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Year 9 - an hour of homework on weekdays unreasonable?

(109 Posts)
Shagmundfreud Fri 19-Oct-12 13:00:34

DD has just started at new school, and I've told her that I want her to sit down for an hour at the kitchen table with me every night and work. Homework if it's set, work set by me if she's got no homework. I also want her to read for 20 minutes a night (which is what the school expects too).

Last night she screamed at me that I'm COMPLETELY unreasonable expecting her to work for an hour after school, and that none of her friends are expected to do much. I look at my own extended family and see that the children the same age as dd are doing at least an hour if not more in year 9. But then they are hard working and high achieving children. I want dd to achieve her potential and not just coast lamely through secondary, scraping a few mediocre gcse's, like many girls at her school will. She's very bright, but incredibly lazy.

Is an hour a night an unreasonable expectation for year 9?

Shagmundfreud Fri 19-Oct-12 13:01:42

Should add, that ideally she'd sit at a desk in her own room and work, but this is never going to happen as she can't seem to discipline herself to concentrate on anything unless she's supervised.

seeker Fri 19-Oct-12 13:02:47

What else does she do? And how much homework does she get from school?

gymboywalton Fri 19-Oct-12 13:04:26

i think if she has been st homework by her teachers, then you are not unreasonable to expect her to spend an hour getting it done.

i don't think you are unreasonable to expect her to read for 20 minutes a day

i DO think you are unreasonable to set work for her

JustGettingByMum Fri 19-Oct-12 13:14:57

I don't think doing an hour of homework each night in Y9 is unreasonable, however, I think it is unreasonable for you to sit down with your 13/14 year old daughter and insist she work with you for an hour each night.

Perhaps if she could sit at the kitchen table while you are pottering about, keeping a discreet watch on her, would be more acceptable. Also, by Year 9, I would be expecting the school to be setting about that much homework anyway. If not, then perhaps it would be better to talk to the school initially. I know my DC would have refused to do any work I set them at that age.

Shagmundfreud Fri 19-Oct-12 13:19:36

She does nothing else.


She doesn't help around the house.

She has no hobbies.

She does no sports.

I'm going to talk to the school about homework. I've got a feeling they don't set much.

LittenTree Fri 19-Oct-12 13:31:03

DS1 in in Y9. I'd say his school h/w averages about 45 mins a night. This is a massive uplift on Y8 where I gather the HoY chipped the teachers about how little h/w they wer settingl! So I am pleased that they are finally knuckling down, though it's been hard getting DS (re-)focused as he is so out of the habit of doing regular h/w- so now, some 'single pieces' can take an hour and half for him to produce what to me looks like 15 or 20 minutes of focussed work!

I am a bit between a rock and hard place because I would like to put a timer on DS and shut his book once the 30 or 40 minutes is over, writing in his logbook that the work was all he'd managed to achieve in the allocated time, the idea being that he'd get the message as the school would for instance make him stay in to complete suboptimal, sparse homework.... BUT the reality is, this is the top academic performing comp in the county, and is very MC thus has loads of alpha, clever and committed DC on its roll. They have Y7s with maths A levels and so forth, so they don't need my DS to 'do well' to bring up any scores so the likely reaction, in reality, will be a shoulder shrug from the school, a demotion into a lower maths set and possibly being made to do double, not triple science, which I dare 'not risk' for him in these straitened times.

As for setting extra work- nah, that's boat's well and truly sailed by 13. I fine times tables andmental maths questions at him and DS2 (11) in the car, and I heavily encourage reading and so forth. Very occasionally I have persuaded DS1 to look in his KS3 Science book, for instance, to check the answer to something.

But I wish the school actually set an hour a night, every night, of proper, focussed, meaningful homework. I see my friend's DSs, 12 and 14, who are at a 'good' private and have been since age 7, and they have a far more disciplined attitude to work envy because doing h/w is second nature to them.

swanthingafteranother Fri 19-Oct-12 14:04:56

I started a thread about this earlier, and I've since come up with some answers of my own.

