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Reception - homework

(22 Posts)
LoversLane Fri 08-Feb-19 10:15:22

My DTs started in September. They are the eldest in the class. Today their teacher told me that they are not progressing in their blending of words as much as they should. They bring a ditty sheet of words and short sentences to go through every week and we do it religiously every weekend several times over. However, she says that they should be doing it on a daily basis. I get home at 6:30pm and they are asleep by 7:15pm.

When do you get to do homework with the kids? I feel I am failing them by working!

FlibbertyGiblets Fri 08-Feb-19 10:27:03

Who does the after school shift? Nanny? Husband? Could they do hw?

Or squeeze in 10 minutes of hw before bed?

After breakfast? (Time pressures might preclude)

LoversLane Fri 08-Feb-19 10:44:31

We have an au pair that does pick up and drop off for us. We are planning to ask her to help but I get the feeling from school that the onus is very much on the parents to do it (which we do at weekends).

Our kids are tired after school and DS has gone through a period where he keeps the school and home activities in his little head very separate so I don’t want to push him too hard.

Maybe we need to do ditty sheets at 6:30am?

NellWilsonsWhiteHair Fri 08-Feb-19 10:51:30

In answer to your question about how to fit it in - I've tried a few different ways and found that in the morning works best, before DC is worn out by school. Agree it feels almost impossible as a working parent BUT I do also value the level of involvement in me actually doing it with him (rather than his childminder) and also think I'm the person best placed to support him with it.

More generally - they are so young still sad I think some schools/teachers can be a bit misguided in their expectations re homework. If DC were keen to do it daily I'd try different ways to find the time but if they were even neutral I'd honestly just keep to the weekends as you have been doing. There are many many things which are more important than this homework!

HexagonalBattenburg Fri 08-Feb-19 11:12:33

I find mornings work much better for a lot of school related stuff in this house - on top of the "standard" school stuff we also have things like speech and occupational therapy homework to add on as well. I have two very close in age so normally I do reading book and spellings for the speedier one while the faffer is still getting dressed and then swap over but it does get very frantic at times.

I rebelled the other day when they started adding some very hazily defined "spelling but oh no it's not spellings and we won't tell you when we're collecting them back in" homework and put a note in saying that we do all the additional work from various interventions and therapy sessions and we're one of the families who keeps most on top of readers - I was not going to promise we could add this in every night and I didn't want DD stressed out unduly if we didn't (she'd come home very concerned that we HAD to do this every night and I wanted that message toned down somewhat).

But yeah mine do do reading books and stuff at like 6.30am - it really is just what works best for you. What I will say is that I've sat in umpteen meetings as a school governor and there's always been this discussion that the school DO get that there has to be a balance between putting lots of stuff home for parents to do versus the fact that in our catchment the parents tend to work long hours and that stuff gets sent home with a request to do X daily - but in reality that's an expectation that it'll get done every couple of days... but if it was sent home with a "can you do this at weekends" then it would slip to never being done at all if that makes sense?

BIgBagofJelly Fri 08-Feb-19 12:55:16

Personally I think the school are being rather over zealous - it's only half way through reception. That said a very short burst of reading every day is a good idea - little and often is much better than big bursts. I think doing them in the morning is a really good plan. You'll also make a lot of headway by keeping things up over half terms and holidays and avoiding a dip. Doesn't have to be forced or pushed just a book or two a day during the holidays.

LoversLane Fri 08-Feb-19 13:54:27

I’m not trying to get out of it and certainly know that little and often is best but the thing is time and making sure the kids are in the right frame of mind to do it early doors. I don’t want to upset them before school or I need to go to work. Weekly email has arrived reminding parents that homework must be done on a daily basis and not just at weekends! I feel it’s a rather pointed message at me!!

BubblesBuddy Fri 08-Feb-19 14:40:44

I do think you need to ask the au pair. You are obviously doing very little at the moment so progress will be slow. It depends if this worries you or not. They have presumably eaten and played for several hours before you get home which rather wastes a lot of time. I know loads of working families who do a bit after school. Little and often. Do they not have any reading books yet? What will happen when they do? No reading on a weekday?

LoversLane Fri 08-Feb-19 14:48:07

No reading books yet. I do bedtime everyday and always read to them then. When they have books my plan was to take it in turns so they read to me and I read one of our story books to them. Doing a worksheet in bed is different and not as relaxed and cosy (or full of repetition).

From tomorrow I’ll give early mornings a go at doing sounds and blending every day.

TheCuddlyOctopus Fri 08-Feb-19 15:05:06

It is really difficult- I don't get home until almost 7 when the kids are ready for bed and DP picks up from after-school-club just after 5 but then has 2 tired kids to feed and bath in about 90 minutes. So not much time. Mornings are also a rush as we are out the door at 7.30.

Here's what we try and remember/do:

- Homework in the early years has very little impact on attainment. So it's unlikely kids are that much further behind than they would be with daily practice (especially when they are so tired in reception- sometimes DD is falling asleep as she gets home).

