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?

Maryann1975 Mon 16-Sep-13 10:03:07

I feel the same. We now have 2 children at primary school and have spent a lot of time doing school stuff this weekend. Spellings, reading books, homework for both and violin practise with one. The week evenings are taken up with brownies and swimming. They don't do any other extra aft school stuff, I do t know how they would fit it in without being exhausted. Ours have to read every night, it's hard to fit in. By the time we finish work and get home, have tea and bath, there is little time to fit anything else in.
Our school seems to expect year 3 to pass messages on to parents instead of doing letters. So we often hear about things on the way to school instead of the night before, meaning we don't have everything we need for the day.
So in answer, we struggle to fit in home learning too!

MrsMelons Mon 16-Sep-13 10:03:57

Ds in Y3 has a similar homework timetable, english or maths every night, spellings/tables plus reading and instrument practise (compulsory). He also does after school activities every day (martial arts x 2, football training x 2, chess) plus guitar lessons/football matches at weekends.

He will usually do it as soon as we are home in the evenings, unfortunately on one day a week that is at 8pm. The the weekend homework is done first thing Saturday morning before anything else then we he can enjoy the weekend.

To be fair to him he will just get on with it with no fuss and so far it hasn't been difficult, also the spellings/tables are ones he knows already so until he is properly settled in I will not mention this as it gives him a break.

MrsMelons Mon 16-Sep-13 10:05:21

Sorry i forgot to say, with regards to reading usually he reads a chapter a night at bedtime. We are lucky as he is a bit of a night owl however DS2 is not and I can't imagine him being awake after 8pm even in Y3 so I have no idea how we will manage then.

Dahlen Mon 16-Sep-13 10:05:29

This is, of course, the exact reason why no matter how good a school is, the home environment will have the biggest effect on how well a child does educationally.

Our school system is modelled on the basis of there being at least one family member who is around all the time to do this stuff. Increasingly that isn't the case.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 16-Sep-13 10:05:39

It's a gigantic pain in the arse, that's what it is.

I left school over 25 years ago. From that day until this, I have not used 99% of what I learned at school. Now I have to relearn such gems as how to calculate the circumference of a frigging circle, why george shot lenny, what's the spanish for can you direct me to the library and which king did what that doesn't matter at all cos it was SIX HUNDRED BLOODY YEARS AGO, in order to help my kids with their homework.

I resent it, I really do. I know that's awful blush but I spend two hours a frigging night doing pissing homework and a good chunk of weekend too.

I think the main reason I hate it so much is that it makes me feel so thick. I have never since the day I left school used any of this stuff and it dropped right out of my brain to make room for all the real life stuff I have actually needed to know in order to function as an adult in life and earn a living. Now I have to effectively go back to school and retake my bleeding gcses.

I feel really stupid. Cos it's all gone. I couldn't even figure out how to calculate the area of an ellipse. Even after googling it.

I think I need to go and breathe into a paper bag for a bit.

QueenofallIsee Mon 16-Sep-13 10:06:53

Totally sympathise- I have 4 kids, a FT job and it is a complete struggle to fit it all in..something has to give all the time. I have no magic formula to help - we run the house through our diaries which we sync on a sunday and have a print out of the week schedule by the door. We stick to it rigidly right down to the chores that everyone has to daily and are always tired and living in squalor

WorraLiberty Mon 16-Sep-13 10:08:00

When you type it all out like that, it sounds worse than it is.

I find it's easier when you plan it many minutes per day.

The spellings and times tables can be put on his bedroom wall. I found my kids learnt much easier that way.

Don't worry about the Greek thing, he'll learn from it and remember to tell you next time.

WorraLiberty Mon 16-Sep-13 10:11:41

Also, he can read to you/learn his spellings while you're stood at the sink washing up.

Haircuts won't be every weekend, shopping can be done online and if he's visiting his grandparents, he can bring his books with him.

