Monday, 7 March 2011

The woes of homework

As I sit here, six year old O is doing his homework and I am surreptitiously blogging on my phone. It is 7.30 and most definitely not the time to be doing homework for a tired little boy. The idea was to do the homework at the weekend when we were all a little more relaxed and had time to devote to the devoirs.

However, O seems to have inherited my dreamy, lackadaisical approach to organisation and although the homework sheet was handed out last Tuesday, it only made it home today. I had instructed him to remember it every single day last week and even written in his diary so his teacher could prod him but to no avail. The sheet remained in his drawer.

I was going to leave the homework undone and leave him to face the consequences (doing the homework at playtime). I toyed with writing a note for his teacher asking her to emphasise the importance of bringing his homework home and to reinforce my words.

O's desperate face of horror made me relent and hence, we are sat here doing the homework when he should be in bed. I hope we are finished before midnight.

I am not a big fan of homework for primary school children - it seems to me that they do enough at school and extra work is total overkill. Surely there should be time for relaxing or playing or watching TV when you're six, especially after six hours at school. We've got spelling and maths to tackle as well, but not tonight.

The only saving grace is that he seems to be enjoying writing his story about Magnoman. I just wish it wasn't past bedtime.

Along with O's homework and school diary, we had a letter home from school about a company which offers 'a home based complement' to schoolwork. It made me fizz a little. The school say they don't actively endorse the service, but the leaflet is attached to a letter on school letter-headed paper. It seems a little odd to me. What message is the school sending out? Do they think it's a good idea? Obviously only children with parents who can afford the service will be able to benefit and again, children are giving up their playtime to study. It makes me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps I'm being naive, but I really don't like the implications behind this letter.

Am I alone in feeling this way? How do the rest of you feel?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. The 5 year old gets homework. Sometimes we do it sometimes we don't. I let the teacher know that we had other things to do. The 6 year old gets spellings and reading. The reading doesn't really get done because she's busy reading her own books.

    I guess we're homework rebels. Having said that the teachers don't seem to mind our laid back approach.

  2. Personally, I think 'a home based complement to schoolwork' sounds like an almighty drag. But I'm also a dreamy lackadaisical type, so no expert in this department :)

    Good luck with the homework - he's a lucky boy to have a mum with perspective on this sort of thing.

  3. Laura & Manana. I like this laidback approach to homework - you two are women after my own heart, although Laura is quite renegade and rebellious. Fantastic!

    The letter from school has been revealed as a marketing strategy by the company. They pay the school to distribute the letters and then approach parents who are interested. What worries me is that they also want personal information of parents who aren't interested - what is happening with this information? There is nothing on the form which mentions data protection. To me, this is not the kind of thing that schools should be getting involved in.

  4. We've had those letters too, I put them straight in the recycling bin with glee. I am not a homework supporter for primary children and when it has clashed with things we are doing or if it is pointless and boring I don't let them do it. As a school governor, teacher and Mum to 4 I put on my bovver boots and prepare for a fight. I have never yet had to have one! I am in rebellion against my youngest child's reading scheme at the moment and am rolling up my sleeves for next week's parents' is a teacher I don't know very well in a scholl which is new to us...wish me luck!

  5. I never was happy about homework for elementary ages. The school my oldest son went to didn't like it either. Then, he got to middle school. He had no homework routine, no study habits, no come home, eat snack, do homework skills drilled in. Dear god we suffered. He stopped doing it. He fell behind. I got a call that he was failing. He was depressed. It took the rest of the year, nagging and helping him remember, to get caught up. With my younger son, now, I make him do homework every day. Even if it is just one sheet of math or flash cards. At the same time. I firmly believe it is not the amount of work that matters, it is the habits, the expectations that help so much later on. Anyway, for my kids. I do realize that all kids are different and what works with one, might not with another.

  6. I'm afraid the school will get a 'cut' of the fees, that's why they're sending it out under their heading in spite of claiming not to endorse it. As for homework, it's a sad fact of life that the number of children actively encouraged to learn outside school is tiny, and schools therefore see it as their duty to 'encourage' home learning as much as possible. But they seldom seem to get the balance right.

  7. Hi there, a lovely photo but I couldn't agree more about homework, I've had this conversation so many times with friends, I didn't do homework until after 11 ( I think, a pretty dreamy child..) why can't they just play and relax ? They have their whole ( academic at least ) lives to think about deadlines etc. I am monstrously slack at school with all of my children - the teachers are so far pretty relaxed too ! Not at all sure about the home based complement thing ...he''s 6 ! x

  8. My 6 y/o seems to get a fair bit of homework too, I dont remember having HW as young as 6?
    Your son is totally gorgeous, love the pic! xx