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Year one - too young for homework & spelling tests?!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by 1ms111, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. Hi. I am an NQT in a reception class and spent time during my PGCE year in years 2 and 5.
    I was shocked to receive a newsletter from my son's school explaining that they will be sending out regular spellings for spelling tests every week and also a learning log with homework to be completed every week.
    A. As they only just got into Phase 3 letters and sounds by the end of reception, am I right in thinking that sending out spellings is a little premature?!
    B. Homework for my son who has just had his 5th birthday! There will be 13 more years of homework for him if he stays in full time education and the last thing I want to do is bombard him with work that he has to sit and do, leaving him bored of education. He is currently thirsty for knowledge but prefers this through exploration himself. He attends a good school with children whom have parents who are mainly professionals and are quite capable of supporting their children's learning at home learn through their every day activities instead of being forced to complete homework. Do yo think it is fair to suggest that instead of homework they provide ideas for parents to support learning at home in a fun way?

    Am I right to question the school???! I welcome any suggestions and opinions.

    Many thanks
  2. Do you know yet that the activities given will not be creative, fun and supportive?
    I am a year 1 teacher and we give home work. It is mostly creative - things to make or draw. Or maths/topic based tasks that can be completed orally. Most children enjoy having something to bring in, it makes them feel very grown up.
    We also have spelling tests, but the words are stage appropriate i.e. the, went, and. Again most of my children really enjoy being able to show how well they can do and always moan when there is no homework for the week.
    A little homework goes a very long way to support learning. We give homework as otherwise many parents won't even read with their child at home.
    With your son's school I would wait and see exactly what is expected before reaching conclusions. You may find he actually enjoys it.
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I'm more shocked that Y1 are on phase 3 L &S [​IMG]
  4. I would agree with this. However, if it isn't fun, creative etc etc then I would question it. Personally I wouldn't send spellings home but I would send phonics practice activities. Over the years I've seen far too much homework poorly thought out, of no benefit to the child (IMHO the only reason for homework is to benefit the child - if it doesn't don't do it) and set for the wrong reasons .
  5. I thought that too.
  6. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Lead commenter

    Homework for five year olds is a complete waste of time and a sad reflection on our society's apparent belief that only things that are 'school' work have value. If children can't do enough in the many hours they're at school then there's something wrong with the school. Homework causes friction at home and is a pointless nuisnace, especially at this tender age. 'Fun and creative'? Why does that make me shudder?
    Good parents will do lots of nice things with their children. Less good ones might not. Giving ten minutes' homework isn't going to make much difference.
    Not only did I not have homework at primary school but my primary school was modern and trendy and we did what we liked in its open-plan deliciousness. Nearly all the people in the top sets at my secondary school were from my 'rubbish' primary school and not the other more traditional local schools. It's not statistically significant but it's always made me deeply suspicious of hard work and homework at primary level. The fact is my school served the nicest area and had the children with the richest parents. What the school did actually didn't have much effect. And it's not that our parents made up for the school at home as that wasn't the style in those days. After school we just played.
    1ms111 likes this.
  7. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Depends on the child. Personally I don't agree with it. My son was in year 1 last year. He got between 5 and 10 spellings from the middle of year 1. He is a very good speller and happily learnt them.
    However - the school did homework projects. e.g. My life, My hobbies - the aim was to produce a poster, collection of images with captions etc. This is a very middle class competitive mum school so you can imagine the parent effort involved. My son had next to no interest in the project and it was a real effort to get him to write anything.
    I do not think homework should be given in KS1. Heck - I don't really agree with it at all. Home life should be home life.
  8. I'm a Year 1 teacher and last year I had a child in Year 1 too. His maths homework was Ok - only took about 5 minutes to do and he enjoyed it. He also had spellings - 10 of them that he had to copy out 3 times each. To start with he could already spell all the words without having to copy them but was told he still had to do the copying. He has very poor pencil control and as time went on we would have an hour of crying then half an hour doing the copying. His spelling has deteriorated and he now hates writing. Towards the end of the summer holidays he started to write for fun again but I'm sure that will soon be knocked out of him now he's back at school.
    Another vote for no homework in KS1.

  9. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    My son was like that - he also has very poor pencil control - getting better but verbally he could spell the words easily. But oh no, had to write out his spellings. Verbally he's very good - can tell some great stories, but it's this insistence on writing at such a young age. I have a friend whose son goes to a Steiner school. Don't think they start writing till year 3.
  10. I was absolutely horrified when I first found out that children in the UK don't just start school exceptionally early and have school in the afternoon (in most of Europe it's 6, in much of Northern Europe 7 and no afternoon school)
    and get homework as well.

