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Y7 - am i helping too much with homework?

(39 Posts)
Achooblessyou Sun 19-Oct-14 12:06:11

I have 2ds's who are both lazy and unambitious at school. I have to make them do homework and it feels like a constant battle. Plus they are still not good at the basics like times tables etc. so I often do extra with them (y7 and y5).

In particular since y7 ds started high school the amount of homework has been huge. We're doing about an hour a night sometimes more. I'm an lp and work full time so it doesn't leave much time for anything nice in an evening. If he cared and did it himself I'm sure it could be quicker, but he doesn't. He's already had detention for being late with homework but it didn't seem to bother him.

We've spent a couple of hours this morning on one piece of English work - he had to write an acrostic poem about a book, and interview one of the characters of the book. I tried to leave him to it but when he'd finished and I checked it it was terrible - the poem was just wrong and not a poem at all (I had to google what it was to find that out so I know the correct format!), and the interview was full of poor spelling and grammar and just no effort put in at all.

So we did it again together. I tried to inspire him by coming up with ideas and tried to get him to use his imagination. He will hand in something much better but he's mostly written down my ideas - there's hardly any of his own work. And I had to get him to review it and correct all the spelling/grammar mistakes.

What do you think is best - leave him to it or keep trying to "help"?

We have 3 more pieces of homework to do today so I'll apply your advice to that!

Oh - and feel free to correct any mistakes I've made in the text above grin

noblegiraffe Sun 19-Oct-14 12:18:04

In Y7 each piece should take 20-30 mins so an hour a night sounds about right. 2 hours on a piece of English is excessive.

Checking his spelling and grammar is ok. Coming up with ideas and getting him to write them down isn't.

However, if you are constantly checking his spelling and grammar and he just applies your corrections, that won't help him in the long run. I'd highlight some errors (don't want to overwhelm him if there are lots) and get him to look them up in a dictionary or work out the error.

I'd also write a note to the teacher if extensive help is given (or hand in both versions) so the teacher doesn't get a false impression of ability.

Coolas Sun 19-Oct-14 12:24:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

noblegiraffe Sun 19-Oct-14 12:26:23

I'd use the internet for times tables practice rather than it all being on you, there are loads of websites out there with times tables games and stuff, all self-marking.

bloodyteenagers Sun 19-Oct-14 12:30:13

You are doing him no favours and the school will know because of the blatant differences in school and home work.
If he is convincing them it's all his work, you are doing him no favours and could push him up into higher sets.
Step back and let him take responsibility. He needs to learn this for himself if he has any chance at passing GCSEs

Achooblessyou Sun 19-Oct-14 12:35:06

Thanks both for your comments, they all sound very sensible. Planning a cinema visit this pm so might try the "set a time" idea with the next piece of work.

We do Youtube songs for times tables! Thought we had cracked it before the summer holidays but it hasn't stuck with youngest ds. Eldest is better but there are still some gaps.

As a maths lover I think times tables are important also basic sums incl. long multiplication and division. We keep going back to these every few months I'm sure it will stick eventually!

Achooblessyou Sun 19-Oct-14 12:36:50

I know what you're saying bt, makes sense.

Fairywhitebear Sun 19-Oct-14 12:39:59

Times tables. Yes. You should have nailed this with them by Year 4. Not too late for your year 5 child, but getting your year 7 child to sit down might be a bit hard now! Agree with above - times tables is the one thing you should force your children to learn (I put it on a par with potty training!!!)

Homework for Year 7? Well. As others have said, it does sound a lot a night. However, by Year 7 they should be doing it (or not doing it) on their own imo. If your child knows you'll simply step it, what's the point of them taking responsibility? Let him flunk it, let him get a bollocking, let him be put in detention and let him learn for himself he should have done it.

Parents pandering to kids is not helping them. How are they ever going to learn to accept responsibility for their actions? confused

Achooblessyou Sun 19-Oct-14 12:46:22

Honestly it's not for want of trying!

Over the years we practise on long journeys, using my maths, using youtube songs, it just doesn't stick!