Maybe the way to go is to start them on habit of concentrating. So it could be concentrating on something other than homework, but not screens. I'm going to try and get my son to cook supper on Friday night as he never seems to have any homework he wants to do then wink
Secondly if they won't read, you have to read to them or read with them, or get them to read a newspaper article they are interested in instead of a book.
Competitive things get my son working. So if one child is doing his homework he tends to want to butt in and do his. Also quizzes, offering to test them sometimes is a good way to show an interest without appearing to harass.

The truth is most children come home and they are tired. Tired of concentrating on school stuff. I suppose it is a question of rekindling whatever enthusiasm they ever had in the least aggressive way possible. For ds1 that can be doing the easiest task first, or mixing it up with other tasks that are not so schooly. Or giving him a deadline and reward in form of family time after...we are going to watch x programme, get y done first.


KandyBarr Fri 19-Oct-12 16:31:41

Agree, setting work for Yr9 is unreasonable. They're knackered after a day at school and their brains are like soup - if they have a chance to rest, then I'd let them grab it.

I sympathise on the novels, though. DS is yr 9 and doesn't enjoy fiction - gets cross if I urge him to read. However, I've found if I stick a broadsheet supplement (Grauniad G2, Times T2) in his hand, a magazine like Time Out or a fact-based book, a funny memoir or biog, he'll happily read.

I don't mind what he reads, so long as it's reasonably well-written. Ironically, he loved Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother - mostly because he was horrified. Shag - you could try your DD on that - it'll make you look good if nothing else.

simbo Fri 19-Oct-12 16:44:35

I have a Y9 dd who is incredibly private and will only work in her room with the door shut. If I try to help (interfere) with her work in any way she just freezes me out. I have to look through her books when she is in the shower to have any idea of what she's doing. So she spends at least an hour busy in some way, but how much of that is focused work I cannot tell. I think 1 hour is about right for this age group, and if your dd's school is not setting much I would be asking questions.

achillea Fri 19-Oct-12 16:50:31

I'm relieved to have read this thread as my DD is the same.

Inspiring them to research, read and work seems to be what's needed. So far her research has been on utube watching teenage american boys playing pranks on each other. For two years.

I do think we need to re-wire their brains a bit to make up for the endless passive entertainment they get, swanthing and kandybar have good suggestions. I think I will buy Amy Chua's book and see if she learns to appreciate how lucky she is.

Startailoforangeandgold Fri 19-Oct-12 19:20:58

I should hope she told you to get lost.

My Y7 would not be that polite.

Y9 is the last year of childhood, let her enjoy it.

BackforGood Fri 19-Oct-12 19:35:24

dd1 is in Yr9. She gets usually 2 or 3 things to do per night and they tend to take 20 - 30mins each, so 1 - 1.5 hrs a night, but broken into shorter pieces.
She gets on with it on her own though, I'm not standing over her.
She also goes to Scouts (meeting night, camps, some other competitions or activities), to football (training and matches), and she has a once a week paper round. She has lessons in two instruments and occasionally practices them. All my dc have to cook an evening meal at least once a week. She quite likes cooking so sometimes does a 2nd one, but at least once (usually twice) a week she'll do some baking as well. She reads before/ in bed most nights. I think she's pretty normal, tbh. You're welcome to show your dd if this helps smile

AlmostAHipster Fri 19-Oct-12 19:52:33

I think forcing a year 9 student to sit down under rigid supervision is going to backfire tbh. I find what works is to talk to them about what's happened in lessons that day and what homework they have but let them decide when to tackle the tasks. Obviously, I encourage my children to complete the homework sooner rather than later, so then they've got the rest of the evening to themselves - if they don't do it, then they suffer the consequences at school. They need to learn how to organise themselves and to acquire a thirst for knowledge, in order to fulfil their potential at GCSE and beyond. So I give masses of encouragement for any achievement at school and discuss future careers, outlining which subjects they enjoy the most and how they can build on their subject knowledge when thinking about which options to take.

