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Those of you who work full-time (or nearly full-time) how do you make sure homework gets done?

(23 Posts)
loueytb3 Fri 07-Oct-11 10:34:08

I am getting slightly ahead of myself here but I need to think longer term. I'm currently on maternity leave with DS3, going back to work in June. DTS1 and DTS2 have just started reception (in different schools, DTS1 has ASD).

Obviously thus far they are not geting homework as such, but we still try and read their reading books every night and they have sounds to practice. At the moment its hard enough trying to fit all that in and I'm at home. When I go back to work in June, I won't be picking them up from the childminders until 6.30ish and then it will be a mad rush to get them into bed so they can have a decent nights sleep. I have a 1hr commute either way and work finishes at 5.30pm.

How do you cope with homework/reading practice when you work full-time? I am wondering whether to go back to work 4 days (as I was doing previously) or 3 days in order to cope. Or do I try and cut my hours and work shorter days? (This is of course assuming that work will let me do that).

brawhen Fri 07-Oct-11 10:40:11

Hi loueytb3 - I started a similar thread at the beginning of term which might have some ideas:

I do as much as possible over the weekend. Will you have any time in the morning? We need to leave at 7.40am but DS1 still managed to do his flute practice before we left (he was too tired last night).

Quite often 10 mins done in the morning after bfast with a wide awake child is more productive than 20mins slogging in the evening with a tired child who just wants to play.

DS1 is now yr4 and so can make a start on his HW whether or not I am there so as they get older if your CM has a quiet spot they could get a bit of homework done there. Also as they get older their bedtimes get a bit later, if they are going to bed at 8pm then 10-20 mins HW is doable.

brawhen Fri 07-Oct-11 10:46:16

How it is working out for me (with just DS1 in primary 1, plus 2.5 yo DS2) is to do sounds and look-say words in the morning, then writing practice straight after tea. We make the most of days when things are going well - there are enough that we can get away with skipping on days that are more disorganised. If DS1 is keen, he'll do homework with CM one afternoon, which is actually great as she has 100% attention for him. As we've got in to the swing of things, he's been quicker at getting through tasks so now it's quite a short amount of time we need to find. We've also dropped doing colouring in tasks (unless he asks wants to) - just focus on the sounds, letter formation & reading.

We've been very lucky in that DS1 has remained very keen on the concept of homework all term, and is often asking to do it. Would definitely be much harder if/when he had to be reall persuaded to do it. So fingers crossed for you there.

donteatyourteawithnoknickerson Fri 07-Oct-11 16:13:22

I'm very lucky that although I work full time I ccan do some flexi time so that I can be home to pick Dcs up from school. I do try and get bits done during week (reading, spellings etc) and then main homework usually gets done on a Friday as soon as we get home. That way weekends are all ours!

workshy Fri 07-Oct-11 21:57:05

I work 39 hrs a week and am a single parent -it's hard work

we doing reading books at bed time -they read a few pages to me and then I read to them
I know alot of people will think this isn't ideal but it works for us as they have always associated reading as a bed time thing

spellings/timetables are done over breakfast, in the car and any other time we think about it -walking round the supermarket etc

big pieces of homework they tend to get a week to do so they sit round the kitchen table while I'm cooking tea and do it so I can help

they also don't have baths every night lol

2kidsintow Sat 08-Oct-11 22:01:19

My DDs school's spelling is in the format of a look-cover-write sheet and I am very lucky that she is very organised and always does it at the childminders on the day she gets it before I pick her up.
I fall into the category of nearly full time, so I pick them up a couple of times a week from school. The extra hour or so makes a big difference. We go to the park and fit in swimming lessons. Then it is home and I ask as we leave school Fri what homework they have for the weekend - and I peek in their bookbags to check too.

2kidsintow Sat 08-Oct-11 22:02:45

Oh and my DDs reading book and diary come home on Tues, which is my latest day home (staff meeting in my school for me) and her reading gets done at breakfast the next day.

