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Yr 7 Homework - How much help?

(27 Posts)
MrGrumpy01 Tue 26-Sep-17 21:32:23

Homework has now started to come in think and fast. The school is on eSchools so I have the app so can see what she has too (so different to our little book that we had to write it all down and get a parent to sign it)

At the weekend we had maths - an online quiz, which I had to sit and explain what the formula was (adding positive and negative numbers) tonight we did drama - gracious me that was painful. I had to guide her through every question.

But I can't help but think I am giving her too much assistance. I'm trying to just encourage her to find the answer herself but she still finds this hard. (she is a middle achiever)


noblegiraffe Tue 26-Sep-17 21:35:56

Guiding her through every question is way too much. It's time to let her do it, check she's done it, then pack her off to school. If she asks for help, then give her a bit, but it sounds like she's suffering from learned helplessness where she's happy for you to take over.

School will want to know what she can do, not what mum can do. I've taught plenty of kids who hand in perfect homework then do really badly on tests, so it's clearly not their work.

Hassled Tue 26-Sep-17 21:39:20

It's really tricky getting the balance between spoon-feeding (so the teachers have an unrealistic picture of how able they actually are) and leaving them to flounder (so creating a loss of confidence and general unhappiness). I remember "helping" DS2 with a piece of science homework in Y7 - he got an amazing mark and the teacher clearly thought he was some sort of Einstein, but it was no reflection of his actual ability and masked the fact he hadn't really understood the principles. I think you have to pull back quite a bit and try and work out a way you can get them to come to the right answer themselves, but if they don't understand then the teachers need to know they don't understand. It's hard.

MsAwesomeDragon Tue 26-Sep-17 21:40:06

I agree with noble. She does it, if she needs help for one question then help her with one but then she does the rest herself. If she hasn't got a clue, write a note to the teacher to tell them that, just something like "X tried to do this homework but can't remember the method and got very confused, please can you help her with it?" And get her to go to the teacher at break or lunch rather than waiting for the lesson it's due to be handed in.

PurpleDaisies Tue 26-Sep-17 21:41:38

If she doesn't understand the material, run through it generally then make her try the homework on her own.

JoJoSM2 Tue 26-Sep-17 21:45:09

I'd get her to have a go on her own and note down the questions she doesn't understand. That way she'll be independent but also able to learn sth new with you when she's genuinely stuck.

MrGrumpy01 Tue 26-Sep-17 21:49:53

Thanks - I did think I was doing too much, but it is hard when she is sat there with tears rolling down her face. I didn't give her the answers for the maths as such (the online test has an 'are you sure?' function so she could go back on them) but I did have to explain, for example, that as you add to a negative number you get closer to zero. It is as if she just can't take it in and looked at me blankly when I asked if it had been explained in class.

Other than that I have been asking probing questions to get her to think through what the answer might be.

Need to back off a bit though. blush

Lily2007 Tue 26-Sep-17 21:50:04

I just get the odd question which I help with but otherwise all unaided. Questions are mainly to do with German and French. I've always said I won't do homework which adult needs to do more than child. I would maybe write in her homework diary she tried but found this too difficult or on the work but I would not be doing it for her.

PurpleDaisies Tue 26-Sep-17 21:51:52

I have to explain, for example, that as you add to a negative number you get closer to zero. It is as if she just can't take it in and looked at me blankly when I asked if it had been explained in class.

Thermometers (and number lines) are brilliant for understanding addition and subtraction involving negative numbers.

I think it's fine to run through the theory with her but make sure she does the questions on her own.

MrGrumpy01 Tue 26-Sep-17 22:01:29

Thanks purple I used a number line and showed her simply how it worked and then got her to do it using the actual question. She finds mental arithmetic really difficult which doesn't help. What also doesn't help is that her 2yr younger brother is very good at maths and will yell out answers immediately whilst she still has the cogs whirring. When he was in nursery he used to look over her shoulder and tell her all the answers for her yr 1 homework.