This approach is working so far (one daughter newly installed in uni, one in year 9 and one in year 6 who is uber competitive!) - forcing a child to do anything will only make them dig their heels in, IME. I guess my advice would be to back off a little and have a little faith in your child.

Startailoforangeandgold Fri 19-Oct-12 19:55:38

Now, the doing nothing else is another matter entirely.

My Y7 dances, goes to scouts and does one nights sport.

My Y10 sings, goes to rangers and has a active outdoor hobby many weekends in the summer.

I think your DD needs to do something, but extra school work isn't it.

bengalcat Sat 20-Oct-12 12:29:35

Mine usually has 2 -3 different subjects set per night . Looking at her homework diary it looks as though the suggested time spent on each is around 20minutes . Most homework is handed in at the next lesson so not necessarily the following day . She also plays two instruments and does ballet twice a week . Occasionally there is no homework and on these nights I leave her to her own devices (usually involves being glued to her computer /CBBC iplayer but she's also an avid reader ).

As many other posters have said sitting down and forcing her to do an hours work with you every night will probably backfire . I think asking her about what she's done and learnt at school , enjoyed most , found easy , found hard etc is a good way to start . You say she does nothing , what about getting her to plan and cook dinner one evening ? What about sport , music etc . Education is not just about the academia .

Good luck .

TantrumsAndBalloons Sat 20-Oct-12 12:37:25

My ds1 is in year 9 dd in year 10.

DS probably averages about an hour of homework every night. Dd. maybe 90 minutes plus revision as she is taking 2 GCSE this year like a lot of year 10 I think.

You said she has started a new school, what was the homework set up in her old school? Is she getting less at the new school?

IMHO you are being a bit rigid about the homework situation. I wouldn't expect a 13 year old to have to sit by my side doing their work.
Mine generally do their homework at the table because the pc, printer etc is downstairs but I do not sit with them.

I expect by year 9 that they take responsibility for their own work tbh.

And as for setting your own work, I think that's a bit over the top tbh

Are you worried that she is falling behind?

TantrumsAndBalloons Sat 20-Oct-12 12:40:45

The doing nothing is a seperate issue though isn't?

My DCs have jobs to do in the house, they cook once a week, they both play football and swimming club.

Is there really nothing she is interested in?

KandyBarr Sat 20-Oct-12 13:44:03

shag I just saw your comment about schools on another thread and have worked out you live roughly near me. Have you tried your DD on the Brit school Saturday morning classes? They do fashion, art, drama, film - loads of stuff, they're reasonably priced and they let you pay with monthly instalments if you need to. DS is doing film-making - loves it, and was previously resistant to clubs. Cost £70 for the term.

wordassociationfootball Sat 20-Oct-12 14:31:16

How is she settling in at the school Shagmund?

Shagmundfreud Sat 20-Oct-12 16:13:29

"Y9 is the last year of childhood, let her enjoy it."

Her cousins and friends who are as bright as she is do an hour's homework every night MINIMUM. They have hobbies. They help out around the house. They are HAPPY and they have good self-esteem. They are achieving at school.

DD does nothing. I have tried, I really have. Guides - not interested. Drama - not interested. Dance - went twice gave it up. Piano - spent hundreds of pounds over several years, was told she was very musical, but she couldn't be bothered to practice and insisted on giving up. She sings well but won't join a choir or do anything with that. My sister offered her guitar lessons but she decided she couldn't be bothered.

Her interests are her phone, and watching shitty television on her lap-top (Hollyoaks, TOWIE, make-over programmes).

Getting her to help out around the house is very difficult. She won't even do something as simple as pick her clothes off the floor or put her shoes on the shoe rack without being asked 5 times.

