At Smallwood, we understand the vital part that families can play in supporting their children with learning.
For this reason, we set fortnightly home-learning tasks to consolidate the learning from school.
Tasks are a mixture of home learning projects (6 per year) and regular home learning activities based around reading, spelling, writing and maths.
Home-learning will vary depending on each year group and will increase as children move up the school into KS2.
For Years 1 - 6, these are set on Google Classroom.
Our Early Years pupils receive a weekly home-learning email with fun activities to complete at home.
Aims and Objectives
- to ensure that homework is an enjoyable, manageable and complementary part of children’s learning.
- to help pupils develop the skills of an independent learner.
- to provide children with an opportunity to demonstrate skills and talents in contexts that reach beyond the classroom.
- to help children develop good work habits for the future.
- to promote positive collaboration at home between parents and children.
- to promote cooperation between home and school in supporting each child's learning.
- To extend school learning, for example through additional research or reading
Roles and Responsibilities
What is the role of the school?
- to match homework to the needs and abilities of the child
- to give a range of homework opportunities including home learning projects
- to give parents information about what their child is learning in school
- to direct parents to links and activities where they can further support their child at home
What is the role of parents?
- to encourage children to complete activities and home learning projects that are set
- to provide the appropriate conditions and resources for children to complete work at home
- to support children with home learning
- to praise children for completing home learning
- to let the school know if they are having difficulty with home learning activities
What is the role of the child?
- to ensure they have everything they need to complete any home learning set
- to check they understand what the home learning activities mean
- to put in the same level of effort into learning as they would be expected to do at school
- to complete home learning on time
- to listen to any feedback on the activities or tasks they have done
At Smallwood we understand that:
- children are tired at the end of the school day
- some children have commitments after school e.g. clubs
- children work at different speeds and so we hope that parents will use discretion about the time children spend on home learning
- busy parents sometimes find it difficult to find the time to support children with homework
Reading at Home
At Smallwood, we aim to inspire our pupils to become confident, enthusiastic and reflective readers, who appreciate the importance of reading as a life-long skill in the wider world, but also value books as a source of pleasure and enjoyment. We strive to develop a love of reading and we understand that parents play a key role in encouraging their child to develop a positive attitude to reading. Children love to listen to and tell their own stories and reading, talking about and sharing books together can be an enjoyable experience for all involved.
Key Stage 1
We use a variety of banded reading schemes for home/school reading books for children who are at an early stage of reading. These are carefully chosen so that they are well-matched to each child’s decoding ability and interest and changed twice a week. In addition to phonetic reading books, children are encouraged to borrow books of their choice from their class library. Whilst we do not expect pupils to necessarily be able to read these books on their own, we strongly believe that there are times when books are simply to be enjoyed by children. In this way, children are exposed to richer vocabulary and more complex events that such books offer and we encourage and support children in making independent choices of books that capture their interest.
Parents should read with and to their child for about 10 - 15 minutes each day; at this age, little and often is most effective.
Key Stage 2
Our belief in the importance of ‘reading for pleasure’ continues into Key Stage 2. Children are encouraged to borrow books from our library as well as share recommendations with each other to inspire wider reading and exposure to new authors and genres.
Children in KS2 should be encouraged to read at home for 20 – 30 minutes every day. As with younger children, it is vital that children are given opportunities to read aloud at times. This is just as important for older children who are decoding texts fluently – they may be able to read the words, but they also need opportunities to share their understanding of what has been read as well as discuss for example, opinions, meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary and underlying themes.
How can you develop a love of reading at home?
Make reading part of your daily routine. Prioritising reading by making time for it, even as children get older, has a huge impact. Whether it’s at breakfast, on the bus or just before bed – find a time that works for you and your family and stick to this time every day.
Make reading time special and enjoyable. Make yourselves comfortable, snuggle up and enjoy precious time together. Children will make positive associations with reading and spending time with family. Be careful not to make it a chore.
Read little and often. Just 15 minutes of reading time every day adds up to almost 2 hours of reading a week. For older children, 30 minutes a day totals 3½ hours.
Keep books in the house. Children who grow up in homes with lots of books read more. Use your local library, browse charity shops and collect ‘real’ reading materials such as menus, recipes, maps, brochures, newspapers and magazines.
Make use of the world around us. Posters, signs, lists, adverts, recipe books, menus, magazines, directions, instructions – we are surrounded by print in our everyday world. Draw your child’s attention to road signs; encourage them to read a menu, explain the purpose of an advertisement on the tube or read your shopping list! Reading for a purpose is crucial for children to understand the importance of reading in our society.
Be a role model. Parents who read more have children who read more. Read with your child and alongside your child. Show them that you value the importance of reading - newspapers, magazines, recipe books and menus all count as reading!
Visit the library. Borrow books for FREE and access the vast eBook library.
