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Homework Help

(51 Posts)
auntieliv Sat 29-Oct-16 14:45:44

Hi All,

I'm a teacher for Yr5 and have just had my niece (Yr1) to stay for half term and together we've done some homework tasks she was set, but I realised that while I was helping her with those tasks, I was using some equipment, some terminology and some strategies that many parents may not have access to or be aware of.

I was just thinking that it may be the case the homework is a real battle for some people out there and - while avoiding the issue of whether or not it should or shouldn't be set - wondered if there is anything that would make life easier for you to complete it with your child?

For example, with her, I used laminated multilink, number lines and whiteboard pens for her maths work and high frequency flash cards to work through her literacy.

I'd be interested to hear any homework examples that you've really struggled with or your child has found tricky, or things that you think would help support you to support them (if you could let me know the year group of your child that would be great).

I might be able to direct you to some online resources and put together some packs for parents at school.



oompaloompaland Sat 29-Oct-16 15:37:47

DD currently Y6. Both she and I struggle with VR, in particular words coming in front of other words to make new words, or matching two words from separate lists to make a third word. I don't think my brain works in the right way to do these, and I've got a degree ......

HillaryFTW Sat 29-Oct-16 15:40:02

I struggle with knowing how to support but not do it for them ie where is the line? I don't mean making their model Taj Mahal or whatever, just showing methods etc.

HillaryFTW Sat 29-Oct-16 15:40:46

Also internet research homework narks me as IMO it starts too young to let them on the internet unsulervised

TrishanFlips Sat 29-Oct-16 16:11:06

This all sounds very technical. Surely any homework set should have simple instructions that the child or parent can follow easily- presumably they will have done similar in class already anyway.

mrz Sat 29-Oct-16 16:26:40

*"*^*particular words coming in front of other words to make new words, or matching two words from separate lists to make a third word.*^*"*

Do you mean compound words? - gold + fish = goldfish foot + ball = football

Or prefixes dis + appear = disappear un + tidy = untidy im + possible ?

mrz Sat 29-Oct-16 16:29:41

*"*^*This all sounds very technical. Surely any homework set should have simple instructions that the child or parent can follow easily- presumably they will have done similar in class already anyway.*^*"*

Exactly ...they shouldn't need whiteboard pens or laminated anything (scrap paper works just as well if needed) and I really hope no one thinks flash card high frequency words is a hood strategy! shockconfused

auntieliv Sat 29-Oct-16 16:34:39


Yes, should be usually a consolidation of the week's work - but children learn in a resource rich environment and we teach them to go and find the resources that will help them to solve the problem, whether that is a word mat, counters or a book from the book corner. Obviously this can't always be replicated at home but I'm talking about small scale things that might have a big difference.

As for links to school work, every teacher strives to provide that for their pupils, but inevitably some children will have been given their instructions by the teacher, have an example on the worksheet and have completed a similar activity in class, but will go away, wait until the day before to complete it and will have forgotten the method.

Additionally, a lot of strategies taught now differ significantly from the way parents would have learned (particularly in Maths where children are expected to know multiple ways to complete the four operations, not just the column method) Your school should provide these in a calculation policy though, so it may be worth looking there.


For internet based research, kidrex is a great search engine to use. It won't bring up anything inappropriate and if you set your parental controls to limit to that search engine, there's no chance they can go wandering...

auntieliv Sat 29-Oct-16 16:36:04


I'm interested why you think high frequency words wouldn't be helpful for less able spellers?

mrz Sat 29-Oct-16 16:39:52

High frequency words are useful to all but flash cards are a very poor method of teaching

Balletgirlmum Sat 29-Oct-16 16:42:59

My two are in secondary now but my wish list in primary would have been:

Nothing where the Internet is necessary. homework was often completed in the dance school waiting room or local cafe with no wifi.

Nothing where you have to make something for the sake of it. We are rubbish at constructing things. Drawing a picture of a volcano & labellng it has more relevance than trying to make a model of it.

Nothing that requires art equipment. At home we had pens, paper, scissors, ruler, pencil crayons & a print stick. We DON'T have paint, cereal boxes ;unless we have 7 days notice) plastic bottles, glitter, and other craft items.

Simple clear instructions & homework that consolidates previous learning was the best.

Mishaps Sat 29-Oct-16 16:43:11

If a child cannot complete the homework without help from family, then the homework itself is at fault for not being tailored to the child's needs. The child should take it back to school uncompleted and the parent should contact the teacher.

Setting homework that the child cannot on their own do is wrong.

Balletgirlmum Sat 29-Oct-16 16:45:17

And homework during half term in primary would not have been completed in our house anyway. At that age they need a week off.

auntieliv Sat 29-Oct-16 16:45:50

Also, regarding laminated resources - absolutely, scrap paper does the job very well, that's why children tend to have jotters/draft books in school.

