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How many hours HW/night in Yr 7...and how do you help them tackle it?

(90 Posts)
Solo2 Fri 14-Oct-11 19:43:25

DTs - currently in Yr 6 - get about 1 hour's homework a night but a lot of that can be spread into the w/e too.

In Yr 7, the official number of hour's homework/night will be 2 hours every night, with an average of 3 subjects per night. There will still be some flexibility over the week/ w/e but it looks as if most children do end up doing the full 2 hrs per night to manage the work load (this is a v academic school BTW, so none of this is a surprise).

I was wondering if this was about average in terms of numbers of hrs/night for 11 yr olds? I was also wondering how best to support my twin sons with this volume of work (which wouldn't include additional musical instrument practice each night as well - in theory!)?

Currently in Yr 6, one DT is largely independent now, able to focus on organising his work, getting it done but is still often tired and needs to leave some till the w/e. So it mounts up. Other DT needs much more support in terms of getting down to it, presenting it in an acceptable way (slapdash/ get away with minimal effort sort of boy, as many are!) and staying 'on task'. Lots of w/es are taken up with homework staggered across the entire w/e and nothing much else and it's only going to get harder.

Occasionally, both get homework (usually maths) that they struggle with and need my support and can easily take 2 full hrs to do that homework alone on one night, although they're supposed to stop at one hr really.

I'm trying to plan for the following year when they're in the senior part of the school and wonder how others support their DCs (especially boys) at that stage? Do you force them to get it done from the minute they arrive home - or have a break first and some food? If we do that now, then they get too tired to tackel it later and so it mounts up and takes over the w/e.

Tell me your typical experiences with 11 yr olds and how to help them manage at least 2 hrs work after school - and possibly after an evening club too?

JordanBaker Fri 14-Oct-11 20:07:54

Blimey, that seems like a lot for Y7. My DD is in Y9, also at a v v academic school and is only scheduled 11/2-2 hrs/night. And it doesn't usually take that long (although she does leave some for weekends).

I made a conscious decision when she started at her school in Y7 that I would not get involved with her homework. Obviously I'll test her before exams or proof read her essays if she asks me to, but otherwise I want her to take responsibility for it. I think this is important at secondary school and tbh if she needed much more input than that I'd question if it was the right school for her.

In my experience though DC do change/mature a lot between Y6 & Y7, so hopefully your DC will be working more independently by the time they move up

2marys Fri 14-Oct-11 20:12:45

that's a huge amoun IMOt. DS is at a reasonably academic school where admittedly most of the entrants are in year 7 so they let them in lightly, but so far as i recall it was only 1 hr per night, and even now, year 9, it's still about 1 hr 40 mins. i think their theory is that DSs have limited concentration span at home and they prefer to work them incredibly hard during lessons. But on the other hand, two other schools - one a grammar and one a comprehensive - both give large amounts of homework even in year 7.

troisgarcons Fri 14-Oct-11 20:17:33

An hour a night for Y6's?Never heard of anything so heavy before.

Y7 - £ hours was touted but in reality it was more like hour and a half with a a fir bit of project work that could be done quite rapidly with the correct mindset.

mycatsaysach Fri 14-Oct-11 20:20:26

dd spent ages (least 2 hours per night) on her homework in yr 7 - she was a real perfectionist and a bit concerned re new school etc.she was told at her first parents evening she was doing way too much when i mentioned it to her tutor.she now very rarely does any at all at home (yr 10).she now seems to do it all at break or on the bus hmm .

blossomhillontapplease Fri 14-Oct-11 20:24:53

My dd has just started yr7. she gets about 8 - 10 pieces of homework a week. at first she found this quite demanding. Bearing in mind she hasnt been in school long. We have agreed that she should aim to do at least two pieces of homework a night. tbh some only take 5 mins.........finish diagrams read a piece of text etc. If she gets any homework due in for the same week that takes priority over others. If she has two pieces which only take a short while i suggest she does another piece. I have to keep reminding her though that once she has finished she can do what she pleases smile

She gets home relatively early so I allow her to have an hour or so to wind down and eat me out of house and home - i've no idea where she puts it hmm

She then has about 2hrs for home work and then she can go out with friends. Shes ok with this but i'm sure this is going to change once boys become more important grin

I dont feel you can really prepare them for the homework routine theyre going to have as at primary my dd didnt get a lot at all - if any!

