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Just discovered my dd1 had maths homework all last year but never told me and so didn't do it, who do I get angry with?

(14 Posts)
Janus Thu 10-Sep-09 20:56:18

Sorry long title!
From idle chit chat at the school gate this week I commented on how nice it would be to get Maths homework this year as I struggled last year knowing where my eldest 'was at' with her maths last year as she didn't get any homework. The year (was year 4) is all split up into different groups and the regular mums I chat to don't have a child in my dd's group but a different mum was there and informed me that we did have homework for the whole year! I was gobsmacked. I feel so completely crap that I didn't know.
I have asked dd1 about it and she says she did do the homework most weeks in the 'homework club' but admitted that some weeks she just didn't do the homework. I think she didn't tell me about it in the hope that she could get away with not doing it 'properly'. She has had a stern talking to about how she must bring homework home so that we can help her. Doing her first set of homework this week I can't imagine what she must have handed in because I did need to clarify things on nearly half the questions.
My other thing is though I expressly remember at a parents evening commenting on how I was surprised that there was no maths homework and the teachers said they didn't believe in giving them too much work. So somehow we've crossed wires completely and they hadn't realised I meant we got NONE. How can this happen? How can a teacher not realise that a child isn't doing homework? Do they think I'm such a crap parent that I didn't infact even care if my child did get homework and expected her to do it all on her own? I also had dd3 in the summer so did they think I was too busy with her to care?
I feel mad at dd1 but also at the school for not discussing this with me. How would you feel?

lilolilmanchester Thu 10-Sep-09 21:00:52

I'd make an appointment with her teacher/get the teacher to phone you to find out the facts first, then go from there. If she hadn't been doing homework all last year I can't believe the teachers didn't mention it to you at parents' evening.

PortAndLemon Thu 10-Sep-09 21:06:13

By the sound of things she did do it most of the time, and if she did it in the "homework club" then potentially she got help from some of her friends. So from the teacher's point of view it's quite possible that she was handing in an average amount of homework of average quality. They should have picked up on your comment at parents' evening, though.

gingernutlover Thu 10-Sep-09 21:09:03

what do you think the school should have discussed with you????

if what your dd says is true, the homework was done and handed in most of the time, so I don't see what the school has done wrong?

It also sounds like crossed wires at parents evening, they wouldn't have agreed with you that there was no maths homework, when indeed they had set it would they?

Glad you have sorted it so your dd is now doing her homework with your help, but I don't see how the school was supposed to know that you werent aware she had it but didnt bring it home?

gingernutlover Thu 10-Sep-09 21:10:27

afwiw - I'm sure they do chase up when children NEVER hand in homework, but your daughter did.

Janus Fri 11-Sep-09 14:28:08

OK, I think I've calmed down a bit, I think mostly I'm embarrassed at the quality of work that she would have handed in. When we do homework at home we go through all of it together so I can help her work out the answers (although, obviously, I don't tell her the answers), I really don't know what she would have been handing in and I don't think many kids go to homework club so she would have been doing most of this on her own. She is, bless her, generally a bit messy and I don't think it would even have been easy to work out what answer to which question she was giving!
We have moved in the last year or so and in our old school if anyone didn't hand in homework they got detention so parents would have been very aware if their kids had pulled a stunt like mine! I guess I assumed I would know in this new school.
Ginger, do you work in a school, sorry if this sounds rude but you sound defensive so if you do, does your school not have a policy of informing a child's parents if they don't hand in work? My dd did admit that on quite a few occasions (although I don't obviously know how many times) she did not hand in any work at all and I find it really surprising that no teacher just pulled me aside to have a quiet word and check everything was OK with us all.
Just interested what other schools do I suppose but I can't see it happening again!

cory Fri 11-Sep-09 14:57:28

But Janus, that is the whole point of homework, that your dd hands in work that she has done on her own, so that the teacher can see where she is struggling. Work that she had gone through with you and which had been tidied up wouldn't exactly be much of a source of information to the teacher, would it? It's not your abilities that the teacher is interested in.

