I hate homework.
I hate having to remember to ask Belle to do it, I hate that thing at 8.58pm where she suddenly remembers she has half an hour of homework to do before the next day, I hate the stupid tasks she gets set that you know the teacher has just found on the internet in about the time it takes Belle to sigh heavily and open her homework diary. I hate all of it.
I also hate that it interferes with the things I want to do. In the evenings, having been working all day myself, I would quite like to be doing something fun like going to the cinema or out for dinner. I don’t want to spend my free time explaining how to multiply and divide fractions.
The crux though of my dislike for homework comes down to this: school is meant to prepare us for adult life right? It’s about routine and self discipline and obeying the rules, I get that.
But hang on…
Let’s stop for a minute and take a browse through the lifestyle magazine section in your nearest newsagent. (Use your imagination here, unless you happen to be reading this in WHSmiths, in which case I am expecting you to make the effort and walk over and have a look.)
What’s on the covers? Ignore the ‘drop a dress size in a week’ and ‘shag your way to the perfect beach body’ type articles, we all know those are a pile of crap, but apart from these, what do you see?
Work life balance.
That’s what it’s all about nowadays isn’t it? We are all working too much, taking things home with us, checking emails in bed, when what we should be doing is switching off when we leave the office and enjoying quality time with our families.
So, we spend 14 years teaching kids that they should be putting in lots of regular of work outside school hours, then, as soon as they reach adulthood, we start flogging them magazines to try and persuade them to leave their work at the office.
Is it just me or does that feel a little odd?
I want my children to work hard and do well in school, of course I do, but then I want them to leave school behind and have fun with their friends, play games and go outside. I don’t want them to come home, reopen their books and start work all over again.
What do you think? Is homework really necessary?
Photo – books at Shutterstock.
Does my nut. Our eldest is 7 and in year 3. He gets three pieces of structured homework a week, as well as spellings and tables. the 3 pieces usually have “no more than 30 minutes” written next to them, as though the child should agonise and struggle for exactly 30 minutes and then give up.
On an average weekend we have around two hours of tantrums about doing the homework. This can range from rolling on the floor and sobbing, to threats of violence, and door slamming. Apparently it’s all to get him ready for secondary school where they have homework every night. He’s 7; secondary school is a long way away.
Every time I complain on twitter, I get responses like, just don’t do it then. It doesn’t work like that unfortunately because if he doesn’t do his homework at home, he gets to join the homework club at school, which meets at play time. So unless we do it with him, he doesn’t get to play with his little mates…
This is crazy isn’t it? At 7 he shouldn’t have to worry about homework, he should be outside building stuff from sticks. Madness.
The reason your daughter gets so much homework is because of the massive parental pressure on schools to give kids homework. Lots of parents complain that the school isn’t doing its job properly if they don’t set and mark lots and lots of homework. It’s now at the point that Ofsted will fail schools in their inspections if they DON’T set lots of homework.
So if you want someone to blame, I suggest you start with all those mummies who go to parents’ evening and complain that their son/daughter doesn’t get enough homework.
Oh yes, I’m sure it’s not the fault of any individual teacher, it goes much higher than that. I’ve never understood those parents who ASK for more homework – most of the research I’ve read suggests that more homework doesn’t even equal better results, so I can only imagine that it’s more for the parents to do with guilt or thinking that perhaps their darlings will be losing out if they aren’t having a nervous breakdown over a text book every night.
I’ve yet to see the point in setting homework for anyone under the age of 12. Ramona gets reading, which is fine, as I think reading should be something children get in the habit of doing both for work and for pleasure, and you can never have too much practice. I’d make her do it anyway, but I think it’s great that her school sets reading challenges and rewards and offers her a range of books we don’t have at home to choose from. I can also see the point of setting work that SHOULD have been completed in class but you weren’t paying attention (valuable lesson: don’t waste time and you’ll get more of it). But the only homework skill that is really important is figuring stuff out for yourself, and you can teach that through setting independent research projects, which are actually fun and engaging. Other than that, I think it’s just unnecessarily exhausting young minds.
