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?