‘The Dog Ate My Homework!’

I never actually used that excuse for not doing my homework, has anyone?!

It wasn’t actually very often I didn’t complete my homework, often doing more than was required because I love learning, writing and using pretty stationary to make it look…pretty.

But it seems my love of homework has not been passed to my children, maybe it’s because at only 4 years old the word ‘work’ is somewhat alien to them.

They know mummy does most of the housework and daddy goes to some weird place called work, but they themselves don’t actually have any work to do.

That was until they started school and they began bringing work home from school.

I’m the first to admit I have little patience, I’d make a terrible teacher or trainer, I know this, which is why I have avoided any kind of career where I would have to train anyone.

I’m not the kind to sit patiently whilst someone tries for the umpteenth time to do something, I’ve tried, I really have but I just can’t.

So trying to help my children with their frankly ridiculous amounts of homework has frayed my nerves, made my blood boil and resulted in us in separate rooms as we all try to calm down.

So far their homework consists of reading, writing, making a family tree, letter recognition, word creating & recognition and drawing.

Homework folder

Some of these are rolling activities, which we are supposed to do every week on top of the regularly set home work.

None of which sound terribly difficult, but once these tasks become ‘compulsory’ it takes out most of the fun.

Where as before we could take our time with activities which unknown to the children were enhancing and developing their reading, writing and numeracy skills now they must do things a certain way by a certain time, which just doesn’t appeal to them.

I’m struggling to help them.

I feel awful, but I just don’t know how to get a child to write letters, draw certain things or make up words with the paper letters I had to back onto card, laminate and cut, without totally losing my shit.

I don’t use cursive handwriting, hell I barely even handwrite anymore except for a shopping list or a random note scribbled down.

I feel I need to learn cursive before I can help my children learn it.

Then we have drawing, they both make fabulous abstract drawings; which leads us to argue over just what it is they have drawn.

Reading is another task which once the fun has been taken out of just becomes another chore distracting them from what they want to be doing.

I need help.

How do I help my kids get their homework completed without going crazy, whilst keeping it interesting enough that the children don’t lose interest?

I want to take an active, productive roll in their homework, but that the moment I just don’t know how.

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  1. Grrr. Don't get me on this one. I understand that a little reading practice and some tasks to complete at home may be necessary occasionally but when are kids supposed to be just kids these days?...and when did we stop valuing just having making and doing time and together time and just learning things without even realising it...and on top of that it endangers the wonderful relationships we have with our tender, impressionable tots who may even come to see time with the parent/carer as 'Oh no, what are you going to make me do today?' time. Please Mr Prime Minister, Education Department or whoever else is responsible for all this nonsense. Give us back our children and give the kids back their free time when they are so young...please. Sorry Amanda. Rant over.

  2. I seriously don't understand why four year olds are being given homework! All we had to do was some reading once a week, and I don't think that was in the first year. I didn't get any real homework until I was 11! It seems as though schools are passing the buck to parents with regards learning expectations. It's been happening for years--my younger sister learnt biology stuff in year 5 that I didn't do until year 8! It's ridiculous that kids are pushed so much these days.
    As for helping your boys with their homework, my mum used to get me these little books that taught how to write the different letters (they were printed in dotted lines to go over, and there was space to write again without the dotted lines) and I think there were maths ones too. I also had a Questron when I was a bit older. I don't know if any of that stuff is still available but it might help your kids on a more casual basis besides the homework? (so the homework becomes easier) There's probably a whole bunch of sites with advice on the internet anyway, from mums who have been there and got the t-shirt several times over. I hope you figure it out, and that your boys can discover some fun in learning!

  3. I feel your pain! I think kids get too much homework, learning is not all formal and they are done in by the time they get home. It eats into family time and causes tension.

    I don't know what the answer, I usually try and get it done as soon as he is in the door, get it out of the way. Sometimes we do reading in the morning when he is less tired. I use you tube when I get stuck with things!

  4. How hugely frustrating. My daughter has just turned 4 so doesn't start until next year, but the main questions that I've been asking when looking into potential schools has been about homework, as I hate the idea of 4 year olds getting loads, as it worries me that it does take the fun out of learning. So, I'm sorry I can offer no help, but I absolutely feel for you xx

  5. I feel your pain. I've tried various things, and like in all these situations sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't, and quite often we just have to mix things around a little.
    1. Snack as soon as they come home from school, they are starving even if they don't realise and will have better focus if they've just eaten.
    2. Make a homework space - just a corner or we pulled out a special box that had all the homework tools in it. Just cheap ones that they chose themselves - pencil tin, collection of pencils, rubbers, rulers etc. Getting this out helps to signify it is 'homework time.'
    3. Attention spans are short, so once they start getting frustrated it's time for a break - for you and them. Leave it until the next day, after giving lots of praise.
    4. Reading - my favourite subject!!! Try integrating this into bedtime reading, They read their reader, then you read their bedtime story. It becomes reading time rather than homework time. This also tends to be a much more relaxing time.
    5. Internet research there are lots, and lots, and lots of printables (free) online that you can download and use to help with certain activities.
    6. Yep they are four. So if they don't do it all .... urm, it's not the end of the world, don't let it be source of stress and tension in your relationship.

    Hope that helps?! I'm dreading maths homework when they get to secondary school ... totally out of my comfort zone!!

  6. I'm not sure if I'll help exactly, but it am very anti homework for key stage 1 children. What I do is give things a try and if I sense it's not going well I stop. We go back later but if it's turning into a battle it's doing more harm than good as far as I'm concerned. I also try to do the homework when everyone is feeling fresh-usually a weekend morning before we do anything else. It's a pain, but there are les tears through tiredness at least.

  7. I think 4yr olds having lots of homework is too much. Children learn best through play, the moment you say it's work, they will struggle.
    If it's possible, try to make it fun, or incorporate it into a game if.
    Maybe try avoiding the word homework, just say lets do some colouring or, lets write a story, or something along those lines (needs some imagination though).
    I have found having a set time for the 'homework' can help?
    Maybe bite sized chunks of things too, rather than all in one go?
    Hope that helps slightly, good luck, it's not easy. x

  8. What happened to just taking a book home to read with your parents?????? #PoCoLo

  9. I'm desperate to know how you get on with this and any tips let me know ;) so far we have had no homework at all and I'm relieved as for me, the first half of the term has been just gettin him to go in and enjoy it daily, which has been a big success. I'm just now starting to do more of practising writing his name etc but the minute he starts losing interest or gets frustrated we stop! He's only just turned four...plenty of time for full on homework. I really wouldn't worry if you don't get it all done at this point, the are so young xx

  10. I am VERY similar to you with regards to homework. Thankfully I have Ross who is brilliant with Grace. His father was a teacher and Ross obviously takes after him :) thanks for linking to PoCoLo x


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