The teacher will know what she can do when supported by an adult (in class), homework is (should be) about what happens when she then deals with it on her own. If she needs an adult to clarify half the questions, then that is precisely the sort of information the teacher needs in order to teach her at the right level.

My ds did his maths homework religiously last year because he gets lunchtime detention if it's not done, but I never gave him any help with it. He struggles at school: his teacher needs to know that.

Janus Fri 11-Sep-09 16:24:48

Cory, I agree but what I do is help her but if she has struggled to understand the question and cannot work it out herself I put I note to this affect next to her answer (eg, I had to help x get this answer, in fact I did this twice on this week's homework). I think this is OK, most of the times she just needs me to explain how to do the first one and then I let her do the rest of the similar batch. So, she does most of it on her own but I hover in the background if she needs help. Do you think I should stop this though, I seem to get the impression that the mum's that I talk to do a similar thing but maybe I should stop? God, don't know what to do anymore and feel a bit stressed by the whole homework thing now.

mrz Fri 11-Sep-09 17:14:25

In Y4 it is totally your daughter's responsibility and as cory said homework is for her to do independently without mum correcting the mistakes and presentation.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Fri 11-Sep-09 17:24:42

Janus, I think you should be letting your DD do the homework by herself at this point. By all means explain what the question means if she is unsure, but you shouldn't be helping her get the answers. She doesn't need to get the homework right nearly so much as she needs the practice in doing it independently. And as other posters have said, it is better for the teacher to be able to see her unaided work.
Re the not handing in issue, at DD's school if they don't hand in their homework from year 4, they have to stay in at lunchtime and do it. Maybe your DD has done this and not told you?

skibelle Fri 11-Sep-09 17:47:41

If your DD was in my class I would say PLEASE leave her to do Maths homework on her own. It's not so much the fact that I need to see what she can do on her own (that's patently obvious from the lesson, so it's pretty bloomin' obvious when she's had help!). It's more that if you do help her then you will be teaching her using a method that you think is appropriate. The teacher might have deliberately taught another method or may have covered it in less/more depth, so you will confuse her completely when it comes to the next stage. Your DD should mostly be getting work that she can do unaided. If she needs your help every time then, in due course, mention it to the teacher.

cory Fri 11-Sep-09 17:51:12

I just didn't get why you would have been "embarrassed" (your own words) by the teacher getting to see what your dd's work is like if done independently. That sounds odd to me.

I am not at all embarrassed by the teacher knowing about ds's weaknesses: that's what she is there for!

Janus Fri 11-Sep-09 18:10:43

I guess I'm 'embarrassed' because everyone else (that I regularly speak to) seem to help their child and I didn't and my dd is particularly messy. I just thought it would look like I didn't care about her work when I do.
Still, I guess I'm getting the impression that I interfere and am a little odd so I need to change my ways. Funnily enough we had a curriculum meeting this week and the teachers actually said when helping with homework to use whatever method we were taught as a child rather than worrying about their methods, eg number lines, etc. I would assume then that they do expect us to help if they expressly told us to use whatever methods we wanted.
I think I will butt out more when it comes to homework, I think she does need to be more independent, but I will help if she's really stuck, I think this is fair.
Thanks everyone, I think I've got what I need to know now.

GrapefruitMoon Fri 11-Sep-09 18:18:11

Tbh I think the teacher should have written to all parents at the start of the school year to explain what homework would be set and when - we always get a letter like that (even from the more, ahem, laid back teachers). Eg this year ds1 gets a small amount of homework on Friday to be handed in on Tuesday. Or to say what day spelling tests are on, etc. That way you know to remind them/check they have done it.

We have had problems with teachers setting homework but not reminding (younger) children to hand it in and then it collects in a crumpled pile at the bottom of the schoolbag but that is another issue...

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