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To wonder how people find the time to fit in their kids 'home learning'?

(97 Posts)
Cookethenook Mon 16-Sep-13 09:53:35

DS has just started year 3.

Every week he's expected to learn about 15 spellings, learn some times tables, do 30 minutes of a home learning task, do an 'extended learning' project that is an ongoing project over the whole term and read at least 3 times a week out loud to an adult (we do this bit anyway).

On top of this, he does swimming after school and he has to do guitar lessons and practice (we signed him up for these things before we knew how much 'home learning' he'd have to do. This is actually very little compared to some kids we know)

We just received a text at 8.35 (after i've dropped DS off for school) saying 'remember it's Greek day today, we can't wait to see you in your costumes!'.... well there was a date in the class newsletter about 'greek day', but no mention of dress up, so either a letter didn't make it's way home to us on Friday or they just expected our kids to tell us (which they seem to expect them to do quite a bit). Well, either way, there is no way we would have had time or money to get together a costume over the weekend at such short notice. I feel SO AWFUL, poor boy sad

Our weekends are always PACKED. Haircuts, essential clothes/shoe/food shopping, seeing grandparents, family and friends, festivals, events, parties, walking, NT properties, swimming... It's very rare that we have a free day and we tend to stay out later if the kids are having fun, so sometimes we leave at 9/10 and don't get home til gone 7.

Where on earth are we supposed to find the time!? Obviously, we're just going to have to find the time and get on with it, but is there such a thing as just letting kids have some time to themselves anymore?

HumphreyCobbler Tue 17-Sep-13 11:30:28

I should also say I think homework for primary children, especially infant age is a bit of a waste of time. Except reading/times tables. When I taught I kept it to a bare minimum. Parents often complained about the lack of homework.

treadheavily Tue 17-Sep-13 12:03:23

Do it for them. It's much easier.

TheArticFunky Tue 17-Sep-13 12:28:53

It is challenging. I find it eats up a lot of our weekend time which is a shame.

For children from year 3 upwards it would be helpful if the schools offered a lunch time homework club as they do at secondary school.

How times have changed when I was at primary school we had no homework other than being expected to read, we didn't even have spellings to learn.

Remember how Sunday used to last forever? Completely different now.

wordfactory Tue 17-Sep-13 13:52:42

morethan I disagree with your assessment of secondary homework.

I think translations, essays, reading background material are all much better done at home.

School should be a collegiate experience, which doesn't lend itself well to the deeper concentration needed for many tasks.

Summerblaze Tue 17-Sep-13 14:13:13

My DD is in Year 5. She has to read every night, spellings every night for a test once a week and timetables etc to learn for testing a couple of times a week to go up to the next level. She also has a project every half term.

DS1 is in Year 1 and the same except no spellings but learning new words instead flashcards.

I tend to either test DD on her spellings and timetables in the car on the way to and from school or I test her on them while I am making tea, while she sits at the kitchen table. This way I am doing two things at once and not using up any extra time. I read her book with her when she goes up to bed before she reads on her own or I read her something.

DS1 has developmental delay so needs a bit more help understanding his homework sometimes. I do all his homework upstairs just before I read him his bedtime story. Reading, flashcards and maths. With him being so young and he has a short attention span, this usually only takes 15 mins.

Projects usually only take 1 day out of a weekend which is fine when it is only once a half term.

If DD is at an activity, we may do the spellings etc in the car on the way there but it is too late to read her book when we get home. If I don't manage to do it with her before we go, then we just skip that evening. Same as if DS1 is really tired. It would just make learning miserable if I forced him so I let it go that evening and try again the next night.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 17-Sep-13 14:19:34

Word

I can't argue with reading background material at home, but think dc are better doing essays at school especially as many need to learn how to formulate an essay, how to interpret the question.
I also don't see how the home is any better equipped for schooled children to concentrate. Many children stay at school to complete homework because the home doesn't lend itself to these tasks.

Bonsoir Tue 17-Sep-13 14:33:07

I agree with wordfactory that the environment at home is different to the environment at school and that a quiet bedroom with a comfortable desk lend themselves to a type of open-ended concentration not afforded by the classroom.

Homework also allows school to modulate the amount of time DC spend acquiring a skill. Some DC do their homework in a flash because they have grasped the skill or knowledge being imparted, whereas other DC require much more time. I know that there are parents at DD's school who complain about their DC being given too much homework when really the issue is that their DC are not very quick at learning and really need the homework in order to keep up in class.

Bonsoir Tue 17-Sep-13 14:35:33

At my DSSs French lycée, essays are written on Wednesday afternoons in timed conditions. I really like this - they learn not to faff around and have endless coffee breaks.

wordfactory Tue 17-Sep-13 14:39:57

morethan learning howe to write an essay is indeed a collegiate activity.

Discussing what should go in, ditto.

Actually writing it? Absolutely not. This is a homework activity (wherever that may be). It is time consuming and requires a student to marshal their arguments away from their class mates.

spindlyspindler Tue 17-Sep-13 15:04:06

Surely an artfully arranged bedsheet over shorts and vest will always do for Greek day? smile

wordfactory Tue 17-Sep-13 15:16:14

Indeed spindly. And it will double up for Roman Day.

dementedma Tue 17-Sep-13 21:47:46

Genuinely interested in why home schoolers choose that as an option and how they do it. Do you have to pass certain criteria to ensure you can teach? Why would you want your children to be " in a class of two". How do you find the time? Presume home schoolers are SAMHS? Well, actually, you would have to be I suppose. There is no way I could so it so would love to know more about prompts people to do this.

