Strop of The Day

Strop of the Day

Had a run in with school today.  Oops.  As a rule I make an effort to be friendly and polite in all circumstances, but anyone who knows me will also be aware that I can also be a complete strop-bags if my buttons are pushed.

The dreaded words ‘Mrs Wilkinson, can we have a quick word please?’ were spoken, I expected to be told that my son had said ‘Pooh!’ too often or eaten play doh or something….but no.  I was taken to a little room and whilst Sausage stood there, hat back to front, scarf haphazardly tied – they told me that he wasn’t making enough progress and that I needed to do more work at home with him.  Apparently his home-work bag hasn’t been returned often enough and his reading skills are below par.  He is also not very clear with his speech although that is improving.

Up until now I have humoured them, I have returned his book as and when it is convenient.  When the chaos hasn’t been too bad at home, I’ve sat and read his ‘Kipper gets muddy’ books and have filled in his book to be returned to school.  I have tried to keep up with his homework just so that they won’t hassle me to be honest.   I have put up with this because although I don’t think homework is appropriate for children at such a young age, it is their school and I should at least try to do as requested. But he is four years old, not fifteen.  I think they ask too much of me and him.

This time I lost it.  I told them that I make sure my son is clean, tidy, in uniform, cared for, loved and that I don’t need any more pressure.  I said that in many countries children of his age weren’t even given homework and it made no difference to them.   Then another member of staff came over to back up her colleague, so I felt ganged up on if I’m being honest.  I didn’t know whether to swear or cry, so I just said very abruptly that I wasn’t even willing to talk about it, that my son is fine – and then walked away from them.

Feel free to correct me, but I’m of the ilk that disagrees with homework for primary school age children. I’ve read here and there about how studies have shown that homework at such a young age does not make any difference to a childs’ educational standard when they are older.  There’s no doubt other studies to contradict this, you can find whatever information you like if you look for it long enough on the internet……but my gut instinct is that they learn at their own pace.  As long as they are encouraged, given books, given opportunities – they learn.

Apart from anything else, their Ofsted report was quite literally less than satisfactory, and to throw it all back at me is frankly offensive. Plus, today they had lambs in school.  This might sound a daft comment, but it really annoyed me. That’s my job.  I take my child out into the wide world, I show them animals, flowers, teach them to jump in puddles, how to tell jokes, the best way to use a knife and fork, how to be considerate, how to cook and all those other practical skills.  They are there to teach my child how to read and write, and that should be paramount to everything else.   That can be made fun, and that is their job.  I know that it’s good to teach kids about nature, especially in inner city schools – but this is Lancashire.  They are surrounded by hills, fields, cows, farms and in spring there’s more than a couple of lambs gambolling in the hills.  Any child of primary school age that doesn’t know what a lamb is needs more help than your average hassled school teacher can give them.

Well, I’m digging my heels in here.  My husband has decided I’m just off on a strop and has said he’ll take on all homework duties from now on, because I refuse to.  If they want to discuss homework they can speak to him or send him notes because I’m having nothing to do with it.  I’ll continue to read to Sausage (and Darlek of course) at bedtime, to encourage him to speak clearly, to spell out shop signs and the names of things on packages: but I will not do set homework.  He will learn things when he’s good and ready to.  He’s bright as a button and just takes his own time.   All official school humouring duties have been passed to my husband.

I know there’s two sides to every story, but this is how I feel and this is my gut instinct.  Have you ever had to take a stand about something you believe passionately about as regards school?  How did you deal with it?


13 responses to “Strop of The Day

  1. I hadn’t even heard of homework until I was at secondary school. 10 years later I had a degree from Oxford University. QED?

  2. Good for you! I think set homework at age 4/5 is ridiculous. You’re clearly doing all the right things x

  3. No no no no and MORE no on homework for kids until they are at least in the 6th grade!!! My 1st grader and 4th grader both have homework, but we have made a point to tell the teachers that we will NOT push them to do it and if they choose to on their own, so be it, but they won’t get pressure from mom and dad to complete it. If their grades suffer, I couldn’t care less since it doesn’t matter one whit whether they ace everything or not. the 4th grader is starting to slip some in math and if she doesn’t get it, then she needs to ask for help from us and we will gladly help, but both her mom and I disagree vehemently with the idea of homework for kids at such a young age. Most of their learning comes from play!!!

  4. They absolutely shouldn’t be setting homework. The foundation curriculum is supposed to be play based in my understanding. With you all the way.

  5. I’m with you Kay. My youngest gets homework, he’s FOUR. That bugs me a lot. D gets homework, he is ten but gets so angry and upset about it. It’s a war zone and it’s wrong. Teach in schools play at home – it worked fine for our generation.

  6. Homework is the biggest bane of my life at school. You’re right Kay, there are a lot of studies showing that homework doesn’t make a difference at this age. For a long time at school we didn’t have a homework policy and to be honest it was hit and miss. Now though, children have loads – Lit and Maths every week and IPC projects. We have homework books (pre-printed) and my SEN children are on lower books (awful for self-esteem and confidence), I’ve had parents cry because they struggle at home.

    Homework to me is for older children to learn how to be independent learners. Bring back table chanting and time to just BE children!

  7. Hello, twin! I utterly absolutely agree with you. Fortunately, we have a wonderful local school who don’t spout such tripe. Bollards to them I say. Behind at four? Pah! Hugs xxx

  8. One day things will just click, he may be 6.8.or 10, maybe he will excel better at maths than English, but at 4 yr old the school (imo) will do more harm than good by pushing him. Learn through play, play is fun and they dont realise they learning. Bob did not earn much in P1 but has come on in huge leaps and bounds this year. Im with you.

  9. In many countries kids aren’t even in school until they are 6, never mind getting homework.
    I’m with you on this one.

  10. My son is 5 1/2 and has just started to get proper homework. The first lot was that we have to find items around the house and draw their shapes. The second lot is to do with measurement: bigger & smaller and adding up the numbers on a car registration plate. Nothing too heavy but he’s so not interested in doing it. From the beginning of reception class he had a reading book which we are expected to read with him 2-3 times a week. Some weeks we read it, some we don’t. It depends on how busy I am and how tired he is. Every weekend he gets a book home which he has to draw a picture in about what he’s done at the weekend and then we are supposed to write about it what he has done. Again, sometimes we do it, sometimes we don’t. He’s so tired most of the time from being at school that I don’t want to put anything more on him. It’s too much for little ones. He’s only 5!

  11. I do homework with my daughter because it isn’t a lot. But i don’t do it every single night which i’m sure they’d like. I don’t mind the reading books becuase that’s important but the constant flow of maths for example isn’t right and i won’t do it until Miss is asking me to do it (which she does sometimes as she likes doing it) I won’t force her to do any of it though, gets us both no where

  12. I think you’re absolutely right – I can remember my niece saying she was ‘stressed’ when she wasn’t much older than your son and it was homework and tests that were causing the stress. Primary schools shouldn’t be setting homework, especially to a four year old.

  13. Homework and uniforms for a 4 year old? In many countries they haven’t even started formal schooling. I’m with you on this one and lambs would be ok in a city school but in a rural area no… guess you’ve got city dwellers for teachers. Keep on doing what you are doing – don’t be pressured by the “professionals”.

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