It just takes a bit of planning really.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 16-Sep-13 10:17:04

ooer. I didn't leave school over 25 years ago. It was 23 years ago.

See. I've even forgotten basic maths. blush

mijas99 Mon 16-Sep-13 10:17:05

ImTooHecsyForYourParty - why are you doing homework?

Parents need to encourage their children, but they shouldn't be doing any of it, otherwise it's a waste of everybody's time

MrsMelons Mon 16-Sep-13 10:19:19

For us if it is English homework probably 30-45 minds depending on the task, could be less. Maths 20 mins I reckon. Reading 15 mins a night but has no really affect as at bed time. The DCs definitely have plenty of spare time also.

Worra is right, it sounds a lot written down but already we are learning after the first weekend doing homework at 7pm Sunday night so now it is Saturday mornings.

I would be a bit concerned if you need to sit with a Y3 child doing their homework with them, I read it through with him first to make sure he understands then cook tea or whatever and he will ask if he has any questions. If he couldn't do it I would not show him completely as I believe he should be getting homework to consolidate what he has already learnt so I would just send it back to school and say he didn't know how to do it.

We knew how much homework there would be when we signed up to the school so I guess it isn't such an issue to us.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 16-Sep-13 10:19:38

My children both have autism and my youngest also has adhd, they require an extremely high level of support in order to understand their homework. In order for me to be able to explain everything fully to them in a way that they can understand, I have to first know it myself. I can't go through the maths involved in calculating area if I don't know how to do it, iyswim.

I have to first know what the homework is and what the answers are before I can sit down with them and support them in their doing it.

If that makes sense.

fluffyraggies Mon 16-Sep-13 10:21:14

About the Greek thing - don't worry OP. I know you feel bad but your DS wont be the only one who's parents forgot, didn't get the info. or just didn't have the time/money to do the costume. Same with being anxious about every single piece of homework getting done to A grade and on time.

Before i worked in a school i had the idea that i was a dreadful parent as i thought i was probably among a very small percentage of parents not making the grade! I felt it was always me and probably only me who forgot stuff, couldn't afford every trip, got the timetable mixed up sometimes, found it very stressful getting all homework done on time, made costumes which were quite a bit less than wonderful every time.

After 8 years as a TA i now know 95% of the parents fall into the same category as me - ie perfectly normal grin

Relax - IMO and IME as long as we are doing our best and getting it right as parents apx. 2/3 of the time then we're winning.

arethereanyleftatall Mon 16-Sep-13 10:22:03

I agree op. My dd is 4 and has just started reception. It is far too long a day for them. She's utterly exhausted. Absolutely ridiculous. I guess our only choice us to move country!

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 16-Sep-13 10:22:30

Which makes me even more horrible for resenting it so much, I know it does. But I do. blush I have so much on already, without plugging away for two hours trying to teach a child about equations when that child would be better served with that extra time spent on independent living skills.

ilovesooty Mon 16-Sep-13 10:26:35

If they don't understand the homework when they bring it home I would say either that the homework is inappropriate or the school support is inadequate.

JeanBodel Mon 16-Sep-13 10:27:41

Admittedly my children are still in KS1, but I regularly make use of the option of 'not doing' the weekly homework task.

I am best placed to judge whether the added value of learning for my child will be worth the time and stress cost of doing the task. Frequently it is not, so we don't do it.

No doubt I shall lose this option as they go up the school, but in KS1 don't be afraid to use your own judgement.

wordfactory Mon 16-Sep-13 10:30:27

It's all about priorities OP.

You either prioritise homework over other things or you don't.