Solo2 Sat 15-Oct-11 05:50:27

Thanks for the feedback. DTs have been used to having a lot of homework since age 4. So as it increases each year, it doesn't feel so much different to before. However, we've been 'warned' by other families who've gone from the prep. to the senior part of the school, that Yr 7 demands quite a lot more, although I think for the first halfterm there's a gradual increase.

It's the logistics of fitting it in that worries me a bit. If they finish the day at 4pm, we'll be home by about 4.35pm - so that's manageable - but if they do any after school clubs, (which most children do and they'll want to do) this would mean arriving home around 6.30pm. Currently, they go to bed at 8.00pm to 8.30pm and we also fit in a one hour dog walk (too young to leave DTs at home in the evening, so they have to come with me - solo mum) and supper.

I suppose in a year's time they'll have matured further and maybe it'll all work out. I remember doing 5 hrs homework after school but not till O level and A level stage and there were no after school activities then.

CecilyP Sat 15-Oct-11 08:51:26

That seems a lot of homework for Y7, especially when it is even longer if they don't understand the maths that they were supposed to have learned during the day.

If they have after school clubs until 6,30, the logistics don't work. Home at 6.30, supper till 7.00, work till 9.00, dogwalk till 10.00 - bed at 8.30. Can't be done. Either they will have to give up the clubs, or go to bed much later. As they get older, they can forego the dogwalk. The only other way round it would be if much of the work can be spread over till the weekend.

ragged Sat 15-Oct-11 10:31:32

One or Two Hours a night? shock

DS is in y7 at a tiny independent school (gets better results than most local state schools) and he has no more than 10 minutes a night.
I know he's under-challenged at the moment, but I'm okay about it for all sorts of reasons.
I have heard that 15-20 min/night is typical of our local state school y7s.

What the Fig are they doing with their 6 hours/day on school premises that the children still have to do another 1-2 hours/night at home? confused

If they do 1-2 hours/night in y7, how much will they be expected to do at home in yrs 10-11? 20 hrs/week of homework?

3kids2many Sat 15-Oct-11 11:29:43

My year 7 gets 2 hours homework a night.
Some of his friends cope with it by doing homework on the school bus or in the car on the way home if the journey is long. We limit activities to 2 a week.
Every moment of the evening is planned.
On activity days snack in car and straight to work when home. Non activity days snack and relax 1 hour. 5pm-Practise one musical instrument, 5-30 do 1 hours homework, 6-30 supper and relax 1 hour, 7-30 other musical instrument, 8pm 1 hours homework 9pm shower and bed.
Most nights he manages to do his homework in less time, I do not stress about the quality. I leave it to the teachers to state their standard and tell him if it is not good enough. I never let him do more than 2 hours. He does 2 hours one day of the weekend. he has always had lots of homework, and is a happy boy. About once a week he will chose to have a night off instrument practise and play with the neighbours. He and his brother have a joint study room there is a fair bit of horse play and they help each other prepare for tests. The timetable is their idea and if they vary it I don't stress the only thing imposed is bed at 9.

Solo2 Sat 15-Oct-11 11:55:53

Well this is what you buy into if you go to that school. So this is what we accept and the results are at the top of the league tables for co-ed schools. So no one would send their child there if they didn't already know that academic success is what you're paying for. Doesn't mean that it's easy for them to do so much HW but it does cultivate good organisational skills by the end of schooling. I can only wait and see how it pans out for my DCs.

ragged Sat 15-Oct-11 13:01:00

iirc, you've posted loads before Solo, worrying that one of your DTs isn't coping well with the pressure. I hope it all pans out ok.

JordanBaker Sat 15-Oct-11 13:27:36

But DD is at a very successful school and she certainly wasn't doing 2 hours a night in Y7. So I'm not convinced that excessive homework and great results go together, certainly not in Y7-9.
Your original question is basically saying 'how can they get through this much homework and still have a (normal early-teen) life?'. I'm not sure they can. Think you'll have to employ a dog-walker!

