I was a straight A, high achieving student. Despite 12 primary schools, moving whilst following my parents career, when I finally settled into a high school they wanted to put me up a grade. I excel at reading, writing, comprehension, and most sciences. I struggle (comparatively) with mathematics, and that struggle got worse in high school.
I did all my homework, and my assignments were all completed, pragmatically, as I was not the girl who colour themed her borders, and I never understood bubble writing my titles. I was artistic though, with a passion for the details, even if those details were only important to me.
My parents worked long hours, mum was a shift worker, dad often worked 6, sometimes 7 days a week. Mum was often studying as well.
What has all this got to do with homework?
Well, I did my homework. I came home, did my chores, set up and did my homework, before I was allowed to play sport or read a book. But I was an eager to please child, and this work was not hard and came relatively easy to me.
Cut to now. I have 2 boys in school. I work full time shift work, and hubby works Monday to Friday, but also works on call.
One of my boys struggles with aspects of his homework. This struggle takes place every night, between 4- 6pm, when we are trying to get home, get ready for dinner, check notes for school, feed the dog, get the bins in, throw a load of washing on, and actually see and spend time with the children we birthed. Often this is going on with only 1 parent in the house, because the other one is at work.
Cancel the violins, because this is not a sob story. But I guarantee you this is not an unfamiliar story to many people reading this.
What inevitably happens is that there is distress over the homework. Often both the child and the parent. And this is primary school!
I have never been for or against homework previously, it was just a thing that WAS, and always would be, but I am starting to examine my beliefs, or lack of them.
This article, from The Conversation http://theconversation.com/
http://theconversation.com/homework-whats-the-point-of-it-24123 clarified some issues and raised some others for me. If my child was like me, and just quietly got on with it, maybe asking where a spare eraser was, and tootled on with getting their homework done, then maybe I would have no concerns. But then, if that were the case, what would the point of home work be, if they could just do it like busy work?
Instead a tired and frustrated mummy, who misses her boys all day, just wants to get the Stuff Of The House out-of-the-way so she can snuggle on the lounge reading books with her boys, ends up having an argument with a distressed, low confidence kid, who hates that time of day now.
Who is learning what here?
I DO see the value of some after school activity if needed to reinforce something, but not homework for homework sake.
My preference would be to dedicate that time to doing something with my children, whether it be reading their library book, letting them draw me a picture, or asking them to help with some chores like setting the table, and actively using what they have learnt in these activities. It would open conversation, not shut it down, and I would not have to fight a battle on a battle field that I do not want to march on.