And if your entire weekends are so full that you don't have a moment to play with, frankly you're doing too much.

zoobaby Mon 16-Sep-13 10:31:40

Then there is the flipside (Grr the frickin flipside always spoils it for the reasonable folk)... Parents who would be up in arms at the school for not stimulating/challenging their kids enough.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 16-Sep-13 10:33:21

It's just their needs. They require guiding through it at home and at school. You have to walk them through it tiny bit by tiny bit. But you have to know it inside out and upside down in order to do so. Which the school do. But I don't. grin

I wasn't doing it like this until I got a ticking off from the school and a reminder of the importance of the gcse years. Before that I said look, it's their homework, if they won't do it, give them detention, if they try their best that's fine, if they can't do it, then you need to give them different work.

anyway, didn't mean to hijack! was just joining in the rant. grin

LadyInDisguise Mon 16-Sep-13 10:34:11

I would be a bit concerned if you need to sit with a Y3 child doing their homework with them

I depends what sort of homework though.
In Y3 we've had to build an anemometer. They've also had to some 'search' on the internet to find such and such answers. When you have a child that isn't a fluent reader, it is impossible for them to do it on their own.
Actually, dc2 homework this week (Y4) started with:
Please write some facts about xxx and use yyy website.
The internet address wasn't working (surprise surprise) and we had to find some other sources. No way dc2 could have done that on his own.
Then dc2 started to read said (child friendly) website but still couldn't understand some of the text (unusual words as specific subject) so still needed some help to explain etc etc.

It likes this all the time though. Homework at our school seem to be designed to 'force' parents to spend some time with their dcs doing some work/research at home.

LadyInDisguise Mon 16-Sep-13 10:39:13

The greek stuff is wrong imo.
There is no way dc2 would have told me anything at all in Y3. Actually we've had a few issues in that year because he didn't relay anything to me when he was supposed to.
I found that assuming that Y3 children, esp at the start of the year, will relay messages such as 'I need a costume for Monday' in a reliable way is way above what you can ask at that age.
Y4 much better.
Y5 that should happen automatically (even though I would still not be surprised if some messages are still not given to the parents)

MrsMelons Mon 16-Sep-13 10:41:34

Lady, ISWYM but I think I would have an issue if there was too much like that. Weekly homework fine but if it was daily homework I would expect it to be set to the childs ability as much as possible.

I would of course help my DCs but I would also speak to the school if I was having to spend the whole of their homework time helping them.

I would feel fairly cross if the school was setting homework to force us to spend time together rather than for their educational benefit as it is my job to decide what we do together.

SaucyJack Mon 16-Sep-13 10:42:31

I very rarely do any reading books/homework with them if I'm honest, tho I do tell them to go and do it if and when they whinge about being bored.

Six hours a day of formal education should be quite enough for anybody IMO.

FreckleyGirlAbroad Mon 16-Sep-13 10:53:58

This reassures me, as a Year 3 teacher with only a couple of years of experience under my belt, that my as-little-homework-as-possible rule is not far off the mark. Mine get spellings once a week and one piece of maths homework per week, both of which they get all week to complete (not given out on a Friday and expect it done for Monday).

None of my parents have ever complained they are not getting enough homework and it is expected that they are reading every night. On the one occasion I was asked for a bit more, so their dd had "something to do whilst their siblings ( in ye 2 and reception!!!!!) were doing their homework!", I just gave them a list of useful websites with some relevant resources/activities that they could use with their dd.

As they get older the workload will gradually increase but they are still only 7-8 yrs old and have plenty of time ahead for homework!!!

WorraLiberty Mon 16-Sep-13 10:57:32

I was a helicopter parent with DS1 and almost did his homework for him. I did him no favours whatsoever and his attitude to homework became really lax.

I learnt from that and I just let DS2 and DS3 totally get on with it, unless they ask for my help. As a result, the pair of them are very conscientious and never need nagging.

Mrs Google has become our very best friend because I'm fucked if I can understand half of it once they get past year 6 grin

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JsOtherHalf Mon 16-Sep-13 11:48:11

The only thing DS has to do is one reading book a week, one maths, and one literacy. I am choosing not to worry about the ' you may wish to help your child explore these topics' . He has just started Year 2; we were at the kitchen table for over 90 mins in total on Saturday morning to do the minimum. The maths one was not well explained, and I had a classmate's mother ask me how to do it.

