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What are the most important ways to help/support children in junior school

(15 Posts)
sameagain Thu 16-Jul-09 16:09:52

The school says listen to them read daily, which I do, although TBH DS1 reads far more alone and without any encouragement. Beyond that I can't say we've had much guidance from the school.

He's finishing yr3 and gets about 10 mins straight forward homework each weekend, which I always make sure is done, but won't do it for him, so if he's happy with poor quality work, I let it go back like that. Kind of hoped there would be some comeback at school for not doing it properly, but there isn't TBH.

He gets no spellings to learn and I have never been told he should be learning tables etc.

I know I could be a horribly pushy parent, so have made a determined effort not to be, but have a horrible feeling I've left him to it a bit too much. What does a concerned and supportive, but not pushy parent do?

cat64 Thu 16-Jul-09 16:25:03

Message withdrawn

verygreenlawn Thu 16-Jul-09 16:57:56

Does he have any special interests already? I guess I'm just thinking of really building on what he enjoys and working on general knowledge rather than it being like school work.

Ds1 (6) is crazy about science, so we try and do lots of stuff that's science-related - nothing expensive or sophisticated, just basic stuff like talking about nature when he helps out at my dad's allotment.

Maths is an issue for me, as I have only the most basic knowledge, but he likes to talk about "stuff" so I just try and show interest myself.

He likes computers too, so I let him play around - he's always looking up websites for himself. There are meant to be some good websites out there, ds1 found one called tenticks which has maths stuff on it (though as far as he's concerned it's just puzzles which he enjoys).

Good luck with it.

mimsum Thu 16-Jul-09 17:20:17

the others have got good advice, but if there's one thing I wish I'd got nailed for ds1 it's his times tables. When he was at primary school they were very relaxed about it and even though he's very bright he never learned them properly. Every time he needs to multiply something he ends up doing the sum in his head, luckily for him he's good at mental maths so it's almost as quick as knowing them by heart but he sometimes makes silly mistakes that he wouldn't if times tables had been really drummed into him.

So for ds2 I've been much more proactive about learning them - there are some good games on the bbc website and we also roll dice to decide which table to concentrate on and then how many times x

it doesn't take long and it doesn't feel like work, but just means that area of maths is so much more secure

verygreenlawn Thu 16-Jul-09 17:31:25

I was just going to add as well, I'd assumed some tables and spellings were part of the national curriculum? Ds1 gets 10 a week (just finished Yr 1), in reception it was 5. Not massively difficult words, but I'd say it makes him more confident with writing to know that he can spell certain words without really thinking about them?

sameagain Thu 16-Jul-09 20:35:10

Yes, me too VGL. He did get spellings in the infants and set challenges to learn to count in 2s etc in yrs 1 & 2, but has had nothing like that in yr3

cat64 Thu 16-Jul-09 22:39:12

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fortyplus Thu 16-Jul-09 22:45:35

Brilliant tip from old teacher - 'thumb check tablrd'.

Write out each 'sum' at one end of a little card with the answer at the other so you can hide it with your thumb when you're holding the stack of cards. Like this:


X =56


Work through and give the child every card where they get the answer correct. If they don't know it it goes to the back of the pile and... guess what? It keeps coming round again till they get it correct!

Keep the cards shuffled so that they get really familiar with each one individually.

fortyplus Thu 16-Jul-09 22:46:06

Sorry - 'thumb check tables'

goaway Fri 17-Jul-09 08:26:29

I love that game 40+. Should it be mixed tables or just one at a time for Y3?

cat64 Fri 17-Jul-09 08:32:46

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scienceteacher Fri 17-Jul-09 08:47:46

I think reading is the most important thing they can do to help their education. They don't always have to read under your supervision, and your reading to them can be just as valuable. If they are motivated to read on their own, then do encourage it by providing interesting books.

Learning tables is important too. It is amazing how many kids get through junior school unable to do simple multiplication.

scienceteacher Fri 17-Jul-09 08:50:40

I've asked my DD who has just finished Y2. She has done the 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x and 10x tables so far.

fortyplus Mon 20-Jul-09 09:30:14

goaway sorry I went away grin
I always mixed them up and left out some of the really easy ones like the low 2x numbers.
It's much more helpful for them to know off pat 6x7 followed by 3x6 followed by 3x9 for example, because if you stick to the same tables they get quick at 'adding on' rather than just learning the answers so they come up quick as a flash.
Once they get to GCSE it's really helpful not to have to 'work out' these really simple sums as it gives them so much extra time to work through the paper. The higher grade questions are at the end of the paper so if they don't have time to get there they won't achieve their best possible grade. This is especially important for the less able children sitting foundation level papers. All the grade C questions are are at the end of the paper so if they don't complete it they won't achieve a grade C,

jajoly Wed 22-Jul-09 23:08:22

Hi sameagain,

I have been teaching Yr 3 and then Yr 4 in my current school for last 5 years. It is a Juniors, so a different system to what they arrived as Infants doing etc. It sounds like your child is in a differently run Junior school to what you were used to in the Infants... ? I have the government directed national spelling scheme for KS2 (by year groups and terms) on my memory stick so am willing to pass on that as it is not a trade secret wink.

I would suggest if they are not learning weeking spellings that in Sept you ask why ... not a strange request, seeing as they are supposed to learn to spell whilst in the primary years hmmand the best way to offer correct spellings and encourage children to learn them is by testing them shock- no harm in tradition/back to basics there!

Times tables I would also tackle, as a parent at home, as a back to basics - there was no harm in learning them by rote (as when I/we grew up) and there are lots of fun ways to keep that going with this techno generation we seem to have cultivated. Timestable CD's/ timestable snap cards etc(which are great for relating it to division- the next step), there are also numerous child oriented timestable games on websites that are a fun and time conscious way of recalling multiplication facts. Just google

With the reading- At the stage your child is at, reading alone and confidently, I would make time to gauge their comprehension skills by asking progressively more probing questions about their understanding of what they have read; why certain language has been used, how is the character feeling and why, offering their opinions on situations and if they agree and why yes/no etc ...

Some able readers in Yr 3 definitely sometimes miss this progression for a year as they aren't questioned enough at school/home as they can read well and have "cracked this reading lark" so to speak. I underatnd this well as in Yr 3 the teacher really needs to focus on the children who still struggle to read, but the better ones I have learnt don't always grasp a full understanding, "despite reading well" and this is something that can be missed in early Juniors when changing schools and different systems.

I have lots of resources (obviously!) but tried to send them but I need to pay a subscription (sorry new blush)

If you get this message and want some links I will try to work out how to post them -(I was going to send you some useful printable stuff from my memory stick via email but I don't think that will be possible??) I am not sure if I can remember where all the sources came from,but will have a think if you pop back and want them.

Hope some of that was useful


To everyone else, sorry this was so long - I will hang up my hat now.blush

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