When to go and see the teacher about work being 'too easy' without looking like an awful Tiger Mother?!

(109 Posts)
harrietlichman Sun 13-Jan-13 09:26:21

My ds2 is in year one and though by no means a 'G&T' candidate, he is pretty advanced at spelling and reading - he can easily spell the words that dd1 brings home (Year 4) for her spelling work, for example.
This week he bought home the class newsletter which asks parents to help children with their spellings for a weekly test, along with a list of new words. They were all two letter words (on, at, etc) and absolutely no challenge to him whatsover.
I am reluctant to go in to school in a way, because I don't want to come across as a pushy parent who thinks her son is some sort of genius (!) but at the same time I am slightly concerned about what appears to be a lack of differentiation in the class.
So my question is WWYD? My dh thinks I should leave it as that is obviously what everyone in the class is doing at the moment, but my gut feeling is that he is just wasting time on this and should be being challenged a bit more.

Wobblypig Sun 13-Jan-13 19:45:11

This is not just a state school issue though. Ds is in a pre prep and coming home with words like drop, drill, dragon, which he is to practise but knows them without thinking. With the reading they are more flexible and giving books from yr 3. Maths also frustrating . The irritating thing is that Ds now doesnot try, nothing is difficult at school so why try hard at anything else

cakebar Sun 13-Jan-13 20:05:57

Am reading this thinking thank goodness for our school. They differentiate for year 1 and it doesn't seem too much of a big deal for them to do that........I would definitely go in.

simpson Sun 13-Jan-13 20:08:30

Personally I would go and speak to the teacher about your concerns (as others have said)...

But I would outline (or make a list so that you can remember yourself, not to hand into the teacher) where your concerns are ie that your child is doing yr4 spellings, what your child can do in numeracy at home and what type of books they read at home (to prove they are doing harder work iyswim)...

TBH it sounds like your child has not been properly assessed yet and is getting the same work as the rest of the class...

harrietlichman Sun 13-Jan-13 20:14:21

Writing down what I plan to ask is a great idea - I don't want to go in all doffing my cap and deferential but neither do I want to be defensive and challenging (!)
I will tiger up a bit though and go tomorrow - thanks for getting what I was trying to say and not having a go at me for showing off about my child-genius!grin

Overdecorated Sun 13-Jan-13 20:18:50

Please don't assume nothing will change as some posters have suggested. Teachers are only human and she may have misjudged your child's ability. It is also possible that your child is not showing their teacher what they are capable of so be prepared to listen to the reasons for the level of spellings given. Some children perform significantly better in a home environment than they do at school. Good luck smile

simpson Sun 13-Jan-13 20:34:35

If you go in to speak with the teacher emphasising that you want to support your child at home etc it will be fine grin

FriendlyLadybird Sun 13-Jan-13 22:37:59

I don't think everyone needs to be 'stretched' in every area, all of the time. A bit of consolidation is no bad thing -- especially in something like spelling in which even the cleverest people can sometimes lose their way or get into bad habits.
Also, remember that reading and writing are quite different. There are loads of words that my DD can read, for example, that she can't actually write.
Finally, how lovely to get 100% in a test without having to make any effort. It's a nice experience to have occasionally.

TotallyBS Mon 14-Jan-13 08:18:41

We had the same problems with our DS. When we complained about DS not being challenged to the HM, after getting nowhere with his class teacher, we got a patronizing speech about how parents like to think their kids are smarter than what they actually are.

We couldn't afford to switch to prep school so we did additional stuff with him at home while saving up for a selective secondary indie.

catnipkitty Mon 14-Jan-13 08:52:53

We had exactly the same thing in every year for DD1 in every subject. She was permanently bored at school - under stimulated, under challenged. Talking to the teacher made no difference - she's a quiet, conscientious child who always got overlooked. So...we now home educate. Just came to the conclusion that the state system cannot possibly cater to all levels, and we couldn't afford private ed.
C x

bruffin Mon 14-Jan-13 09:03:59

I suspect it tends to be a problem with the child rather than the school or teacher. Often in these cases there are far brighter children in the class who are not bored. I had parents complaining to me their child was bored, My dcs (now teens) had the same teachers over the years and in some cases in the same class and are just as bright and they weren't bored. They just had a different attitude to learning and didnt expect to be spoonfed.
Homework is to reinforce what they know not to stretch them. If they can do it, then just get on with in it in a few minutes and then can carry on with playing or doing what they want.

learnandsay Mon 14-Jan-13 12:31:23

bruffin, I think what you're saying is very interesting, but a little unfair. The idea that the child takes a glass half empty or a glass half full approach to her schooling is one to be given some consideration. But, on the other hand, children didn't ask to be sent to school. So, if the kid is Marie Curie or Liser Meitner and she's routinely being given my first number problems to solve then I'm afraid the teacher needs a kick up the proverbial.

PuppyMonkey Mon 14-Jan-13 12:33:40

My DD is Year One and her spellings last week were stuff like check chicken etc. on and at sound a bit too easy.

drjohnsonscat Mon 14-Jan-13 12:44:03

I think you would be wise to go in and see the teacher. DD is in y1 and sounds at about the same stage as your DS - those spellings would be pointless for her and would suggest a lack of attention either generally by the teacher or specifically to the level DS is at.