Kandy - I will look at the Brit school classes. I didn't realise they did film making.

I am not a pushy mother, I am just horrified at how little she is doing with her time and how little she is achieving educationally or in any other area of her life.

She started at her new school on Tuesday.

The rows this week have centred on
1) her deliberately putting on thick eye-liner and mascara on for her first day, after being told that the school has a no makeup policy for year 7 to 9
2) her having to be forced to take a bag to school on her first day - I hadn't bought her the expensive bag she'd asked for so she decided she was not going to take one
3) on the wettest day this week refusing to take her coat and saying she would do the 45 minute journey in her jumper, because her coat didn't have a hood
4) her phoning me up to collect her on Friday afternoon because she'd spent her bus fair on sweets
5) her failure to write her homework down in her homework diary, despite this having been a MASSIVE problem in her previous school, and one that we'd spoken about at length.
6) On two mornings it taking the combined nagging and pleading efforts of me and DH over the period of half an hour to get her out of bed and out the house on time.
7) On Thursday she went around to some girl's house after school and didn't bother phoning or texting me to tell me she wasn't coming home. I phoned her 40 minutes after she should have been back and she said she hadn't phoned because she thought I was probably out. Twice this month she has gone off to people's houses we don't know, without permission, and without even sending us a text to tell us where she is. She's only just turned 13 and I feel really uncomfortable about not knowing where she is or who she's with.

I'm worn out with it. It's like pushing a fecking boulder up a hill.

Then to top it off she had a massive go at me last night after I told her off (for getting dc2 (9) to give her a tenner out of his birthday money, so she could go and spend it on food after refusing to eat what I'd cooked), telling me I was a useless mother, that everyone hates me, that I'm a failure because I buy my clothes in charity shops, that my cooking is shit and nobody wants to eat it, that I don't earn any money and my working life amounts to nothing, that I'm a loser because I have a child with special needs (dc3).

I feel like giving up.

Shagmundfreud Sat 20-Oct-12 16:20:52

wordassociation - she seems to be happy with her new school. According to her half the girls there are bisexual. confused. She seems to be making friends.

She started on Tuesday and has done no work after school this week.

Her homework diary is empty, apart from noting there is an art homework - which I wrote in after finding the assignment rattling around loose at the bottom of her bag. The assignment (set on Tuesday) was to copy a portrait by Jean Basquiat. She told me it'll only take her 20 minutes and she'll do it 'some time'. Art was her weakest subject at her previous school, possibly because she won't make any effort with it at all.

bigTillyMint Sat 20-Oct-12 16:26:10

DD is in Y9 and goes up to her room for at least 2 hours a night doing homework (and watching you-tube and fFBing and texting, and, and, and) - I would think she does at least an hour a night.

I have to say that we have rows about no. 3 all the time!

mummytime Sat 20-Oct-12 16:28:50

Okay take the laptop away. After her behaviour she has given you an excuse.

Tell her she has to do one activity outside school, ask her school to speak to her about it too. Even if she manages to get her exam grades her teachers will despair when faced with having to write a reference or statement on her if she has no interests. What does she want to do with her life? Can she get a job? Do D of E? Do voluntary work? Take up any weird sport?

I would also talk to her form tutor or head of year and give them full permission to crack down on her for not done homework etc.

MaryZed Sat 20-Oct-12 16:31:33

Oh, dear.

Have a read of this thread

Some of us have given up a bit.

Personally I don't believe you can force her. You can try to persuade her, or bribe her, or threaten her, but ultimately it will have to come from her.

It seems to me though, that you have bigger problems with her than homework and that it might be worth putting your efforts into some other areas of her life first. Because I have learned over the years [bitter] that if a child is unhappy they will not achieve academically, if they are happy they are more likely to work hard.

Can you pass the buck to the school and have them enforce the academics while you try to improve your relationship with her at home?

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