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Year 3 homework is ruining our weekends

(33 Posts)
TheHouseofMirth Sun 28-Apr-13 15:14:56

7 yo DS is strugglingly academically but has made huge leaps in progress this year at school and we are all really pleased with and proud of him. However, every weekend is totally ruined by trying to coax DS to do his Brain Builders homework. He procrastinates, he wanders off, he gets distracted, he fiddles, he sighs, he cries. It's awful. H's supposed to spend 30 minuteseach on Maths and Emglish but if we stuck to that he woudl achieve nothing. I've tried leaving him alone to do it, sitting wth him, giving him lots of time to do it, giving him a short time to do it, encouraging him, being tough with him. Nothing works.

He has been asking for an MP3 player so last week as a last resort I introduced a reward chart and told him that the more effort and enthusiasm he put into his homework (I wanted to reward effort not result) the better the MP3 player would be. This has made absolutely no difference to his attitude.

Whilst I am the world's biggest goody-two shoes I am at the stage where I am tempted to tell his teacher that we are no longer willing to support him in this homework. I just can't see what possible benefit there is to him in doing this homework when it takes an entire day and generates such bad feelng. DH says the whole point of him doing homework is for him to learn self-discipline and that we are doing something wrong but I don't see what else we can do, and how do you teach self-discipline to someone anyway?

BoundandRebound Sun 28-Apr-13 15:17:54

Maybe he's too young

I think an hour is too much homework at that age should be half that

Weekends should be fun not irritating, I'd consider not doing it at all

BoundandRebound Sun 28-Apr-13 15:18:57

Self discipline comes with age as well and whilst building blocks are fine I think you're setting up more difficulties by forcing this so young

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sun 28-Apr-13 15:20:28

Firstly, stop asking him to show 'effort and enthusiasm' - that is emotionally manipulative - if he hates it, he hates it!

Secondly, tell him the homework has to be done. On a Friday. If it is done, sensibly and without fuss, then you will do x nice thing on Saturday.

Set him to his homework. Sit by him to help if he wants. Read your book, ignore him if he huffs etc.

If the work is not done, just say fine, I will write to teacher and x nice thing won't happen tomorrow. We can try again next week.

Hopefully over time he will learn.

Stop cajoling, stop nagging, stop pleading, stop helping - in short stop rewarding him for making a fuss.

But, seriously, also consider if he does find school hard, whether stopping this homework might be better for all of you. Life is too short to ruin every weekend. 30 mins each on maths and English is a huge amount, I wouldn't be happy to have to police that!

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sun 28-Apr-13 15:22:00

Could you get school to agree to 10 mins on each? Better a happy 20 mins than a miserable hour! It is a huge amount - do they all have to do that?

MissLurkalot Sun 28-Apr-13 15:24:46

My daughter is in yr 3 and she gets barely any homework.. 12 words to spell, times table, reading(which she does before bedtime every night) and sometimes a small project or presentation to work on. We normally do it Saturday morning after swimming and then she has a nice treat snack.
It doesn't take long to be honest. We generally try to do what is asked of us, but on the odd occasion we don't do the spellings or times tables. Always the project/presentation stuff, as she loves working on that.. But these aren't set for every weekend.
Can the teacher offer you something else to work on? I've not heard of Brain Builders.

Happymum22 Sun 28-Apr-13 15:27:54

How about splitting it into two sessions. So 30-45 mins on friday night/ saturday morning and 30-45 on sunday morning/afternoon/early eve?
Still tons of time to do other things.

Or do 30 mins (properly concentrating not 30 mins staring out the window) and then stop, sign in his homework book that he has done 30 minutes.

Does he work better if you sit with him to keep him on task? After a few weeks gradually get less involved so be in the room ironing etc.

Is the whole class doing it? Does it have to be done on weekends? Does he get homework every night or can you spread it out over the week?

HeathRobinson Sun 28-Apr-13 15:39:09

Is he always given it on Friday? If not, I would do it during the week, perhaps broken down into smaller blocks.

TheHouseofMirth Sun 28-Apr-13 17:51:30

Thanks for your replies.

It's hard to do it during the week as he has activities after school and has to read every night. He's tired and I feel Sunday morning is the best time as he relaxed and not tired. We could try doing it in 10 minute chunks instead though. I was actually thinking what happymum22 suggested - we'll set a timer for half an hour and then just stopping regardless of how much he's done. At least that way his teacher will be getting a truer picture of what he can achieve in that time and maybe it will encourage him to just get on with it.

I can't help thinking homework is probably pointless. Children who are doing well will just breeze through their homework but for those who are struggling it will just feel like a punishment.

SwishSwoshSwoosh I don't really agree with bribing or punishing for homework but I think it must be better to encourage him to try? And by showing enthusiasm what I really meant was not rolling his eyes and running way when I suggest he makes a start on it!

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sun 28-Apr-13 18:17:53

If you don't agree with 'bribing' then you maybe need to let him not do it. Either you are going to give him a consequence or you will leave it to natural consequences, but either way, stop making such a fuss about it and save yourself a lot of stress.

CheesyPoofs Sun 28-Apr-13 19:01:30

Personally I think that's an insane amount of homework for a 7 year old.
I'd find it hard to be supportive of this just because I disagree with it.

FionaJT Sun 28-Apr-13 19:11:07

I agree with letting them not do it. My dd always cracks when she realises she will have to explain to the teacher why it isn't done. I now simply suggest to her a good time to do it and if she doesn't want to do it then, then she needs to work it out for herself.

