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Is this too hard for a 6yr old

(52 Posts)
tanith Wed 11-Jan-12 09:02:07

My granddaughter gets regular homework and each week is given a word she has to place into 5 sentences this weeks word is collaboration the children are year 2 she couldn't really grasp the meaning and no clue as to constructing a sentence using this word.

Is it me or does anyone else think that's a really difficult word for 6yr old?

I can't offhand remember the others but each week its been a word that most 6yr olds haven't heard or used before , my daughter is always intimidated by teaching staff and doesn't want to make a fuss but even her weekly spellings are words like dictionary, subtraction, multiply which although she is reasonably good with spelling she loses track in the middle of such long words.. I think she should say something to the teacher but am I just being an interfering granny and out of touch?

thanks for anyone who can put me straight

jingl Wed 11-Jan-12 09:08:47


Yes! Too hard!

It surprises me how hard some of my grandsons' homework often is, but that's going it a bit! Definitely have a word with the teacher.

Carol Wed 11-Jan-12 09:16:52

Yes, too hard. My grandson went to prep school until he was 11 (don't get me started on THAT one!! Another of my ex-DIL's attempts to posture in front of her rivals peers) and was given exceptionally hard words to learn, amongst a host of other difficult subjects. Lo and behold, there were lots of offers of extra-curricular private tutoring from guess who? The teachers who had given the children the difficult homework!!

I would add that it has made no real difference to the standard he has attained now he is at grammar school - the children who were at state primary schools are doing equally well.

bagitha Wed 11-Jan-12 09:42:16

Children that age shouldn't get homework at all. That aside, those wordsfor six-year-olds are ridiculous. I speak as a teacher and I don't think the teachers who are setting that homework know what they are doing.

bagitha Wed 11-Jan-12 09:43:20

Correction: they probably know what they are doing, but they are rotten teachers.

tanith Wed 11-Jan-12 09:44:46

Thanks for the input everyone I didn't think I was being over protective.. I'll encourage my daughter to speak to the teacher .

JessM Wed 11-Jan-12 09:47:18

Yes it is hard and many secondary school kids at the lower end of ability would struggle with this task. It is conceptually very complex.
my 6 year old GD had "pharaoh" as a spelling word. ( in australia - the school is getting partly judged on spelling performance...) I struggle to spell it myself.
Despite the very structured approach that the national curriculum has insisted on literacy levels at 11 have not been rising nearly as fast as we would like.

absentgrana Wed 11-Jan-12 10:03:54

Apart from the fact that I think homework for six-year-old is absurd, writing five sentences incorporating the same word seems pointless and boring, unless the teacher who sets the homework has enough imagination and vocabulary to provide a word with five meanings.

greenmossgiel Wed 11-Jan-12 10:29:28

Oh my goodness - where have Janet and John gone? Those books and the words in them worked ok for me! hmm

Carol Wed 11-Jan-12 10:35:33

When I was six in 1954, each pupil in the four year classes, A B C and D, went individually to the head teacher to read words aloud to him for about 10 minutes. There were about thirty five children in each class, so no mean feat. He passed back all our results to each teacher. I never forgot how pleased I was that I got some hard words right, and the fact that the head teacher praised my effort really spurred me on to read well.

nanapug Wed 11-Jan-12 11:03:31

That is totally crazy. I have an extremely bright six year old who is fantastic at spelling and reading (Not just my opinion!!) and no way would any one expect him to do that sort of thing. What sort of school is it? Are they trying to get the children in to Oxbridge or something? What do her parents feel? Not sure it is your place to talk to the teacher though, my kids would be rather cross if I did that.

Greatnan Wed 11-Jan-12 11:05:46

I can't think of five different meanings for 'collaboration' so I don't see the point of this exercise, other than to turn children off education for life!
In some Scandinavian countries, children don't start formal lessons until they are seven but their standards at 11 are higher than in the UK
I know many parents feel a bit reticent about approaching a teacher but I think this problem needs to be tackled. Would it be possible to find out how other parents felt about it, and perhaps write a letter to the Headteacher from all of them?
I think homework should be banned until Year 9 - the school day is quite long enough and not all children have the facilities to work at home. 'Prep' was used in boarding schools to keep the children busy so life was easier for the staff, but children living at home should be encouraged to do so many other things - clubs, games, voluntary work, part time jobs, helping at home, reading, meeting friends, etc. They should even be given some time to be bored - it encourages creativity.

jeni Wed 11-Jan-12 11:11:25

At age 6 we were given a picture and then had to write5 sentences about it. An easier task I think, but I remember crying over it. I can remember the picture to this day!

Annobel Wed 11-Jan-12 11:49:55

Is this homework being set for the children or the parents? Plenty of adults, in my experience, don't know how to spell 'collaboration' and get lost in the middle of big words. No child of 6 would get through this kind of task without some adult's or older sibling's help.

bagitha Wed 11-Jan-12 12:04:30

Collaboration is what DD3 would call a Wow Word for her class. She's eleven. Most eleven year olds would struggle to use it in a sentence. Beginning to think this is a daft teacher ploy to test the parents!

bagitha Wed 11-Jan-12 12:05:01

As a lot of homework is!

bagitha Wed 11-Jan-12 12:05:38

School pomposity, I call it.

Seventimesfive Wed 11-Jan-12 13:52:05

Definitely too hard for a six year old. Like the idea of seeing what other parents think. How sad if your GD is put off school at such a young age and made to feel that she cannot achieve something which she shouldn't have to attempt! Perhaps if your daughter sees the danger of this it will help her to approach the school.

gracesmum Wed 11-Jan-12 14:02:30

Heartily endorse what everybody has said about the choice of word - pretentious or what? But I do like the sound of trying to use a word in defferent sentences/contexts. I can think of 2 for "collaboration" (at just a tad older than 6!! grin) e.g. in war, or on a piece of work or book. But I think the teacher is showing off.

tanith Wed 11-Jan-12 14:26:27

Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this, I did wonder whether the teacher might be 'testing' the adult input or maybe its a theme (about helping each other with tasks) for the school this week.. I will encourage my daughter to speak to the teacher..
Its funny I put the same question to another group I belong to and the vast majority thought it was an ok/good word for a 6yr old to investigate and understand it meant helping each other by collaboration . I guess my daughter needs to clarify how much help she should be giving her child with writing the sentences but in my world homework means the child is able do it themselves with just some support from an adult .

jingl Wed 11-Jan-12 14:34:55

Oh yes. That's a good point - "helping each other by collaboration".

Might be some sense to it then.

bagitha Wed 11-Jan-12 15:44:15

"Team work", "helping each other", "doing things together", six year olds would understand, and mean the pretty much the same. Why use over-complicated words before the kids are ready? Many six year olds struggle to write sentences at all, never mind sentences with "grown-up" words in them.

supernana Wed 11-Jan-12 16:06:49

Collaboration my a***! Bring back 'Janet and John' - I believe we still have a copy sitting alongside early Ladybird books.

Annobel Wed 11-Jan-12 16:08:55

Janet helping Mummy to wash up and John cleaning the car with Daddy?

bagitha Wed 11-Jan-12 16:16:05

I'm sure there's a PC version now, annobel. wink