Saturday, 8 September 2012

Militant Mother Alert

I wish I wasn't such a militant mother, I really do. But some things I feel very passionate about, and when it comes to fighting for my boys I find myself clothed ready for battle.

Homework. There seems to be such a wide and varied range of opinions on whether children should be given it and at what age. Some schools don't give it at all until year 7, some start right at the very beginning in reception. Some parents enjoy doing the homework FOR their children (you know, the perfectly put together projects that are carried into school by smiling, clean children), some parents believe that children should be able to do it themselves. And there are a whole load of opinions in the middle too.

In our school, homework is set right from reception. Now, part of me doesn't mind this too much but there are some things I feel very strongly about (and I know, you will be surprised about that).

1. Homework should be something that can be completed by the children themselves. What is the point of parents doing it? The children don't learn anything, except that when they can't do something, someone else will do it for them.

2. Homework should NOT be set during school holidays. This is a time for children to rest, relax, play, see their friends and learn about the world around them.

3. Homework should be positively rewarded not negatively. If Max doesn't do his 'holiday homework' (and the two words shouldn't even go together in my humble opinion), he has to stay in for 2 lunchtimes to do it instead. This is utterly wrong.

4. Homework should be about exploring the world around them and using opportunities for 'life learning' instead of 'making a poster' or a 'board game' about the ancient egyptians. Instead, why not ask the children to fill an empty matchbox with as many small natural items as they can find?

And so, the militant mother in me rises again. Having spent my Saturday morning helping Max with his poster about WW1 so that he doesn't have to stay in at lunchtime to do it, I will have to speak to his teacher. I don't mind the week to week homework that he is set, to be completed at the weekend (although even that is pushing it slightly too far for my liking, but I can accept it). It's homework that is set for the school holidays that I think is totally unecessary. So I will have to tell the teacher that whilst he will do his weekly term time homework, he won't be doing the enormous holiday projects that are set. And I will not expect him to face the lunchtime detentions either, because the decision is mine and not his. We spend our holidays doing all manner of 'life education' activities. In the past I have listed them for the teacher to see, instead of sending in homework. I work hard with my boys during the holidays to give them experiences that they don't have in school. There is so little time outside of school otherwise to explore these learning opportunities.

Oh dear...... here we go again.

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