McNewPants2013 Mon 16-Sep-13 11:49:56

DS in year 3 has more homework than my nephew who is in year 9

BlackeyedSusan Mon 16-Sep-13 11:56:35

I don't. it pisses school off imensly, but I prioritise sleep, play, ot, salt aand healthy food for ds over rerading his school book, which is not the most efficient way of fitting in his learning anyway.

dd has to do spellings, homework ot and physio. again, phyical needs trump reading books. homework gets done as she can extend it to her level, vital to keep her happy at school. spellings as they keep a list ns she would be upset if doing poorly.

Bramshott Mon 16-Sep-13 12:03:01

I really feel for you OP - I often feel the same. However, the reality is that as the kids get older, there is more stuff for them to fit in, and it is a challenge. So rather than resenting it, try to work out how it best works for your family.

We're always busy through the week and just about fit in reading in music practice (2 DDs in Y2 and Y6) so we leave all homework until the weekend. We set aside an hour after breakfast, usually on a Saturday, when both DH and I are around to answer queries etc, and the DDs sit down until it's done. With DD2 I would be quite happy to write a note explaining why the work wasn't finished if it took longer than an hour, and I don't envisage that changing once she's in Y3 next year.

topbannana Mon 16-Sep-13 12:38:31

Excessive and fanatical planning along with a little bribery is the way I do it smile
DS is 9, plays 2 instruments, attends numerous school and out of school clubs and is generally happiest when he is busy (I am exhausted even thinking about it grin)
I have a planner, we work out what needs to be done when and ensure that it is done. It may seem draconian but DS has a snack when he gets in then we chat about his day then knuckle down to work. He reads aloud, practises music and does any little jobs while I cook dinner so killing two birds with one stone. No TV/ iPad etc till he is up to date.
I have to admit though that Minecraft has been our saving grace! The promise of 30 minutes when all tasks are completed is amazing grin

My mum used to do our spelling and times tables practise in the car, might save you some time?

Homework is supposed to reinforce what has been learnt in the classroom though. If your DS is being set things that always need your help then you need to speak to the teacher.

2rebecca Mon 16-Sep-13 13:04:40

I would have sent a stroppy letter about the far too late text message about Greek day and been negative about costume days in general especially something as weird as Greek day, most Greeks just wear the same clothes we do, if it's toga day you need a written letter several weeks in advance.
I think you are unreasonable re weekends though. as kids get older they will have more homework and if there isn't time during the week it will need to be done on a weekend, so I tried to have at least half a day and preferably a full day for doing homework, just mucking about. it gaver us time to do household tasks and spend time with the kids too. Visiting umpteen relatives and friends may need to be cut back. There is no easy way with spellings, they have to take the time to learn them, and reading books need to be read.

LondonMan Mon 16-Sep-13 13:13:18

I'm a mystified (and alarmed) by all this talk of helping children with homework. It was a long time ago, but I'm fairly sure that not only did my parents not help, if they had and the teacher had found out, I would have been punished for not doing it by myself.

When did the education system change so that it was the parent's job to help with the teaching? (Or has it always been that way here? I did not grow up in the UK.)

2rebecca Mon 16-Sep-13 13:18:03

My eldest had dyslexia so he needed alot of help with spellings, and you have to listen to them read at that age to ensure they are able to read their book. I think that also young primary school children need help with being taught how to learn things like spelling and you partly learn by someone asking you "how to you spell x?" I remember my parents testing me on my spellings and times tables and I'm in my 40s. Leaving them to get on with it happens later in my experience.

LadyInDisguise Mon 16-Sep-13 13:40:08


LadyInDisguise Mon 16-Sep-13 13:44:57

London it depends a lot on the homework that is set by the teacher.
Easy exercise that goes over what had been done in class should be done by the child.
Easy homework where the child is struggling or making lots of mistakes, my dcs teachers expect me to help and feed back difficulties that might have had.
At that age, homework that involves some research on the Internet will require parental support.

