Before I start, I want to be clear that I am very well aware of how careful I need to be when posting my thoughts and comments to NorthHantsMum about schooling in this country. I’ve “held back” in several places, although it may not look like it reading this through! lol.
Homework “steps up” in Y1.
People warn you of it, but that doesn’t prepare you.
So far, in her first 8 weeks of Y1, Miss NHM has had at least six tasks every week. She’s 5.5 years old. Every week she has spellings, a topic homework which is often writing and/or maths, reading books, library books, an online maths task and extra tasks that need to be done.
10 spellings to learn and write, per week. If these spellings are not written in cursive (that’s joined up writing to you and me) then she gets 0.
Yup, even if she has learnt to spell and write these words, if she doesn’t write them in joined up writing when she is tested, her teacher will mark them as zero. I’m not saying any more on this for fear of reprisal.
This normally takes between 15-30 minutes to do. It often involves writing sentences (cursive – joined up, of course) or doing a written activity. You get a whole week to do this but we try to do it on the weekend to get it out of the way.
Mathelitcs is an online programme to help children improve their maths. This is not something that a child can be left with. You need to sit with them to go through it. We’ve only done 15 minutes so far this term, because by the time I finish work at 5pm, get dinner on and eat dinner, Miss NHM is too exhausted by the end of the day to focus. She literally lay on the floor next to me when I tried to get her to go through this yesterday.
Ahhh, those wonderful chip and biff books. NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That have to be read every day and the reading booklet that has to be updated every day to say that you’ve listened to them reading. (God forbid you don’t update the reading booklet to say they’ve done it, or you will get a stroppy note from the teaching assistant telling you to update it!!!)
Honestly, these books are THE most soul destroying books in the universe. And have you seen that mother’s make up! Green eyeshadow! I mean, really! This is just the start of it, I daren’t write what I want too on the “chip and biff” books ;-).
Thankfully for us Miss NHM loves reading so she can often be found following me round the house, whilst I’m tidying up or sorting the kitchen out, reading “at” me. Which doesn’t always help when I’m distracted doing something else!
Every week Miss NHM gets a library book that we have to read at home with her. I’ve actually been really impressed with several of the library books but I’ve also been quite horrified at some of them that have come home.
Some of the subjects that are covered are very inappropriate for young children, but I’m already labeled as “that Mum” at Miss NHM’s school and don’t want to be the old fuddy duddy who kicks up a stink about everything :-D.
My thoughts on homework
During the Autumn parents evening, I advised Miss NHM’s teacher that I understand that homework isn’t mandatory in primary school and that if we got to the homework we would do it, but if we didn’t, I don’t want Miss NHM being punished. They agreed and didn’t say much. I think there would have been a lot more fuss if Miss NHM was perceived as being “behind” in her work for Y1.
My “favourite” bit is when they “make” you sign a piece of paper at parents evening saying that you will “support” the school in their work to educate your child. So, does this mean that if you don’t do the homework with your child, they will wave it in your face at the end of term, telling you that’s why your child isn’t as advanced as they could be?
All in all I would say that Y1 homework for our family takes between 3-4 hours a week, if you include all of the time spent on reading library books, reading books, topic homework and maths activities that the school sends home. That’s for one child. Which sounds fine, but actually that’s nearly another half day of school! Time that could be spent playing or doing family stuff together.
Family time is sacred for us. We all miss each other enough during the week now that Miss NHM is at school that I don’t want her to miss anymore time with us as a family.
And oh boy is Miss NHM missing the playing. She gets home and is literally desperate to play with her toys. The other weekend she told me that she didn’t want to go to a birthday party and eat cake (I thought she was really ill!!!) because she never gets time to play with her toys and she’s really, really missed it!!!
I have also heard that several children in Y1 are being deprived of break time as they have to “stay in” and catch up. This is WRONG!!!!
Wrong, wrong, wrong!! Our children should be outside being children. Playing and learning. It’s been proven time and time again, that forcing young children to sit still for several hours on end affects their emotional wellbeing!!! So why are schools still doing it???
I don’t understand why the education system decides that they have to put our children under so much pressure?!!??? They are only tiny. Some of them have just turned 5 years old.
And yet, I’m part of the problem. I’m not doing anything about it. I’m not changing my child’s school (she’s been through enough trauma with school since she started!) and apart from saying that we will do her homework when we get to it, I’m not arguing further to change things.
To be fair, I wouldn’t know where to start. But something really needs to be done and soon. We cannot keep putting our young children through this level of stress and exhaustion and not expect there to be some fall out. It will be society, all of us, who will suffer in the long run…