Hulababy Sun 28-Apr-13 19:14:50

I think an hour each weekend is too much homework in Y3. Half that would be better.

However...I wouldn't be having him do it all weekend.

Choose two times of 30 min a weekend - one for each piece. Get a stop watch and set it to 30 min each time. When the 30 min is up, he stops and it goes in his bag for school. Same for the next piece.

He has then done the allocated time for the homework and the teacher sees how much he achieves during that time period on homework.

The teacher can then decide if he/she needs to differentiate more, etc.

gymboywalton Sun 28-Apr-13 19:21:09

i absolutely agree wit the last post
set a timer for 30 minutes and then when the 30 minutes is up, put the homework back in the bag

wheresthebeach Sun 28-Apr-13 19:39:19

We had the same amount in Yr 3; more in Yr 4. I found that a set time for each piece made it easier so there was no debating. So...Sat after lunch - 30 mins homework; Sunday after lunch 30 mins homework. Playdates etc start after the homework is done...

CorrieDale Sun 28-Apr-13 19:50:10

We've had this for years! He started getting homework in Y1 and was incandescent - and I mean that!- that his sister didn't get any. She was in nursery. For every 5 mins homework he spent a good 20 stropping. It was awful. I couldn't have that hanging over me all weekend so the rule is it's done Friday evening before telly or playing. If he's very tired I'll extend it to Saturday morning (but still no telly til it's done). Ditto if he's out Friday evening. I don't expect him to like doing it and he knows if I had my way there'd be no homework at all. But if it's set, he does it and usually well within the 30 min limit. He's y3 now and we have very few strops about homework, though quite a lot of tutting and puffing and phoning it in!

Startail Sun 28-Apr-13 20:41:57

I don't know why primary schools set HW for anyone below Y5 orY6 (and they can live without it).

Primary children vary hugely in their ability to work independently. Primary HW seems invariably too easy or too hard. Even when it's entirely appropriate primary pupils instinctively resent it. Partly they put home and extra curricular activities in one box and school in another. But mainly I think many children don't have the 'confidence' to do 'school' at home. They really don't know where to start, they don't want to risk doing it wrong, they don't want to do it differently to how the teacher or their peers would do it.

Having two DD at secondary school, I've discovered there is a total step change in the way children see themselves as they move schools.

By 11 they read, write and do basic maths well enough not to need help with getting answers down on paper. For all their faults, SATs papers mean they are used to having a go.

But most of all they are growing up they are loosing that instinctive nervousness of not pleasing the teacher. Their teachers are just that teachers, they are no longer almost parent figures. Somehow it's less daunting to make mistakes. They may still hate HW, but it doesn't cause the same illogical twitchiness it seems to in younger DCs.

hardboiled Sun 28-Apr-13 21:06:29

Let the school deal with it. DS used to get the same amount but it was supposed to be "whatever the child can do in the time". If the set time is 30 min, remove homework after that and tell the teacher he didn't get any done. After that, it is not your job. Not doing homework in year 3 will not affect in any way his future and his life. He will probably "build" his brain better by going to the library with you, watching a documentary or playing bingo as a family.

MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 22:47:55

OP - Would you rather face the problem now or when DC starts secondary school or when he is preparing for his GCSEs?

MN is full of posts about parents trying to get their teenagers to study. The problem is that at that age they are even less inclined to listen to you. If you don't resolve the problem now tyebyou are merely postponing the problem to a time where you will have less options.

Cravingdairy Sun 28-Apr-13 22:56:50

MTS I disagree. Children should get a proper break at the weekend in my opinion.

PandaNot Sun 28-Apr-13 22:57:29

Do you have any time before school? This year I have been listening to my dc read before school and it is so much better. They aren't tired and we get it done much quicker than all the protests after school. My Y4 ds still complains about homework but he is even getting better at that, now deciding to do it on the day he gets it whilst waiting for his dd to finish dancing.

MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 22:59:49

Craving - 30min x 2 spread over Saturday.and Sunday is hardly an onerous thing.

teacherwith2kids Sun 28-Apr-13 23:07:58

MTS, DS got very, very little homework at primary.

He has stepped up to several pieces a day + multiple after school activities at secondary without a problem at all - because he is mature enough to do it himself. It really isn't necessary to do lots of homework from a very young age to 'avoid future problems' .. I am from a generation when primary homework was unknown, yet stepped up to Year 8 homework immediately [skipped a year] and it was just part and parcel of the secondary transfer, not a problem at all.

On the contrary, I actually think that years of battles over primary-level homework (which has no measurable benefit) can do long-term damage to a child's attitude to homework that can hinder them when it starts to secondary.

mercibucket Sun 28-Apr-13 23:16:08

I agree with your sentiments Mts, which is why it is so important homework does not become a battle, and is something the child does by themselves without parental pressure. I always just remind mine about hwk and that's it. If they don't want to do it, so be it, they can tell their teacher that. They always do it. No big hassles. It is their responsibility not mine.

mercibucket Sun 28-Apr-13 23:16:08

I agree with your sentiments Mts, which is why it is so important homework does not become a battle, and is something the child does by themselves without parental pressure. I always just remind mine about hwk and that's it. If they don't want to do it, so be it, they can tell their teacher that. They always do it. No big hassles. It is their responsibility not mine.

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