Homework strategies.


I have written many blog drafts and I cannot post them.  I cannot post the same things about the worry I feel about HB and school. We have a meeting at the school next week ( organised by  me) to get everyone to sit down and then we must be done with all this.

I have organised a playdate for HB.  I have not told him about it yet.  I figure I need to get him out there, even if I do not love the idea of playdates.  With the type of world we live in, the kids cannot just run down the road to a friends place.  I feel sad about that.  I grew up in a pack of kids and it was so much fun.

I do not want to overplan the play date, because I love planning.  It is one child and one adult.  They can play with the numerous toys that we have in our house, and then they can also go play outside in the jungle gym and sandpit.  I think I will have two planned kiddie friendly activities, but I will see how it is going and take it from there. The aunt, I have never met, but I will take it as an opportunity to make a friend.

On the homework front, I can see the improvements with HB.  The hours and tears are paying off.  I just wish we could get it done with fewer tears.  HB starts to cry if he is feeling like it is too much and he cannot do.  He will refuse to try and start crying. He starts crying, I get frustrated and the whole thing deteriorates. I am hoping with dedication, he will grow enough confidence to try and get it wrong.  I am not sure how to show him that getting it wrong is OK.  I know we need to model the behaviour we want to see.  We will practice and persevere. With practice, the both of us will eventually learn the patience and confidence we are struggling to find.

I was a huge fan of the phonics system the school is using to teach the kids, and while HB can confidently point and correctly say the sound of the particular phonic, he has struggled with the blending/segmenting method of teaching.  Partially it comes from a refusal to try and get it wrong and I think the other part is a memory thing.  He seems to struggle with remembering things, and  I do think it is something we have to work on.  The failure in the phonics system the school is using is that there are too many “sight” words which do not follow the rules of phonics, blending and segmenting, that they have been taught.  There is insufficient repetition and my little child needs more repetition, and he seems to be better when he can see the whole picture.

I have found this brilliant site, where these lovely women have made up readers which is fully interactive between the child and the parent/teacher.  It is also very repetitive, without being boring.  I think HB needs to see the words in the sentence context, and the story context, and then he is quicker to work it out and remember. Also, the phonics system the school uses does not talk about rhyming words and word families. This means that reading is not fluent, because they do not recognise similar words and are taught to sound out everything.  This means they lose the context and the meaning of what they are reading.  With the word families and repetition, within a reader, HB understands better and in one session he was able to recognise the similarities in words, and was able to read them without sounding out every word.  He made the leap to rhyming words and it was like a revelation to him.

For now I have decided to abandon the school phonics system.  He knows about that already.  I will do these books that I have found and see how it progresses.  It is also easier for me to read with him because these readers require the parents to read the difficult words and the children the read the words they should know.  There are less tears, it is more relaxed and the other system is not working for any of us.

I wonder if I am allowed to give their site address?  It is such a brilliant way to teach beginners.


4 responses »

  1. I know this is so stressful. We want our kids to do so very well that sometimes I think we put too much pressure on them. It’s ok if they don’t “get” things first time. This is a hard concept for both parent and child to understand.
    Last year when Liam started grade 1, the teacher told us to forget how we learned to read and not teach the kids about sounding out the words. They were also taught sight words, but really, sometimes you just need to sound out new words. We have taught Liam this. He also gets frustrated when a new word crops up. I think it is because they don’t want to disappoint anyone. We just take a previous example “Remember last week you didn’t know this word and look at you now, getting it in one try”.
    I’m still convinced that there is nothing “wrong” with HB. Perhaps he just has the “wrong” teacher this year.
    Good luck with the playdate. We don’t have many I must say. Liam seems to be happy with his own company, or ours. I find it so stressful having to entertain the adult. It’s nice when he plays at the neighbours because we all pretty much trust each other with the kids.

    • I am very good at teaching students in the office, and I wonder why I cannot be as patient with my own child. he is getting better, and it is very obvious in his progress. Even hubby commented last night at how far he has come. Hubby does numbers, I do reading.
      The playdates are difficult, but I did invite the mom to come too, if she would like to. I made it clear I was happy with drop and go, or with her attending too. I know how I felt without the option to attend too. I figure if I organise enough of these, all us parents will be comfortable with each other too, and if I make the gesture and host, I am happier with it at my house anyway.

  2. Helping your child do homework is a tough skill to master. So often homework is done when both parent and child are tired at the end of the day. I used to try other ways to practice the words etc
    We did lots of this while driving reading sign boards, signage on trucks, etc. But you have to figure it out and how your child learns and go with it. Good luck

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