The homework debate – who is right?

homework debateHomework. A dirty word to some children; and parents.
Thankfully my 9 year old is more than happy to do hers. Relishes it even.
She’ll happily come home and work through a list of maths questions, then come trotting to find me and ask if I’ll set her some more “but make them harder”.
Plus she hates it if I help.

However this post isn’t about the rights and wrongs of schools setting homework at a young age.
This post is about the different ways mums and dads tackle it.
For there is a bit of a battle in this house. And we can no longer ignore the elephant in the room.

In the blue corner there is mum.
When Dan was in first school, ever week he would come home with a list of 12 words which he had to use in a sentence.
So I would sit with him and discuss each word, check he understood the meaning, let him come up with his own sentence, see if it could be expanded upon to make the sentence more interesting, then watch as he wrote it down.
The gist of it is, he is doing his own homework. I’m just handholding. I encouraged him to read over all the sentences when he was done to check for silly errors, but we were usually done within half an hour.
It’s slightly messy and won’t win any handwriting prizes, but it’s all his own work.

In the red corner there is hubby who tackles literacy homework like it’s a reflection on his own abilities. When hubby helped Dan with his homework it took at LEAST an hour and a half.
I would listen in be HORRIFIED by what I heard. He’d practically come up with the sentences for him. Using words and phrases an 8 year old would NEVER use.
And he’d make the poor sod rub out anything which wasn’t perfectly written and woe betide him if there is a ‘y’ with a wayward downward stroke.
Stop chuckling, this actually happened.

It was a work of perfection. But it wasn’t Dan. Or I don’t think it was anyway.

It’s always been a bit of a ‘thing’ in our house. I stand there rolling my eyes, husband stands there shaking his head.
So, should we be aiming for perfection and striving for our little ones to constantly push themselves that bit further even at a young age or should we just let them learn at their own pace?

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21 Responses to The homework debate – who is right?

  1. Mrs TeePot says:

    I have to say I’m in the blue corner. I think the child needs to use their brain cells and think for themselves in order to learn and retain, essentially writing down what someone else tells them to is no help to them at all in my opinion.
    Mrs TeePot recently posted…Summer LifeMy Profile

  2. PhotoPuddle says:

    I’m with you. I think children should do their own homework with a little bit of guidance from us. The trouble is you don’t want you kids to look bad against the people whose parents have done it for them. It can be hard to get the balance right and I am only at KS1 home work level!
    PhotoPuddle recently posted…‘Paris’ by Alejandro TejadaMy Profile

    • Tara Cain says:

      And herein lies the problem. Those school projects you see arriving in the playground at the start of the day and you know damn well the child probably wasn’t even in the room when they were created!
      Tara Cain recently posted…The homework debate – who is right?My Profile

      • Working Mum says:

        Don’t worry, as a teacher I can say that we know exactly which children have done homeworkprojects themselves and which is the parents’ work! Actually, research has shown that apart from reading and times tables, homework is pretty much useless until the age of about 14 when they start to work more independently. Up until then, it’s just a homewrecker. My problem is that when I’m guiding sixth formers with their UCAS applications, there are still parents who write their children’s personal statements – believe me, universities can tell when a 50 year old has written it rather than a 17 year old and it doesn’t reflect well on the sixth former!

  3. Having been the unwitting product of a perfectionist parent, I think them doing it themselves with some guidance from you is the point and also healthy. Getting it perfect is not the aim and you don’t have 90 minutes a night to spend on it.
    Eat Like You Love Yourself recently posted…Halloumi and Tomato SaladMy Profile

  4. I think Hubby needs some homework of his own to keep him busy in the evening so that Dan can do hi sow homework in peace.
    Midlife Singlemum recently posted…First Grade Was Magic!My Profile

  5. Iota says:

    I’m with you. Nuff said.
    Iota recently posted…Monarchy seeks new roleMy Profile

  6. Iota says:

    Of course, if your husband had written the post, the two options might have sounded different…
    Iota recently posted…Monarchy seeks new roleMy Profile

  7. I’m totally with you! They should do it themselves, with just a bit of support from parents as and when they need it. Homework should never be the parent’s work, otherwise the kids aren’t actually learning – I always think of the incredible art projects coming in to school which are supposedly the work of a year 2 child, but are clearly the work of a 30-something mum with time on her hands.
    (Although I must admit I’m impressed that your husband is interested in helping with homework. In our house, anything to do with school is most definitely my job!)
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…A quiet week?My Profile

  8. Sarah says:

    I definitely think it should be there own work…are we testing the kids or the parents? I didn’t have any homework till last year of primary school. And then not again till I was doing my GSCE’s. All seems too much!

  9. Mwa says:

    I don’t sit with my children during homework. I let them get on with it. They’ve stopped asking me for help, because they know I will just say ‘What do you think?’ I will sometimes glance at the finished product, but that only once a month or so. The teachers do get annoyed at me about this, but I think it makes my children more independent and they are happy enough about it.
    Mwa recently posted…Stick runner magicMy Profile

  10. Louise says:

    I am not a lover of homework and that is said as a parent and from when I was a teacher. There is absolutely no point in marking the work of an adult. But I have found that with big man’s homework it is generally not engaging and I would find it easier to get blood from a stone. As a teacher I always felt that if the children actually listened in lessons they really didn’t need to be set homework. Very few used to put much effort in.
    Louise recently posted…5 Tell Tale Signs That You Have Been To The School FeteMy Profile

  11. LauraCYMFT says:

    I’m with you Tara. I think a teacher gets to know their pupils fairly quickly and would soon know if they were making up the sentences themselves or getting someone to help them.
    LauraCYMFT recently posted…The Black and White Photo Project #51My Profile

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