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AIBU to let my secondary school (yr 7)child do his homework, Badly, by Himself. Warts and all.

(94 Posts)
swanriver Thu 13-Oct-11 22:54:46

I've tried helping. It helps. He understands better what he has to do. He has developed confidence in his ability to write Good Stuff. He has worked out how to draw, how to budget, how to research, how to present projects. He has a better grasp of some topics than he otherwise might have had.

But, I can't go on helping him. Can I?

We've just finished budgeting a trip for Maths homework. I had to make him rewrite some of it as it was such a mess. I knew teacher would make comment "untidy work" , and he would shrug and think..I don't care, I can't do what they want...

Perhaps I should have just let him hand it in..

Would teachers give a child enough individual attention to actually turn their work around (rather than just grade his work), if I don't pay attention to it? Is it my responsibility to motivate him or the teachers?

lechildrenofthecornsilk Thu 13-Oct-11 22:56:29

I think it's a shared responsibility...I think you did the right thing.

swanriver Thu 13-Oct-11 22:59:08

I forgot to add how seriously stressful "helping" him is hmm and how time consuming this is all getting...

ScarahStratton Thu 13-Oct-11 23:00:07

In the Stratton household homework is done in the kitchen. I cook dinner and am on hand to offer encouragement, guidance and help if they are genuinely stuck.

I only help if they are struggling and do not understand something. I don't help with content, or anything like that.

eg, tonight DD2 was doing maths homework, she had forgotten the exact methodology for doing it, so I sat down and went over it with her. I didn't do any of the actual homework, just pointed her back in the right direction.

Teachers need to be able to assess how much your child has understood, they can't do that if you are 'helping'.

snailoon Thu 13-Oct-11 23:02:02

I do colouring in.

My son won't listen to any of my wise advice.

SugarSkyHigh Thu 13-Oct-11 23:02:30

Depends what kind of school he is at! Really the teachers should motivate him, with reinforcement from you at home. In the past I have let my DD's hand in appalling h/w in order for them to get a telling off for it and then hopefully pull themselves together as a result and try harder next time. I do think it is very important for children to be able to self-motivate. Also, year 7 is very much a "settling in" sort of year. IMO they have adapted to secondary school in Yr 7, behaved very badly in Yr 8, and pulled themselves together during Yr9. Oldest DD is now in Yr 10 and working conscientiously towards her GCSEs and should do well. she did virtually no H/W in Yr 7 and was a complete nightmare - more concerned with selling sweets for profit at school than anything else. is this DS your oldest?

bunny3 Thu 13-Oct-11 23:05:32

Dh thinks I give ds (y7) too much help with homework but if I dont help he gets nothing at all done! I would rather help him understand the task, formulate his ideas and plan his answers so he at least has something to hand in. His organisaton is chaotic and he is very easily distracted. I hope as he matures he will become more self-reliant and need less from me. Dh thinks I should let ds work things out on his own so the school can get a clear picture of his abilities. I just cant help myself getting involved though.

swanriver Thu 13-Oct-11 23:11:17

yes. I pay v little attention to his two younger siblings wink and never check their homework for fear of combusting.

I don't interfere in his straightforward homework, the science questions, the maths exercises, the language sentences, the English.

It is just these wretched extended projects and design related things. It's as if he doesn't know where to start.

Possibly because he's not self motivated/confident through not being left to do it, as you say Sugar...

Still, It is a bit like giving a child a saucepan some ingredients and saying to them: Here, make some eclairs.

ilovesooty Thu 13-Oct-11 23:12:48

I think homework should be the child's own work as much as reasonably possible: teachers can hardly evaluate understanding if it isn't.

swanriver Thu 13-Oct-11 23:15:10

bunny I suspect that's part of it..just not wanting to prolong the agony of homework. It takes so long when they are going round in circles saying I don't know what to write or I can't draw or even worse...I'm too tired and I can't do it at all shock

I wonder if I could just have a pact with teacher where I say, Right this week, the standard of ds's homework will considerably drop, but it is an essential part of him learning to do it himself, and please please don't give him a detention or tell him off for being sloppy...just let him do it HIMSELF without fear..

minimisschief Fri 14-Oct-11 00:58:46

i do not think a secondary school child needs any help with homework. He will know how to do the work because he will have learnt it that day in class. if he doesn't get something right then the teacher will tell him.

What does you helping him achieve?

IHeartKingThistle Fri 14-Oct-11 01:11:00

There's helping a child do THEIR best (which is great) and there's helping them to produce something that otherwise would be beyond them, which won't do them any favours in the long run. I would much rather mark a student's genuine best effort - it's the only way I'll know how best to teach them.

I have had parents contact me in the past to let me know that their child spends a huge amount of time and effort on homework but really struggles with it. I found that really useful because I didn't then totally demoralise that child by giving them the homework back to do again because I'd presumed the problem was lack of effort.