My eldest is only in P1so I haven’t had much experience if this yet. However as I’m just about to finish the hell that has been professional exams I’m not sure I want to spend my evenings dividing fractions. At the moment we have to do a bit of reading which is fine. I have to say that despite both my parents being teachers I don’t remember either if them helping me with my homework. Nor did they police my doing of it. They just left me to do it or not do it as I saw fit (I always did it). I might try that with my kids when the time come.
I think its ridiculous the amount of homework they get, agree it must be coming from above but when do they say enough is enough. I like the idea that if kids do extra and above and beyond on their homework they are rewarded in school. I feel quality time at home with the family is very important and a lot more beneficial in some ways than hours of unnecessary homework!
If you think about it, our children are only in lessons for 5 hours per day, and this is only for 39 weeks of the year. Hardly a full working day. Chinese pupils spend 6 and a half hours a day in lessons and then a further 4 hours a week in after school homework clubs (more at secondary school). I doubt that Chinese parents see much of their children! Personally I would rather feel involved in my child’s education by helping with homework etc rather than have the state take the responsibility and my child away from me. I do understand about like/work balance but as we have one of the least educated workforces in the world I think that it is important to ensure that our children can compete in the world market. Unfortunately this means additional access to education in the form of homework!
Apparently, according to 13 year old daughter, ‘if you want good GCSE results you have to be prepared to do the homework’. Wow that told me!!
I so agree with you homework if they need it should be done at School full stop….
It’s a tricky one. Essentially I agree with you; school should be where the work is done, not home. Kids get little enough time to just be kids as it is.
However, at the beginning of this year I found myself having to be one of ‘those’ parents – the ones who request homework for their kids, especially the younger one who is currently in Yr 3 and has a teacher who ‘doesn’t believe’ in homework.
Two reasons why I pushed for more homework; firstly, we’re moving back to the UK for the next school year and I know that it’s coming – big time – so I want my kids to get used to the concept now in an effort to lesson the culture shock on re-entry. Secondly, it appears that my younger son doesn’t actually get tasked with completing stuff in school and so falls behind if he doesn’t have the chance to finish it at home. That’s as much about the teacher motivating the kids and keeping them focused in class, I know, but short of installing myself in a corner of the classroom and getting Boy #2 to concentrate on the task in hand (which, believe me, I have considered), finishing the projects at home seems to be the only way. So I have become what I always said I never would be; ‘That’ parent – the one who actively asks for homework for their kids. Sigh…
I teach grade one and never assign homework, other than reading books of your choice with mom or dad.
I personally don’t feel homework is necessary until age 10 or 11 and even then it needs to be authentic and purposeful. I think family time and outdoors play is far more important in developing well-rounded adults than mind-numbing, useless homework. Just my two cents :)
The worst thing? Academic research suggests that the impact of homework is… negligible. :(
I know, it’s so depressing isn’t it?? Frustrating AND pointless!
A good friend of mine, who also happens to be a primary school head teacher told me recently that homework for younger children is often given primarily to placate parent’s expectations! Most of the parents I know find it failry fruitless in the early years, other than establishing a ‘habit’ – I think its important to remember that there’s so much to learn outside of school- kids need to learn life skills through ‘doing’ as well as what they learn at school!
I am in two minds about it to be honest. I used to love homework when I was at school. I liked having something to keep me occupied because I didn’t have many friends and I didn’t really like to be outside. If I wasn’t doing homework I’d only be reading or writing anyway! At the same time I can completely see what you mean. Elsa’s daddy quite often ends up doing homework with her sister last thing at night because her mum has forgotten about it and it causes a lot of stress and hassle. Add to that the frustration she feels when she gets stuck and it just makes for a lot of grumpy people. It would be so much nicer if she could have a break when she gets home and just play for a bit instead.
I think homework IS important. If set correctly it should extend the learning done within the classroom, or initiate learning towards the next lesson. I understand that it might seem that the homework set is pointless, but the small pieces set now, should help to build up independent learning techniques and encourage to extend their understanding of topics without having been told to do it. This is a great preparation for life….surely?
Absolutely not. Our school gives them a table of activities to do over the full term at home as and when they wish. There is no pressure on the kids and I think they get a great balance. It works on a points system for each task so the kids treat it a bit more like a game. They call it home learning and it’s all really fun to do so the kids actually want to take part. I’ so glad they are not under pressure to do specific tasks on specific days.