-Our main goal with learning to read is not for the children to be blending as quickly as they possibly can (although that may be the school's aim...)- it's to love and enjoy reading. I'm not going to destroy a love of reading by pushing the endless ditties on a tired child- sometimes we just do words in their bedtime stories instead or sometime just get her to sound out the words she's saying as we're talking.

The school will be thinking about progress for the phonics check in year 1- I would be thinking about reading and learning for comprehension in the longer term.

Where we do fit it in is- sometimes 10 minutes at bedtime if not too tired or just before school on the 2 mornings we go in a bit later. We only get one reading book a week and so that happens at the weekend- but DD will have a go at reading other books when we read to her.

But really, we don't sweat it. Reception is so little. In a lot of countries they wouldn't start reading until 7.

spinabifidamom Fri 08-Feb-19 17:51:58

I think that you should definitely ask the childcare provider.
We do 20 minutes of homework each day. DD is expected to read a storybook each night in bed. I ask her questions to check her understanding. We also practice math skills. She also has a weekly spelling test.
She is my second youngest child. My goal right now is to work with her on her writing and reading skills. My other children are older so they are expected to do more homework.
I have a 17, 14, 11, 8, 5 and 2 year old twins. Six children in total.

NellWilsonsWhiteHair Fri 08-Feb-19 18:13:15

I know it's normal on mn for children to be reading Harry Potter by five or whatever, but fwiw 'little and often' sounding out/blending practice for mine at Reception age mainly involved street signs and shop names etc. In year 2 he's only just at the 'reading a book a day' stage. He scored perfectly well on the phonics screen (37 I think? Well over the 'pass' mark anyway) and I have always always read to him every day. He has been v resistant to reading practice and I haven't wanted to endanger his love of books, stories and learning by forcing the issue.

Sorry may not be the case here - you may have the requisite mn 'free reading by Y1' children! But honestly i hear this 'just 20 minutes a day' type stuff from the school etc and I think - really?! We do like 5 mins! I wonder if that's also as a pp says (ask for a lot in the hopes you'll get a little done), but if it is im not sure that's a great message. Just ends up with the more conscientious children and parents feeling they're not doing enough even though they are.

anniehm Fri 08-Feb-19 18:16:25

My friend is a childminder and she does homework and reading with them before giving them tea - if you work you need to get help from your childcare provider.

LoversLane Fri 08-Feb-19 20:23:45

I am not a pushy parent when it comes to learning and I certainly don’t expect my kids to be top of the class just because they are the eldest. I know there are children in their class who are already reading books and I know the teachers comments today was all about targets. I have been asked to help them out more often and I just wanted to know how others did it juggling long working hours and tired young children.

LoversLane Fri 08-Feb-19 20:25:03

Thank you all for you words of advice, we will start putting some into practise from this week.

PhilomenaButterfly Fri 08-Feb-19 20:27:11

DD 11 does it by herself, so does DS 7 apart from spellings and reading, which we do about 40 minutes before bedtime.

BubblesBuddy Fri 08-Feb-19 20:51:33

Well they are not YR then are they, PhilomenaB.

I can see work sheets are not attractive material at bedtime. It’s a shame these are not in book form! Can you find books that match the sounds and blending sounds on the worksheets?

I would also try and do a bit more at weekends. Of course the school want your children to do well. It’s also not correct that children are held back in other countries until they are 7. Some children want to learn to read earlier and do so. Most parents here would be concerned if reading was not happening at age 7. We have a language that’s always been taught from YR. Some children in other countries will also be learning two languages as young children. Their first language and then probably English too. Our children don’t get the chance of that from an early age and we concentrate on English and that seems challenging enough!

user789653241 Fri 08-Feb-19 20:55:33

If you don't have time in the evening, I think it's best to start doing in the morning, especially if they go to bed by 7:15?
A lot of people think it's best time for children. Once they get into the routine, it's not going to be that horrible.

PhilomenaButterfly Fri 08-Feb-19 22:07:55

I answered the question in the OP BubblesBuddy. Before winding down time for bed starts is the best time for us.

TheCuddlyOctopus Fri 08-Feb-19 23:16:46

Our formal education at 5 evolved as a response to the industrial revolution and the need for childcare rather than in response to learning needs.

Other countries don't 'hold children back' - they do loads of important pre-literacy skills- but they don't do formal learning until 7 (and this is almost always done first in the home language in the highest performing systems with English as a foreign language if it is taught). There is plenty of research evidence that early formal learning makes no difference to literacy outcomes at age 11.

No one suggests that schools should prevent children reading- but a formal phonics check in yr 1 is not a reason to push endless homework in YR.

dolphin50 Tue 12-Feb-19 15:49:57

in america kids aren't expected to need to know to read or write until they are 6. this feeling that kids of this age should be doing homework is nonsense to me. play is more important than work to a childhood

DelurkingAJ Wed 13-Feb-19 11:31:55

We get DS through the door at 6. The first thing we do is his reading. Then he gets time for a snack and some screen time. Bath is at 7, bed at 7:30-8:00. He did occasionally whinge in YR (he’s Y1 now) but it’s just the routine now.

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