I was also anxious about being too pushy (about reading books in our case) but in the end decided to go in and talk to the teacher who at least reassured me that he was aware of DD's abilities. I did get some pushback of the sort morebeta encountered (suggestion that her comprehension wasn't up to her reading level which is really not the case at all - I think it might be the case overall in the class and the school was worried it was something Ofsted would pick up on hence the overemphasis on it) but overall my being just a little bit pushy did help.

Karoleann Mon 14-Jan-13 13:04:11

DS1 went to a state school until this academic year (we moved house an he's now at pre-prep, we didn't move schools to make work harder).
I've just looked at the spellings he got at his state school the week after christmas last year - year one and they were: make bake thing monday and shake.
Those spellings sound too easy.
I did however find that reading books that came home were far too easy and we ended up just getting books from reading chest.
I did speak to the teacher and the head on a few occasions and got absolutely no where, so in the end we just read his harder books and ignored the ones he got from school.
Strangely enough maths wise they were doing things in Year one that his prep is only covering at the end of this year (times tables, division).

musicalfamily Mon 14-Jan-13 13:07:46

Of course every child is an individual and will react to an environment in a different way. Our job as a parent is to understand why a child is unhappy, work with the school to change things and ensure they receive an adequate education. Just because the last 3 things are not happening for one child but are for others, doesn't make one right and one wrong - there might be lots of reasons why it is all happening for that particular child and their unhappiness is very real to them.

I have 4 children and they have all had a completely different experience in the same school. But just because 3 are happy and one is desperately unhappy, it doesn't mean I should just tell them. to "get on with it" - that would be failing in my responsibility as a parent.

Having said all of the above, it took us 4 years of working very closely with the school to understand that for lots of reasons our DD will never be happy there and I would urge anyone to work with the school as some have had a happier outcome.

Mutley77 Mon 14-Jan-13 13:15:20

I don't think it is ok for a state school to just teach to a curriculum, it is very clear in education policy that children should be taught according to their policy.

My view is go in and see what happens - chances are they will be fine with it and take appropriate action, and if they're not (or they don't) then you can think about what to do next.

PuppyMonkey Mon 14-Jan-13 14:34:51

My DDs spellings for this week ( year 1)

Ship
Shell
Fish
Cash
Hush

Well after adding to this thread over the weekend, today dd has come home and told us (not in so many words!) that she's been put into a literacy extension group with one other child from her class - it's across the year so approx 6 of them I think working together. And her home reader today is a real step up from the last few she's had. And I haven't even spoken to the teacher yet! Not quite sure what's gone on grin

<slightly bemused emoticon>

Just wanted to add my DD year 1 spellings this first week back
Glow grow glue glide glass grab grin and other gr gl words. Her entire class seem to have the same sheet, no differentiation and I would say DD is one of the brighter children so these are probably quite hard for some.. (Tiger mum grin )

Although we have never been officially told they are spellings the child must learn in anyway, just to copy out the words. They come home on fri and the children have a spelling test following fri. Spelling test by stealth.

I never thought to teach my Dd them, but one week she didn't get 10/10 and was a bit put out. I also discovered at same time other mums were practising them every night shock. Now we usually pick one or two words that need a bit of practise during the week. Brother is one that we had to learn last term and blast.

Yours sound far too easy OP.

mrz Mon 14-Jan-13 19:14:31

shock why on earth !

Houseworkprocrastinator Mon 14-Jan-13 20:09:06

The spellings do seem a little easy. I think the way they do it in my daughters class (y1) is separate spellings for each child but even so this last week we have had things like lamb, comb, thumb, climb etc... i could be wrong but would two letter words not be catering for the less able in a year 1 class not even the average?

pointythings Mon 14-Jan-13 20:29:55

When it comes to spellings I take the opposite view to most people, apparently - I don't make them practise at all. They either know these perfectly common words, or they don't. If they don't know them, no amount of drilling will make a difference. I don't think learning a list of words off by heart means they can then use those words correctly in their writing, so I'd rather they tried using challenging words in their writing and then worked on learning editing skills.

And of course reading a varied range of books is the best thing of all to teach spelling.

mrz Mon 14-Jan-13 20:32:13

It looks as if the OPs school are sending home high frequency words from the first 100 HFW list as spellings (following a script)

mumchat Tue 15-Jan-13 03:39:04

Why on earth what? Genuine Q (not being rude).

We have been sent sounds to learn (following RWI) and had set 1 & 2 sounds so got up to ay, igh, air etc. Also 1-3 sight words on the sheet. These now stopped & next sheet is "spellings" of the, to & I. Until now it's been reading the sounds now it's gone back to earlier words to spell/write them I assume? Is that correct Mrz? Or should we be learning more (set 3) sounds first/as well? My daughter can sound out to read better than she can write/spell.

TotallyBS Tue 15-Jan-13 07:03:29

grin at pointy. DS had a boy in his primary school class that regularly scored 2/10 in the weekly spelling test. At the time I thought that the parents simply couldn't be arsed. I now realised that it was part of a well thought out parenting strategy.

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