Solo2 Sat 15-Oct-11 14:16:30

Thanks ragged. He's having a much better year this year for various reasons (better form teacher/ new social group of friends/ success in extracurricular area) but I'm still watching how things go. Current issue for me is much more to do with continuing to afford the ever increasing school fees and juggle the needs of the DTs/ my business and the puppy dog too!

seeker Sat 15-Oct-11 14:22:24

As I said on the other thread, I would be very worried about a school where they appear to get so little work done during the day that 10/11 year old's have to do 2 hours homework a night. My dd is also at a highly academic school, and is predicted As and A*s at GCSE, and doesn't do that much homework in year 11, never mind in year 7

Yellowstone Sat 15-Oct-11 14:35:45

I'm appalled at the idea of 2 hours homework a night in Y7. It's not necessary to achieve good results or even top results and it must be so stultifying.

If mine had done 2 hours a night at that age I' think they'd have given up on school work long before the statutory leaving age and I'd have had some sympathy - half an hour is adequate, surely?

breadandbutterfly Sat 15-Oct-11 16:15:59

My dd is doing half an hour ish per night in year 7 (though can spend 3 times that if she's enjoying what she's doing and wants to produce her best); was slightly gobsmacked at parents' evening when other mums all complained their dds were doing 2 + hours a night and were shattered! Her official school policy is 3 pieces a night, each half an hour. I suppose it depends how long they choose to take eg how perfectionist they are. Maybe the OP should encourage her DTs to be a little less perfectionist - I can't imagine what it can be necessary to cover in yr 6 that takes 2 hours a night, unless they've really covered nothing for the preceding 7 years!

Are your DTs behind, OP? If not, don't worry and your DTs shouldn't stress too much either; as long as they not actually getting in trouble for failing to do it utterly, they shouldn't worry too much about beautiful presentation etc.

On the other hand, if they're not making the kind of progress you'd expect, then you want to ask what exactly the school is doing with the kids during the day...

For what it's worth, I had zero homework at primary school and so was able to spend my time reading, creatively writing, etc as well as playing with friends. It certainly didn't hurt my academic development; somewhat the reverse.

In my opinion, 2 hours a night at that age is surely counterproductive (unless they only have half day school, of course). smile

Solo2 Sat 15-Oct-11 20:06:50

Breadandbutterfly, all the children are expected to do 50 to 60 minutes per night in this current year - Year 6. They're not yet in Yr 7 when it's 2 hrs a night. Sometimes it takes longer and sometimes shorter and some can in any case be done at the w/e instead. From what I know, in the senior school, in Yr 7 - children are expected to do 2 hrs a night and again I think some might be spread to the w/e.

DT2 is in Gifted and Talented for one subject but he, like any of the other children can't be good at all subjects and so some subjects take him longer - eg maths. But the volume of homework is about the same - in length of time it takes - for all children. DT1 is, if anything, incredibly slapdash about his work and his inner mantra seems to be "do the absolute minimum as quickly as possible"! Both have some aspects of perfectionism but neither really applies this to HW...if only! Occasionally, I've helped them with the maths homework (although help maybe not the right word as I find their maths already too hard to do! the school work about 2 yrs ahead of most schools in maths but I'm afraid I fail even at 13 yr old maths these days!!!). On those occasions, my 'tuition' has meant it's taken up to 2 hrs and the school say stop after 50 mins but if I've wanted to help them understand something, it can take that long and then they need to complete the worksheets too.

The school's policy is to get the children into working independently at home, I think to set them on course for independent work at university and out in the world. School days are also busy and intense, eg 8 maths lessons per week - many of those double periods - 8 English lessons a week, physical science, natural science, geog., history, French, D & T, ICT, RE, PHSE and about 2 afternoons of Games aswell....

I don't yet know for sure how Yr 7 will pan out. That's the yr that HW increases dramatically and that's what I'm looking ahead towards and trying to plan how to help DCs manage this.

Like you, I had no HW to speak of in junior school and no harm done but it seems different nowadays in many v academic schools that are competing in league tables. Any child who is going to be taking considerably longer than the specified number of hrs HW each night, is probably not in the right school. But even the genius level children (not mine) are given an amount of HW that takes them the allotted time in all but their best subject.

seeker Sat 15-Oct-11 20:11:50

I am seriously baffled by this. Are they doing loads of subjects as well as their GCSEs?

