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Can you help me draft an email to DS's Y2 teacher about this homework without appearing to be one of those parents

(66 Posts)
Preminstreltension Fri 20-Nov-15 21:32:43

DS is in Y2 but is the youngest in the class so only turned 6 in August. His literacy homework has repeatedly been ridiculously advanced in my opinion but this week's just tipped me over the edge. It's about idioms and the sheet explains that idioms that are overused become clichés. My six year old was confused just by the introduction. Then the first task is to work out the meaning of the following:

- He has given up the ghost
- I keep putting his back up
- She has been taken for a ride
- Lets not beat around the bush
---and several others in the same vein.

To be fair the answers in this are multiple choice so he had a chance of guessing some of them although he has never used them and probably never heard them but then it goes on in part 2 to ask for explanations of:

- Past her prime
- Dawning of a new age
- Idols of the silver screen
- Par for the course

and then to work out where these idioms are derived from (golf, weather etc)

I would actually find any six year old who was familiar with these phrases pretty odd. I tried them on my very literate 9 year old who was baffled by most of them.

The school has form for this but I've always just sighed and helped him through it. This time I'm really annoyed and want to explain to the teacher (newish and youngish but in any case I think it's the TA who sets the homework) that this is, in my opinion, not at the right level. The problem is that I don't want them to conclude that either a) my son is an idiot who can be discounted (school is very high achieving and only cares about the hothoused kids anyway) or b) I am some hippy dippy moany mother who is trying to tell the teachers how to do their job.

Any nice, emollient suggested wordings? Or do you think this is ok for this level?

balletgirlmum Fri 20-Nov-15 21:36:35

Ha ha ha - I'd love either of my literal aspie kids to have attempted those!!!

Believeitornot Fri 20-Nov-15 21:37:46

I'd have a word at pick up or drop off instead?

Shesaysso Fri 20-Nov-15 21:40:15

Far too tricky IMO - I'd ask for a 5 min chat at pick up.

Preminstreltension Fri 20-Nov-15 21:41:39

I'm not at pickup or dropoff so I'd have to make an appointment - but actually you make a good point. Maybe I should do that rather than try to express myself on email and sound like an arse.

AppleAndBlackberry Fri 20-Nov-15 22:16:31

My 6yo has things like adding 3 coins together for homework... That sounds far too hard.

Hallamoo Fri 20-Nov-15 22:30:47

We don't do homework in KS1 unless my DC shows an interest in wanting to. I'd simply not do it, and just say 'oh, we had a very busy weekend'. Homework is not compulsory at that age.

Canyouforgiveher Fri 20-Nov-15 22:42:36

really not at the level of a 6 year old imo. Also my teens would have difficulty with some of these because they are cliches used by our generation and not at all by theirs. My teens have never uttered the words "par for the course" in their lives and neither have any of their friends.

I struggle to see the use of this homework (but then I struggle to see the use of any homework for a 6 year old other than reading/been read to from a book or poem).

I'd be tempted to write "Dear Teacher, could you explain the learning objective of this homework as ds has not yet used or heard many of these cliches (we try not to use cliches in our usual conversation) so would like to make sure he understands the point of the homework"

I wouldn't bother in fact.

Preminstreltension Fri 20-Nov-15 22:50:41

Yes that's also true canyou. I don't think I've ever said "give up the ghost" and I've certainly never described the "dawning of a new age".

I'm just annoyed because it's so lazy of the school (they send home a photocopied sheet and clearly no one has thought about it) and so intrusive into our lives. And don't even get me started on the fact that it rarely gets marked - sometimes a few desultory ticks for work that I have dragged out of my six year old who should be doing something much more sensible with his time, like playing.

Effing homework angry

Tuiles Fri 20-Nov-15 23:21:17

That is complete and utter bonkers homework, I'd be amazed to encounter it at any stage of primary. In Y2 is gob-smacking.
My DS is Y1 but old for his year and would not have a Fanny Adams about it (see what I did there?). TBH if my Y4 DC brought it home there is no way they'd get it done without substantial patent input = pointless IMHO.

Way to set kids up to feel like failures. ..

Wolfie2 Sat 21-Nov-15 00:54:00

We would really enjoy that homework. My kids wouldn't have a clue initially but we would turn it into something silly.

MonsterDeCookie Sat 21-Nov-15 01:08:39

Dear Teacher,

I do hope you don't take this as me throwing my toys out of the cot and whilst I do truly appreciate homework is firmly in my parental bailiwick; I think this homework is crackers. DC could not make heads or tails of it and was reduced to tears and therefore has not completed it. I will certainly appreciate if you mark them down for it being incomplete as I do want to teach them that if they make their beds they must lie in them.

Kindest Regards,

cariadlet Sat 21-Nov-15 08:26:00

I'm a Year 1 teacher and my first instinct was that the homework seemed ridiculous and has no link to the Year 2 English curriculum.

