I have never shied away from the fact that I am not a fan of homework for infant and primary children and told both the boys teachers when I met them and they understand that the boys only tend to do homework if it lights their fire or pushes their button, which isn’t very often. They are 4 and 6 and there are much better things they can spend their time doing other than homework.
But Maxi’s homework really hook the biscuit this last couple of weeks. He was asked to design and build his own model castle. Hmm my then 5 year old (now 6) was given 2 weeks to come up with a written plan, drawn design and then the final model. He has had no interest in this until Monday morning, when he saw some of the castle’s going in to school and yes you guessed it not one of them looked as though it had been made by a six year old. Oh no competitive parenting at it’s best or should that be worst. We saw castles of all shapes and sizes, but they all had one thing in common, they were almost perfect replica’s with battlements, moats and drawbridges.
Maxi did attempt to have a go at making battlements on his cardboard box at the weekend, but he wasn’t strong enough to cut it and me and MadDad so not do our child’s homework for them. So I have had to give in a little and I have sat with him and helped a little in making his castle, I cut the tubes and held them whist he glued them, but that is where I drew the line. This is his homework not mine.
I did suggest to him that we made a cake that looked like a castle with upside down ice cream cones as turrets, but he didn’t want to, so cardboard model it is.
However, I have put a note in his homework book “Who was this homework for, Maxi or me and his Dad? I am awaiting the answer.
What are your thoughts on homework at this age?
Great castle – but that’s homework for a five/six-year-old? Madness.
We rarely do homework (mine are seven and nine). We have never had to do models (they make them at school and proudly bring them home). All mine have is books to read (one Welsh, one English).
Is that homework aimed to force the parents to do craft with their kids? If it is it’s rather insulting to those that do anyway and those that don’t, won’t.
I can’t wait to hear about the reply to your homework book note!
I don’t mind homework. I think it’s about getting children to learn to take responsibility for some task outside school. We don’t do as much of the tedious learning key words as we should, even though Littlest loves it (it bores me. This makes me a bad mother, because our not doing it is based entirely on my boredom and not on any parenting strategy.) As children get older they are used to checking their homework diaries and making sure homework is done on time. Thing is, it’s not vital at 6, but I’ve found now Eldest is 10 that she needs to take a lot more responsibility for her own homework and schoolwork as part of growing up and being used to it from an early stage is helpful.
The thing is, you and I do craft anyway, so we wouldn’t tend to just leave children with a pile of cardboard tubes and ignore them; nor would we take over and make something of our own and pretend it was a collaborative effort.
A year or two ago Eldest had a project to design an island and though we talked over it with her, she did the actual work. Eldest got an award for her project and it was patently obvious it was all her own effort – she handed in a fistful of scraps of paper whilst other people had scale models mounted on boards. Teachers aren’t stupid.
It’s a shame that some parents take it a bit too far. We had something like this where parents were asked to come in to school and help kids build emergency vehicles. We were asked to bring supplies- boxes, tubes, bottle caps. Of course we had parents that went that one(five) steps too far and had cardboard cut outs in the shape of fire engines w/ plastic window inserts- all they had to do was glue/tape the “boxes” together and VOILA a fire engine! Wondering what their kid learned from the exercise.
I can’t stand bloody homework! My kids are 8 (next month) and 6 and the amount they get is ridiculous. My eldest gets 2 reading books a day?! The youngest gets all these projects which he doesn’t wwant to do and which hold no interest so I don’t push it.
Both my kids are creative and encouraged to learn through play, they’re in school long enough and I don’t want some silly projects eating into our family time – unless they want to do it of course!
I get that practice is good for them. School claim that it is no surprise that the best readers are the ones who regularly do home school reading. We do do reading and spellings most nights but I don’t feel guilty at all skipping it if it suits me to. We get a maths sheet for the weekend that my two generally complete in 5 mins flat and they enjoy so that’s not a chore.
I don’t see the point of giving a 6 year old a project they are clearly not capable of completing without a lot of help or input from the parents.. In addition, the guidelines are 10 mins per day IN TOTAL. If I’m feeling stressed and overloaded, I make sure the children do their 10 mins and stop. No more. They have enough to be doing outside of school. At that age, it is as much about resting from school as it is about learning.
