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holiday homework blues

(39 Posts)
tigermoth Sun 10-Aug-03 11:44:06

This holiday my 9 year son has to read four books of his choice, write a 200 word review about each of them, do background reseach for a geography project and practice his times tables for a test.

No slouching off - the homework will be checked in the first days of next term and form the basis of the start of next term's work.

I'm fine about the books and he's reading his way through them now, but I'm dreading getting my son to write 800 or so words and already feel time is running out. And then there's the rest.

I think the above is too much for a 9 year old. I don't want to put his nose to the grindstone in the summer holidays. It's OK if you have a child who likes homework but mine will take ages to do this stuff. I feel I have no choice but to comply with the school's wishes. And I will.

But are most 9 year olds given this amount of homework to do? All my son's class have this homework. Is this because the pressure is on now they are about to enter year 5 and secondary school choices are looming? What rigours do we face in Year 5?

I feel really under pressure and know my son and I will end up having arguments about it, too.

WideWebWitch Sun 10-Aug-03 12:37:05

Tigermoth, how horrible. I don't have any experience but I agree, this is a lot and I'd be peed off with trying to get my son to do it all in six weeks too. Although six weeks sounds like a long time it actually isn't once you factor in holidays, seeing friends etc. I'm sure we've had this sort of discussion before and lots of us reckoned we didn't used to get any homework until secondary school. Is this right or am I imagining it? But that seems reasonable to me. I'll be interested to hear what any teachers here have to say. I must admit that even at 5 my ds has been sent home with the most repetitive boring stuff to do - i.e. think of five things beginning with H - and I've not made him do it since he's already done five things beginning with H. Anyway, no help at all to you but sympathy.

Tortington Sun 10-Aug-03 12:46:50

my children certainly didnt get this amount of homework for the holidays - in fact my children - now due to start year 6 - all important "oh my god" year where they do the SATS - have not been given any homework - i have bought those "letts" excersise books for them to do when i can fit it in.

however if you are unhappy - as you kow your child best i would get him to do what you feel comfortable with and then write your concerns to the school. you are willing to cooperate - but if you think its detrimental in the long term or your child is sufering socially or whatever then - life is too damned short for 9 year old to be worrying about this crap!

do what feels right for you and your child not what the school orders

suedonim Sun 10-Aug-03 12:59:12

I don't think that is at all reasonable, Tigermoth. The International School 7yo dd attended gave lots of homework. I was quite blunt about it and told her teacher that dd wouldn't be doing it all as we had better things to do with our time. The teacher was absolutely fine about it and said that it was far better for dd to be doing something fun, like swimming, than swotting over books and that homework was just there to do if dd fancied doing it. I really hope you can enjoy the holidays without this hanging over you. Childhood is for being a child, not a mini-adult!

janh Sun 10-Aug-03 13:14:25

Sounds far too much to me, tigermoth. DS2, just going into Y6 like custardo's 2, has 4 sheets of simple maths to do - did the first this week. I also bought the Letts books and all we have done is look at the covers...

The reading part isn't so bad, but demanding a 200 word review for each is ridiculous. (At DS's school they are given a book at the start of Y5 in which to write details and a short review of everything they read during the year - he managed one in the whole year and it wasn't a problem. I was a bit disappointed when I saw it but as he mostly reads Match magazine anyway the reviews would have been a bit repetitive!)

Can you ask some of his friends' parents if they are bothering? It seems to me that in the weather we have had the school really can't expect that level of effort.

If I were you I would get him to write a brief review, just to show willing, and do the tables because they really are useful - not sure about the geog, what kind of research? - and send a note in with him next term explaining what you have and haven't done and why.

(You might find though that in the last few days before school he starts thinking about school more and will get into a homework frame of mind and want to do it - no arguments required.)

mears Sun 10-Aug-03 14:04:38

None of mine have homework - I would crack up if they did.