Chrysanthemum5 Sat 08-Oct-11 22:06:38

I used to work three full days and we used to spend a few minutes per night doing homework. In P1 and 2 the advice was it should take a maximum of 5-10 minutes per night and we used to manage that. Sometimes we would do the Reading in the morning with ds Reading to me or dh while we got breakfast ready.

Now I work 4 short days so I can do pick up and we can do homework. I don't enjoy working 4 days if I'm honest but it suits my employer, and I find homework is much less of a stress if we do it after school rather than fitting it in at the end of the day. It's not an option open to everyone though I can only do it because dh does the morning drop off and I get in to work early.

loueytb3 Sun 09-Oct-11 21:37:28

Thank you for all your replies - DS3 has started teething and is not allowing me any time to MN hmm Am hoping he will actually sleep at some point soon so I can reply properly.

loueytb3 Mon 10-Oct-11 14:01:32

DTS1 gets picked up at 7.35am (he gets a taxi to school) so there is really no time in the morning to do anything with him. Its hard enough getting him ready by then, partly because he has ASD, everything takes ages. He can get dressed by himself but you have to stand over him and remind him or he gets distracted by toys/books. DTS2 goes to the CM a bit later and we have done reading/sounds with him in the morning so I can see that would be a solution, at least some days.

Evenings - at the moment, I am trying to get them in bed by 6.30pm because they are so so tired. They have always needed a lot of sleep and I can't see that changing anytime soon. DTS1 also has therapy to do every night which takes 15-20 mins. So we haven't got a lot of time to play with. And we don't do baths every night either. They always have a story before bed so its not as though we are starting something new, but DTS2 wants to read his school reading book all the way through every night. He's already on level 6 ORT and it takes a while to get through 25ish pages hmm.

Their CM is great but she has a lot of other kids to watch. I know the older ones do do their homework there, but presumably that's when they can be trusted to do it unsupervised. Not sure when that is?

Chrysanthemum - good to know that it should only take 5-10mins in P1/2. That has been my concern that it was only going to increase.

If I do 4 days, I will work one from home which will mean I will have more time at the start/end of the day to do homework. If I go down to 3 days, I will have to be in the office all the time. The length of commute means its not practical for me to do 4 short days because I will spend so much of the day commuting. If I change my hours, I want to be sure about the times because you can only put in one request per year. Whilst I think my work will grant whatever I ask for (my boss doesn't really care as long as the work gets done) I don't want to mess them around, especially in a climate where people are still being made redundant.

noramum Mon 10-Oct-11 14:39:58

DD goes to a childminder 4 days a week and Friday is covered by me and from 2012 by DH.

At the moment I drop her off at 7.45am and DH collects her at 5.15pm. When they come home DH does the first reading. When I come home I do a second and third stint (she loves books, we are at 1 sentence per page though) and we do dinner (cold cuts or pasta during the week).

Her soundbook only comes on Friday and we try to do the four letter she has learned new on Saturday and do some practice on Sunday.

When she has to do more I pray I can fit in more on the weekend. We try to establish a fixed time so DD knows and anticipate it.

Fennel Mon 10-Oct-11 17:04:51

My 3 children don't have much homework at primary, maybe 1/2 hr a week, and the school sets it so that you can do it on a weekday or at the weekend. So over the whole week and weekend, it's not too hard at all to fit it in.

With reading, we did it as and when, not 10 mins a day every day as they suggest but in fits and starts as the mood and time took us.

The difficult bit really was when there were 2 very young siblings and we couldn't easily get the peace and quiet we needed to help dd1, but that's the case when you have lots of time too, if younger siblings are around, so that wasn't really to do with working or not.

jalapeno Mon 10-Oct-11 19:58:50

I've actually just handed in my notice because I find it impossible :-( and only one of my DCs is at school at the moment. Organisation is key, I'm just not able to do it and after we've all got in and I've made him something deccent to eat (plain pasta or a sandwich only at afterschool club) he's too tired to do anything useful. As am I!!

I agree with the poster saying the morning is a good time but it is rare that I am that organised. When I am, it works well.