Will keep trying on that one.

noblegiraffe Sun 19-Oct-14 14:01:42

Mangahigh.com has lots of good free games for practising numeracy and times tables.
I'd lay off the songs and just go for regular practice.

luxaroma Mon 20-Oct-14 07:59:56

My friend tutors maths at secondary level, she says it gets to a point with some of the kids where she recognises the child cannot ever remember times tables and she has a method whereby they only learn up to 4 times and then they work out the rest using a weird method she teaches them. Of course it's not as quick but at least they can move on from times tables to concentrate on proper maths methods rather than failing dismally at remembering times tables.

homebythesea Mon 20-Oct-14 12:23:57

Please stop doing the work for him!

Your job is to provide a suitably quiet environment for him to work and be interested in what he's doing. No more than that. What is the point in him going to school with a piece of work that doesn't reflect his actual skills and might even hide a specific difficulty? By all means tell the teacher he is having difficulty, but really you need to take a step back. If he gets punished for doing homework late then so be it- he may need a jolt to make him realise he's not in cosy Primary any more.

LooseAtTheSeams Mon 20-Oct-14 12:28:02

Y7s have to adjust to different expectations from primary school and it takes more than one half term! Get the planner, encourage him to work out what needs to be done, and by when, and that he has the tools for the task. Make sure he understands what's being asked - he can google acrostic himself for example! Be willing to answer a question half way through and if you're feeling kind, offer to read through at the end. Ignore all moaning and sighing! If there's an obvious recurring problem then jump on that but otherwise let it go. DS1 is in Y8 now and I don't do any more than check that he knows when his homework needs to be in but he was very chaotic to start with!

I agree with luxaroma, some kids don't learn tables by heart (or not all 12 tables). If your DSs stall on just a few you could try and find a way of making those memorable, e.g. by making a rhyme or by emphasizing a strategy for dealing with them. (Apparently a lot of adults who learned their tables off by heart have blind spots with certain ones, most commonly 7x8=56. One way to learn it is 56=7x8 so it's 5,6,7,8 in order. I tried this on DS2 but I had to keep reminding him of this strategy so I don't know if it was this in itself that worked or just me constantly badgering him about it!!) I think also that we forget, looking back, just how long it takes to learn all the tables really well so we can call them up in an instant!

Cloud2 Mon 20-Oct-14 14:11:22

Your DS just like my nephew, he spend lots of time on homework every evening. I think most of the time he just sit and not think at all.

The trouble is motivation. You have to try to get him to want to get good result in the school, and work hard himself.

Y7&Y8's homeworks generally are not so much. My DS1 normally finish his homework within an hour. But in Y9, homework increase so much, and he has to do some in Sunday now.

Achooblessyou Mon 20-Oct-14 18:10:37

Thanks all for your comments.

I tried the set a time and treat strategy yesterday. He had 45 mins - he took 20 mins to find a webpage, then the ipad battery ran out so he had to log into the laptop. I gave him an extra 15 mins as he was working quietly. He'd produced something ok so we had the treat (cinema so couldn't delay!) and he finished it when he got back. He did fine.

So yes I can see that it can work. I just don't like how much of our quality time is taken up by homework, mainly because he is very slow! I want to do nice things at weekend! But yes I can see that if I stick with this strategy, he'll realise himself that the quicker he gets it done, the more time there'll be for the nice things.

homebythesea Mon 20-Oct-14 19:09:52

Achoo - glad it has improved! I hate to worry you but it only gets worse I'm afraid. My Y9 works most evenings around her other activities, and probably 2 hours each Sat and Sun. My Y12 has a couple of hours each night and probably about 5 hours over the weekend at least, not including revision for tests etc. It is therefore so important to plant the seeds now in Y7/8 when it isn't so vital i.e not directly attached to GCSE / A level.

OnlyWatford Tue 21-Oct-14 10:51:44

I'm afraid I have to confess to doing some of DD's homework. The whole 'do a poster' thing that appears in almost every subject is way too time consuming for an 11 yo (admittedly arty-perfectionist 11yo!). She does all the content and if we run out out of time - ie it's heading towards 10pm. I'll finish the colouring.

