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19 pieces of homework!

(58 Posts)
breward Tue 29-Sep-15 22:40:15

DS just turned 13 and in Y9. The amount of homework that his school has set each week since the start of term is ridiculous- 19 pieces last week. Family life has gone out the window.

It is not just the number of pieces, it is the difficulty. Yes, DS is at Grammar School, but he was only Level 4 writing when he left primary 2 years ago (Level 5 and 6 for other areas). ONE of last week's English homework was to write an essay: 'How does Jonathan Swift satirise religious thinking in the novel Gulliver's Travels?' Not a 10 minute task. This is like an A level title not a homework for someone who was working at Level 4 two years ago.

Sorry, just had to rant!

BackforGood Tue 29-Sep-15 22:50:47

I think that must be typical to the school, not society generally - my dd has just gone into Yr9 (and I have two older dc) and none of them has been inundated with homework at this age not that's I'd be able to give you a precise count or level of detail.

noblegiraffe Tue 29-Sep-15 23:11:55

The school should have a homework policy including a suggested number of hours. If what your DS has received is significantly beyond that, then I suggest that you let the school know.

He can't be doing 19 subjects so is he getting more than one piece a week for some subjects?

knittingwithnettles Tue 29-Sep-15 23:21:46

My son had a similar homework in Year 9 on Gullivers Travels. It is usually the case that they are going over a topic that has already been covered extensively in class rather than researching something for the first time. My son's experience was that they planned the content of the essay as a class and the teacher then expected them to write it up at home.

I think I did have to rewrite that one when he did it twice and it was gobbledygook. blush

Sometimes the homework appears harder than it is. Mostly it is consolidation of class work or bullet point research. To us it seems scary because we do not know what the classwork was.

knittingwithnettles Tue 29-Sep-15 23:25:48

Anyway the Gulliver one is quite easy...countries going to war over the way they eat their boiled eggs the big enders and the small enders.(ie debate over the sacraments .that sort of thing.wink There's a great version of it illustrated by Chris Riddell

Gruach Tue 29-Sep-15 23:32:29

Hmm ... According to my unreliable arithmetic 19 pieces of homework a week is fewer than 3 pieces a day. It doesn't sound outrageous. Particularly since not all of the tasks will be equally taxing - and I imagine the lessons in school would have prepared the class for that essay?

What does he feel about it himself?

For comparison the yr 9 I know best spoke of 8 pieces of homework on a particular day recently. Though some of that can be completed during free periods within the school day.

Whether he and your DS are each making the best use of the time available to them and planning their week's work sensibly is a different matter.

Perhaps you might need to adjust your idea of "family life"? Supporting him in study is surely a huge part of that?

balletgirlmum Tue 29-Sep-15 23:46:10

I've just added it up & at dds school (she is in year 9) she should be getting 13 pieces of homework a week. (Often she doesn't get it in practical subjects like drama or Food & Nutrition though. Each piece should take around 30 minutes.

At ds's school they get 16 pieces a week in year 9. Each piece should take around 30 minutes.

MariaV0nTrapp Tue 29-Sep-15 23:49:51

Flipping heck that seems a lot!
My two, one in y8 one in y9, have about 8ish a week, y8 dd has slightly less.

Gruach Tue 29-Sep-15 23:52:45

Oh - good point, should have stated my example in hours. 20 pieces a week; each roughly 30 mins. So 10 hours a week.

(It's actually shown quite plainly in the homework policy.)

AuditAngel Wed 30-Sep-15 06:41:16

DS has just started year 7, he is timetabled yo get 13 pieces of homework a week, each of about 30 minutes. But last weekend he spent an hour trying to work out the kings and queens during the life of Paul Klee (no I'd never heard of him either) because he misunderstood the question

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Wed 30-Sep-15 06:48:59

Depends how long the pieces are, surely? Dd (12) has at least that, but some of it will be say, a MFL exercise that she does in 2 minutes.

TeenAndTween Wed 30-Sep-15 08:15:07

That seems a lot to me. (When DD1 was in y9 I remember giving her extra things to do as I didn't think she had enough homework!)

SleepyForest Wed 30-Sep-15 08:20:50

Ds is yr 9 and gets 15 homework of 30 mins each every week. 90 mins per night. I think it is too much really.

gingerdad Wed 30-Sep-15 08:22:58

We got 2 1/2 hours a night when I was at school. My DDs seen to get 3-4 a day depending on subjects. Which usually takes them a couple of hours. Ours do theirs after school before tea. Assuming no clubs but most of their clubs/out of school stuff is after 7.

ifonly4 Wed 30-Sep-15 08:28:15

19 pieces does sound a lot. Have some subjects set more than one piece a week, but they're things that take no longer than 15 mins to do/look up? Does he have 2-4 weeks to complete some - if so, obviously needs to put in the work at some point, but he probably won't get any more homework in that subject until hand in date.

AChickenCalledKorma Wed 30-Sep-15 08:29:37

DD1 is in Yr9 and has also had a big step up in the amount of homework set this term. I haven't added it up, but it's been 2 or 3 pieces a night. I am getting more involved than I have been, to help her prioritise and work out how much time it is reasonable to spend on each item. Otherwise she will spend hours perfecting an art task which is meant to be a quick sketch and "forget" to learn her German vocab, which does actually take hours!