Lily I don't even want to think about French and German, I somehow managed to get a B in French GCSE (bolstered mainly by the reading module) and German I did for about a year and I don't think I ever understood a word.

nicp123 Tue 26-Sep-17 23:32:44

You said: "...we had Maths" ...why WE?
Let your child become more independent and allow mistakes.
I stopped giving help with homework to my children in Year 7 because their schools advised all parents to "step back and allow independent homework and to only provide resources such as paint, card paper, books for extensive reading and research."
I must admit that in the beginning it felt weird not to get involved in my children's homework and often used to have a sneak-peak in their homework books and my children were really annoyed with me.

JoJoSM2 Wed 27-Sep-17 00:54:58

I'd say she definitely needs help if she doesn't get negative numbers in year 7. 'Independence' won't do her any good - she'll just fall further behind.

RedSkyAtNight Wed 27-Sep-17 07:44:06

I expect DD to complete the homework herself. I'm happy to try to help if she is really stuck, or, for example, needs someone to test her on revision/learning type homework, but otherwise I don't get involved. TBH the same policy as we've had since about Year 3!

In the case of OP's daughter if she clearly isn't getting the maths concept, it would be better for her to complete as much homework as she can and report to teacher that she found it hard - do they have a feedback option on the online homework?

MilkRunningOutAgain Wed 27-Sep-17 08:09:25

I let my DD do her homework independently and then check it. Last night she had science and had to give definitions of a few words. She googled them and copied them down, memorised them, passed the book to me.... & they were plain wrong. I did feel obliged to provide explanations and correct definitions & encourage her to use her text book, which is huge & seems to intimidate her. Her primary didn't do much science, I let loose wording and errors go into school but when she has it horribly wrong (the website she used confused evaporation with boiling for example) I can't help myself.

Lily2007 Wed 27-Sep-17 08:31:30

If she's crying I would definitely help though I would also let the school know that she's upset and she can't do it unaided maybe discreetly. I e-mail though I am not sure the best method in secondary yet.

Mine used Mathletics online previously which is about £40 a year but might help her though I would ask the schools advice on what best to use as secondaries may use something else, negative numbers should have been covered in primary and Mathletics goes up year by year to GCSE. My daughter said a lot of children at primary didn't get negative numbers and used a number line. I would discuss with maths teacher if she's that worried. My son is Aspergers and very mathematical so does the younger brother tries to do older sisters maths homework thing though she would sometimes just give it him. He also used to ask random mothers maths questions and then be amazed how bad their maths was!

My German is a bit rusty, stopped French and German at 16 but French I've used as I've got a French husband. She's fine on the French language but had been asked to put pictures of France on her book and was trying to put a picture of the Bradenburg Gate on it and asked my advice. I was going to leave her to German but then she said Guten Adolf is good evening isn't it so a bit of supervision is now going on. Generally though I would leave her to it as its her they need to test not me.

Hope you can find a way to help her, it must be horrible to feel like that.

LiveLifeWithPassion Wed 27-Sep-17 08:39:09

Maths - help her to understand it. bbcbitesize is a good source.

Anything else - ask her what she thinks the questioning is asking her. Ask her what she would put in her answer and where she would find the info. Help her with hints if she's on the wrong track.
This way, she'll learn how to approach her work and start doing it more independently.

foundoutyet Wed 27-Sep-17 09:33:15

Well, it's still been less than a month they have started secondary school, so I think they still need a lot of help. I wouldn't be patient enough going through every question though.
Either it's more of trying to organise them: "do first what needs to be handed in tomorrow before you start on something that doesn't need handing in till next week"
or it may be something that dc hasn't understood and I would explain the concept of it, then let them try the questions themselves. I would then double check the answers to see that they understood and what they didn't.
Once it's xmas time they would be mostly OK on their own.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 27-Sep-17 10:40:48

I found the CGP key stage 3 guides for science, maths, history and geography enormously helpful at this stage.
Definitions could be looked up, explanations were given and there could be no argument about how 'we don't do it like that now'.

