5 Things I Hate About Homework
1 – THE AMOUNT OF PRESSURE
My youngest child is 7 years old and the amount is far too much; a daily reading book (ok I get this one), then at the end of the week WE, yes WE, get maths, 5 spellings, and 5 sentences that all need to be done preferably over the weekend to hand in on Monday (if you don’t want to get the disapproving look). Otherwise, it’s the sympathetic look informing me that I have until Wednesday… and just to add insult to injury there’s a monthly topic that’s usually in the form of a poster or art project! I can understand the daily reading book but I always fail gracefully at completing the ‘reading record’ that goes with it. I’m either too exhausted on the sofa in the evening or I’m like a mad crazy women experiencing a manic episode in the morning trying to get to school on time, so filling out the reading record went out the window by the second week of year 2! Notice so far how this is all about me – the parent stressing about homework!
2 – DOES IT REALLY ACHIEVE ANYTHING?
This is an important point of my annoyance when it comes to homework; there is no evidence that homework improves a child’s overall intelligence or academic ability in the future. In my child’s case, it causes a stroppy child, tears and a half-hearted attempt as she would rather play with her toys. I’ve spoken to her teachers about this and the importance of play and family time. I’m told they do not actually have to do it. Well, this is not really the case now is it? If your child is the only one taking a stand and does not complete the set homework then she doesn’t get any of the rewards or a chance to be the ‘winner’ of the poster comp! I Cannot. Win.
3 – FINDING TIME
I don’t see that my situation is that different from others – although I have been told I live a busy life! I’m a single parent, a mother of two (ok so the oldest one has now committed treason and left home but that’s for another blog!). I’m a full time mental health nurse working with the emergency services, so ok; time is limited in my life. Most of my weekend is spent recovering from an exhausting week, tiding the house I have neglected and then fulfilling the promises I have made to my daughter throughout the week: yes, we will go out and have some family time and fun! So, spellings and maths are usually revised in the car, driving back and forth when I’m on my way to work. Getting the lot written down in the homework book takes hours of ‘painful encouragement’ (where I’m usually screaming inside my head ‘for the love of god can you do this any slower?!’) AND (‘just write your B’s, D’s and P’s the right way round just once!’). But, so I don’t mentally scar my child for life, I gently tell her how fabulous she is doing and to remember to check her work. The pain is real, people.
4 – CHILD’S ATTITUDE
If you are the parent of that child who skips home from school on a Friday that sits nicely at the table, gleaming smile on their face, and completes their homework without issue, proud of their efforts …then I’m happy for you. Well actually I’m not. I’m green eyed and envious because this scenario is just not reality in my house and I’m hoping the majority of readers are with me on this one! Children today are under so much pressure at school as it is, the moment the word ‘homework’ is mentioned in my house, the atmosphere changes. It actually makes me sad; she’s age 7 and if this is her attitude already, how on earth is she going to keep going until she is 18? To then expect her to continue onto university? Hmm, I live in hope. So, completing the weekly homework is somewhat stressful to say the least! I’m not saying I’m clever, ok – I have a degree – but completing KS1math stumps me every time. I have no idea how or where to start, so I leave the maths to my daughter in the hope that she paid some attention during the week. The sentences, well, that’s just like pulling teeth. My child would rather watch ‘Sanja and Craig’ repetitively on the TV instead of coming up with a page of boring sentences!
5 – COMPETITIVE PARENTS
Let’s face it, its parent’s homework!
Now I must say, the parents in my daughter’s class are lovely; we go out for annual meals, use our class FB page to chat about school trips, homework, etc. HOWEVER, I have observed some competitive behaviour! (I can’t help it, I’m a mental health nurse, I observe people for a living!). I must say it’s annoying; some of the parents are ‘stay at home parents’ (again, pleased for you, I really am) and really give 100% when it comes to THEIR homework. One of the parents actually writes out her child’s homework in pencil and gets her child to go over it!! I mean what?! Come on!! This annoyed me for two reasons: firstly, why the hell did I not think of this? Secondly, this is just not cricket people! It’s your CHILDS homework, get a grip. The hours I sit there painstaking watching my daughter doing joined up hand writing that quite frankly looks like my Nan’s handwriting when she’s had too much sherry. But still, it’s her wobbly handwriting that hopefully one day will improve! Oh, and please don’t even get me started on the projects; who are you trying to kid? No child can make a ship out of matchsticks, decorate it and present a magnificent piece of art that is worthy of a Turner Prize! Geez………
This blog is part of our ‘5 Things I Hate’ series.