Back to school of course means back to homework. I hate it. Hate hate HATE IT!
It’s all too much too young and I hate having family time eaten away by homework. I’m not talking about my teens but my little ones. My poor little six year old who has just started in Year 2 is drowning in homework after only a couple of weeks back at school and I’m really not happy about it.
She brings home reading books every day. This I do not have a problem with. It is an absolute pleasure to have her read to me (although I do loathe those Oxford Learning Tree books, they’re enough to put you off reading for life!) But there are some nights where she is genuinely too tired to read and I never EVER force her. On top of this, she has a ‘learning log’ which I actually love. They will be given a subject or task related to what they are learning in class and have two pages of their notebook to fill in but it doesn’t have to be writing, it can be drawings, collages, print outs, in fact whatever they want. They can do as little or as much as they like and I love that they can express themselves however they wish. It’s a really nice way of getting involved in what she is learning at school plus, they are only set this homework every two weeks so there is plenty of time to fit it in with family life. The reading and the ‘learning log’ I can live with. Just.
But she has now been set extra work that has to be done at home on various computer programs. There is one for reading and some for maths. Well, I say has to but homework for six year olds is not compulsory of course, although it is actively encouraged. By actively encouraged, I mean the children are told how much fun it is and incentivised by the promise of certificates for gaining points – so much so that they want to dash home and get straight on to the computer. Great, right? Well, no actually. I am terribly strict about how much screen time all of my children have. I also have a problem with homework eating into every single evening. Home time to me means just that. Time to be at home and just be. And this is where I struggle.
I understand that the school needs support from parents when it comes to homework I really do. But I struggle to give them my full support when there is just so much of the bloody stuff. Homework every single night is excessive by any stretch of the imagination. Of course, it is not officially set for every night of the week but to be able to keep on top of it all, some work has to be done every day. There is no way around that. It is so hard to find a balance and let’s face it, there are only so many hours in an evening and I don’t think spending it boggle eyed in front of a screen is good for any one. I include myself in that statement too. But she is only six years old for goodness sake! I feel like the school are dictating how I spend my evenings with my child under the disguise of it just being a bit of fun. And it’s not on. Don’t get me wrong, I want to help her to do well in school – well of course I do and I hope that goes without saying! But at the cost of family time? I’m not so sure. But what can I do?
The class newsletter popped up in my inbox this morning and there was the usual this week we have been doing blah blah blah… all very good but then it congratulated a pupil on gaining a stupendous amount of points last week on his homework. How the child managed to clock up over fifteen times the amount that my daughter did, quite frankly horrifies me. To have gained that many points in one short week? I can’t even begin to imagine how many hours he spent click click clicking away. Either that or he had parental ‘assistance’ of course. Either way I think it stinks.
I seemingly have no choice but to get carried away in this stupid cycle of pushy parenting or else my child will fall behind. What else can I do? It just makes me feel that I’m fighting a losing battle here.