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To be weary of homework which involves parental input

(111 Posts)
SilverBellsandCockleShells Thu 10-Jan-13 12:55:50

My son is eight. He's in year 4. I've just received his homework schedule for the term. It includes things like 'cook a simple meal', 'make a model of x', 'design a pattern using rice, etc', 'research xyz on the internet'. Things that, although I like to consider he's a bright child, there is absolutely no way he can achieve without parental input.

Don't get me wrong. I know that we as parents play a role in his education too and we educate him in all sorts of ways outside school. But projects which involve children of this age producing models, etc. invariably end up completed by the parents. There are two options, either you give the child the materials, sit back, watch him make a mess of it, pat him on the back and resign yourself to another low mark, or you get stuck in, 'help' and produce something which may get a better mark but isn't actually his work.

AIBU to think that it is unfair to expect parental input on this level? That the arts and crafts should remain in the classroom and homework, if assigned at all, should be something which requires parental supervision to ensure it is done, but no actual parental input? Or am I being a great big meanie who resents the fact that she is actually a bit pants at crafts and can't hope to produce results like the alpha mummies who spend hours doing their children's homework while they are at school!

SunflowersSmile Thu 10-Jan-13 13:28:55

At least parent was honest IWishIWas SheRa!!

ledkr Thu 10-Jan-13 13:30:56

Yanbu I feel the same.
Dd is yr 6 and our loves are blighted by homework.
There are three classes in her yr group and we seem to have the teacher who send home stuff the other classes are doing at school.
Any topic work is sent home. I work part time do not home till 6 on 3 days. Dh works lots if lates meaning I'm doing bedtime meals bath etc on my own and have a baby. Dd also does activities 2 days.
I wish I could be more like hec but dd struggles academically so needs the support and a bomb up her backside to get on with it.
High school next year so can only get worse.

WillSucceed Thu 10-Jan-13 13:32:15

I think the reason for these parent and child homework is to force the parents to do something with their child and talk to them.

My child, also in Y4, has had some reading to do this Christmas. 120 pages to be read by a parent whilst the child listen....
Some parents ended up reading for half an hour everyday with their dc a book that no one enjoyed (parents and children) even though said children had received some interesting books from Santa but couldn't read them/have them read to them because all the time was used up by 'homework reading'...

Sparklingbrook Thu 10-Jan-13 13:37:27

Oooh my favourite subject. Crappy school projects involving faff and trips to Hobbycraft and glue all over the dining table. Then the thing comes home again to gather dust. angry

TotallyBS Thu 10-Jan-13 13:37:32

grin at all the YANBU votes.

I like doing homework with my kids so I don't see what the big deal it.

HecatePropolos Thu 10-Jan-13 13:38:06

force the parent to do something with the child? sad

If that really is the case, that is so sad.

led - my kids both have autism. They struggle LOADS. I still won't do it for them. I'm not helping them if I do. The teachers need to see how much they can't do by themselves. Like I say, I sit with them. support - yes. encourage - yes. Do it? - hell no. grin

and sometimes they simply refuse to do it. I say to them look, I am not going to make you do your homework if you don't want to. But I will tell the school that you refused to do it and you will take the consequences.

if they can't do it - I will defend them. I won't do it but I will flag up to the school that they couldn't.

If they won't do it - I expect them to be treated just like any other child (in their school that means detention)

but there's no way I will sit and guide them to the correct answers. That isn't helping them at all.

I just don't want you to think I don't do anything at all in support of them grin

YorkshireDeb Thu 10-Jan-13 13:39:08

Wow - this thread is very interesting reading. I'm a teacher & I'll let you into a secret - we hate homework too! I think this type of project based homework was born from years of parents complaining that their children don't know how to do the homework (I know some little angels claim they've never seen the work before in their life & the teacher didn't explain). They say they don't understand our new methods & are unable to help children when they get stuck & many have battles with children who find it hard to understand why they have to do school work at home. Can I do a quick survey, for future reference about the type of homework you like your child doing? I've set discussion topics, sent home games to play & asked children to teach (mainly calculation methods) to their parents. Or failing any ideas for good suggestions, can we ask the world's best education minister (!) Michael Gove if we can just give kids a break on evenings & weekends? X

SilverBellsandCockleShells Thu 10-Jan-13 13:39:23

Phew, I thought I might get roasted for not giving him appropriate support. Good to know I am not the only one ... now, what to do about it!

