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Help needed to avoid battles over homework (DS in reception)

(36 Posts)
MrsMoriaty Sat 16-Mar-13 21:21:40

Please help.

DS1 is in reception and appears happy and settled at school. The feedback from parent's evenings has been positive. But homework has become a real battlefield recently, and they get - I think - quite a lot (reading twice a week, and writing, spellings and maths once a week).

He never wants to do it, so straightaway is in a grump. And then he will either argue over every last thing (telling me today that his way of writing "o", like some sort of deformed tadpole, is the "way we do it at school") or just guess answers (we are still struggling on things like the order of the days of the week, or numbers after 10). Reading is "easy peasy", only it's not because he can sound out the letters and then just makes a random guess at the word. It goes on.......

I know that part of the problem is that I am pregnant and tired and grumpy with it, and that I have to do most of the homework with him as DH works long and strange hours. I also know, if I am honest, that I find it frustrating because all my friends' children seem to be miles ahead (I am trying so hard not to join in the competition, but....) and because my family are all pretty academic too, and I worry that he won't be. But I need some reassurance or solutions, because I have been horrible to him the last few times we've tried to do anything. And I know that won't help at all.


learnandsay Sat 16-Mar-13 22:48:46

Yes, in a word:fun.

I spy...
rocket, 10,9,8,7 etc
read this: there's a chocolate bar in your bed.

and so it goes...

TravelinColour Sat 16-Mar-13 22:56:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

simpson Sat 16-Mar-13 23:04:11

I would have a word with the teacher. Reception is meant to be play based and the only thing I would concentrate on is the reading.

Make it fun...maybe write out some simple words (cat,dog etc or whatever stage his reading is at) and stick them round the front room and have a race to get to each word etc.

Keep reading to him too and make books fun.

Also maybe think about the time that you do homework. Is he tired? Or hungry?

Beehatch Sat 16-Mar-13 23:08:55

Ease off. He is 4 or 5 maybe. Plenty of time to get the academics later. Right now he is learning so much more in Reception - how to behave, to co-operate, to sit quietly, to share, to listen, to enjoy.

Homework has been demonstrated to have little effect at Primary age.
What would happen if he didn't do it - the world will surely not end....

ArtexMonkey Sat 16-Mar-13 23:13:45

I would only do the reading, at reception age they are exhausted by the end of the day/week, they're still only little. School and schoolwork should be nice fun, not something they take agin.

learnandsay Sat 16-Mar-13 23:18:38

At a wild guess I'd imagine that the mum actually wants her son to increase his learning at the rate that he might have done if he had been able to complete the homework willingly and correctly, but that this is just not happening.

My approach to this situation would be add to his learning in any way that he is willing to do it and stop trying to force ways that he doesn't like.

So, if he loves cars, Bat Man and bubble gum,

let him work out how many bubblegums bat man will have left after reading this ransom note from the Joker.......

CointreauVersial Sat 16-Mar-13 23:26:01

Homework battles in Reception?? That is so sad. Learning should be fun and stress-free at that age (trust me, as a parent of a Y8, it gets a whole heap worse).

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 06:50:07

As a teacher I always tell parents that if it's a battle stop ...perhaps try at another time when he is more receptive or just have a break.

BarbarianMum Sun 17-Mar-13 10:04:41

I have ds2 in reception. In our house the rule is that reading practice is compulsory, anything else is done on a strictly voluntary basis. As they get older I get stricter but 4/5 is far too young for a battle. The playing he will be doing instead will be just as educational, I'm sure.

PopMusic Sun 17-Mar-13 10:05:32

Another teacher here. OP, my reception DS also does not do homework or his reading and he gets about as much homework as your DS (which is way too much in my opinion - although he does not get spellings - don't even get me started on that). My son has pretty much the same attitude as your DS.

In the past I have been guilty of thinking oh no, how can I get him to read, is he going to fall behind, yadda yadda yadda? That feeling lasted for a few days until I thought hang on a minute, chill out. He is only 4, he is happy, he is learning new things all the time, he is progressing at his reading nicely, and he's a whizz at maths so I don't need to do anything so formal as homework with him.

I know its hard not to compare, but remember its not a sprint, its a marathon. The point is, he is learning at his pace and as long as he is progressing, then that should be enough. Give him and yourself a break. Get playing instead because at his age that's how they learn best. Act out stories together, make stuff together, let him lead the way. And yes, keep reading to him. And when you have more energy, get out and about, plant some seeds etc to increase his knowledge and understanding of the world. Think of his whole development not just his English/maths.

