Thursday, 20 September 2012

Homework ... hers, mine or ours?

Most of us go back to school when our kids do – there’s homework to be done, projects to research and complete, spelling lists to master, math’s problems to learn, sports days to attend, assemblies, the occasional field trip to chaperone – the list goes on.

Some of it is super fun and brings back fabulous memories of our own school days while others are laborious and events we have locked away in the back of our minds slowly leak out.

Depending on your child/rens age, you might be struggling to remember French or having to google maths cos it’s changed since we were at school.

I’ve shared some of my frustrations on Facebook and have been richly rewarded with support. Seems I’m not alone in the frustrations and conversations at homework time, regardless of age of child/ren.
·      Sit down please.
·      Please focus on what’s in front of you.
·      Sit still please and concentrate.
·      You can do it – just try.
·      Give it a go.
·      Stop wasting time and get on with it.
·      Only two more to go and we’re done.
·      Where are the instructions?
·      Why didn’t you bring home the books/materials you needed?
·      If you start tonight and do a bit each night it’ll be done by the due date?
·      What do you have to do?
·      Please come and do your homework NOW before you’re too tired.

Trying to impart lessons learned like being organized, starting a project the night you get it and splitting the work over the period of time you have to do it in to avoid rush, plan the work on a spare piece of paper before putting pen to the real thing and so on is obviously putting an experienced head on inexperienced shoulders. But isn’t that part of a parents job to teach their offspring to multi task, to be organized, to cope?

Mum and I worked so well together doing school projects. I often thought about them when working in advertising and researching a clients needs, before planning a creative option, or writing a presentation. Those skills Mum shared with me about being organized, planning things out, working out how much time I had between when I was given the project and it’s due date all came into play every day of my working life …. And still do.

I was surprised to learn that our current school does not encourage parental involvement with homework (or much of school life if the truth be told)

How difficult is it, when your asked ‘mum, can you please help me’ to have to say ‘no, sorry’ or find some other way to say no with out scarring them for life.

Saying things like ‘you try honey, I’m sure you can work it out’ to MissM is answered with ‘if I could work it out I wouldn’t have asked for your help’ which of course is obvious.

This was all put into perspective at a Grade 3 chat with parents/teachers earlier this week.

The teachers want to know (obvious statement coming up so be warned) what the children know and what they don’t know, so if we help them the teachers are none the wiser. However, if we do cave in and help, we are to write in a different colored pen to the one our child/ren is/are using so they know in a secret code sort of way where in fact we’ve helped.

MMMMMM, me thinks why send homework home under those terms? Give the worksheets in class (apparently there’s no time cos they are busy learning stuff we were told at the parent/teacher evening)

The children are in school from 8.20am – 4.10pm.

How much longer do the teaching staff need to observe who knows what taking into account they are tested weekly.

There might be those of you who are thinking why complain? I know some friends who are overwhelmed with school projects set so hard that they have no choice but to help their kids and here am I complaining that I’m not supposed to.

There must be a happy medium somewhere, and we’ll push on to find one. We’ve YEARS of homework ahead of us and goodness knows how many schools.

With friendship


  1. Homework drives me completely nutty! My elder 2 girls are great, but the boys require monitoring and a fair bit of coaxing. I'm always surprised by how much homework little people do at school? I'm sure I never had that much in Grades 1 - 5?

  2. MissM's at school from 8.20am - 4.10pm and in grade 3. She has maths every night, spelling and a reader plus we've already had a weekend project of creating a personal timeline. I'm hoping as is she, that we work out how to do 'it' together with less stress and more fun. I have thought of having a glass of wine, while she sips apple juice .....