Is he good at planning ahead and knowing when deadlines are? We are trying to work towards having one homework-free day a week, so she can know that there is an opportunity to step off the treadmill from time to time. I am thinking back to university days when I decided early on not to work on Sundays - everyone thought I was mad but I had some lovely days and I'm pretty sure it was the best thing I learned there from a mental health point of view.

(Which reminds me that now I just need to get back into that habit!!)

bloodyteenagers Wed 30-Sep-15 08:32:19

There was weeks that mine got insane amounts like op.
Some were to be done over several weeks.
Some ideas for the story to be formed.
A few beciase they were messing around in class and didn't complete work.
Occasionally because previous homework hadn't been done.

Artandco Wed 30-Sep-15 08:37:10

I think that's ok tbh. It's spread over 7 days so 2-3 pieces a night. Presumably the majority aren't essays then a good chunk can be done quickly and out the way. Generally most at secondary seem to get some homework out the way during the school day. So assuming they will get some in the morning before lunch, they can do one at least every lunchtime fairly quickly ( maths, science and languages usually best to get done easily as its sums/ equations/ translation rather than research most the time)
If he can do a piece each day during school breaks/ lunch/ bus home it will get through 5-7 pieces a week before they at home

( think I did all maths and languages on the bus for years!)

Seeline Wed 30-Sep-15 09:08:15

My Y9 Ds gets 17 pieces a week. He is expected to spend about 30 minutes on each, but in reality often spends longer.

I don't think that the amount of work your Ds is set is unreasonable given that it is a grammar school. the school should be open about how long each piece should be taking, so ask for clarification.

Autumnsky Wed 30-Sep-15 10:31:48

DS1 get 2-3 homeworks everyday, this is from Y7. He normally finish it everyday. It only take him an hour each day. To be honest, I think the homework is too little, he has plenty of time left everyday. Every night, after our dinner, he will either watch TV for an hour, or we play board games etc.

I do feel it's not right. When I was his age, after homework, I will spend 2 hours in the evening to revise(not this country). But he doesn't normally revise, and still he will get A* for most of his subjects(based on predictions). I don't think he is more bright than me and DH. So I am worried that GCSE is too simple.

DH recently just said one of his students failed University year 1, need to retake. This students has got very good GCSE and A levels, but he just can't handle the work required in University. And one of his PHD students is really struggle in writing paper, despite he is English, DH has to help him with writing paper. All sorts of stories really made me not so confident with Primary and Secondary education here now.

HeighHoghItsBacktoWorkIGo Wed 30-Sep-15 11:23:48

I think it's too much. Homework is only useful, if the child can do it on his own; it doesn't interfere with much needed sleep for their growing bodies and developing minds; it's well thought out and drives the learning forward. "Busywork" annoys me. Time is precious, I don't like to see children's time wasted.

I grew up in the 70/80s, when things were child centred and we weren't under much pressure. We could have done a bit more. The pendulum seems to have swung in the other direction now, with silly amounts of homework, particularly in academically selective schools.

Take heart, it's a global phenomenon, perhaps in response to the increased competition brought on by globalisation? Here is an essay by a man in NYC who tried to do his 13 year old daughter's homework for a week and couldn't hack it.

www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/10/my-daughters-homework-is-killing-me/309514/

Autumnsky Wed 30-Sep-15 12:18:36

I went to read the article pasted by HeighHogh, I actually think the author's daughter maybe need to change to a school more suitable to her level. If she need so many time on her homework, that only mean she is behind.

Like in Monday, she only got math, earth science and some reading. Normally math only takes short time, 20 minutes should be fine. Earth science has already been taught in the class, she just need revise it, maybe 20-30 minutes. And reading is a pleasure, I don't think it shoul be called homework. You can quickly skim it and then revisit it , then find what needed for the homework.

Everyday, her homework involves some revision for a test, and some math, a bit reading. That's really not so much.

balletgirlmum Wed 30-Sep-15 12:40:00

Im glad I'm not your child autumn sky. MD Ds goes to a selective private school so you can probably tell I take academic work seriously.

But what you are advocating is the fastest road to breakdown/burnout there is.

Children need time to be children & to eat, sleep, excercise & pursue hobbies. Dd dances two hours every evening then has an hour long journey every night. Homework is a quick 30 mins per night & a catch up on Sunday's (she dances onsaturdays)

What's the point of life if it's all studying. I want my children to enjoy life, have family time & pursue their interests or else what's the point.

You only live once.

Autumnsky Wed 30-Sep-15 12:47:41

I can't understand people send their children to a grammar school, then complain about homework. If you want a easy life , why both about the 11+ and all the hardwork for getting in. Why not save the place to someone who would appreciate it?

One of my friends send her DS to grammar, her DS has a bit autism which make him a bit weak in understanding language.When she dicided to enter him to sit the grammar school entrance test, his teacher said it is impossible for him to get in. But he get in . His English is not so good. So he has to spend much longer time on homework everyday and he need his mum's imput on his homework as well. But she has supported him all the way, it is really a hard work for her as she has a full time job herself. But it is rewarding to see he has managed to stay in the middle of his class and has the possiblity to go to University.

balletgirlmum Wed 30-Sep-15 12:53:36

Actuslly autumn my sons school which gets the best results in the county gives less homework & encourages extra curricular activities/team building/community service stuff as opposed to hours of study than the non selective schools.

The head says children achieve more like this than if they are burnt out & their results seem to justify this.

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