I also find that dc1 who has no issue at all at school needs very little input from me. But dc2 who has some issues, needs more input.

Shanghaidiva Mon 16-Sep-13 13:56:13

My dd is in year 3 and has the following homework:
Reading every night
Spellings every week for a test on Friday
2 other pieces of work which are set on a Friday to be completed by the following Wednesday. Total 30 - 45 minutes.
This seems reasonable to me, although I didn't have any homework set until I was in year 6 but that was back in the 1970s.

MrsMelons Mon 16-Sep-13 14:01:07

Shanghaidiva - that sounds pretty reasonable. I find it very hard my son has a full piece of homework every night especially the night he is not in the house till 8pm but we manage as he would rather do the activity then his homework later that night than not do the activity at all.

I am not sure it is necessary to have so much homework but it is an independent school with long school holidays so maybe they feel it is necessary.

MrRected Mon 16-Sep-13 14:02:33

Just set a time to do the regular stuff and then get them to read before bed.

I don't get why people make such a big deal about homework. It's life. It's consolidating what they learn at school - this is important!

I don't get why people think its ok to dismiss the importance of doing your best at school - like its cool or something!

Retroformica Mon 16-Sep-13 14:03:30

Greek outfit is a sheet tied over one shoulder with random belt or string round waiste. Easy.

Agree things tend to be high demand and last min. We are rarely given proper notice.

Retroformica Mon 16-Sep-13 14:04:11

We do all our work after breakfast. 15 mins a day

passedgo Mon 16-Sep-13 14:05:39
MrsMelons Mon 16-Sep-13 14:07:41

thats fine if they only get 15 mins a day!

I do agree with MrRected although I am not sure there is a direct correlation with the outcome further down the line. My friend has told her DCs teachers she has no intention of doing homework with her children and that not to bother sending it home. Her and her DH are both teachers but they are very relaxed as the DCs are primary school age, I have no doubt that all her children will be/are very bright and will do perfectly well regardless.

HometownUnicorn Mon 16-Sep-13 14:11:48

TBH I mostly let dd1 (YR2) get on with it herself. I sit with her while she reads the task, and checks she understands. then I leave her to it. we check it once she's done.

If she gets stuff to do where she needs more parental input, then she does it at the dining table, so I can at least get dinner sorted at the same time as overseeing what goes on. I would worry slightly that if you can't get something else done (ironing, unpacking the shopping, cleaning the floors?) while supervising homework, then you've possibly crossed a line between "supporting with" and "doing for".

whenigrowupiwanttobeaunicorn Mon 16-Sep-13 14:27:17

I remember those days but I promise it does get easier. My DD13 and DD11 are now almost completely independent with homework and very rarely need any input from us anymore.
I do sympathise though, homework in KS1 and 2 is hard work for parents. I tried to see it as training them to get used to the idea of homework, and used to setting aside the time to do it so that as the amount increased it would feel gradual rather than overwhelming. A few of DD2's friends' parents chose the option not to do it during the primary years, but unfortunately those children are struggling with the increased workload now that they are at secondary school.
We used to practise tables and spellings on the walk to and from school each day, they would read to me whenever we were in the car, and I became extremely creative at making their topic based homework fit and link in with any weekend plans!

redskyatnight Mon 16-Sep-13 14:36:15

Year 3 was the worst for it here - DS had to do spelling/tables and reading to an adult every night- and these are all things that really need an adult's help (yes, he could learn spellings and tables on his own in theory, but in reality much easier with someone else about to test him).

