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SCHOOLS - Need help and perspective from teachers on supporting home learning

(12 Posts)
TheSunIsStillShining Thu 24-Sep-20 08:50:15

Baseline: My son (15) goes to a private school, but I kept him home as I'm vulnerable and I think them being shoulder to shoulder all day without masks is not safe. This is not up for debate, there are a lot of threads about this.
He is bright, has done great in online school, excelled in some subjects. School actually was great at switching. He wants to learn*

But.... now they are back to onsite, and what they are now expecting is for my son to join in the class via g.meet and just get on as if he was in class.
The problem is that the meets are rubbish. He can't hear the teacher, has no idea what is going on, can't see the whiteboard half the time. And not all teachers stream, but when they do it's a last minute meet link update. This means that he constantly has to monitor his emails and g.classroom, can't really start anything because he might have to join the next lesson. The streams are of no value, I listened in.

What we are asking for is the teachers to share the curriculum, expectations for the term and let him get on with it at his own pace. Obviously he is doing homework, but he wants to do the classwork at his own pace (eg. all classwork daily from 4-6pm or something like that).

He is spending all day faffing about in g.classroom, doing something that is out of context or waiting if the next class will be streamed/will he have to join, and really feels like he is wasting his time. And I agree. Of course, there are 1-2 teachers who are doing a great job of streaming, but that is the exception.

He doesn't get feedback on his work mostly. Which is annoying on an essay where he gets 7 marks out of 10 but has no idea how to make it better or what he missed.

What we've asked for:
- teachers to share curriculum (they must have this already, so no extra work)
- share resources that he can use as practice
- share which textbooks he needs so I can buy them (although we actually pay for them through school, but don't care).

Neither has happened, science textbooks I bought as I'm fairly sure that there can't be that much of a difference between edexcel or AQA at a gcse/igcse level.

QUESTION:
Am i being unreasonable that I think that if I am asking for material that they already have and not to produce something bespoke the school should supply it?

On one hand I understand the added workload because of the whole world situation, but on the other hand we are paying for a service that is not being delivered even to a minimum. And I think what we are asking for is already there, just needs to be shared.

Additionally it would be great to have proper feedback as well.
Additional 2: I would have expected the school to put together the textbooks and ask me to pop in for them, instead of me buying them randomly. There are ones that I can't make a judgement call, eg history ... there are so many and they do differ a lot...

*no, he is no angel, there is a lot of moaning.... smile

OP’s posts: |
Augustbreeze Thu 24-Sep-20 09:01:58

You might like to ask for this to be moved to the Staffroom thread under Education, lots of teachers there?

IceCreamSummer20 Thu 24-Sep-20 09:04:26

I think there is probably debate within the school as the reasonableness - but there is no harm at all in you starting the discussion with them. They are a private school and as such I would imagine that they would go out of their way if they could to ensure your son still receives a very good education, however the teacher is going to be focused on the majority of the class there and would be needing to give the same amount of one to one time to all pupils equally.

That said, they are saving on having to have your son in class and the others benefit from more space etc.

So if I were you I’d put it as key points, your son needs some one to one and is having difficulty - and your possible solutions are a, b and c - but make it a two way discussion as the school may well have their own view.

You and the school should share the responsibility I imagine for his behaviour, engagement and should absolutely give some one to one time, even if this is feedback by email and call. I may even be worth suggesting that he comes in once very fortnight to the school to meet with an allocated key teacher who could keep an eye on his engagement and feedback other teacher’s. There is nothing like actually being there for him to perhaps get motivation.

EducatingArti Thu 24-Sep-20 09:07:14

Be careful about science as the content for different exam boards does vary quite a lot. Maths has the same syllabus for all exam boards but the papers vary in number and layout.
Is your son year 11?
So while the school have schemes of work it still takes teacher time to compile and email them and they are probably firefighting like mad at the moment
If the school usually has a text book per child, then it doesn't seem unreasonable to loan you a set but again it means someone has to go round and collate them. They also may only use certain sections of a text book donor may not be as easy as just "learn everything in the book".
If it has been clearly agreed by the school that this type of home learning is something they are willing to support, then I suggest you ask for a meeting with the head to feed back on what is going well and what isn't and the best ways of addressing this.
For maths, I would recommend splashing out £12:99 for CGP Mathsbusters online program which is a full revision tool with questions at different levels, video and written expectation, online and printable mock exams etc. ( No I don't have any connection with the company, I just think it is good value for individual work from home learning.)

