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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?

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.

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