    Sadly, the earlier start is needed because learning to read and write English takes exceptionally long
    and parental help with learning to read and write makes a big difference
  11. Can you explain? Is this good or bad?
  12. This is so sad but also too common. Many boys have not developed the fine motor skills necessary at this age but our education system forces them to write. This puts them off writing completely and by the time they get to Year 5/6 we're wondering how we can motivate them!
    Also I'm not a fan of homework in Primary school. I remember the many hours of tears and tantrums when my children were small, and the negative effect it had on home life!
  13. I teach Year 2. We don't give spellings, just do a focus on this within our phonics sessions. If a child gets really stuck on spelling particular High Frequency Words we might ask parents to do a little of this at home. We don't do regular homework. Now and again we ask them to do a little investigation, but I think KS1 is too young for spellings and homework. I think 6 hours at school at age 5 or 6 is enough without asking them to do more at home. I do ask parents to try to listen to their child read and read to them for enjoyment and I think that's enough. They need to be at home and out and about I think.
    I have to say I don't think (just my opinion) that weekly spelling tests actually help children to spell. My own children had seemingly random words to spell each week in KS2 and I know they didn't retain it after they had been tested as they were words they really wouldn't use much.
  14. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    LOL That is what I wanted to ask as well. About 3/4 of out year 1 children are on phase 3 or 4, fairly equally divided between them. A few above and a a few more below.
  15. Most Y1 children should be starting at Phase 5
  16. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Please tell me you are joking!! 'Most' of my new year 2 class are below phase 5.
  17. Is this good or bad?
  18. upsadaisy

    upsadaisy New commenter

    Perhaps they mean set 3 if they are using Read Write Inc. I don't want to send homework for my Year 1 children, but I don't have a choice, it is the SCHOOL POLICY. The head says we must. Luckily she doesn't make us do spelling tests. My own child did, but we just looked at it as a good way of reviewing spelling and didn't put an emphasize on the outcome of her tests.

    Though I do like homework if parents can see it as an opportunity to help their child, but most just complain it was too easy to hard, didn't understand it, etc.
  19. Well I received the learning log today with all of the activities. Some are simple things that we do regularly anyway i.e. Play Snakes and Ladders and ensure that you can name all of the numbers that you land on. All activites are linked to Literacy, Numeracy, PE and what I call the Humanities based subject.
    I was pleased to see that my son couldn't wait to open his learning log and choose an activity. As he had been dancing around the living room for half an hour, we chose to complete the activity asking him to draw himself and with help, label the parts of his body affected by exercise. Funnily enough after he had been dancing, before realising that this was an activity, we had already discussed changes in our bodies following exercise. This was fine, but when he realised that he actually had to do something and finish it then the fun and excitement went.
    I am completely capable of assisting my son's learning at home without him realising it. We do games, go on outings, the local library, plays on my work ICT programs, websites that support his phonics, the list is endless. And the thing is... he has no idea that he is learning, and he enjoys it. The minute he feels constrained to complete this out of school, it is going to become boring and is so already.

    I think a simple workshop for parents is required, educating them of how they can aid learning at home through every day activities when the opportunities arise. The school that my son is at, has very pushy parents; and as someone mentioned earlier, they too will be the ones completing half of the work. For example,. one parent made her 5 year old do one hour of work from a workbook every day during the summer. I am fast coming to the conclusion that learning logs will fast put my son and other children off of work. They may feel a little grown up now, but imagine by the time they get to year 5, where is the novelty in a learning log then? Not to mention when homework really is required in KS3 and 4!

    Not sure how to approach the school, as the teacher is trying her best to make it fun, and she is probably only going along with the school policy....
  20. .
    No, I don't think they are doing Read Write Inc. It is definitely Letters and Sounds. They didn't start phase two until well after Xmas all of the children, I understand, had never been taught phase one. At that stage I hadn't been trained in Phonics teaching and hadn't a clue!
    In the reception year I am in now, the Early Years Leader has asked me to start on Phase 2 straight away. This is because all of the children had a good foundation of Phase 1 in the school's nursery. She expects them to be at Phase 5 by the end of the summer. Having said that, when on placement in year 2, I taught a middle ability group, which was Phase 5! I guess they are all so different.

    And like you, I agree, I won't be putting emphasis on the outcome of his spelling tests. Just hope they don't do that at school. Talk about knock self-esteem at such a young age.

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