For written assignments in, for instance, English and RS. She'll dictate her draft essay to me and then she can edit the draft and write up the final copy. I'm hoping that in time she will be able to do the draft writing on her own but at the moment she needs help with focus and direction so that she can sensibly plan essays in the future.

Also, if she is struggling with ideas I will suggest - have you thought of saying 'x' or 'y'.

I think it is fine to sit and help. I read an article on (i think) the BBC website a few weeks ago that the best period for productivity is working 52 minutes with 17 minutes break. I told my daughters and the precision of it made us laugh. And I joked that we'd use it! Turned out to be not such a joke... I set the timer for 17 minutes the second she walks in the door and she has that time to get changed, get a drink etc. Then we time for 52 minutes while she does homework. It started off as a joke but we call it The L*** Family Homework Device. She does her homework in the kitchen so I am always there for asking questions if I am cooking - but for lots of that time I sit with her and do emails, sort out bits and pieces of my own work, finish her colouring if necessary ;). I think it's good for her to see me working too. She's rarely finished after 52 mins so we set a 17 break and then start again. It's crazy but it works for us :D

GooseyLoosey Tue 21-Oct-14 10:56:29

I will admit to doing ds's colouring in. No academic input (except for direction and ideas) but where I cannot really see a learning point to it and it is just taking up ds's time, I will help.

For example, a recent language homework was to draw 10 things and then lable them in relevant language and English. Ds had already spent 4 hours doing homework over the weekend so I did the drawings and he did the labeling (which I think was the learning bit anyway).

Dancingyogi Tue 21-Oct-14 15:36:13

A friend of mine even did half her Ds's coursework for uni - she was then left with a DS who could do very little for himself, so she set upon getting him a job too....she thinks she did too much but she just can't stop herself and he still can't cope without her assistance, he's a bit of a mess and she always tells me to back of while you still can let them sort themselves out without too big a fallout.

voddiekeepsmesane Tue 21-Oct-14 19:53:06

Personally I think that by year 5 they should be able to sit and do homework without parental involvement. DS is year 6 I look over his work but would not dream of doing ANY of it myself, he regularly has about an hours work 3/4 times a week. OnlyWatford I think you are doing your daughter a disservice. Will you still be "helping her finish GCSE work??

Step away people stop trying to control every aspect of your child's schooling ( maybe that is why some are seen as "perfectionists?)

SixImpossible Tue 21-Oct-14 23:55:03

I will admit to doing ds's colouring in. No academic input (except for direction and ideas) but where I cannot really see a learning point to it and it is just taking up ds's time, I will help.

For example, a recent language homework was to draw 10 things and then lable them in relevant language and English. Ds had already spent 4 hours doing homework over the weekend so I did the drawings and he did the labeling (which I think was the learning bit anyway).

There is a learning point to the colouring-in. It's about learning to pace yourself, learning to identify the different aspects of a task and work out how much time to dedicate to each aspect.

AuditAngel Wed 22-Oct-14 00:19:52

DS was recently set maths sums and instructed to shops the workings, meaning he had to write the suns out. He was tired and not copying the suns correctly. I did help by copying the sums leaving him the space to show his workings. If DS needs to do a poem, I may suggest themes, otherwise he will sit for hours without doing anything.

AuditAngel Wed 22-Oct-14 00:20:25

His maths is a bit like my spelling tonight. Whoops!

ElephantsNeverForgive Wed 22-Oct-14 00:32:41

DH spell checks for Dyslexic DD1 if asked, he has a bash at MFL (I'm also dyslexic, did Welsh not German and 4/5 of my French teachers were crap). We both help with anything else if asked.

If we are not asked we keep out of it!

DRDBP Thu 23-Oct-14 22:49:50

It does take time to acclimatise to the expectations at Year 7. But if he is truly that unmotivated by the work it might be also worth speaking to the teacher. The teacher's role includes motivation and lack of such in a child may be due to many factors. The teacher can be vital in highlighting some of the issues and should help.

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