IceCreamSummer20 Thu 24-Sep-20 09:14:46

There are also the Oak Academy online free classes (you can see their curriculum and see if it matches at all)
IXL and Singapore Maths good online APPs and workbooks (Singapore) and revision as is Beast Academy.

TheSunIsStillShining Thu 24-Sep-20 10:03:54

@Augustbreeze Thanks for the idea, asked mumsnet
@IceCreamSummer20 @EducatingArti thanks for the thoughts. We've been through all of this with the 5th form master. My son is in yr 10, so no GCSE this year. I'm not at all worried that he will fall behind. But it's annoying the hell out of me that they promise and don't deliver at all. I just want to check if I am being that twat parent making a fuss, or it's a reasonable request for them to help out. (I think it is smile)

Math/Physics is the easiest in our house. Husband is a civil engineer and kid loves both and has the brains for it. We're actually already going beyond curriculum.
I'm struggling more with English PEE or modern/ancient history. I can't help him if I don't even know which book he is learning from.
He had a HW last week about Trianon. we are from Hungary and obviously we learnt it extensively in high school. So I gave him pointers, things that should be mentioned and thought through. He got marked down because it isn't in line with UK version of the story sad

OP’s posts: |
TheSunIsStillShining Thu 24-Sep-20 10:06:33

IceCreamSummer20

There are also the Oak Academy online free classes (you can see their curriculum and see if it matches at all)
IXL and Singapore Maths good online APPs and workbooks (Singapore) and revision as is Beast Academy.

Thanks!
I know/looked through Oak academy, but it wasn't too helpful. either it's not fully developed or our school is on a very diff curriculum

OP’s posts: |
IceCreamSummer20 Thu 24-Sep-20 10:25:43

True I’ve found Oak Academy of limited use, but it does plug the odd gap. It was set up in a hurry I guess by teachers so not as comprehensive or slick as it could be. Good luck! I’m sure you can improve things.

I’m a bit of a fan of workbooks - if you can find any English and History ones then he can work through them and you know a lot is being covered. You really do need to see their curriculum but for general English writing and creative writing skills etc most workbooks should be similar. I look at main bookshops, educational supplies websites in the UK and also on home schooling online for examples.

TheSunIsStillShining Thu 24-Sep-20 10:33:28

@IceCreamSummer20
Thanks for the ideas. Tried bookshops, but little luck. To be fair the big issue I'm working through today/tomorrow is how to do PEE in english lit properly. I come from another country and this is totally new to me too. But I'll manage smile

OP’s posts: |
EducatingArti Thu 24-Sep-20 16:01:18

I like the cgp workbooks which you can buy online if you know which exam board and syllabus you need.

Hercwasonaroll Thu 24-Sep-20 22:22:12

Some of what you are asking for isn't already there and will need adding to/editing to make it suitable for going home or even being written in a way a non specialist/non teacher can understand.
For example I'm putting work on teams for students that are isolating and to SLT it looks like "just a ppt" or just a worksheet. It's at least half an hour extra per day to make each lesson student friendly from home.

You're paying fees for him to be taught in school. You are choosing not to send him, I don't think expecting them to do extra is reasonable. Him being in wouldn't add as much to the workload as this.

ohthegoats Thu 24-Sep-20 22:38:03

I agree with Herc.

There are a few parents on MN saying things like 'surely it shouldn't be too much work to just simply... ', and then listing off stuff they'd like which is hours worth of work every day for a teacher to provide.

Curriculum info should be online, state schools have to put it all on the school website. They don't need to share detailed stuff with you though.

Having said that, it's more complicated I guess, in that you are paying for this stuff. Not sure how that works.

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