Would be interesting to hear from teachers what they expect in the way of input!

atthewelles Thu 10-Jan-13 13:41:16

YANBU. Asking kids to cook a simple meal??? Why don't they tell them to spend some time dusting or hoovering or washing dishes. Now that would be useful.

YorkshireDeb Thu 10-Jan-13 13:42:04

See above silverbellsandcockleshells. X

JollyToddles Thu 10-Jan-13 13:42:37

I had a falling out with my teacher When I was 8. She had to pick the best spider's web. The teacher said mine was the best but she couldn't pick it as it had obviously been made by my mum. I had made it myself.

The teacher picked A's. A confessed to me that her mother had made it.

I am still bitter. Teachers should give age appropriate homework so parents don't need to complete it for their children.

YorkshireDeb Thu 10-Jan-13 13:44:47

Ps in terms of input hecatepropolus has it spot on. I'd much rather work was sent back not done with a note that it was too hard for the child than completed by the parent. Absolutely no point in that. X

chocoluvva Thu 10-Jan-13 13:45:26

What sort of control freak is your DC's teacher, OP?!!!!!!

"design a pattern using rice" --aaaagggggh!

Design? A pattern?

How irritating - the only excuse for making this sort of activity compulsory is that the primary curriculum is overloaded.

Does design mean - draw a picture or shape then see if you can replicate it by gluing rice onto card? The instructions aren't even clear!

My house if full to bursting with books - DH and I value education for its own sake. We do the "teachers have a difficult job"-line to the children - be respectful, co-operative etc, but faffy homework - a step too far.

chocoluvva Thu 10-Jan-13 13:50:53

The big deal, TotallyBS is being told what to do in your spare time. It's unfair to use your position of authority to intrude into free time/family time.

I used to love reading and doing crafts with my DCs too - when we chose to.

CailinDana Thu 10-Jan-13 13:53:28

YANBU, and I say that as a former teacher. Homework is a major pain in the arse.

The setup in Ireland makes far more sense I think - after each lesson in the day the teacher assigns a small exercise, like writing three sentences, that reinforces what was done in that lesson, and the whole class goes through it the next day. This bollocks about setting weekly homework that is often tenuously related to the daily activities, which is then marked by the teacher with no input from the pupils is totally and utterly pointless IMO. I just can't see why it's done. And expecting huge projects from primary school children really isn't fair, they work hard enough during the day, just an hour of small exercises (for Y2 and above) is more than enough IMO.

Oh and parents complaining they can't help makes no sense - if I got that complaint in Ireland I said "Don't help, if the child can't do it, write that down, that's very valuable information for me. I don't want to see your work, I want to see what the child can do." Of course if the parent can actually teach a child the methods, and bring them up to speed on an area they're struggling with, fantastic, but a parent actually stepping in and doing the homework is just ridiculous - what on earth is the point?

RudolphiaRedNose Thu 10-Jan-13 13:53:33

This REALLY annoys me. I think reading a reading scheme book every evening at home is fine, but beyond that it's bloody time-consuming and there are plenty of studies that show homework at primary is not helpful at all, sometimes the opposite. In fact there are various campaigns against it.

Children of primary age need rest and recreation, playing, chatting to family and yes even blobbing in front of the telly when they get in, knackered and with their brains full of new stuff. How are you meant to find time for homework on a weekday evening, especially if you work and get in late, have more than one DC, want to fit in a family meal (which we are supposed to cook from scratch and eat around the table of course), bath and bedtime? We can't fit all DS's homework in and we only have one DC of school age and no clubs or after school activities ATM.

