With the new school year in full swing I knew it was just a matter of time before the boys started getting homework set again. The last academic year wasn’t too bad in terms of homework, usually they would have it on a Friday or a Monday and have the full week to complete it with various pieces needing to be done for set days, for example spelling tests. Like most parents we had a few problems getting the older two to complete theirs but on the whole it wasn’t an issue.
A usually weeks homework consisted of reading books in both English and Welsh, spellings to learn usually alternate weeks between English and Welsh, maths and occasionally something else. Now this was all fairly manageable and I felt fair for seven and six year olds. Yes there were times when I struggled to listen to both boys reading in between seeing the the younger two, working until 5pm, housework, bedtime and after school activities. Although the boys do attend a few after school activities between them I have ensured that the start and end of the week are kept free and pretty much the weekends apart from football and rugby matches the boys may be involved in. I’m a believer in the fact children need time to unwind and activities everyday is a bit overkill and that’s with out the fact that I already feel like a taxi driver at times with the existing school runs and activities!
But last week I was shocked to discover that poor Luc had five pieces of homework set on the Monday to be completed for hand in on the Thursday. Now I’m not sure if this is because he had a school trip on the Friday but I felt that this amount was excessive for a nine year old without having after school activities. When the boys are doing homework myself and dad of 3 try to be supportive and helpful without doing the work for them as we feel that homework is an extension of school work and if they don’t understand the work they need to let their teachers know. Luc got on and completed the maths work over two nights and then completed the poster he was set but under a lot of duress from myself and dad of 3. We had tears and it was quite upsetting to see him get so stressed about it. So when it came to the last set piece it was clear he had no idea and we calmly explained that if he truly did not understand the work he must tell his teacher. Now I’m sorry but it’s not nice seeing your child so distressed over homework and I personally refuse to force them to complete work they can’t do themselves. Yes we did use the tact of “if you don’t do this now you can’t go to ..” but then I personally hate stopping them doing an activity that they flourish in and enjoy attending. Add to all this trying to fit homework in around my working and dad of 3’s work which can be stressful enough. I’m always mindful that Luc is a more practical child who learns better with hands on learning than learning from books etc.
Trystan on the other hand brought homework home on Thursday to be completed for Tuesday (tomorrow) he happily read one book, then has completed his spelling words without much trouble. Now maths is one thing he excels in so his weekly times table was flown through and has been daily since. Then we hit yesterday and I wanted him to complete the final piece of work, in this case a picture of a Celt, this is where we hit problems. Trystan simply decided he wasn’t able to draw and no matter how many suggestions myself or dad of 3 made he was not budging. I’ve not quite made up my mind if it was a delay tactic on his behalf as he really didn’t want to do his work or if he generally couldn’t do it. We tried explaining that it didn’t matter how good/bad his picture was, what counted was that he had tried. I even suggested he just draw a Celtic shield etc and leave it at that but he wasn’t having any of it. So after a stressful few hours of going backwards and forwards over the issue we gave up! maybe not the best stance but after a long week and the issue we had with Luc’s homework we were lost as to where to go next.
So this morning while the little ones napped I have decided to see what homework is set and for when this week. Maybe last week’s pattern of three nights to complete homework for Luc won’t be repeated (I’m very much hoping that is the case) But if it is I feel I have no other option but to speak to the boys teachers. One thing is sure dad of 3 and myself need to find a way of tackling homework that works for us. How do you deal with homework? do you leave it to your child to complete independently or help as much as you can even if you end up completing it for them? Do you make your child do homework at set times or days? and how much is too much in terms of homework? I would love to know how you cope with it