DS's homework takes longer now he is in Y5, but he can do the majority of it independently so it doesn't seem so bad. Except for the reading every night to an adult bit which is the bane of my life (10 minutes of reading aloud x 2 children = minimum of 20 minutes - is it bad that they mostly read at me, rather than to me?)

whenigrowupiwanttobeaunicorn Mon 16-Sep-13 14:41:20

I agree Hometown - My 2 have always done theirs at the kitchen table while I make dinner, so I'm in the room but not helicoptering. I always found that if I tried to sit down with them tension would increase - much more relaxed if getting on with something else.
My 2 dance (a lot) so are out almost every evening and most of Saturday. They accept though that in order to carry on, most of Sunday has to be kept aside for homework.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Mon 16-Sep-13 15:11:26

I would never have thought toga for Greek day, I would have been thinking along the lines of some kind of Zorba the Greek national dress and thinking "where the fuck is someone supposed to source that over a weekend?!"

Tailtwister Mon 16-Sep-13 15:17:44

DS has just started P1 and gets 2 written pieces a week (letter/number/shape writing practice and colouring) which takes him about 15 minutes, a word tin (about 5 minutes) and a letter book (a couple of minutes). Even that small amount is sometimes tricky to get done and the written pieces are expected back the following day. He hasn't had anything over the weekend so far.

I'm just hoping that he will gradually move towards independent homework which he can do whilst I cook.

The problem is that some parents like a lot of homework and others don't, so the teacher never pleases everyone. The dressing up stuff is annoying though and unnecessary imo.

fedupandfifty Mon 16-Sep-13 16:10:05

I'm with Londonman on this. Not so long ago, help with homework would have been pretty much out of the question, and considered "cheating". No school would have had the audacity to dictate how a family's time should be used outside school.

We still somehow managed to drag ourselves through the system though, and in most cases we managed to turn out ok!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bababababoom Mon 16-Sep-13 22:19:27

YANBU. It's one of the main reasons my children are Home Educated. Children need time to just be children, and what the OP is talking about - days out in the fresh air, spending time together as a family, alongside some shared reading and fun will benefit them much more than time being drilled on spellings and times tables imo - they only have one childhood and it's precious.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Mon 16-Sep-13 22:30:46

I have changed my mind about this a bit in the last couple of weeks

we have just moved into a system that gives the boys 30 minutes home work a night. plus spellings and reading.

the reading is covered as we read with the boys for 20+ minutes each night anyway.

we do spellings to and from school

we have found that fitting in 30 minutes straight after school has worked well, thankfully the activities the boys do are in the evenings and not straight after school.

So we currently get home from school at 4.30 do 30 minutes homework (having had drink and snacks in the car) and by 5pm we are done.
2 nights a week the boys have activities to go to a 6 & 6.30 but we have found that the 1.5 hours of down time has been fine.
They don't do much at the weekends so we do get to go and do the NT property stuff or mooch about town.

I didn't realise how much time we wasted before. I wouldn't have allowed the boys to have more than an hours tv each day anyway so they are not missing that and they don't play computer games except for an hour on saturday and an hour on sunday.

For us it is working.. but I appreciate it isn't for everyone.

dementedma Mon 16-Sep-13 22:33:59

Move to Scotland. Ds started secondary 4 weeks ago and has had to learn 14 French words, write a history timeline, and produce pictures showing symmetry. That is it in total. He has also had 3 days out of class doing "bushcraft" and messing about in rivers.
He's hardly being pushed along!

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Mon 16-Sep-13 22:37:22

Agree that schools can go way OTT. A balance must be struck between a bit of primary school homework and actually having time to enjoy family life.

farewellfarewell Mon 16-Sep-13 22:46:55

Does anyone have any info re homework/none and outcomes for children? I am beginning to feel it is a waste of time. Would they be worse off without it is what I'm asking in a ham-fisted way.
I'm a teacher. Over the years and having had my own dc I have totally revised my thinking on this. I was horrified when the first school I worked in proposed stopping all homework and voted against.

chocolatecrispies Mon 16-Sep-13 23:08:51

Farewellfarewell all the articles I have ever read have said homework is pointless and does not contribute to learning at least at primary level, it mainly exists to keep parents happy.

