I was reading today on TimesOnline Sarah Ebner’s view on homework. Both my children are in primary school, and Handsome, having recently started in the Junior unit (or year 3) brings home homework every Friday as well as a book to read each day.

Obviously I don’t want my children to have to spend all their free time doing homework, but I think that a bit of it can be a good thing! I want my children to be able to learn the self-discipline required for home study from a young age. It is something which I never mastered, and something that, had I had it, would have enabled me to have performed much better in both my later years in school and in university.

I try to make quiet time for half an hour to an hour each Friday after school where Handsome and Cheeky can sit down and do their homework (I have to make up some homework for Cheeky to do so that he a) doesn’t feel left out and b) doesn’t distract Handsome from his homework!). I bring them a hot drink and a snack to eat while they are doing it, and they know that, as long as they take their time and do it properly (and with best handwriting!) they will be able to play to their heart’s content as soon as they are finished!

I have no problem with the regular type of homework which my elder son (Handsome) is bringing home. Mainly he can sit down on his own to do it with little or no intervention from me. I like this work as it is supporting and reenforcing his work in school. However, the homework I can’t stand is the homework which gets sent home at each half-term holiday – the joint parent-child project, which generally means parent project whilst trying to stop the child spreading paint/glue/glitter etc over the living room carpet! I cannot see the point of these things other than to provide the school with cheap decoration for their hallways. If schools want to send homework for nursery and early years primary school children, why not some elementary number or letter work rather than projects like making a fish, making a spider or making a flower (all projects which I have completed over the last four years!).

Rant over. Educators, take note!


7 Responses

  1. I’ve had 36 years to learn a bit of discipline, but I still have problems doing my homework :-/

    Tell me about it! If I had more self-discipline I’d be cleaning my bathroom rather than sitting by my dining table, blogging!

  2. My 3 year old gets homework from her PreSchool! That freaked me out. She already gets a lot of extra work to do because of her speech therapy and autism stuff but actual homework from 3 year old PreSchool that was a shock.

    My 4 year old has started borrowing books from her PreSchool library and they’ve sent home work for her to do over the school holidays.

    All seems a little crazy.

    Preschool homework is a bit beyond comprehension. I find that a little patronising because it assumes that you don’t do anything educational with your children yourself. However, I suppose that there are many parents who don’t bother/don’t have the time to read with their children, and this is why it is done.

  3. My oldest is in nursery school at the moment. I think things like reading are great- he loves books- and if I can foster that in him, it’s something he’ll treasure for ever.

    I agree about the joint projects though, it used to drive my parents batty when we were kids, and I am sure I will feel the same!

    You will indeed! Especially when you remember at 8pm on the night before school starts back that the homework hasn’t been done!

    My oldest loves reading, something which started when he was about 5 and realised that we could buy Doctor Who books – in the space of one summer holiday he worked his way through several sets of learning books, increasing his reading age by about 2.5 years just so that he could indulge his Doctor Who obsession while the series was off-air – I would never have thought of that to get him reading!

  4. I agree about the home/school homework in half terms. It’s more like homework for the parents, and as you say you are meant to involve the child somewhere, but is difficult when all they want to do is spread glue on everything. Can’t wait for October half term!

    The total sum of Handsome or Cheeky’s contribution in this sort of holiday homework is usually taking part in the initial idea process and then carrying the finished item into school! The only exception was Reg the big red shark (made out of papier mache over a balloon) which truly was a joint project between my husband and Cheeky last summer!

  5. Reg the big red shark … truly was a joint project between my husband and Cheeky

    You’ll notice my total lack of surprise!

  6. I never got to see Reg. All the fish have disappeared, we’re obviously not getting them back.

    You can’t imagine how disappointed I am about that! LOL!

  7. Not all homework is bad- it is the amount. For example, 50 math problems is ridiculous- for any age. Either they get it or they don’t. You can determine if a child understands a concept with three or four problems. It’s the same thing with writing spelling words you already know how to spell over and over again- why? A 6 year-old does not need to come home, sit still, focus, be on the clock and have his parent “chunk” more schoolwork for him to do. Doing homework at a young age does not mean you will be disciplined later. If we really believed that, we would make our kids get a job now so they’d be good workers later!

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