Do you think 2 hours of homework a night in year 7 is a good idea?

weblette Sat 15-Oct-11 20:14:49

Dd has just started y7 in a high-achieving grammar. She has 1hr per night, 3 subjects, 20 mins each. Even for projects they're still supposed to just do the time scheduled.

Tbh I can't see what on earth they'd be doing to have to do 2hrs per night. Your dts will be working themselves into the ground sad

Solo2 Sat 15-Oct-11 20:19:23

All children do the subjects I listed above plus I think Latin and a few other ones in yrs 7 and 8 and then they select the ones they'll do for O level (I think they do IGCSEs or something at the school).

It may well be that the average 2 hrs per night (and remember my DCs are not even in that part of the school yet at all but are 10 yr olds currently just started Yr 6) - turns out to be some nights v little, some nights 3 hrs, some w/es v little, some w/es masses? I don't yet know and think it's partly about keeping on top of HW, as they're already having to start to do this yr. This yr - Yr 6 - they get things like small projects to do spread across 2 weeks plus one or 2 main subjects to be completed either by the next day or later in the wek and then one night, 3 subjects but 2 of those can be handed in the following Monday. It works out to about 1 hr a night usually but some nights none at all - but then more to finish at w/es.

I don't know whether it's a good idea or not. Things have changed hugely since I was at school and everything seems much more competitive these days. In my day, a handful of As was good enough and no one at my school did more than 8 O levels and 3 A levels. Now most of the people we know who are a bit older than my DCs would hopes ot get all A*s and As at O level equivalent I'm still back in the Dark Ages) and do 4 or 5 A levels or the Pre U things I think on offer too at their school and all As or A*s at that level too. Looking at the school, results, some children do end up with a B or even a C but the majority get As and A*s. So it's that sort of school.

So maybe that's why they work them so hard even after assessing for entry too.

swanriver Sat 15-Oct-11 21:08:46

My son does about 2 hours of homework a night at a State school. Partly because he's not good at working independently.
It is a struggle to fit relaxation time in.
But it is only meant to take 45-90 mins a night. It's because he faffs around hmm

They do offer a homework club though till 5pm for those who find it difficult to concentrate. Maybe your school offers a Homework Club at secondary level? I am seriously thinking of putting my son in one...
A lot of "country" private schools which also have boarders seem to work on the "get the prep out of the way at school" principle and although children get home later, it is all done on the premises. Have you looked into this?

On the positive side, once your children are in year 7, you will not have be physically in the house with them...really you won't. They are old enough to get home on public transport in most families look after themselves for a hour at least, ergo re: supervision - even if you are pickign them up, you should not have to take them for a walk with the dog. [If you have got them into the habit of getting on their work independently, which sadly my child hasn't....]

Anyway there is plenty to worry about for the future, if one thinks about all the worries there are, one could go bonkers. Better to concentrate on now.
I personally chose a secondary school with less homework after hearing how hard the other schools worked the yr 7s. Pity the school I chose seems to have lots of homework too, perhaps the really tough ones would have been even worse.

Yellowstone Sat 15-Oct-11 21:39:15

I'm seriously seriously baffled. Is this just to keep fee-paying parents happy? Are you in London where the pressure seems worst?

Two hours a night is a terrible idea. I think I'd refuse to let mine do it in a state school or choose a different school if it was independent. I'm like JordanBaker and don't get involved unless I'm asked, which I never am really.

Given that two hours a night isn't in any way a pre-requisite for good results, this smacks strongly of appeasing parents with the children paying the cost.

seeker Sat 15-Oct-11 21:52:20

"Looking at the school, results, some children do end up with a B or even a C but the majority get As and A*s. So it's that sort of school."

But my dd's at "that sort of school" too. They talk in hushed tones about once, the year before last, somebody got a D! She is predicted all A* and As, and she is by no means super clever. And she has NEVER done those sort of hours as homework. Not even now in year 11! Except very occasionally with a coursework deadline approaching.

Honestly, I would question it. Your children will have no life at all.

Yellowstone Sat 15-Oct-11 22:07:15

Same deal here with the sort of school. They just want to justify the fees. Crazy. They don't need to get heavily into independent learning until the Sixth Form. Prepping them for uni in Y7 is a load of tosh.

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