I think the amount set by some schools is ridiculous. I hope parents will always listen to children read and talk to them about the books – but I don’t ever want them to ‘take over’ and DO the model making etc.
I am not sure that it is fair to set work when there are no level playing fields. Not every Mum is ‘crafty’ with a supply of toilet rolls. Some children [esp with single parents] have very little interaction time with adult family members. Others do not have internet access at home, or do not have a computer printer. And our local village libraries are only open at reduced, random hours.
I say to my pupils “this should take you X minutes. So ask a grownup to time you, and tell you when to stop. Do Not worry if it is not finished – get Mum to sign with the number of minutes you worked.” And they do. Which is encouraging. Or they write “J found this difficult” whichmeans I can offer extra help.
I have been known to write “Mrs S, YOU get A+ for these sums, but next time, please let your SON do them for himself!” How on earth can we teach children if parents are doing the work for them?
As a parent as well as a teacher I share your frustrations at the unrealistic expectations of some of my colleagues
One of my kids always refused help (or checking of any kind) because he said the teacher needed to see what he could and couldn’t do. Hmmm.
I usually write a note to the teacher if I have to help my 7 year old, because although i want to try to explain it to him, I also don’t want the teacher to think he could do it. At the beginning of each year I usually make a point to ask the teacher what she wants in the way of adult help.
I always question why they pack so much into the school curriculum that they have to give hours and hours of homework every night. Isn’t that bad planning?
With you all the way. I hate homework for the single digit crowd. I chose my kids’ school in part on it. (They give homework, but not much and don’t make a huge deal of it.) I also don’t do their homework, or any such work. I’m happy to buy supplies, help with a small technical part, answer questions for clarification, or shoo sisters out of the room for quiet but they have to do it.
Oooh I am completely with you!!! I hate the amount of homework that Chick (8) gets! I will sit and help her with it but it’s her homework and not mine!! Unfortunately being a very middle class school all the other parents are ridiculously competitive!! I refuse to entertain the idea and think that Chick will benefit in the long run if she has to think and do for herself with my support! We also have a deal with the Teacher that we will not complete all of the homework on time!!
I think homework is an important part of teaching children responsibility for their progress and how to manage their time – obviously with parental guidance. The problem is when the homework is too much – one or two small tasks are sufficient to teach the concept. And it allows the parents to be involved and take some responsibility for the child’s progress.
As a mother who is not arts and craftsy, I dread these sorts of assignments. However, it never turns out so bad and it is a great opportunity to do something creative with your child if you don’t normally – not many people are like you and do it naturally.
P.S. I’m a teacher 🙂
Homework is something I dread. Luckily all I have to do is read with mine which is pleasant although at times I feel under pressure to ensure we are keeping up with the Jones!
Kids need to be kids, projects are fine but timelines and deadlines arent! They have the rest of their lives to do this…..
Your CommentsAll the parents I know moan bitterly about projects, and how we’ve had to help so much to get anything out of the children, even if it’s just having the materials to paint and construct something.
On the other hand, I think the children are thrilled when they take in their finished project, and forget how much they had to be cajoled. And I’m sort of thrilled that we did it together, and learnt something (anything!)
I think sometimes you have to be very handsoff about what the resulting project looks like, but very hands-on to get them started and interested!!!!
In Year 4, there was no project. I think all of us were mildly disappointed, as we had got ready to make Viking helmets, ships, swords…but no…
The biggest test is to remember that the teacher only wants to see your child engaged in the task; it is not meant to be a perfect castle, just a way of getting the child to remember a few vital things about castles. Also it might start a few parents chatting to their children about castles, when they might not have….
Your Comments My gut reaction to projects like this is: If I’d wanted to home educate my children this is what we would do. Why does it have to be EXTRA to the school day which is long enough already. Why can’t they make castles in class – if it is something that a child can do themselves.
I’m afraid it makes me feel that schools can’t do without us home-educating our kids to some degree. I don’t know why I feel this isn’t quite what is says on the tin.
But, Another friend said part of the fun of the projects was that the child saw everyone else’s projects and learnt a lot that way – that is another positive point of view
I think homework is fine if my children want to do it but I am fully supportive if they don’t want to do it. We didn’t sign our home-school agreement saying we would make them do homework!
The exception is going over timetables and spellings and reading but so far they are all happy to do those, long may it last!