But things like number lines need to have equal intervals, which means for a Yr1 child the skill of being able to draw an accurate number line would be needed before she could actually complete the homework task. Children aren't great at doing that in general - they tend to bunch all the numbers together - so pre-prepared number lines are great.

Absolutely, I could have photocopied them, but I just used a laminated one as it's what I had to hand. I could have even drawn them myself, but it was about getting her to independently choose the things that she thought she needed to help her.

I'm not trying to make more work for anyone - just give options.

If you don't like the options...nobody is saying you have to use them!

Ineverpromisedyouarosegarden Sat 29-Oct-16 16:46:19

Times tables for a visual learner with receptive language delay and poor working memory. I just can't find any way of helping him remember them.

auntieliv Sat 29-Oct-16 16:54:53


Completely understandable about all of the art resources. Agree with you about the homework, not all schools do set anything over the holidays (mine hasn't for example which I think is right) but some do. I think in my niece's case she's a little less able and every little helps. It only took us 15 minutes and actually she wanted to do it so that was a positive!


Flashcards weren't used as flash cards per se. Used as a tool to construct sentences on the table before writing them out. It allowed her to structure her sentence and then concentrate on copying it down with the correct letter formation. Just to support both skills.


You'd be surprised how many children complete a worksheet in school independently and then go home with a near identical one and say they can't do it. Either through reluctance or poor retention. I'm just trying to get an idea of what resources would be valuable to support completing homework. If what comes out of this thread are that there are none, then I shall take it no further, but hoping to offer those parents who do wish they had some extra support some practicable, usable resources in my own school.

sirfredfredgeorge Sat 29-Oct-16 16:56:11

auntieliv never tried to teach someone to spell, but I know all bar a few savants cannot remember everything via repetition. So they need to learn strategies to remember things, for spelling that would seem to me learning correlations between sounds and their written form, and then enough experience of words to have a good educated guess of which one is most likely.

We don't realy bother doing much Yr1 homework, everything is optional, certainly nothing that would be involved with flash cards, or laminated stuff, the school never suggests anything like that - it's write some words... That everything is optional requires no resources, seems to be about right, but that's what the school does.

They also have some whole term "thinkers projects", which seem good, DD's read them all, and thought about them, she may not be motivated enough to complete them enough to take them in to school, but could be if we pushed her to do it, but we don't.

Primary homework just is not worth encouraging I'd say. There's so much other stuff that could be learnt.

sirfredfredgeorge Sat 29-Oct-16 16:57:28

why do number lines need to have equal intervals?

auntieliv Sat 29-Oct-16 17:01:41


Have you tried songs? There's a multitude on youtube. Also check with your school as they may use some already - we sing the tables to various nursery rhyme tunes, so they're quite easy to remember.

Also these worked with one child in my Maths set last year, but were not at all tolerated by another! You could see how they go down?

auntieliv Sat 29-Oct-16 17:08:34


It's about depth of understanding. So for example, recognising that each number on the line is worth the same - it might seem trivial now but it's a foundation that goes on to help with placing decimal numbers correctly on a number line (this often comes up in tests) and helping to round larger numbers to nearest significant figures.

Particularly for visual learners, being able to accurately place numbers on a number line helps them to immediately see which significant figure it is closest to and therefore which one it should be rounded to.

Completely agree about repetition for spelling - in fact most schools don't set lists now. It tends to be more of an investigative 'how does the rule work?' type homework but I know that's certainly not the case everywhere.

mrz Sat 29-Oct-16 17:21:58

"*Used as a tool to construct sentences on the table before writing them out. It allowed her to structure her sentence and then concentrate on copying it down with the correct letter formation. Just to support both skills.*"

She needs to be able to say the sentence (hold it in her head) then write each word using sounds to help her spell. Your method might be quicker but won't teach her the skills she needs (and doesn't match Y1 expectations I'm afraid)

oompaloompaland Sat 29-Oct-16 17:31:42

mrz - compound words are one of our issues. Some of them seem utterly obscure to me.

Ineverpromisedyouarosegarden Sat 29-Oct-16 17:36:19

Mrz while I understand completely what you are saying for my Ds the usual class room strategies are not working so we are trying a range of things to try and help him progress.

I doubt it follows the guidelines but he is almost two years behind already and that's with a TA and significant intervention.

auntieliv Sat 29-Oct-16 17:56:13


Those are end of year expectations - it is only 8 weeks since we started the new academic year. Just trying to support a less able child with a 15 minute homework task, not have her master the Y1 curriculum. I'll leave her teacher to teach her the skills she needs as that is the job she has and not the one I hold; I am just the aunt that helps out where I can!

Again, it's just about trying to help people out - I'm not here for a pedagogical discussion, just would like to be able to put together some resource lists or packs to support parents who are trying to support their children.

mrz Sat 29-Oct-16 17:57:57

Wouldn't it be more useful to teach the skills she needs rather than learnt dependency?

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