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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?

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!

LunaticFringe Mon 16-Sep-13 16:19:06

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.

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