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WWYD - school's homework policy vs what happens in practice

(8 Posts)
DolorestheNewt Sat 12-Mar-16 12:39:54

DS is in an academic independent school (not uber-academic, but competitive to get into nonetheless). School has a homework policy of 40 minute preps, set on the same day each time where possible IYSWIM.

The history teacher has a habit of setting preps that take much longer, and has now incensed DS, who's in year 8, by setting an extra prep this weekend.

I have told Young Newt, to his disgust, that yes, it's unfair, but he needs to do the work this weekend and then, if he wants to, talk to his form tutor, either on his own or in a group with other kids who feel similarly disgruntled about it, and discuss the mixed messages from the school. At the very least, they might get the satisfaction of hearing someone in authority acknowledge that the H/W policy is a crock when it comes to history, even if they're told they need to get on with it nonetheless.

I've also explained to DS that if he gets better at writing history essays, he'll find it easier, so it benefits him in the longer term, but of course no 13-year-old is going to respond well to that argument. He's not a fast writer, and his concentration is still very immature, so he perhaps labours under this type of thing more than his peers.

Don't want to let him down, but I feel I shouldn't intervene beyond this point. However, though I'd ask - WWYD? Would you talk to the school about a teacher who's a serial excessive-prep-setter? Or would you encourage him to talk to his (incredibly approachable) form tutor and basically fight his own battles? Or just tell him to keep quiet and get on with it? Quite like the idea of a deputation of indignant and seditious 13YOs making representation to his form tutor! But on a serious note, interested to see a couple of other opinions if anyone can be bothered to write one!

Soz for long post and enjoy your weekends, MNers! smile

lalalonglegs Sat 12-Mar-16 12:59:36

I think your policy is sensible. If he speaks to the form tutor and the tutor then speaks to the history teacher who continues to set excessive homework, then I would simply tell him to do as much as he can in 40 minutes and then add my own note at the bottom saying that you would prefer it if the teacher could stick to giving the prescribed amount. But I'm stroppy about homework, I hate it.

SueLawleyandNicholasWitchell Sat 12-Mar-16 13:03:46

Just get him to work for the 40 minutes and write in his planner "confirmation that mini newt spent 40 minutes on this homework" and sign. That's it.

DolorestheNewt Sat 12-Mar-16 13:04:10

Thanks, lala. Gotta say, I'm with you - I am really hoping that he'll not need quite so much intervention further up the school! Apart from anything else, I spend a lot of time preoccupied by whether I'm over-intervening or under-intervening. As well as doing the intervention in the first place. Or sitting worrying that I should be intervening. Gah.

DolorestheNewt Sat 12-Mar-16 13:05:15

Thanks, SueLawley (great name!)

BackforGood Mon 14-Mar-16 13:13:34

I'm with you - at 13, I think the dc should be encouraged to make the first approach to the member of staff.
After that, it depends on the reaction / response from the teacher, and how much longer he is spending (and does this balance out by other homeworks being able to be completed in less than the 40mins, for example).

Autumnsky Mon 14-Mar-16 14:28:35

It's normal for history homework to be longer, but some other subjects home work are short, like math, it normally takes my DS1 15 minutes. I think these should balance each out. DS1's school has a policy of 2 subject homework per day, half an hour each. But sometimes they don't have any, sometimes more.

I don't think it's necessary to complain about it. Your DS can write a short answer if he doesn't like to do it longer. My DS1 tend to wirte short article at homework as well, but he often do it much longer in exam, and then he has very good score in exam, and school report would say I should encourage him to put more effort in homework.

DolorestheNewt Mon 14-Mar-16 17:35:51

Thanks, both. Replies much appreciated.

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