Writing At Home
We believe that children should be taught to appreciate the value of writing for a purpose; stories entertain, newspapers inform, lists and labels help us get organised and letters communicate. It is not something that we simply ‘do at school’. Below are some examples to support and inspire you to find and create opportunities for purposeful, ‘real life’ writing in everyday situations. These can be adapted depending on the age of your child.
- Letters - e.g. thank you, ‘news’ letter to a relative, letter to an idol, celebrity, favourite author
- Cards/Postcards - Get well, Happy Birthday, thank you etc.
- Notes - ‘Remember to ...’
- Labels e.g. toy boxes, presents,
- Stories - a unique gift, enter a competition,
- Daily Diary to record events, thoughts and feelings
- Family Tree
- Interview family members - use notes to record your research
- Fact file
- Treasure map
- Instructions to a game
- Lists & labels
- Cartoon strip
- Newspaper article (send to a real journalist!)
- Signs & posters
Create a ‘writing station’ or if space is limited a ‘writing box’ with exciting writing utensils and supplies to make your child want to write! gel pens, colourful pencils, chalk pens, paper in all shapes, sizes and colours, old cards, post it’s, labels, envelopes etc.)
Celebrate your child’s writing efforts by displaying them on the fridge, sharing with relatives etc. Alongside half termly home learning projects we invite children to participate in a variety of competitions and challenges throughout the year such as a poetry recital, termly ‘Spellathons’ and times table challenge which require preparation at home. In addition, we encourage parents to consolidate reading, writing and mathematical skills using everyday situations to inspire learning. Further guidance on this can be found below.
Spellings: At the beginning of each year a key word list specific to your child’s year will be shared along with ideas and games to support your child in learning these words. A termly ‘Spellathon’ will test 20 of these words chosen at random and a ‘Spellathon’ champion will be declared.
Please see below guidance to refer to when working with your child at home. Regardless of your child’s age, we suggest you start with year 1 targets to ensure he/she is secure before moving forward with more challenging expectations.
Maths At Home
At Smallwood we believe in the importance of developing children’s:
- critical thinking
- complex problem-solving skills
- decision making
- emotional intelligence
To support this at home, we encourage that you engage in as many natural maths opportunities as possible. Here are a few examples to set you on your way.
Cooking and baking:
- Weighing and measuring
- Time keeping
- Scaling up and scaling down
Playing Board games:
The advantages of using games in a mathematical programme have been summarised in an article by Davies (1995) who researched the literature available at the time.
- Meaningful situations - for the application of mathematical skills are created by games
- Motivation - children freely choose to participate and enjoy playing
- Positive attitude - Games provide opportunities for building self-concept and developing
positive attitudes towards mathematics, through reducing the fear of failure and error;
- Increased learning opportunities - in comparison to more formal activities, greater learning can occur through games due to the increased interaction between children, opportunities to test intuitive ideas and problem solving strategies
- Different levels - Games can allow children to operate at different levels of thinking and to learn from each other. In a group of children playing a game, one child might be encountering a concept for the first time, another may be developing his/her understanding of the concept, a third consolidating previously learned concepts
- Assessment - children's thinking often becomes apparent through the actions and decisions they make during a game, so the adult has the opportunity to carry out diagnosis and assessment of learning in a non-threatening situation
- Home and school - Games provide 'hands-on' interactive tasks for both school and home
- Independence - Children can work independently of the teacher. The rules of the game and the children's motivation usually keep them on task.
Examples of games:
Early Years and Key Stage 1: Snakes and ladders, Ludo, Connect4, Playing cards, Dominos
Key Stage 2: Ludo, Connect 4, Darts, Uno, Playing cards, Dominos, Guess Who, Mastermind, Draughts, Scrabble, Monopoly, Chess
More information on the use of board games can be found at https://nrich.maths.org/2489
Planning trips with your child
Any trips that you decide to make as a family could be planned out together with your child. Think about:
- What time you need to leave in order to arrive on time
- The quickest/easiest route and mode of transport
- Cost of the journey
- What needs to be taken given the weather and the type of trip you are making
What is project-based home learning?
Project-based learning is all about planning, making, collaborating and acquiring real life skills. Inspired by their own interests, pupils gain knowledge and expertise by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging question, problem or challenge.
Each term, there will be a topic or theme given as a starting point across the whole school. Each year group will have a focus e.g. a poster or fact file. Children will then be challenged to take their home learning in any direction they choose. We believe that this way of working fosters a love of learning within our pupils by allowing them to research and present work that they are personally interested in within the topic they are studying.
By completing project-based tasks the children can acquire the skill of independent learning whilst thinking creatively, using all their knowledge and understanding.