I've just spent ages trawling through the New Curriculum and I can't find any specific reference to teaching idioms and clichés. The closest I can find is that children should be able to "discuss and evaluate how authors use language, including figurative language".

That comes from the Year 5 and 6 programme of study!

I think I'd write a note to the teacher saying that your DS struggled with this homework, and could she let you know which part of the Year 2 programme of study it relates to so that you could work on that part of the curriculum at home.

calzone Sat 21-Nov-15 08:32:43

Whilst I would love that homework, it is not appropriate for y2 and therefore I would not do it. I also have issues with homework not being marked. What's the point of doing it if no one can be bothered to mark it?

So, I would write a note in his diary saying you send apologies but you had a busy weekend and were unable to complete it at this time.

Do not do it.

And definitely raise the issue at parents evening about unmarked homework.

Youarenotthebossofme Sat 21-Nov-15 08:55:37

MonsterDeCookie, brilliant! grin Hope the teacher doesn't get her knickers in a twist though and take it out on the op.

Geraniumred Sat 21-Nov-15 09:06:56

Don't do it and write a note/go in and see the teacher. It really takes the biscuit.

Wolfie2 Sat 21-Nov-15 09:24:44

Just write saying DS doesn't understand the homework

DaphneGaffney Sat 21-Nov-15 09:30:03

Another teacher here. That work is an inappropriate level for the year group. I am shocked that the TA is setting homework - what exactly are their educational qualifications I wonder? I've got no issue with TA's marking homework but setting it is a teacher's job. I would simply send a note back saying,
'DS has not done this homework as it was much too hard for him.' If the teacher comes back to you about it then you have the opportunity to voice your (legitimate) concerns.

If the school is high achieving in ofsted terms then they will be successfully improving all children's levels, not just those who are 'hot housed' hmm - I was completely with you until that sentence OP.

mummytime Sat 21-Nov-15 09:38:19

The worst homework my DC got were some comprehensions which all hinged on a punny joke at the end, which they failed to get. I complained and mine didn't have to do it.

That homework seems more like GCSE standard. I would also complain about a TA setting homework (although she could be a trained photo).

rollonthesummer Sat 21-Nov-15 09:42:23

Totally inappropriate! Is this a state school?

What makes you think the TA sets the homework?

Katiekatiekatie Sat 21-Nov-15 09:52:39

I wouldn't email the school ever about a complaint, fear of forwarding!!
Stick a post it note to the homework to say ds was utterly confused by this, could you have some help understanding the surrounding work so you can help him at home.
Dc homework can be quite complicated (very pushy state school) but they spend the last 30 minutes on a Friday going through it with the children to make sure they understand so this is why I'm saying ask where or what the surrounding work/area of curriculum this is because as a stand alone this is baffling.
I also get very irritated by homework that's not marked. There are always parents who bring this up though so I don't have to grin it gets marked for a few weeks then it's back to normal sad

Snossidge Sat 21-Nov-15 09:58:01

I would send it back undone with a note saying something like "DS was unable to complete this homework - he isn't familiar with any of these idioms and doesn't really understand the concept of idiom and cliche". Just keep it factual.

Homework should be suitable for the child to complete on their own. Any time it isn't, just send it back with a note saying he couldn't do it/doesn't understand. Surely that's more helpful for the teacher than a parent doing it for them?

Preminstreltension Sat 21-Nov-15 20:29:59

Thanks for all the comments which have really clarified this for me (and amused me).

Yes it's a state school although a very aspirational one so the teachers are under constant pressure to push the children further up the curriculum years. It's a mixed blessing (or perhaps even a curate's egg!) The school really does get good results but sometimes they seem to lose their mind and set something really inappropriate which sets the children up to fail.

I might be wrong about the TAs setting homework - I think they do but tbh I'm not 100pc sure. They certainly mark it albeit in a very desultory fashion and to be honest it often seems as though it is set by someone who has just chosen a page at random from a text book without any real sense of what it is supposed to achieve. Not to underestimate TAs - ours is fab. But she's not a teacher and doesn't try to be one.

I like Daphnegaffney's very straightforward approach to be honest so I might start with that! And *Daphne" I was just describing the school warts and all. I would prefer that it was more inclusive and less focussed on the highest achieving kids whose parents do their homework for them but it's on a slightly manic treadmill of trying to outperform itself year on year.

YakTriangle Sat 21-Nov-15 20:37:19

Ridiculous to send home work that the children won't understand. They might as well just set a worksheet entitled 'Homework for Parents' as clearly that's who will end up doing the work.

ladygracie Sat 21-Nov-15 20:41:06

I wonder if they've photocopied it from a Year 6 rather than age 6 book. That's not an appropriate homework at all - can you ask any other parents what they think?

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