Topic of the Month – supporting your child in school
“To parents, we can’t tell our kids to do well in school and then fail them when they get home. You cannot just contract out parenting. For our kids to excel, we have to accept our responsibility to help them learn.
That means putting away the Xbox and putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour. It means attending those parent-teacher conferences and reading to our children and helping them with their homework”.
- President Barack Obama, July 17, 2009
Supporting your child at home will have a massive impact on their educational progress. However, we appreciate this is not always easy. Sometimes the last thing your child wants to do after a full day in school is to sit and complete their homework, or practice their spellings. However, children who carry on their learning at home via homework, reading, practising their spellings, and use the world around them to learn massively increase their educational prospects.
This month’s topic of the month is around home learning, and will hopefully give you some useful tips on how to best support your child with this.
Homework at the Village is handed out on a Friday, and is expected to be returned on a Wednesday. (This might differ slightly in Nursery).
Homework should be set to support what your child is learning in school, and should be something the child can complete by itself, it should complement the work they are completing in school. If you have any questions around the homework that has been set, please speak to your child’s class teacher, and they will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Below are some top tips for setting up a homework routine
- If space allows, set up a designated homework friendly area. Make sure it is well lit, and children have access to any supplies they might need – pens, pencils, scissors, etc. If space is an issue, think about having a homework box to keep everything your child need in.
- Try to schedule a regular time. Think what works for you are for child and your family, and does not clash with meal times, after school activities etc. When would your child work best? Thursday evening might suit one child, where Sunday morning might suit another. Also some children might prefer to do half an hour or so on one night, or work till its completed, and some children might prefer 10-15 minutes per night until its done. Go with what works for your child.
- Allow breaks. 10-15 minutes of dedicated homework time can be productive, especially if the child knows they are allowed 10 minutes of tablet time as a break, before returning to their homework.
- Try to keep distractions to a minimum. Look to remove TV, music, tablets/mobile phones etc. until your child is done.
- Don’t do it for them!!! The homework should be complementing what the child is doing in class, therefore they should understand it. If they are genuinely finding it too difficult, please discuss this with their class teacher.
- Support them, and help to focus them. If possible, be available to check their homework for them, and answer any questions they might have.
- Praise their work and efforts, both in school, and at home. Make a point of mentioning their school achievements to family and friends.
- If there are continuing problems with homework, get help.Talk about it with your child’s teacher. Some kids have trouble seeing the board and may need glasses; others might need an evaluation for a learning problem or attention disorder.
Spellings at the Village are given out on a Thurs/Fri, and children are tested on them a week later. (This may be different in Early Years).
Different methods of learning work for different children. Getting your child to copy them out, and then test them is a tried and trusted method. Be inventive, leave post it notes with the spelling words all around the house. Quiz them at different times, i.e. ask them to spell a different word each time they enter the room.
Again, if spellings are a continuing problem, please seek out support and advice from your child’s class teacher.
We encourage children’s learning to be fun by using apps such as the ones mentioned below.
For more information/ advice around these, please speak to the named teacher next to them
Reading Eggs (Early Years) – Mrs Ball
Times Table Rockstars – Mr Mansell
Reading Plus – Mr Davies/Mrs Nixon
These are our main apps we use. Ask your Class Teacher for others that might support your child learning.
We encourage all pupils to read with their parent/carer for 10 minutes a day, and for parents/carers to record this in their reading book. They can read either a book from school, or a book of their choosing.
Children who have more than three comments in a week in their reading record earn a sweet treat! We understand that some of our older pupils may prefer to read independently, and that is fine. This can be recorded. Maybe ask your child questions about what they have read? This will help clarify that they have understood what they have read.
Village Primary recently set up its own Youtube channel. This has allowed us to add content on to help with your child’s learning, with videos starring the Class Teachers and Teaching Assistants. For example if your Key Stage 1 child is struggling to count in 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s, we have a video starring Mr Mansell explaining how to do this. This is also useful, as it will teach you the methods taught in school.
Ways to help learn at home
Think of ways you can help and improve your child’s learning while they are at home.
- A trip to the shops can become on the spot maths learning! Ask your child to add up certain items, and work out how much they will cost, and how much change will be given?
- Maps and Globes can be a great home learning tool. Talk to your child about different countries, and if possible research facts about countries they have not heard of before, or have interested them!
- A simple game of eye spy in the car, or seeing how many items of a certain colour you can spot!
- Cooking and baking with your child at home can involve so much fun home learning! From reading the recipe, to understanding and weighing out different amounts!
- Encourage your child to ask questions about the world around them, and where possible research the answers with them! Why is the sky blue? Or where does snow come from? Can lead to some great scientific research and investigations!
These are just a few! I am sure you can come up with even more!
Questions to ask your child!
Do you ever ask your child about their school day, just to hear “yeah it was fine” or ask them what they learned, for them to answer “not much”?
If so, you are not alone! Some children don’t like to talk about school once it’s over,!
Here are some open questions you can ask your child to find out more about their day!!
- Tell me about the best part of your day
- What was the hardest thing you had to do today?
- Did anyone in your class say or do anything funny?
- What book are you reading in class?
- Whom did you play with today at lunch?
- Did you need help with anything today?
- What made you laugh today?
- Did you do or learn anything new today?
- Tell me one thing your teacher said to you today
- How would you rate your day out of 10?
This is not an exhaustive list, and you might still not get much more information out of your child! But asking a few of these each day, or coming up with your own might just get your child to open up about their school day a little more!
Who do I speak to?
First port of call should always be your child’s Class teacher or Teaching Assistant, as they understand your child’s learning better than anyone else.
Mr Dixon, Parent Support Advisor, and Mr Birtwhistle, Head Teacher are on the yard most mornings, joined by Mr Mansell, Assistant Head Teacher on an afternoon. They are always on hand to answer questions or point you in the right direction.
If you are unable to attend the school, you can contact us on 01642 676768, and request a call from your Class Teacher, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org