Go have some fun.

mooglet Sun 17-Mar-13 20:07:58

Thank you for all your wise words. It's all stuff I know really (without wanting to seem ungrateful!), but I think I have just lost sight of it a bit in recent weeks. I'll blame the hormones and lack of red wine......

He loves being read to and having me make up stories for him, so we certainly do plenty of that. He has said in the past that he doesn't want to learn to read because then I might not read to him anymore, although I have told him time and time again that I will read to him as long as he wants, because it's something we both love. And, despite finding it really difficult to remember the order of numbers or to recognise them, he did a fine job of sharing out the sweeties after tea tonight, so maths is obviously ok too.

And we do play lots too - reading my post again, I sound like a dragon who only cares about homework!

So, as of tomorrow, we are going back to being relaxed about homework, and I will refer back to this thread whenever I need reminding of this!

plainjayne123 Sun 17-Mar-13 21:20:38

Our school doesn't do homework in reception or reading books, just tells patents to read to children. No homework in yr 1 either and 10 mins a week in yr2. It is a good school and gets good results. It doesn't mean I don't do things at home with them though. I know what they should be aiming for and I try to make sure they are on top of everything and enjoy learning.

learnandsay Sun 17-Mar-13 21:24:16

Perhaps as the children get older the teachers get more bothered whether or not the homework gets done. But I've seen lots of comments about homework being done and being ignored by the teacher. If it's going to be ignored I can see no reason for giving it out.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 21:35:00

Why do teachers give out homework hmm in my case it's because parents demanded it. I'd be happy if they read to their child.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 21:37:16

Interestingly the ones who shouted loudest for homework are the same ones who rarely complete it hmm

learnandsay Sun 17-Mar-13 21:38:11

I don't know if any parents are doing this but I can imagine how a parent could use homework as a rough guide to what her child is learning in school and therefore she might not care whether or not the teacher is marking it, all she cares about is a regular supply of it.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 21:40:25

I don't think these parents look at what is sent home learnandsay

timtam23 Sun 17-Mar-13 21:50:00

My son is in reception & he gets a pack of reading books once a week (maybe 3 or 4 books - no pressure to read them with him & nobody checks) plus "homework" on a Friday which is linked to what they had been doing in class or will be doing next week. E.g. this week the task was to get some tins & packets out of the food cupboard and look at them and put them into groups of similar shapes (he will be doing 3D shapes next week & has done 2D shapes this week). mostly he is asked to do a picture of something with or without a few words. Again there is no pressure & no checking, he does it most weeks but has missed some.
The reading isn't always done but DH tends to read with him in the evenings so he usually has a go at reading at least 2 of the books, his teacher is happy with his reading in class which is the main thing. I wouldn't put pressure on him about homework etc as it does get much worse as school goes on - a neighbour's son is in yr 6 and gets loads of homework, more than once a week!

simpson Sun 17-Mar-13 21:57:07

I am completely baffled as to why parents would demand homework for their DC and then not do it.

simpson Sun 17-Mar-13 21:58:15

DS in yr3 hardly gets any homework but DD in reception gets a lot...

mooglet Sun 17-Mar-13 22:01:36

I must admit I was really surprised when he started bringing homework home - he seems very young to me, and I certainly would not be demanding it of the teachers. But then I have been surprised by the emphasis on phonics and numbers at pre-school too (which DS1 totally ignored, but DD loves). Sometimes wish we lived in Finland, or somewhere else where formal education begins later........

EllieNW3 Sun 17-Mar-13 22:03:33

Whenever you/he feel ready for reading again why not to say that he can read a bit for you and you will then read a few books of his choice to him - so he will know that you are definitely not going to stop reading for him?

MajaBiene Sun 17-Mar-13 22:07:54

I wouldn't do it, they spend enough time in school - home should be for relaxing/playing/family time.

DeWe Mon 18-Mar-13 09:59:15

Ds hates homework. He gets one piece a week though in year 1 (plus reading). And only reading in reception.

I vary as to how he does it. Often the best time for things like reading is in the car while waiting for his sisters to finish an activity. He doesn't have anything else to do, so it becomes much mroe desireable to do it.

If it's something he's interested in, I let him have his head. He can do what he likes within reason. He had one thing recently which interested him and he did a whole booklet rather than the one page. That's definitely the exception rather than the rule.

This week he's not interested. He had to do a comparison between two things. So I made some suggestions and printed (with him) out a table with pictures on either side to compare, and he then wrote the differences next to the pictures.

Other times he may write it on the computer, or cut out pictures from a magazine and stick them on.

If I can fiddle it round to be something that interests him, then I will do, even if it's changing the brief a bit.

I find having something good to do afterwards can help. Also if he hasn't done it by Friday then saying he'll miss out on something he wants to do at the weekend also helps.

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