The one with all the homework

It has to be said that I’m not a fan of homework. I question if it is necessary at all at primary school age in fact. Reading at home? Yes. Definitely. But anything more than that? Sorry, I’m just not convinced. All of a sudden, the amount of homework we have every week seems to have crept up and up and I’m not going to lie, it all just feels a bit much. They are all small tasks don’t get me wrong, but when you add them up over the week I’m not sure how we are meant to fit them all in.

The school started a reading challenge a few years ago and if the children read every day, they get an award at the end of the year. It was a simple but really effective idea. Literacy levels went through the roof as a result so there is no question that it works. As a parent, I am more than happy to encourage them to read every single day. It is something that has always been a part of our daily routine anyway so we would be doing it, challenge or not. But the success of this challenge has led the school to believe that it can be used to help the children to improve their maths skills too. So they have tweaked the challenge so that they either read or do maths for fifteen minutes every weekday and once over the weekend. They have to do maths at least three times a week but I am very reluctant to have mine do maths instead of reading. I realise this is my choice but breaking the habit of reading every day just seems like madness to me?

Back to school (Mostly) Yummy Mummy

On top of this reading/maths challenge though we also have spellings to learn each week. The children are taught to use the copy, cover, write method but this means that they need to do it over the course of the week really. Effectively another ten minutes a day if you don’t count the time it takes to cajole them into sitting down to do it. Then we have a maths sheet plus ongoing project work that comes home on a Friday. Oh and my nine year old has times tables to learn every week too. I’m sure my seven year old will be doing this too soon enough.

Personally, I really don’t see reading as homework but I do understand that even that might be a struggle for some parents every day. Not all children are keen readers and many come home exhausted as it is from a day at school. Especially the tiddlers. They are so young!Β But reading aside, the only way that we can keep on top of everything else is to do a bit every day. The problem being of course that when they first come in from school, they want to play with their toys or shock horror – flop in front of the Disney Channel for an hour. You know, because they are children!Β They don’t want to come straight in and do their homework and who can blame them? But then of course if you leave it until after dinner, the clock is ticking down to bedtime and they are even more exhausted. It’s so hard fitting homework in every. single. night. We can’t be the only ones to struggle?

My teacher friend is forever telling me about parents who ask for more homework. Year after year she is under pressure to give her Year 3 class even more homework to do because the parents demand it. Who are those people?Β I think it’s safe to say that I am at the other end of the spectrum and would gladly scrap all homework at this age. They are at school all the long day. They need time to just be children for goodness sake. Of course homework at this age is not mandatory. Primary school aged children do not have to do it. But actually, my daughters are so conscientious that they would be horrified at the thought of me telling the school to (politely) stuff it where the sun don’t shine.

I’m not sure what the answer is really. You’d think I’d have more of a clue by now, wouldn’t you? But no, four children in and I’m still none the wiser. We have a parents’ evening soon-ish, well before the end of this term, and no doubt I will mention it then. But without meaning to sound negative, I don’t think anything will change. After all, we are not being forced to do this homework. Like I said, while it might not be mandatory at this age, it is most definitely expected. The pressure is real. And I’m sorry but I think it’s far too much pressure, far too young. Sigh.

(Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

23 thoughts on “The one with all the homework

  1. Lauryn says:

    I totally agree! My two boys are in preschool and reception and they get a few sheets of homework every week, but I was told to let them do it on their own without helping them. I thought that was a little strict for tiny ones. I dare think what it will be like when they are into ‘proper’ primary school!

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  2. sarah hill wheeler (@hill_wheeler) says:

    Totally agree. Boy is now in year 6 and gets two preps a night, at least an hour of work. And TBH some of it would take much longer. Fitting in his medical treatments and physiotherapy, plus the one after school activity he does coupled with the journey to school makes it really hard to have a decent family meal and reasonable bedtime! He is showing signs of getting quite stressed and I have even found myself completing this art homework (and getting the fall-out because I didn’t read the fairly complicated instructions first!).

    Part of me feels we are missing a pretty important life lesson here about work life balance!

    Totally agree too, reading is key….and should be fun (or at least enjoyable) otherwise we risk turning them off to learning (in the wider sense) in the future.

    The other thing that gets me is that although homework is meant to be optional or (in our case) limited to an hour a night…the child gets marked down or suffers low self-esteem if he doesn’t complete it or keeps up with his peers, so the cycle goes on.

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  3. mousedogbaby says:

    I’m totally with you! My 9 year old step daughter bought home long multiplication homework last week. When we sat down to do it, it became clear they hadn’t actually done it in school yet. She got upset that she couldn’t do it by herself and needed lots of help from her dad. It ended up with her having a complete meltdown and believing that she’s stupid. I was horrified that they’d sent her home with such difficult work! Of course she could just not do it, but like your kids she would hate to go back to school without it done.

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    • (Mostly) Yummy Mummy says:

      Terrible! We’ve had situations like that before and it is just so stressful. How they expect the kids to be able to do something totally new without help is beyond me. Surely homework should be a continuation of what they have already been learning?

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  4. heidimartin73 says:

    I am wholeheartedly with you. Sounds like myself year 3 and 4 children have the same amount as yours. Haven’t they proven that at this age homework doesn’t actually add anything? With you on the daily reading though.