HOME LEARNING PROJECTS – COMBINATION OF WHOLE SCHOOL PROJECTS & YEAR GROUP CURRICULUM THEMES
- Read all words on the Year 1-word list
- Use phonics to read phonetic words
- Retell a story orally
- Answer simple questions and find information in response to questions
- Write all letters correctly
- Say and write a simple sentences using spaces between words, full stops and capitals, simple
- adjectives and the word ‘and’ to join ideas
- Use sounds (phonics) to spell words
- Write for different reasons e.g. lists, stories, poems, instructions, fact files
- Recognising numerals to 100
- Counting forwards and backwards in 1s, then 2s, 5s and 10s
- Number bonds to 10 and then recall of addition and subtraction facts within 20
- Telling the time
- Read all words on the Y2 word list and use phonics strategies to read unknown words
- Read a range of texts aloud taking note of punctuation
- Summarise a story, giving the main points clearly in sequence
- Locate specific information on a given page in response to a direct question
- Form all letters correctly and begin to join some letters accurately
- Spell words using a range of strategies (e.g. phonics, knowledge of year 2 spelling rules)
- Say and write sentences using capital letters, full stops, question marks and exclamation marks
- to punctuate and ‘because’, ‘but’, ‘or’ ‘as’ , ‘when’ to join ideas
- Write for different reasons e.g. lists, stories, poems, instructions, fact files
- All of Year 1 as well as
- 2s, 5s and 10 times tables
- Division facts for the 2s, 5s and 10 times tables
- Doubling and halving within 20 and then 100
- Telling the time
- Read all words on the Y3 word list
- Read a range of texts fluently and with expression, taking note of punctuation
- Summarise the main idea from a text
- Answer simple questions about what has been read, using evidence from the text
- Form letters correctly and clearly and begin to make accurate joins between letters
- Spell words all words on the Year 3-word list and show knowledge of Year 3 spelling rules
- Begin to write in paragraphs using full stops, capital letters, question marks, exclamation mark and commas to punctuate and use ‘because’, ‘so’, ‘or’, ‘if’, ‘while’ to join and extend ideas
- Use well-chosen vocabulary to add detail and enhance writing
- Write a range of narrative and non- fiction pieces
- All of Years 1 & 2 as well as
- Multiplication and division facts for 3s, 4s and 8 times table
- Continuing to develop mental arithmetic with doubling and halving and addition and subtraction
- Telling the time
- Read a range of Y4 texts fluently and with expression including words on the Y4 word list
- Ask and answer questions about what I have read
- Work out the meaning of new words using clues from the text
- Use clues and read between the lines to develop understanding text
- Join letters together accurately and ensure my handwriting is neat and tidy
- Spell all words on the Year 4 statutory list and show knowledge of Year 4 spelling rules
- Write a range of text types with imagination and clarity using paragraphs to organise ideas and punctuation including apostrophes, commas and speech marks.
- Use well-chosen vocabulary to add description, create mood and develop action
- All of Years 1, 2 & 3 as well as
- Multiplication and division facts for all times tables
- Written methods for column addition and subtraction
- Understanding links between measures e.g. g to kg, ml to L, currency, time etc.
- Telling the time
- Read a range of Y5 texts fluently and with expression including words on the Y5 word list
- Ask questions about what I have read and ‘skim and ‘scan’ to answer questions quickly
- Compare and discuss themes, structures, issues, characters and plots within a book
- Use clues from action, description and dialogue to deepen meaning
- Justify and elaborate on opinions and predictions, referring back to the text for evidence
- Write legibly, fluently and with speed, joining letters accurately and spelling Y5 words correctly
- Write a range of texts at length using specific features and well-chosen vocabulary to engage
- Link ideas within and across paragraphs e.g. The next minute,
- Use a range of sentence types e.g. long sentence for detail, short sentence for effect ‘Stop!’
- Use a range of punctuation accurately, including commas, semi colons and exclamation marks
- All of Years 1, 2, 3 & 4 as well as
- Written methods for addition, subtraction, short multiplication and short division
- Ordering and comparing fractions
- Converting between different units of measure
- Telling the time
- Read a range of Y6 texts fluently and with expression including words on the Y6 word list
- Discuss how and why authors use language and the impact it has on the reader
- Use evidence and clues from the text and wider experiences to read between the lines
- Discuss and compare themes, structures, characters and plots within and between texts
- Ask and answer questions about what I have read and ‘skim and scan’ effectively
- Write legibly, fluently and with speed, joining letters accurately and spelling Y6 words correctly
- Write a range of texts at length using narrative techniques and varying levels of formality with awareness of reader e.g. action, dialogue, quotation, suspense, tension
- Use well-chosen language to create mood, atmosphere, convey character and advance action
- Use a range of sentence types (simple, complex, compound) and clause structures
- Use a range of punctuation including: apostrophes, commas, brackets, colons, hyphens
- All of Years 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 as well as
- Written methods for addition, subtraction, short multiplication and short division including with
- Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing with fractions
- Recall links between fractions, decimals and percentages
- Telling the time