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.
My opinion of homework has completely changed with my boy’s dyslexia. I used to be very into homework but given the fatigue he gets and the strain I’ve had to completely adjust my beliefs based on his needs. We still do it, but much less and always always ALWAYS in the morning when his eyes are fresh. Our kids teach us so much … the great thing about our existing beliefs is that we can change them.
It’s great that you’ve found a way for homework to work for your family. It’s so true that we can change our existing beliefs but it’s not always easy!
I hate homework. I can’t understand why our system clings to it, knowing it’s not the best option to engage kids in their learning. For now, it’s a necessary evil. Glad you are finding a way that works for you!
A few things I read said that it’s actually often parents who insist on homework. I think it’s so ingrained in a lot of us that homework is part of going to school that it seems strange to have it any other way.
Most teachers would gladly give it up believe me Amy!! Tegan is right, it seems to be very parent-driven in many areas that are competitive for kids to ‘get into selective schools etc’
I have to say, i’m the other camp – if only to prepare them for the workload in high school. My first had lots of homework daily, and moved into the high school with ease. My second had the most pitiful amount once a fortnight (which I made him do in one night because it was a total joke). He has struggled with time management of assignments and getting everything done on time…so as much of a pain in the butt it is, I still think it’s worthwhile if they’re going down the traditional high school path…that all said, finding a way to do it without stress on both sides (adult and child) is the trick for good future habits…
I think sometimes study habits are also about the temperament of the child. No amount of homework would make my procrastination to a way lol.
It really amazes me how much pressure we put on kids to learn. Can you imagine if we made adults take extra work home from their paid employment every night? Oh wait, that’s right, we do – just look at the rise in unpaid overtime.
So much is expected of kids early on now. We’re starting the stress way too early!
I think homework should be limited to 10 minutes of reading each night.
That’s what I could handle each night I think.
I fall on the side of homework not being needed – learning doesn’t have to be structured! I’m glad you’re finding the way that works for his needs, not for the school’s needs.
I used to love homework, but that was just my way of learning. Every child is different. But I’mhappy to make this blanket statement: an hour of homework each night is FAR too much for any child in year one. I’d be pushing back, too. #teamIBOT
I do not understand the need for homework. It is pretty rare that someone comes home from working all day and is required to work on their work again for a few hours at night. I think we need to let kids be kids.
Homework has really stepped up a notch at our place, and I’m exhausted from it – can’t imagine how my son feels …. I love the requirement to read every night, but the rest can really pile on sometimes….
I really like that you are working through this with your little one, once upon a time homework was something you did on your own, now days it seems homework is a family affair – which at least makes it easier for the children xx
My niece went to a Montessori School in Brissy and they didn’t believe in homework. I thought it was a bit of a worry but really, by the time she got to high school it meant she actually enjoyed having homework and didn’t find it a chore!
Esther just has to do her reading and learn her site words. I used to battle with her to do her homework at the beginning of the year, learning her letters. She’s so tired from a big day, I don’t understand why we have to force our kids to learn even more. Glad you and Mr 7 has worked out a system that works for you. x
Aw, this is so good to read. My wee boy with ADHD finds homework so much harder to get done than his very attentive twin sister. It can really upset him. He’s an early riser and sometimes we just do it in the morning, less stressful.
It’s all about knowing our kids, isn’t it… focussing on them and knowing what works. I totally relate to your feelings about school. I can be really pathetic in my attempts to be a ‘good mum.’ You’d think I was the pupil. Must grown up.
Homework is just one aspect of school that I am not looking forward to when Punky starts next year. I have no problem with doing a reader each night and a list of spelling words, maybe some basic maths equations, but I really don’t think anything other than reading should be prescribed for kids under the age of 8. They just don’t need it. They have to sit still and concentrate all day which is really hard for young kids, the last thing they need is to then have to come home and sit still and concentrate even more.
Not to mention the stress it places on the parents when most kids need help to even know what they are supposed to be doing for their homework. My sister A and I hardly ever needed parental assistance to complete the small amounts of homework we got in primary school, but I remember when the youngest three were at school, I used to help them sometimes and even I didn’t understand some of the questions. If high-achieving teenagers and educated parents can’t even understand some of it how is an 8 year old supposed to?
I think it’s great that you guys have been able to find a routine and structure that works best for Mr. 7’s needs. More individualised learning is something that I think the education system really needs to work on, especially in the early years.
Tegan, I give you all the credit with Mr 7’s education. You are doing an amazing job and I think your son has one very switched on parent.
Max’s teacher wishes they would just focus on home readers. So many skip the reader to get the homework done. Reading is so much more important at this age.
Homework was hard enough with our two kids without ADHD or anything thrown into the mix. So glad my kids are past that stage. No more homework for me … oops I mean them!
I hear you mama! And I completely share your concerns about homework changing learning from a joy to a chore. It sounds like your son’s teacher is supportive of your compromise. Well done for finding a way you can advocate for your son to support his unique learning needs