Tortington Sun 10-Aug-03 15:31:11

mears have you finished yet?

winnie1 Sun 10-Aug-03 15:33:16

Tigermoth, no advice I am afraid but lots of sympathy. My daughter went through this and in year six her homework load went up considerably. So much so that the amount of homework she got when she went to secondary school seemed to lesson! I think some schools overcompensate... Maybe you should not make it an issue and simply concentrate on the times tables and the reading and maybe do one review and simply tell the teacher your son did not have the time/had better things to do. Try and make it as stress free for bth of you as it can be. Otherwise whats the point of holiday time?

Claireandrich Sun 10-Aug-03 21:06:49

I agree that this does seem a lot to do. The summer break is supposed to be a break for the kids too. I don't even set my secondary school pupils this amount.

I would be tempted to have a word with the teacher on return and just voice your concerns over the amount. Let's face it, a book and a review a week, and the rest is a bit too much in my opinion.

tigermoth Sun 10-Aug-03 22:42:04

well I'm really glad I'm not the only one to feel this amount of homework is OTT. I think the teacher should have told the parents that this little lot was coming too, not left it for us to discover the list in the bookbag once the holidays began. I really want to know what justification there is for it.

I was worried that this was the norm in year 5 and 6. Interesting to hear from both custardo and janh that this is not necessarily so.

If we don't do it all, I will definitely write a note to the teacher explaining why. I was talking to a friend about this today and she said it's one way for the school to test which parents have the time and inclination to support their child a lot, since some of this work, the reviews and project preparation for instance, definitely need parental input.
Does this have a bearing on what decisions are made in year 5 and 6?

Times have definitely changed, as you say www. I didn't get homework in the holidays at primary school, no way.

Nome Sun 10-Aug-03 22:46:52

I didn't set my classes any holiday work (well, ok, the A-level groups got reading work) because a) I believe that the holidays are much needed time off from school for the pupils and b) did I really want to mark that much extra work in the first week of term in addition to doing all the other stuff required at the beginning of a year.

The time tables I can sort of understand, as little and often is what gets that kind of stuff to be a reflex.

Enjoy reading the books; I would send in a note saying what they were, and that they were read and enjoyed and that family commitments meant you felt your son was busy enough already.

Don't fret over it - I bet your son's class teacher will be secretly horrified on the first day back if she is presented with 30 * 800 words to read through

Nome Sun 10-Aug-03 22:48:36

Meant to say, enjoy reading the books and don't ruin them by feeling you have to write reviews.

SueW Sun 10-Aug-03 22:50:30

My 6yo DD was given homework - 'Please try to do one maths and one Englsh homework sheet a week but Mum or Dad can mark them - don't bring them back!' But I have to admit that although she did the first three sheets on the first day, she hasn't bothered since and I'm not worried. After all, this holiday she has learnt to climb the tree in our garden - no mean feat - to do cartwheels and go over in a handstand, she's had an endoscopy and a dance exam, started a new course of swimming lessons, improved her throw and catch, played swingball, etc.

She wrote a book review for 'Bookworm Wednesday' - Showcase cinema's free film deal -but other than that she's not being asked to do any other academic stuff.

I bumped into a mother last week who asked me if DD was learning her tables this holiday. Erm, no - it's a holiday, even if in our case it's 2 months and longer than half a term!

It's a bit too late for you to do Bookworm Wednesday even if a cinema close to you is offering it but could you offer a bribe if you want him to do the work? Otherwise, IMO, children should chill out during the holidays.

helenmc Mon 11-Aug-03 20:42:53

my 9 year hasn't holiday homework, but I am trying to keep up the times table , as you say a little and often and it really does sink in (and stay!!)

Claireandrich Mon 11-Aug-03 20:51:00

Nome - good point about the workload too; was just thinking the same. Is this teacher mad? Does she/he not realise all this will need marking and feedback to pupils/parents?

tigermoth Mon 11-Aug-03 22:24:45

Without a doubt I'll be offering bribes to my ds, Suew.