LadyLapsang Mon 10-Oct-11 21:09:58

I worked shorter days over five days for this reason - I usually took and collected DS and if I had meetings he could stay at after school club on occasion. Yes, it was a pain having a three hour daily commute for school run onto work, but if someone had to be tired I thought it should be me not DS.

mamandeouisti Mon 10-Oct-11 23:43:30

Not working anywhere near FT but work does coincide with Ds's after-school activities and he has quite a few of those so can't get stuff done straight after school. We have programmed times Tues after trumpet and Wednesday between French and swimming to get the bulk of homework done (he's 9). Also try to get some done on the weekend. As other posters say, spellings, tables etc. can be done on the move (walk to school/in the car/supermarket etc.) but projects can take ages if they're tired. Best policy is crack on with it at regular times but allow flexibility for off days. Our school really listened to parental feedback about homework policy and have incorporated a weekend between homework being set and due in. This helps enormously. Have no idea how you have them all in bed by 6.30. We haven't even eaten by then! Your CM should be able to provide space/time for them to do unaided stuff. Talk to teacher about regular advanced communication of what is required. Working parents (in fact any parent who doesn't want a wailing child who has forgotten to do theirs) need all the notice they can get. Many children have lots of other things to do and homework just needs to be programmed in too. Good luck!

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 11-Oct-11 08:17:44

You've had lots of good ideas here. The only thing I want to add is don't forget that, as they get older, they will be less exhausted by school and the chances are you will have a bit more time in the evening. And hopefully, they won't get very much homework for the first couple of years. Try and identify a regular slot for hearing them read and don't panic too much about the other stuff yet.

And if the older children are doing homework at the childminders, I'd be inclined to have a chat with her about what she's willing to supervise. If they have spelling lists to learn, for example, they might be able to site at the table with the older children and look at those, even if you still need to check how they are doing later on.

Bramshott Tue 11-Oct-11 09:25:41

This is one of the really hard things about the myth that "once your kids are at school you can go back to work full time"! DD1 has just gone into Y4, and now gets homework handed out on a Mon, due in on a Fri and it IS hard to fit in. Luckily she doesn't go to bed so early now, so there is often time to do it between 7.30 and 8.00.

Bonsoir Tue 11-Oct-11 09:27:46

Agree with Bramshott. My DD has homework in earnest now - at nearly 7 she gets about four hours a week, only one hour of which can be done at the weekend. It has come as a huge shock to some working parents that they need to allocate three precious evening hours to homework each week.

loueytb3 Tue 11-Oct-11 13:43:10

Bramshott - yes you're right. A friend told me a few years ago that she found it much harder to fit everything in once her DDs were at school full-time. I now know what she means.

maman - we manage 6.30 bedtime because the CM feeds them (Mon-Thurs) at 4.30pm. I pick them up at 5.30 and then we have an hour to do therapy, bath, reading, bed. They need at least 12hrs sleep. At the end of last week, DS1 had black shadows under his eyes and looked just knackered. I was hoping they would sleep longer at the weekends to compensate but it hasn't worked out that way confused.

I will have a chat with the CM and see what she does with the older kids.

Lasvegas Tue 11-Oct-11 14:04:19

I have a Nanny who collects DD from school and takes her home, then I get back at 7pm. DD's school gives a lot of homework, every night of the week. When she was in Reception and yrs 1 and 2 she did a lot of homework with Nanny before I got in. In y3 and y 4 the homework is more difficult and needs a lot of input from me the nanny isn't up to it. It is exhausting to commute for and hour and half home walk in the door and start supervising homework but that is life for us. Maybe my standards are too high but I see homework as a way of 'extra' learning so i want to supervise it.

Bonsoir Tue 11-Oct-11 16:50:04

"In y3 and y 4 the homework is more difficult and needs a lot of input from me the nanny isn't up to it."

Please tell me your nanny isn't English...

Lasvegas Wed 12-Oct-11 13:31:09

Bonsoir the Nanny is 'English' she moved here 50 years ago. Basically I can assist DD a lot better with her homework because it is not just a job to me also because I know better thna anyone else if she can't do something because she is bored or does not understand it.

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