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Help with homework? What's reasonable?

(6 Posts)
Stilltrue Thu 10-Mar-05 18:23:18

A query on behalf of a friend who's not on the internet atm:
she has boys of 8 and 10, and a part time Italian nanny (experienced but not formally qualified) who has been with them for about 4-5 years. My friend works longish and sometimes erratic hours as a hospital doctor. Often she is out in the evenings for work related reasons. Her nanny(B) comes in at 4-5pm and helps with the boys' activities, meals etc, and more recently, helps with their homework. As she is somehat underemployed and well paid (my friend does am and pm school runs)she is keen to do this, but my friend's dilemma is that her help is often counter productive due to B's very confident manner not really being matched by her English language skills and overall level of intelligence and understanding. My friend has spent years building up her career again after 2 extended mat breaks, and is now at a busy stage professionally. She feels in her heart that the homework supervision should be a parent's job, but atm she just doesn't have the time to do it, on the several evenings when she comes in so late. If anything, her dp is even busier and less available for this. She feels torn; B is very loyal, though I'm told not perfect, when compared with some troublesome nannies in the past. She is wondering about her choices:
1-grin and bear it;ie "unhelpful help" or just no supervision at all of the boys' work.
2-redeploy B onto more domestic duties for the duration of her afternoon/evening "shift"( B is now busy during the day, at a college I think trying to get some qualifications of some sort). Anyway my friend already has a cleaner some mornings.
3-Get a native speaking afternoon nanny, perhaps from a local nursery school, to supervise.
Obviously this would be combined with option 2.

This is a real ramble but can any of you busy working mums of school age children help? I'm a sahm myself, so I just don't have experience of this issue, but I want to help my friend since she has asked for advice!

I haven't given her any advice yet; I think fwiw that getting a native English speaker is no guarantee of an improvement on the homework front- think of all those apostophe threads! Also B is likely to get p** off and offended at somebody being brought in over her head, as it were.
Any bright ideas anyone?

ssd Thu 10-Mar-05 19:49:52

Can't the mum supervise the homework in the morning?

tigermoth Thu 10-Mar-05 21:21:03

hmm, difficult, as you say.

Exactly how much homework do her boys get? My 10 year old, for instance, gets approx 3 worksheets or projects a week. He does half at the weekend and half one evening during the week. He does need some adult imput and 'meaningful discussion' before and after this work. It woud be possible for him to do all this homework at the weekends - could your friend squeeze in most high powered homework over the weekend when she is there?

For the other weekday evenings, my son works almost independently. He has a spellings to revise, reading books, and music practice. All simple, repetitive tasks - practice makes perfect etc. The main thing is to get him to do it - but he doesn't need much help or input from me once he's started it. If your friend's boys had a similar homework set up, IMO your friend's present nanny could be ok - as long as she is firm about the boys starting and finishing the work.

How about your friend hiring a tutor for one weekday evening as well? if she feels her boys need extra input and stimulation, this might be enough plus your friend's input on the evenings an at weekends when she is around.

beachyhead Mon 14-Mar-05 15:53:22

I had this potential dilemma when I was thinking about switching from a nanny to an au pair. I was going to supplement the aupair with a local mum, who had older children, who could work from 3 until 6 every day just to be an extra pair of hands for homework, supper time and school pick up time (in case one had clubs and other one not). A lot of sahm's like my sister (who has kids of 14 and 16) would like the extra cash, and the fact that it is such a lmited time should appeal to them.

I would ask around a local senior school if I had contacts, or post advert in a newsagent.....

elliott Mon 14-Mar-05 16:02:04

I have to say that I find this concept of parental involvement with homework a bit odd (this is not a criticism, but a general comment). During my school days, my homework was my responsibility and I very rarely asked for input from my parents - and they would have frowned on it if I had. I know that kids get homework ridiculously early these days but i thought it was all about learning how to work independently?

elliott Mon 14-Mar-05 16:05:11

but to answer the question I would have thought as long as someone is around to make sure kids are working, that should be ok? Or am I ridiculously out of touch?

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