Thinking about it, 800 word book reviews from the whole class is an awful lot of marking. Last summer holiday we had nothing like this amountnt of homework. Curiouser and curiouser.

mumeeee Wed 13-Aug-03 17:52:41

Tigermoth. This seems way to much homework for a nine year old. None of my children have homework this year and they are aged 11, i3 and 16. My 16 year old did have a lot of GGSE course work to do last summer. My children do a lot of reading during the summer and we do try and do a little writing with them but that is all and they don't have to do it. They have in the past been asked to do holiday diarys. I don't know of any other children around here having that much homework at nine years old. I should have a word with the school when he goes back.

Lara2 Thu 14-Aug-03 09:24:46

Far too much!! Why can't they just read the books and enjoy them?? I get so hacked off when they get homework in the holidays to get ready for the next term's work- and it's always compulsory!! It's NOT my job to introduce a topic!! My poor DA1 is about to go into Y6 and we have has constant battles about sodding homework - he's even had a detention because he handed it in late 3 weeks on the trot!
The Gov has just published a document cales 'Excellence and Enjoyment' which will hopefully revolutionise the way we teach in primary education. It's not actually a revolution, more back to the way we used to teach - by topic rather than discreet subject. We still have to cover the National Curriculum and the content of literacy and numeracy, but HOW we teach it is up to us now. YIPPEE!!!! So we don't have to do a rigid literacy hour, which is totally unsuitable for infants anyway, and we can have sand, water, art, drama etc all running along side each other all the time. Back to basic practicalities, rather than expecting a 5 year old to understand things with no experience.

tigermoth Fri 15-Aug-03 08:06:37

lara2 that's interesting. Are you a primary school teacher?

Lara2 Mon 01-Sep-03 19:21:32

Sorry, been away from the computer nearly all summer! Hi Tigermoth - yes, I am a primary school teacher. We've just knocked our 2 Y1 classrooms into one large unit. Our curriculum will be play orientated, based in the 6 areas of learning that the Foundation Stage covers. I'm SO excited about doing this - I can go back to doing what I think is appropriate for my class, without loosing any impetus and progression!! Just spent last 4 days getting the room ready (round the blimming builders!!) and for once really want to go back after the summer (it's usually such a drag after spending 6 weeks with my gorgeous boys ).

tigermoth Mon 01-Sep-03 20:00:56

good luck with the new term, lara. Do post when you've the time to say how you and the childeren are getting on with this looser arrangement. It sounds fab!

Just an update. School begins tomorrow for my son. He has read all 4 books, written all 4 reviews and done the preparation and about half of his short geography project (I only thought he had to prepare it, I then was told by another parent that he had to *do* it as well). He'll do a bit more in a minute and if there's a problem at school, I'll write a note. I am sure they won't be testing him on his times table tomorrow on his first day back, so we'll look at his tables on Tues evening.

Batters Tue 02-Sep-03 09:01:32

Wow, Tigermoth, it seems like your ds has been really busy this summer!

tigermoth Tue 02-Sep-03 19:22:49

My son just told me that 'everyone' in his class gave in their holiday homework today. Some poor teacher will have a lot of marking to do.

janh Tue 02-Sep-03 19:43:34

Or not...DS2 spent a few hours last year writing and rewriting a "narrative poem" which they all had to do - his was Red Riding Hood. It was eventually printed off and sent in - never heard a word! (Meant to ask about it at parents' evening but forgot.)

aloha Tue 02-Sep-03 20:14:43

I hate homework too, Tigermoth. I think it is totally inappropriate for 9 year olds - or indeed before secondary school. I never had it until then. My stepdaughter has often been in tears at that age struggling with it. Let them be kids, I say. I am dreading my ds starting school and that hideous treadmill of tests. Anyway, homework is so divisive. In a classroom everyone has the same resources. At home, one kid has interested parents, a library of reference books, access to the internet and a quiet room to work in, and another has none of those things. Whose homework will be 'better"? I believe in teaching in school time and after school clubs - not homework. It's too much pressure on kids and parents. Parents aren't formal teachers and shouldn't be forced into disciplining their kids on other people's behalf IMO!.

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