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  5. Laura Taylor says:

    I totally agree- had a conversation with the teacher this morning! My (just) 5yr old son came home with 6 bits of homework to do over the course of a week.. But his school hours are 2 & 1/2 hrs longer than most schools.. We’re a little village school.. And there are only 10 kids in the class.. Why oh why does he need to do extra stuff? I agree on the reading – we’ve always done this! But 2 nights a week he does cooking and a sport activity until nearly 5… God knows how we’re going to fit it in on those nights!… Good luck with yours!

    Laura x

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    • (Mostly) Yummy Mummy says:

      That’s just it, I don’t believe that it is necessary! Our after school clubs are just starting again too meaning that our evenings are about to shrink too. If you work out how to fit it all in, do let me know! Ha!

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  6. TheMadHouse says:

    I hate homework and other than reading my boys didn’t do any of the prescribes homework till year 4. I always told their teachers that if they were falling behind to give me a shout and we would work on that specific aspect of their education. The boys sort of do spellings now, they never bothered with the copy, cover, repeat method. They just give their book to us and then try the spellings. Again the teachers I have spoke to insist that the teacher gives more homework. .

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    • (Mostly) Yummy Mummy says:

      We’ve spoken about this before Jen and I’ve always respected your stance on homework. I wish I could do the same but I know that my little ones in particular my nine year old would have a complete meltdown if I even suggested that we stopped doing it. School make it into such a big deal that she would think that she was ‘breaking the rules’

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  7. The crazy stork lady says:

    I think the reading challenge is a great idea but I’m with you on too much homework being a bit mean at that age. Great that you are encouraging your kids to read lots though – although they might sometimes grumble at the time they’ll probably thank you later. Thought you might like this post – took me to adulthood to appreciate the literary torture my mum put me through! http://breakingupwithcontraception.com/2015/09/21/my-mum-the-pusher/

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  8. Susan Mann says:

    I think there far too much homework for little ones, we get so much and I really struggle to get it done when working. I do encourage that boys to read every night before bed, even if it’s just a little. Reading is something that is important to me, maths they find easy and writing I think will come. You do great hon x

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    • (Mostly) Yummy Mummy says:

      It’s so hard fitting everything in, isn’t it? I love reading with them and I wish we could just leave it at that. After a full day at school I think it’s more than enough at this age!

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  9. Sarah @ Fortytherapy says:

    I totally agree with everything you have said….in fact, I couldve written this post myself! My 6 year old son has struggled with school work since day one & gets lots of additional help at school from an SEN teacher, which is brilliant. But the issues we have with homework are driving both him & myself to tears every other day!!
    For the last 2 years, he has done his weekly spelling words by rote….and it worked great for both of us. This year, his new teacher wants learning to be more ‘fun’ so instead, with his spelling words, he has to either draw a large flower & write a differnt word on each petal or write out his words using a differnt coloured pencil for each letter. Now he spends so much time choosing his colours & drawing sodding flowers that the actual spelling words aren’t be remembered!!
    We’re doing homework for nearly an hour now every night & teamed with after school clubs, cooking dinner, picking up my teenage daughters from their school, I’m running out of time. I just want to snuggle up with a book like we used to do!!

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  10. Sophie @ Gigi Brooks says:

    Oh sounds like such a pain, I’m not sure it being non-mandatory really helps because, as you say, if you have very conscientious little ones they will feel terrible if they didn’t do it! Hope it doesn’t all get too much for you all.

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  11. Tea cake and my boy says:

    I think you would like our school, no home work except reading – no spellings or maths! There has been an overhaul of homework and the new approach is that you are set different activities over the term…roll down a hill, fly a kite, have a picnic, decorate a large box and turn it into a spaceship, have pancakes for pancake day etc etc. It is more experience based. We of course fit in numeracy and literacy but as a result doesn’t feel so pressured then if that makes sense but lately I have really eased up on that as I feel he just needs time to be! Annoyingly though is the reading books set, feel like we can’t fit in reading our own and ones he would like to as there isn’t time to do both and wouldn’t want him falling behind on the stages if that makes sense. I am very tempted to rebel and just read road Dahl for a week and write that in the book but I’m not sure….

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  12. jane @ northernmum says:

    I’m with you – it’s bloody depressing siting them down and making them do homework instead of sending them out to play.

    We have maths, literacy, reading. And they are 9.

    But where is art, sports, and the creative side?

    (Not that I want more!)

    I worry about kids of this academic generation .

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  13. oldermummy says:

    We have the same issue. My 6 year old has been doing times tables since she started Year 1, along with spelling cards and reading nightly.

    The 4 year old started school this September (mere weeks back) and already has reading every night and a word tin to practice red and green words. She loves this so that is fine but my 6 year old does not like maths and struggles with it. Despite what the teachers say, she sees her peers moving up (she’s about average in her class) and wants to know why she can’t master the 2x table in random order! I keep telling her not to worry about it but it does bother her. However, when I suggest maths, she’s anything but keen 😦

    I also want my girls to have fun. They are children, as you say. and need time to relax before they go to bed.

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