Dilidali Tue 17-Sep-13 22:26:10

To answer the OP: I made a home timetable.
She only has one afterschool activity, on a Friday, swimming lessons at the weekend.
Decided that this year we're focusing on homework. My clear goal is to teach her how to manage her time. I'm not telling her that, but I am not that interested in the results, I want to help her find out how/what she enjoys learning, how long it takes her to 'get' something and then instil some self discipline in her.
The spelling we do with fridge magnets while I cook. Mondays, wednesdays and thursdays, when she writes them and self tests herself. Goes twice over them, max 5-10 mins.
The timetables she does every day Sunday to Thursday, I alternate days of timetable apps on the ipad with a timetable book. 10 minutes at a time.
The homework is done on Saturday mornings, no more than 30 mins, we continue is need be on Sunday and monday if she didn't finish ( some homeworks are easier than others)
Reading is every night, we don't struggle with that as she's devouring books)

I use a timer and rewards.
Hope that helps.

Notanexcitingname Tue 17-Sep-13 23:20:34

I have never contributed to a homework thread before, and I confess to not having read the past page. I do not agree that homework is a vital component of primary school learning. Fortunately, DS's school agrees. In Y3 he has reading. And one topic homework per half term, that is optional.
I am 40. I have 9 grade A GCSEs 1 grade B AS level (taken ay 16) 4 Grade A A levels(no A* in those days), a 1st Class degree and a PhD.

How much homework did I do at 7?
None. Not any. I know no-one who did homework at primary in the 70/early 80s. It doesn't seem to have produced a generation of illiterates.
Let them fucking play after school.

Bumblequeen Tue 17-Sep-13 23:52:15

I do not remember doing any homework in primary school either. I was seen as a bright child and came first/second in all tests. I recall playing out with my friends everyday after school.

I am in my late 30's.

ModeratelyObvious Wed 18-Sep-13 00:29:23

Yy flowery. We don't get back till after 1800 and ds1 needs to eat and do his reading. It's a busy tine.

ebwy Wed 18-Sep-13 04:39:57

The only homework I remember having from primary school was a weekly spelling test which took me about 15 min to learn on a Sunday night.

It didn't come as a shock in secondary school, we were all aware that we would get homework at that point and so we got on with it.

I worry about the "internet research" homework - not every family has a computer that works, not all can afford the internet. Yes, they could go to the library but bus fares cost too and if you're skint and living hand-to-mouth getting there would be impossible. I know one family had the neighbours' kids (all 4 of them) asking to use their computer every week, it got too much and in the end they were told not to ask again. No way would their parents take them to the library, it was a £5 bus journey for the parents!

clearsommespace Wed 18-Sep-13 06:00:59

I'm with Diladali, it requires planning to get it done.

I'd love to get it all out of the way asap so not hanging over us during the weekend. DCs prefer a lazy Saturday morning. So our compromise is we make a timetable every weekend, depending on what is planned.

After breakfast on Saturday, we look at what needs to be done, I let them know of any commitments and the DCs decide when they are going to do what and I make sure their plan is sensible. Eg If a sleepover is planned it all has to be done before they go. I let them know in advance when help will be on hand e.g. they can't expect me to help in the run up to meals unless it's spelling or tables.
I remind them during the weekend, eg during lunch I'll say ' remember you said you'd do your maths straight after lunch'.
It worked fine last year but we're having some 'back to school' troubles this year. Last weekend DD (8) failed to respect her timetable despite reminders and ended up with too much to do on Sunday evening. If it doesn't work out again this weekend, I'll insist she does it all on Saturday morning.
DS has started secondary school and didn't anticipate how long a particular worksheet would take so again had to come back to it on Sunday evening. I need to make him actually open the books during the planning session. This wasn't necessary with the sort of homework given in primary.

We still manage time for the sort of activities the OP mentions but we don't pack so many into one weekend. We take homework and music practice with us to GPs. They're retired teachers and are interested to see what DCs are up to at school and hearing the latest piece.

What's annoying is that they get to an age where weekends could be spontaneous again because they can eat lunch/go to bed an hour or so later but everything has to planned because of homework.

jasminerose Wed 18-Sep-13 06:49:01

I send dd to school and holiday club full time but I still read with her every night, and do spelling practice and those workbooks you get from wilkos. On top of that she also does a class on one night, and individual swimming lessons every week. I work 7 days at present but now shes in year 1 I am really pushing forward with the education.

SarahFx Wed 18-Sep-13 07:14:19

My son is in Yr 1 and although we read with him and do his spellings, we only do this 3 times max a week.

He is exhausted when he comes home so I'm not battling on every night. He's only 5 and wouldn't even be at school on some countries so I don't think it's a big thing. We will up our game next year.

Twattybollocks Wed 18-Sep-13 07:15:42

I confess I'm struggling. I have dd in y3 and dd in y4. Dd has half an hour of homework on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and it has to be handed in Thursday. Ds has the same, but 45 mins a night. They have after school clubs on Monday and Tuesday until 4.30, Wednesday is manic as ds had football 4-6 and dd has gymnastics 4.30-6. Factor in making tea, a 7mo baby and no partner and I'm pretty stretched. Then there's reading and spellings to do too. Neither of my kids is at the stage where they can be trusted to sit at the table and concentrate for even a minute unattended. I like to have them all in bed for 7.30 asleep for 8 as otherwise they are tired and grumpy the next day, and I don't get any chill out time before I collapse with exhaustion at 9.30
I think I hate homework even more than my children. Even if they could hand in Friday it would be such a huge help as I could focus on dd on Thursday and ds on Monday/Tuesday. As it is we have 3 nights of stress and rushing.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 18-Sep-13 21:46:20

Jasmine confused

Does your dd not do enough at school? Mine just played after school if they didn't have an activity, why so much homework? I am not being judgemental but interested in why a parent feels the need to push forward with education?

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