Sorry for rambling sentences; I really should be in bed!

GoreSplattersHouse Fri 14-Oct-11 01:14:38

My son (year 7) struggles with homework. I have tried, and failed, to help him over the las few years. He is Dysgaphic and struggles with writing, gets frustrated, and angry. Tonight I had a great meeting with his school, he can go to an after-school homework help. Does your school have anything like that? He is terrified of getting a detention but I can't face the rows to try to help him anymore. The school offers help 3 days a week as a drop-in service, he stays after school, only when he needs to, and the staff help him to get the homework done. Have you asked for help from the Form tutor, they may be able to point your son in the direction of the help he may need. It ha taked the stress off me, may be worth asking.

startail Fri 14-Oct-11 01:17:39

DD1 is dyslexic so I proof read and correct spellings and between us we sort out the complete nonsense generated by her speech recognition software. I prod when I think she's been completely lazy and not done anything like enough. Sometimes I google stuff for her because she finds reading reams of stuff to find the relevant bit very hard going. Almost always it is history that needs sorting.
Maths and science we might talk about, but she does them no trouble.
DD2 writes and spells better than I do and primary don't give much homework.
I can't do this weeks, top group Y6 spellingsblush

Sibble Fri 14-Oct-11 01:27:51

I relate to how stressful it is and the balance between helping them so much it isn't their work at the end of the day and letting them struggle worrying that they are not learning.

I spoke with the form tutor as well. Ds1 was spending hours on homework rather than the 20 mins they had said it should take. They said to limit it to the 20 mins it should take so they know his capabilities. I just have to sign that 'ds1 took 20 mins on this piece of homework' if it's unfinished or 'ds1 did not know how to do this' if he really can't do it (where possible I help e.g. basic maths but the science he is learning is beyond me already!).

When it comes to projects he completes it and I read it and help him if needed which usually means saying 'OK let's read the question again, do you think you have answered all of it, which bits are not answered, what do you think you need to write, where can you get that info and where are you going to put it in the project etc...' I don't give him the answers, he has to find them himself. At the end of which I pour a glass of wine and he strops off having made (usually some of ) the changes grin. I don't comment on messy writing, presentation, etc as he won't re-do it. The last time I did, he said he thought it was fine and got stroppy but was upset when the teacher marked him down for presentation. I think that was a better learning curve than me nagging. He tries harder now.

Bewilderedmum Fri 14-Oct-11 01:51:39

My oldest is in Yr 9 now. In year 7, he did need some help with prompting, organising, a general overview etc. (But he is quite bewildered) Year seven was quite hard for him - it's a big jump from primary school - they also seemed to gets loads of homework. It was very much a settling in sort of year.

I didn't help him much with the content per se, unless there was something he wanted to ask me, or to help him source stuff - sometimes I might clarify things for him, but largely, I let him get on with it (along with the prompting, helping him organise etc) they need to make their own academic mistakes at this level - I would say - keep an eye on the feedback he is getting and work from there. At this stage, I would say they need help to organise and prioritise, but the content should be left to them. It used to make my teeth itch sometimes - and owt I suggested in terms of content was met with "You don't understaaand!!" and sometimes even tears.

Yes tears. they have a lot to deal with at this stage. Don't underestimate how fragile they can be, and how at this stage any help can be construed as criticism/ a comment on their worth/how you can't understand etc...

Year 8 was a different kettle of fish - he was settled, he got less homework, as they eased off a bit, I found him voluntarily looking through his planner, and getting on with it himself quite successfully,so it was just a discrete eye.

Now he's year nine, and beginning the GCSE course for a few subjects. I largely let him get on with it, with a nominal look at his planner occasionally, to check things are up to date. I still have to point out to him sometimes that although this is due in on friday, he has judo on weds, dads house on thurs, to help him prioritise, but tbh, he gets it done - and I don't have to stand over him...

As far as content goes... it sounds like you are giving him some skills - like project presentation etc. Motivation is a different thing, and can be clouded by fear of failure etc

It has to be said - ds1's motivation in yr 7, was largely not getting a detention for not getting the work done - het met the lowest common denominator for a while, whilst he got to grips with it - in yr 8, he started to enjoy it, then now, yr 9, he is actually motivated to get the work done and almost enjoys it too ..