MrGrumpy01 Wed 27-Sep-17 12:27:59

Thank you everyone for your thoughts. I will look into the guides as they might be useful to have. She's always found homework frustrating, just there is so much more now for her to get frustrated about. She's quite defeatist so the minute she can't do something she shuts down. I need to encourage her through that without giving too much help.

Thank you again.

JustHope Wed 27-Sep-17 16:01:39

They are still settling in and getting used to lots of different teachers and their ways. It is understandable if she is a bit overwhelmed and may be worried about getting things wrong. I would carry on supporting, particularly with Maths, until she finds her feet.

BeauMirchoff Wed 27-Sep-17 22:20:04

I am a year 7 form tutor and I can tell you that the first few months are SO overwhelming, it is no wonder your DD needs help. And please do support her as much as you can in the first few months. It will actually help her stand on her two feet (slowly but surely) instead of going under right at the start.

MrGrumpy01 Wed 27-Sep-17 22:58:30

Thanks beau She has done well, she has gone to a school with only 4 others from her school which she wasn't really friends with and then knew 1 from outside school, so she has done really well so far.

I was very shocked tonight when I read that one of her homework tasks was to 'learn the correct pronunciation and spelling of the days of the week' I was like 'surely not?' then she pointed out to me that it was her french homework. And normality was resumed.

Middleoftheroad Wed 27-Sep-17 23:23:36

I must admit that I mostly let my year 7 twins get on with it. So odd as I was previously overly involved.

Of course if they are stuck I would help. If they show me artwork I'll praise it and they are both learning Spanish from scratch so we practised the sheet of words for a test.

However, I'm ashamed to say that they've both bypassed me on Maths. Even if I wanted to I can't. DH has a rusty Maths A-Level if they were desperate, but they're both Maths crazy so even ge struggles.

I'd say lend a hand if need be but don't beat yourself up with whether you've done enough - if I sat with both of mine separately I'd be there all night doing hwk!

CheeseFlavouredDiscs Thu 28-Sep-17 00:41:21

Ex science teacher here. I highly recommend the Key Stage 3 CGP 'revision guides' which are available at places like WHSmiths for a reasonable price (compared to similar products) They are succinct, explain things clearly and have lots of diagrams and tips to help students understand new concepts. They will cover everything from year 7 to year 9 in one book per subject.

In my experience teachers are very happy to re-explain and help students who are struggling with the homework, as long as the student comes to see them before the homework is due in. However, I can appreciate that many students, especially year 7's are absolutely terrified of doing this. She could maybe ask a friend to go with her, to make it less daunting?
Some subjects (particularly maths, when homework is done as online quizzes) will have homework help sessions on certain days either after-school or at lunchtime. It may be worth you enquiring with your daughter's head of year/house or personal tutor whether they do anything like this.

Kazzyhoward Thu 28-Sep-17 07:56:36

I'll stick my neck out and go against the trend here. When my DS started year 7, we likewise were virtually spoon feeding him for virtually every question in every subject. Yes, that's against professional advice I know, but it meant the work got done and DS actually learned things along the way, not to mention getting it over with quicker and fewer tantrums about how useless he was and how he couldn't do anything. If we hadn't, his confidence would have nose dived and he'd fall further behind.

The thing is, as each week went past, we purposely did less and less without him realising, i.e. leaving him for short periods to "try the next one on your own", starting to do other things whilst sat with him, etc. By the first half term, he was doing most of it himself. By Christmas, it was very exceptional for him to ask us for any help.

I really don't see it as a problem if you know your child has the ability and it's just a confidence crisis, but only as long as you pull back pretty quickly. I really don't think DS would have coped if we hadn't helped him so much, and now he's in year 11 and in the top 10 of his year at a selective school forecast straight 8/9s in all his GCSE subjects so it's done him no harm. It was just that boost he needed upon transition, the shock of harder work and the shock of so much of it.

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