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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?

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

LunaticFringe Mon 16-Sep-13 11:06:31

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

QuickQuickSloe Mon 16-Sep-13 12:50:50

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

Read this it may make you feel better:

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.

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