The great British homework debate: Shouldn't our kids be frolicking, drawing and playing football
Give me your best sentence on autumn.... I write for a living but on Saturday admittedly I was stumped by the task put before me.
Not because I’m unaware or out of sorts with the changing seasons but from the level of expectations I was placing on mini-me to independently sum up and write a line or two, having already battled through two pages of numbers, 10 “ff” spellings AND the school book.
Even the Saturday evening promise of staying up a bit later to watch the first part of Strictly was waning thin.
Suddenly something went down – mini-me ‘needed...’ we were so close but we were done... worksheet left blowing in the wind.
The ‘sentence’ would have to wait. Chances of it being on Sunday were slim, Monday, well Monday is Monday meaning it would be last-chance saloon Tuesday before the Wednesday deadline.
We had talked about the changing seasons, drawn pictures and labelled them, when we’re striving for better work / home life balance isn’t that enough? She’s five.
Almost in sync, a text arrived from one of my best friends saying homework was ‘ruining lives’, mainly hers, in their house, the turn of another year had seen it increase tenfold: “Are we supposed to keep them off for a day to complete it?!”
Sunday we came together and discussed, mostly holed up in the kitchen hiding out from our tribe of five children, ranging two years to six. We survived the day on copious amounts of coffee.
The house was under pressure as every toy made its way from a tidy place to any vacant spot but it was a lovely day.
Happy kids, happy mums.
Come the evening we revelled in our awesomeness of just having had all these children fed, bathed, teeth cleaned and in bed ready for the week.
That was enough to be a winning day; homework was not on the agenda.
There was no need to unleash Pandora’s Box at 6 o’clock with the request of writing out ‘puff’ ‘sniff’ ‘off’– again. Our argument did not include teacher bashing.
Every sympathy with the teachers for whom this type of ‘extra work’ most likely resulted in half of them watching the series finale of Bodyguard on catch-up due to marking.
It all just puzzles me who it is meant to serve?
It seemed the debate did not end on a random weekend natter, ironically Twitter was alive with it too thanks to comedian and actor Rob Delaney who had tweeted: “Why do they give 7 yr olds so much homework in UK & how do I stop this. I want my kid frolicking & drawing & playing football. Who knows more about stopping this madness & can help me?”
High fives all round for common sense. The news agenda picked it up and opinions remain divided on the matter.
Back to the sentence, “In the autumn the leaves fall off the trees and turn red.”
It ended up a day late.
Today we have two pages of ‘more or less’ – I know what I’d rather be choosing....
With you Rob #Stopthemadness