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My son's Y3 homework

(51 Posts)
AngryBurds Wed 11-Oct-17 18:48:19

I am not really sure if this is the right place so post but could do with some advice.

My son has come home from school with year 3 homework (he is 7) for English in which he has to imagine he wakes up as a girl. And apparently tomorrow theyve got to imagine that theyre a girl at school. thetopic is gender sterotyping.

In fact, I have a huge problem with this not least because my boy goes against all male stereotypes and is totally unaware of this, or was until we discussed the homework tonight.

In the end I instructed him to write what would actually happen ie not much as girls at his schoolwear trousers: he is into art, no change there, and he completed the homework stating basically that his gender is irrelevant to him.

Am i being joyless old cis-human about this or would this annoy you? Is this part of the NC? I think that 7 is way to young to be focussing on gener stereotypes even if its well intentioned because at this age, kids are happily unselfconscious and I would prefer to delay this for a few years. I think even if he were a typical boy, id still be very cross that there's any need for this sort of education at this age.

SandSnakeofDorne Wed 11-Oct-17 18:51:43

He's lucky he hasn't come across any bullying for not matching gender stereotypes. At seven kids have already been bombarded with pink is for girls, boys are tough stuff. They're more than old enough to have these conversations. I wish my DS's school would do something to challenge gender stereotyping. It's a shame you haven't taken the opportunity to discuss feminism with him.

Acopyofacopy Wed 11-Oct-17 18:53:35

I would have encouraged exactly the same response! For a 7 year old nothing much would (should?) change at all!
What a very odd homework, it will be interesting to see where they are going with this.

Backingvocals Wed 11-Oct-17 18:57:38

I wouldn't be happy with this either. DS is 8 and he would force himself to say things he doesn't actually see like 'I would wear pink' (his sister doesn't) and 'I would play with dolls' (his sister doesn't).

StaySexyDontGetMurdered Wed 11-Oct-17 19:00:20

It might be good if some kids did come back with 'ooh I'm such a lady, I played with my hair all day!' And the teacher could challenge that opinion.

I'm hoping that's where they are coming from anyway.

AngryBurds Wed 11-Oct-17 19:00:38

SandSnake, how do you know i havent talked about feminism with him?!
we have many discussions along this vein plus I dont conform to gender either, which he pointed out tonight?

NONETHELESS i think 7 is too young to be shining a spotlight on what is and whats isnt expected.

I think this exercise is counterproductive.

LittleWingSoul Wed 11-Oct-17 19:46:09

SandSnake I don't really see how this is challenging gender stereotypes though?! It is reinforcing them! "Oh, if I was a girl, I would wake up and spend an hour doing my hair, then I'd spend another hour choosing my outfit, I'd only eat a grapefruit for breakfast as I'm watching the waist line..."

I mean, seriously?! They're children!

I find this really sad and I hope your little boy doesn't now feel he is not 'being a boy correctly' or something. Utter madness. I'm actually really angry on your behalf OP!

NotAgainYoda Wed 11-Oct-17 20:05:52

I agree with LittleWingSoul

It's far too young to assign as homework. Not too young to discuss on an individual basis though

newtlover Wed 11-Oct-17 20:11:24

give the teacher some credit!
some children will write stereotyped answers- teacher can then ask, so, girls, do you REALLY spend all day playing with dolls and doing you hair?
and boys, do all the boys here REALLY love fighting and football?
so, let's think class, where did those ideas come from?
Let your DS write what he really thinks. That's fine.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Wed 11-Oct-17 20:27:41

In the end I instructed him to write what would actually happen ie not much...: he is into art, no change there

I'm a bit puzzled by this - are you suggesting that enjoying art is seen as stereotypically feminine?

LittleWingSoul Wed 11-Oct-17 20:31:34

newtlover I really hope you are right! Let us know how it goes tomorrow OP

pancakesfortea Wed 11-Oct-17 20:34:53

It's a perfectly ok question and "nothing would be any different" is a perfectly ok answer.

AngryBurds Wed 11-Oct-17 20:37:11

"I'm a bit puzzled by this - are you suggesting that enjoying art is seen as stereotypically feminine?" it is in our school, we're in the north west footballer territory, so ALL the girls attend choir and drama and ALL the boys are mad footballers. So, hes already in a fairly gendered environment. I sent him to art classes and he was the only boy out of 15 or so.

I Do give the teacher credit, and can see what shes trying to do, but am not sure this level of self refection is ok at 7.

Ttbb Wed 11-Oct-17 20:39:13

That's a bit of a weird assignment. Let's be honest. If a boy actually woke up to suddenly find out he was a girl the first thing that would happen is that he would freak out. Then he would really need to do a wee but wouldn't realise that he need sit down so he would wee all over the floor. His mother would then tell him off for making a huge mess and would then promptly pass out when he showed her why he wasn't to blame. The rest of the day would be taken up by endless tests at the hospital.

jellyfrizz Wed 11-Oct-17 20:42:18

I'm a bit puzzled by this - are you suggesting that enjoying art is seen as stereotypically feminine?