HicDraconis Mon 16-Sep-13 23:22:36

We fit ours in by not sending them to school smile home learning happens from when they wake up to when they go to bed at night. In fits and starts rather than constantly, when they are ready for it (normally way before school would tackle subjects) as opposed to when the class is ready.

Outside in all weathers, inside if we prefer. We stay up till dark on clear nights for physics / astronomy and learn about constellations, planetary movements, superstitions/fables, how light travels ... and then they sleep in the next day if needed.

Am with bababoom on this. They still do the extra curricular / group stuff (karate, swim club, scouts), they do lots of organised activities throughout the year with other homeschooled children. But they're in a class of 2 the rest of the time.

Their manners, tempers, moods, energy levels, general happiness has improved so much since we took them out of formal education. Home life is far easier too. I get to spend my time after work with enthusiastic engaged boys rather than sulky "do we have to?" boys. There are still times when they have to do things they don't want to, but now they accept that sometimes that's how it goes and they don't sulk/complain, they just get on and do.

(Mine are 5&7)

morethanpotatoprints Mon 16-Sep-13 23:36:23


Neither of my older dc did much homework, I certainly didn't force them and refused to sign the home school agreement.
They had book shelves full of books and cgp study books that they could read/study if they wanted to.
Homework imo is only useful to reinforce learning that has already taken place, as a type of revision aid too.
Endless lists of spellings have been proven, so I read on here and elsewhere to be ineffective. A week after a test they don't necessarily remember them.
Many of you sound like you are doing the same type of thing I do and my dd is H.ed, your dc have school on top of this.
I'm not saying take my word for it, and I'm certainly no expert, although I do have a PgCE. If you think your dc would benefit from spending their time not doing homework, look at some research. I know I would, they are a long time at school.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 16-Sep-13 23:41:08


I didn't see your post, we left to save time too.
My dd wanted to spend time practising music, she lives for it.
The freedom is unbelievable and a year on we still pinch ourselves to see if its real.
I know its not for everybody though, but works a treat for us.

Bumblequeen Tue 17-Sep-13 08:19:28

OP your weekends sound very busy. Can you not reduce the number of activities you do?

Dd has started school and I have no plans to send her to ballet/drama class for now. I do not want to overload her.

Dh and I both work ft but I will go on ML later this year which means I will have more time with dd.

At present, dd's evenings are structured. Every evening I look in her school bag, sign any forms and work through activity books. We read to her each night.

It is far more effort than when dc attend nursery/pre school - homework, parents evening, events not to mention the paperwork.

SkinnybitchWannabe Tue 17-Sep-13 08:33:50

Thats way too much homework for a yr3 child.
My youngest two boys aged 10 and 8 only get reading books during the week then maths and english at the weekend.
I have never approved of homework at all at that age.
After school and weekends should be their time to relax and God Forbid play.

Bumblequeen Tue 17-Sep-13 08:37:22

Hicdragonic I know a few people who home school. I would consider it myself if I could
afford to stay at home.

Taz1212 Tue 17-Sep-13 08:47:35

DD(8) gets a small amount of homework- maybe 20 minutes a night. DS(11) gets quite a lot. Both do lots of out of school activities and with DS especially we have to plan it out in manageable chunks- e.g. on Mondays he gets home from school at 4:50, has 20 minutes to grab a snack and get changed before swimming, goes off to swimming, gets home, has dinner and can't start homework until 7:45 and then bed is an hour later!

It does help that we don't allow TV or gaming during the week and that both kids are generally quite happy to do their homework. I always had tons of homework as a child and a very very busy out of school schedule so it does feel "normal" to me.

flowery Tue 17-Sep-13 08:58:47

I don't know how people do it when they use an after school club or other childcare after school tbh.

I pick DS1 who is in year 2 up from school 4 days a week. He has reading, mathletics and two sets of instrument practice to do each evening, plus French homework once a week and weekend homework every week.