Luckily our school and teachers have a sensible attitude and we just write on it "wasn't time for this bit" and send it back.

Older kids run their own schedules and go to bed later - it makes sense to learn to manage your own time at that point - not at age 5!

juniper904 Thu 10-Jan-13 13:56:57

A lot of the parents in my school complained that the homework didn't involve enough parental input. From my experience, there's no system that pleases everyone.

If it were up to me, I'd ban the whole lot. There's no evidence to show that homework improves learning. And it's a bugger to mark.

Mumsyblouse Thu 10-Jan-13 13:57:02

Yorkshire Deb depends on the class, but IMO, reading homework (e.g. 20 min a night) is just fine for little ones, older ones can complete a self-explanatory piece of work (writing/maths) if they absolutely have to and of course, the trusty times tables. If you really spent 30 min with them reading to you, even older ones who benefit enormously from reading aloud even if fluent, plus doing a bit of maths/rote learning not appropriate for the classroom this would be more than satisfactory.

All discussions, games, please no. The parents who interact with their children continue to do so when school stops and those who are poorly parenting don't suddenly get better when confronted with making a game at home (as a classroom activity, this is brilliant though).

I do resent helping make making a Greek temple when my 9 year old doesn't know her times tables.

RudolphiaRedNose Thu 10-Jan-13 13:57:06

The reason why it happens, as far as I can gather, is because deluded pushy parents demand it. If their child isn't sent home with lots of homework, they feel they aren't being pushed enough and complain.

atthewelles Thu 10-Jan-13 13:57:13

You might like doing homework with the children TotallyBS but some parents are struggling with full time jobs, younger children/new babies, older children needing to be brought to various activities and it is up to them to decide if they want to sit down for ages with their child and become very involved with the homework not up to the teacher.

ledkr Thu 10-Jan-13 13:57:35

If we did it all we would have.
Read for twenty mins per day then write it in a journal.
Once a week do a piece on the book.
Maths homework twice a week.
Spellings to learn for test on Fridays.
Spelling homework once a week. Useful stuff like making up rhymes for difficult spellings.
Dh desperately needs to know her tables so I am also helping her with that too.
We had a fair bit given over Xmas. I sent it back with a note explaining that we like to relax at Xmas and see family who live away and also dh and I were working over Xmas and needed to prioritise family time over homework.
hec good for you. Dd is at fairly academic school purely due to catchment area and struggles quite a bit. Main problems are confidence and motivation but I am going to try and set up then back off from now on.
You are right they should be helping her not passing it back to me.

SilverBellsandCockleShells Thu 10-Jan-13 14:00:41

YorkshireDeb - thanks for your input! I'd say in an ideal world, homework wouuld be some kind of worksheet or exercise. Maximum half an hours work and something they can work through at their own pace and ask mum/dad for clarification if necessary, probably to reinforce what they've done in class.

hedwig2001 Thu 10-Jan-13 14:01:17

To those dreading High School homework, the news is good.
I used to spend hours supporting DS with nebulous homework topics such as "show what you know about (insert random subject)". He found the lack of direction really tough.
He is now in Yr7. Although he has alot more homework, it is much more structured and directed.
Soo, much better!

ll31 Thu 10-Jan-13 14:02:13

Seems completely diff in rep of ireland, where homework is given in primary mon to thurs but it's more traditional ie sums, reading, writing, learning tables or whatever. . Obv none to v little for 1st 3 yrs and more thereafter, but thankfully none of the 'parents have to do it' type, least in my experience and in ds sxhool!

bigbuttons Thu 10-Jan-13 14:05:28

I bloody hate it. I have 6 kids' homework to wrestle with as well as the reading AND re -teaching them stuff that they haven't been taught well enough in class in the first place. A load of shite. And I'm a ( returning) teacher.

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