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Worried about DD age 7 - teacher worried about lack of progress

(14 Posts)
wakingfire Mon 05-Feb-18 22:01:59

I just want to post to see what I should be doing.

DD is very behind at school, teachers have mentioned her lack of progress since she was age 4, and have generally given us some extra work to do at home, with reading, writing and spelling. But now they seem a lot more concerned by it as she is now 7.

She is generally fine with maths - although not great. Her main problem seems to be spelling, although she does have trouble with speech and language which I am sure is related to this.

I just feel so bad about it all, as I am not helping her at all, despite wanting to. I am going though a gruelling divorce from her father, and have been in a state of constant stress for three years - and before that was just as bad because we were living together.

Unfortunately it has meant that she has a disjointed routine as she is sometimes with me and sometimes with him, she is also sometimes at after school club till late. She always ends up exhausted after the weekdays and weekends all over the place. I also work in a stressful job, so when we are both home together, and she's not tired, quite often I'm too tired to do any homework with her.

Her school gives her homework every night - and has done since reception, plus a big bit of homework at weekends. She has to practice spelling six words every night, and read a whole book every night. There is no way I can manage that, although now she has gotten better at reading she will usually manage to read her book most nights when she's with me.

I feel so bad, as I know if she had a stable homelife she would have a much greater chance of succeeding at school. But also I wanted to ask, how much should school rely on her practising it all at home? I prioritise her being rested at home, as she only gets limited opportunities to chill out, and I wonder how much value there is in forcing her to do spellings at 8pm at night for example when she should be tucked up in bed.

I will talk to her teacher a little bit about it, but I am sure she will just tell m what to practice with her at home, and tell me about the extra support she's getting in school. I suppose my point is, that without her routine getting better (blame her stupid father) I feel there is a limit of how far I can help at home.

Any advice welcome!

irvineoneohone Mon 05-Feb-18 22:10:26

She is only 7, so there's so much time for her to progress. If she is too tired in the evening, can you do a little work like 5 mins in the morning?
little a day will add up in the long run.

Throughtheforest Mon 05-Feb-18 22:16:48

I would do it at weekendd

BarbarianMum Tue 06-Feb-18 08:24:54

If she's "very behind" in reading (how behind are we talking here) I would focus on trying to read with her as often as possible and forget the spellings etc. Are her phonics strong? Can she spell phonetically?

MinnieMousse Tue 06-Feb-18 08:28:34

Have you had a speech and language assessment done? I would push for support in this area as this will affect her reading, writing and spelling progress.

Naty1 Tue 06-Feb-18 11:20:41

I guess you could test/practice spellings at any time. Walking to school etc while you are cooking.
What sort of level books is she on? As past green/orange they can mostly read anything. You can get books from the library/book people or reading chest and do extra at the weekends that you do have her.
If you do focus on reading then that will get even faster so you will have more time for other homework.
Maybe try to find a way to motivate her and exH to do reading and other things when he has her.

irvineoneohone Tue 06-Feb-18 11:21:44

I think first thing you really need to work out is if she does have any SN, or just struggling because of unstable life she had. I think 7/yr2 is a crucial age.

My ds is older, and I've seen both of them. Some struggled because of lack of engagement from parents, some because of SEN.

Ime, from YR3 on wards, SEN starts to show more, and children with engaged parents or not start to make little difference.

BubblesBuddy Tue 06-Feb-18 12:03:31

May I suggest that you work out a sensible routine with her father and get it sorted out in the courts. Generally they favour a settled home life for going to school purposes and the fact that she is getting behind gives you a strong position to argue that she should be with you on weekdays. Something has to give in this triangle and the one who should come to the fore is your DD.

I do not think you should be too tired to do a bit of reading and spelling. That is not ridiculously onerous. I read to mine before bed to indroduce them to longer and more complicated words and better stories. We read school books together earlier in the evening. We went to the library to choose extra books. I know very many working parents who did this. You do need to be involved every day but hopefully your nearly Ex should do the necessary reading on his days. He needs to understand the importance of this too.

You should also understand how she is taught reading and help her out with phonics strategies. Also get to grips with her living arrangements and routines. She needs both her parents to be sensible so go to court and get this settled in favour of your DD having a good school routine.

wakingfire Tue 06-Feb-18 22:46:26

Thanks for all your comments. I probably can do a lot more to help her, and made a real effort tonight which went well on the whole.

I always read her a bedtime story anyway, and we do go to the library most weekends I have her, so she is getting read to, it's just I don't always manage to get her to read her school book to me.

Thinking about it, part of the problem is that she resists doing homework so much, that she will have an hour of rolling around crying just to get a couple of minutes task done.

She is much better at reading now and is on turquoise books, it's the writing and spelling that she resists now.

I do think SEN must be part of the issue. The trouble is she had a private speech therapist when she was four, as the nhs only treat really extreme problems.

I had to take time off work- and didn't get paid as I'm on a zero hours contract, but I was prepared to do it. The trouble was the speech therapist used her time with her to set tasks and activities, and relied on me to practice the activities with her everyday. What should have been 10mins per day was easily over an hour with all the resistance from my daughter- and there was no way I could do that and her school homework, and the poor thing was only 4.

In the end the speech therapist retired, otherwise I may well have continued with it in any case.

The school never mention speech as a problem though, but they only see evidence of the problem in her writing as she can't spell and always gets tenses wrong etc.

Finally there is no way I can easily sort out her routine. Have been dragged through courts for past two years as it is - no way am I going to initiate more proceedings. The trouble with abusive men is they are out to destroy you so will never behave reasonably- or ever put their child's feelings first. We do have a routine of sorts but he always stirs it up by coming round at 8pm ringing the doorbell for some reason- and it sets the kids off crying saying they want to go round there and spend the night. I say no, he says yes, and they end up walking across town freezing cold in the middle of the night. It's absolutely horrific, but I'm managing that part as best I can.

beckieperk Wed 07-Feb-18 18:56:21

Turquoise is level 8 right?? That's not too bad is it?? I have nothing to compare it to except my ds and I'm struggling with him atm. He's on turquoise at 6. Also struggles with spelling and writing.

Naty1 Fri 09-Feb-18 08:05:43

It's level 7. I guess it depends on what the school sets as end of year expectations one i know apparently has purple 9 as met for year 1. Which sounds pretty high as in contrast much of our yr 1 seems to be blue-green-orange at the moment so that would be along way for some to go.

MarigoldGloveHotel Fri 09-Feb-18 08:52:59

Disconnect the door-bell at night. Don't answer the door.

I would go to school and ask for a meeting. I would ask what DDs issues are and what plans they have to sort them out. Stress the things you are prepared/able to do, and those you can't.

So you can read with her every night but you can't do spellings-whatever you're boundaries are.

I'd imagine that her phonics knowledge may be a problem. Can you read up on that yourself? Or could you get a phonics tutor? Look on the Sounds-Write or Phonics International websites.

beckieperk Fri 09-Feb-18 11:14:42

What level is purple??
By the end of year 1 really?? My ds was literally just turned 5 by then and no amount of reading would have got him to that level i don't think.....not without making his (and my) life a misery in the process. hmm

beckieperk Fri 09-Feb-18 11:23:13

Just checked the levels online - turquoise is recommended reading age 6- 7. Your dd is 7.....surely this will differ according to the child and their individual capabilities not the schools expectations. Anyway i think you're doing the best job you can. Keep up the good work and manage your expectations as a busy parent, I'm sure you're doing your best.

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