit yourselves to that. You don't have to read the school book every night - especially if your child can read it well. Read old favourites, read to your child from books s/he might enjoy but possibly don't quite have the skills yet to read for themselves, go the local library, trade books with friends, etc...

With writing - well box clever. Encourage postcards from holidays, have them send thank you cards for gifts. Have them write off to enter a competition. Have them write to their favourite TV character/ star. Encourage diaries. Have them draw cartoons. etc....

Our situation is that we have a school which feels strongly homework is of no value. I personally see homework as a form of practice - much as you need to practice a sport or instrument to get good or go to regular lessons in music/ dance to learn new skills. I think investing time in these early skills - not overkill - but 30 minutes here and there a day (bit of reading, bit of a maths worksheet/ game, etc...) adds up to better performance as a student.

My kids still play, colour, read for pleasure, watch far too much tv and play video games galore. They're still kids - but I just steadily ensure that day by day a little is done to help them because I sincerely have serious doubts about the school. It's very much a school where there's a serious undercurrent against study/ academic achievement - not just from some children - but from the staff.

Everyone's situation is different of course - but in our case, with a school totally uninterested in helping my DD1 when she couldn't read or do more than add to 20 at end Y2 - we've opted to do more ourselves and we've never regretted it.

wordfactory Fri 14-Feb-14 10:02:06

I don't think DC of that age should get much homework, but a little bit more consolidation at home would be better IMVHO.

A little bit of maths (introduction to times tables).

And assuming MFL has been introduced, a bit of listening work.

wordfactory Fri 14-Feb-14 10:02:34

Oh and maybe a bit of handwriting?

Bonsoir Fri 14-Feb-14 10:10:55

I agree with others that reading at home is the key educational skill to work on at this age and if school isn't providing books and some sort of scheme to make DC progress at reading aloud and, subsequently, to themselves, then you should do this yourself.

I am also vaguely obsessed with providing an aural language-rich environment for young DC and think that lots of DVDs and CDs (which DC can use for themselves, like a library, unlike AppleTV, iTunes) with a wide variety of quality language (films, stories, songs, poems) to listen to is absolutely fantastic for widening vocabulary, improving expression, getting a sense of language rhythm etc.

Dodo76 Fri 14-Feb-14 16:22:00

Thanks all, that's quite reassuring. Maybe schools to have different approaches and I will try to talk to people with older kids in the school. I should have pointed out that DS1 and I do other reading in the week, I read to him every night/he reads bits and pieces to me (I have bought 3 sets of the Biff and Kipper books they have at school) although he is not quite at the stage where he will pick up a book and read it for fun, it still needs to be more structured than that. Glad to that reading should be the main focus as that has definitely been my approach.

itsahen Fri 14-Feb-14 19:10:13

Our school is outstanding, wins awards, is a national support school, gets exceptional results despite being huge...and gives almost no homework except reading. Parents are advised to spend time doing things together and extra curricular such as sport and music. No trying to do home work with little benefit for exhausted little ones smile I am a huge fan of no home work - less is more

RiversideMum Mon 17-Feb-14 07:40:18

Not a fan of homework! Spend some lovely time with your DC playing games, going for walks or just chilling!

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