Despite the studies outlining that homework wasn’t needed for primary school kids and the many friends who lamented the stress it brought, I still saw the positives. I liked being able to see the progress that his reading and writing was making throughout the year. However those feelings have slowly changed.
Last month Mr 7 was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD. This year the homework has really stepped up from what was expected last year. It really made the issues Mr 7 has with concentration become glaringly obvious. It cemented for me that it was OK that I was investigating his quirks.
Each afternoon I struggle with Mr 7 to get him to concentrate long enough on his homework to get it done. It’s a struggle and one that I rarely look forward to. He bounces, talks, taps his hands and sings while doing his homework. I mostly let him go, letting him work out his energy while still getting his work done.
Then there are the days when the daydreams take over. He forgets what he is doing half way through a spelling word. The fidgeting isn’t getting rid of the extra energy and homework becomes one extra thing we become frustrated about. I know that he can complete the work and that he knows what he is doing, but his brain just doesn’t let him keep up that connection.
When homework first started I was anal about it being completed. If I am honest I was letting my anxiety about appearing ‘less than’ to his teachers cloud my judgement. I was projecting my feelings onto him and no doubt that made an already stressful situation so much harder.
On a bad day it takes us over an our to get through 10 spelling words. It breaks my heart that he knows that he can do the work but that can’t get the focus too. His eyes light up when he gets a word right or he gets the addition right the first time.
The last two terms I have spoken to his teacher and become so much more relaxed about his homework. I don’t want to teach him that when something is too hard that the answer is to give up but in Year 1 homework just isn’t that important.
We still complete his reader and his sight words every day because he enjoys them. We aim to have his written things done but it doesn’t always work out that way. I don’t want homework to change his love for learning into hate. He is such a curious child and I don’t want homework to stop his desire to write and to read.
When Mr 7 started school I was eager for all of the things that come with school, including homework. Over the last 18 months though I have discovered that his way of learning is so much different to what I remember from my own schooling. I’ve learned that homework isn’t the be all that I believed it to be. Most of all I have learned that Mr 7 and I need to create our own learning journey that we are both comfortable with at home.