Just look at all the pink craft sets for sale. Not so many blue ones. No, boys like science and maths and 'proper' subjects.

AngryBurds Wed 11-Oct-17 20:54:24

I am probably a bit sensitive because although hes into lego and various boy tropes, his true love is art, and drawing unicorns and rainbows and all things heart shaped are his current passions. And I know he's not got long before he will start getting teased although he presents a tougher image at school. So I do feel he is quite "other" compared to his male peers. And I am a physicist with a love of diy and outdoor sports, so I am also "other" which I pointed out to him.

What I DON'T want is for him to start questioning WHY he likes what he likes. Or for his classmates to start noticing which children don't conform.

And above all, I dont want to be that whingeing moaning dissatisfied parent, so I am trying to understand whether IABU or not. (I would have stuck this in AIBU but knowing me, I would get eviscerated online and then outed IRL.

LittleWingSoul Wed 11-Oct-17 21:08:33

Well for what it's worth op, I don't think you are BU and your son sounds absolutely lovely. I completely agree with you, too young for this level of self-reflection. And just timing-wise it does feel like it has a bit of an agenda behind it. I hope the teacher pleasantly surprises you tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Ereshkigal Wed 11-Oct-17 21:19:30

Someone else posted a very similar thread recently. Maybe it's come from specific learning materials?

isthistoonosy Wed 11-Oct-17 21:26:36

Isn't it (inter?) national girls day today. I'd have assumed they were going for - girls can do and be anything, as can boys.

NoLoveofMine Wed 11-Oct-17 21:53:46

he completed the homework stating basically that his gender is irrelevant to him.

I think this is an excellent response and hope that this exercise doesn't set him back in this sense - it's great he rejects gender stereotyping and has said so in completing this homework. Ideally the teacher would use this as an example for the point they were (hopefully) trying to make. Gender is irrelevant to him as it should be to all children so they can grow up free of these limiting and regressive stereotypes which are so enforced.

MacaroonMama Wed 11-Oct-17 22:21:11

I would instantly feel my hackles raise if my kids came home with this as a task. However, given that today is Day of the Girl, perhaps the teacher will be using it as a starting point to show the opportunities girls have in the UK as compared to
girls all over the world?

Can you ask the teacher? I am a parent now but used to be a teacher and would not at all have minded being asked about the rationale for setting work. If s/he says something you feel is ok, fine and you can leave it. If s/he says "Oh it's prep work before we watch a pink brain/blue brain documentary from Mermaids" that is where you can start being That Parent...

LassWiTheDelicateAir Wed 11-Oct-17 22:29:54

Just look at all the pink craft sets for sale. Not so many blue ones. No, boys like science and maths and 'proper' subjects

I've just googled art sets - the results are not gendered. The first results I got for arts and crafts sets were from Argos. Even their children's cross- stitch sets weren't gendered. Walk into any art supply shop or stationery shop - they sell boxes of crayons, paints, paper etc. They are not gendered in the way you say.

I'm finding this and some of the OP's other comments bizarre. Lego is a boy trope? Being female and into outdoor sports is worthy of a special mention? Being into art is a female trope?

This comes across as trying to pigeon hole things as being stereotypically for one sex when they aren't and making an issue out of going against it.

MrsKCastle Wed 11-Oct-17 22:32:08

Are they reading Bill's New Frock? The main character in that is a boy who wakes up as a girl and discovers that girls are treated worse in many ways e.g. Not allowed to really use the playground, because boys dominate the space, told not to get their dresses dirty etc.

I would use the exercise as a starting point for discussion about how boys and girls may be treated differently even though they are similar in most ways that matter.

newtlover Wed 11-Oct-17 23:01:33

sounds like a good book, and you could end your discussion of it by saying that of course, boys will stay boys and grow into men, while girls will stay girls and grow into women, which is fine because both boys and girls can like/do/be good at what ever they choose!

Datun Wed 11-Oct-17 23:26:17

It would be a very odd teacher indeed if they were then going to use this exercise to reinforce gender stereotyping. On the other hand, if she has bought into the trans-ideology, she might want to say, see, wouldn't that feel odd, and wouldn't you hate it? That's how trans people feel.

If that is the case, I would feel horrified.

If trans propaganda wasn't so prevalent on schools I would definitely think she was going to explore gender and make mincemeat of it.

However, knowing how the agenda is being pushed at schools, I'm not at all confident.

You did exactly the right thing in telling him it makes no difference. Because it doesn't. Or shouldn't.

Let us know how it goes.

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