We have a set routine when we get home which is about 3.45 once we've picked up DS2 from nursery. With a set routine he gets it all done no problem, but if he was getting home at, say, 5.30 or later as I know some children do, and then needed feeding as well, it would be challenging to say the least.

lljkk Tue 17-Sep-13 08:59:35

DS is y5 & we still hold his hand to cajole him thru homework.
It's either that or it won't get done. (shrug) He now has to get it done on weekdays which is a pain, because we have so much more free-enough time at weekends, and DS will only get it done with all distractions removed (like other people except for the dedicated parent).

I don't think a packed weekend is the same as a child having "time to themselves". confused I can't imagine having kids who are energetic enough for weekends like OP describes. Or income. I can't afford festivals-parties-NT visits-events-staying-out-late-swimming-haircuts-shopping-family/social visits to fill my weekends. I would get exhausted, and the housework would never get done either.

passedgo Tue 17-Sep-13 09:09:13

The pressure that children and parents are under because of all of this is absurd. I was around when we did no homework until yr 6. When the oldest started doing homework it was voluntary, just a nice thong to do if you can. Most teachers I spoke to said that the parents expect it so that's largely why they set homework. Later a new breed of parents evolved, that put were competetive for theur children, feared they would get left behind in the global race for supreme intelligence. And feared their little Johnny would lose his place at Oxford to some other little Johnny. Schools soon worked out that homework is a good way to up their reputation and their Ofsted.

In the space of ten years we have gone from a normal primary school day, to a day where each child has only around an hour free time an evening. My sympathies to those of you with three or more.

I wouldn't mind if this was a planned strategy based on solid research but it isn't. It is simply a fever that has gripped parents and schools just give them what they want. 6.5 hours learning is enough for anyone in one day.

MadeOfStarDust Tue 17-Sep-13 09:21:54

How are you going to manage when they go to secondary school???

Ours have about 30-45 min every night and a project for at least 5 subjects every half term + reading + book covering + collecting info for all sorts of subjects.

But we got into the habit at Primary, so it's easy now... get up 30 min earlier than you have to, get ready, eat breakfast - bulk of homework gets done then before school. Whilst I/hubby cook tea they get on with any other homework. After tea, piano practise or swimming.

Go to Gran's on Sunday and they do homework/project work in the afternoon lull... They have bed lights so they can do any reading that's required before lights out. We also alternate - so one night they read to us at bedtime, one night one of us reads to them...

Get into a routine that works for you early on..... it pays dividends later...

mummytime Tue 17-Sep-13 09:54:37

MadeofStarDust - one of the top Girls schools in the country told me last week they only set a maximium of 1 hour homework a night, and none in holidays (or summer term, just revision). Since they reduced homework their results went up even higher, and the girls are less stressed.
Children do not need shed loads of homework.

At primary my DC get reading 3 times a week, and little else (spellings but my youngest hasn't learnt those at home for years now).

LadyInDisguise Tue 17-Sep-13 11:08:56

flowery my dcs go to after school club 4 days a week.
We do reading in the morning, no homework at all in the evening, only during the weekend.
Dcs are going swimming and tennis later on the evening so they have time to at before going out again.
If there was more homework or daily homework, they wouldn't be able to do any activities ding the week. And yes that would include racy icing an instrument.
Unfortunately, working also means that your dcs will miss out on some out if school activities.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 17-Sep-13 11:18:40


Even at secondary though it shouldn't be essential to have lots of homework. They go to school to learn and shouldn't have to do much at home. If it isn't a quick recap or revision, the school aren't doing their job properly.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 17-Sep-13 11:28:47

those saying that they never had any help with homework from parents - could it be that you are remembering your secondary school homework experience?

I think people tend to forget what it was like at primary, especially in the early years. I also think that there was much less homework given out in primary when we were all at school, so a non issue until late primary/secondary.

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


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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