Courage mes braves...

manicbmc Fri 14-Oct-11 08:28:53

Helping with a bit of organisation is one thing. A bit of prompting to get on with it is all fine but he should be doing his own work and judging for himself if it's at an acceptable level or not and then learn to take the consequences if it's not done well enough.

spiderpig8 Fri 14-Oct-11 09:04:02

If they are really stuck, and ask for help then i would try to point them in the right direction but might add a note .
.But generally speaking I don't get involved because the whole point is that it is supposed to be teaching them to work INDEPENDENTLY.The boarders don't get help with their prep, so I guess that's what the school intends.What is the point of the teacher getting the homework back and thinking all the class understand the topic when in fact it's only the parents who do?!!!

swanriver Fri 14-Oct-11 09:21:16

thanks, everyone,
Thistle that's very helpful too
I suppose what makes life difficult is that all info is mostly on internet, and patchy in its value, compared to a proper textbook or information book on same subject.
Library books require some sort of adult intervention, as I have never yet found a teacher that suggested a child found a relevant book from the school library angry
If only they had textbooks!!! Then we could leave them to it.

Anyway I feel better in that at least I'm leaving him to do 3/4 of his homework by himself, badly...grin

mumofbumblebea Fri 14-Oct-11 09:22:07

as a teacher (primary tho not secondary) i ultimately want to see what the kids can do. if a parent wants to help their child to help them get it right then great but i would prefer it if they put a note on the bottom such as "x struggled a lot with this" then i know i need to go over it again. if a child hands their homework in and it's wrong then thats equally fine. i personally think if a child can easily do homework within 15 mins then it is too easy and they are not getting anything out of it, which defeats the point. if your son is really struggling, i would let him hand it in as it is and write a note with your son saying that he found it difficult and could use some help. if your son gets told off for not doing very well, then i would complain. if i'm handed in a piece of homework which has loads of crossings and rubbings on it then at least i know they have really tried, writing "untidy work" on a child's work is classed as bad form now, marking should focus and the learning objective.

p.s. ignore the naughty teacher mistakes in the post, i'm off duty atm smile

angelinterceptor Fri 14-Oct-11 09:24:00

SwanRiver i think your DS and mine sound very similar.

My DS struggles with the project type homeworks - just stares at the pages, doesn't know where to start and also leaves it all the the last night to complete, and then we don't have everything here to finish it properly.

Last week he didnt know a homework had to be handed in - and just gave the b+w copy he had in his folder. But it should have been in colour, for extra presentation marks. The next day he handed in the colour one and the teacher said "hard luck, you are too late". He says she never gave a handing in date - I imagine he never listened or wrote it down.

He is really good at getting all his books ready, and sorting our his bags and sports kit every night before school, he is also learning well to budget his money for buying lunches etc - so this is all good skills too IMO

He loves Latin and Maths and Science - so will need no help from me there; but struggling already with history, geography and english - which i will no help with anyway.

Its a difficult part of our day too - we do homeworks in the kitchen - but DD is always annoying him and they are both easily distracted and seem to spend all their time sharpening pencils!

angelinterceptor Fri 14-Oct-11 09:26:54

mumofbumblebea my DD age 8 and DS age 11 have both had untidy work written on their homework this year , along with sarky comments about using a pencil if they can't manage the pen properly!

NotMostPeople Fri 14-Oct-11 09:28:49

Not unreasonable to let him hand it in warts and all, but I would help as much as you do. He has to learn to take full responsibility for his work, it's one of the things that they have to get to grips with in year 7. The school need to see how well he has grasped the subject and how he works alone without teaching support. If you are sitting down with him getting him to re write parts even if it's just down to presentation you are either not properly representing his ability to work alone or not teaching him how to work alone - or both.

My dd1 in year 8 is helped by me in that I - ensure she does her homework and that it's handed in on time. On the odd occasion she gets in a flap and says she doesn't understand it, I'll calm her down and help her to work out what is being asked, but if that happened regularly I'd tell her to explain she didn't understand.

I honestly don't understand why parents get so involved in their dc's homework.

Btw I'm fairly convinced that most schools set tons of homework for the first term or so of year 7 to get the children into a new routine of harder work and then it calms down as they go through the year. DD was doing two hours a day at the beginning of year 7 and now it's more like 45 mins in year 8.

fourkids Fri 14-Oct-11 09:31:06

Homework is for DCs (not parents) to do, primarily on their own. Though I see no reason why you shouldn't step in and explain something if necessary - as long as the DC does it unaided in the end - otherwise how will the teacher know whether or not he understands?

IMO this is true of all homework, at all ages. It is for DCs to consolidate learning and demonstrate to the teacher what they do or don't know. Neither of which is achieved if the parent does it or 'helps' considerably (though fwiw I heartily disapprove of primary school homework angry.

But at secondary school, this is even more important. Teachers absolutely must know what they haven't grasped so they can prepare them for GCSEs, and DCs absolutely must learn to work off their own bat - they no longer bring GCSE coursework home so that parents can do it!

angelinterceptor Fri 14-Oct-11 09:34:23

I hope you're right all those people who are saying they are piling it all hard on them for the first term/year at grammer school.

My DS is more than capable, but it just takes soooo long to complete it all

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