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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 8:56 am 
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I was hoping someone could shed some light please. DC currently goes to a prep school where homework is set almost everyday with very tight deadlines - penalties for not handing in on time which causes stress in itself for both child and parent. DC in in year 4. It's not just simple homework - research, spellings, lots of maths, projects. Standards are high which is a good thing but DC always aims for perfection.

Is this fast and intense level of education/homework/expectations what we will be faced with in the both independent senior schools AND state senior schools? What I am worried about the pressure. I think some of what DC is experiencing could be better managed if school were to give a proper timetable/structure of homework. Something I should talk to the teachers about.

Just extremely worried that all my DC does is a long day at school followed by tonnes of homework. No time to play with toys or just sit and do nothing. Starting to feel childhood is being lost.

Is anyone else in the same boat? We need to make considerations for senior schools next year and seriously need to consider the balance of academic and non-academic life.

Or is there a way I can better manage it all?

Your thoughts/experiences would be really appreciated.


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 9:10 am 
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I think all state Secondaries have homework timetables with a guideline as to how long homework should take. The schools I know also don't set homework for the next day as that inhibits other activities.

I must say I would be querying why there is no homework timetable - the amount also seems excessive.


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 9:12 am 
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Predictably I am the first to answer this.*
I am passionately opposed to homework at primary school. I see no need for it when our children have longer school days then almost anywhere else in the world. So when my children were at primary school (and we did have a brief foray into a private school for various reasons) I made known my opposition to teachers (who all, without exception, agreed with me) and said I would not be supervising homework, encouraging it, nor making space in my children's lives for it. I prioritised play and free time. Now, sometimes my children were very keen to do their homework, so they did. Sometimes they asked for help with it, so I helped them. On several occasions I did it for them (a tip I read from an educational psychologist once), in my own writing and everything - this when they were too tired to do it and at the same time were worried that they might be in trouble - one nasty teacher and one supply teacher. Also during one particular period, the school required children to learn their spellings by writing them out every single day on a form made specially for the purpose. One of my children has a photographic memory for such things so didn't need to do this. I went to the school to ask for DC to be excused but was told that wasn't possible; so I did those myself too. I also did colouring homework as my children all loathed colouring and I see it as an entirely pointless activity but quite enjoyed it now and then. I must stress that my children were never, ever punished for my stance.

Now, all my children are much older - what is their take on this? They say they had a fabulous childhood and say I was very brave and strong to do it. They also say that they were probably much keener to do homework when they got to secondary school as there was a novelty value to it. They are all academic high-achievers but they all work for themselves, not for me. They tease me now about how I stopped them doing their homework and we can all laugh about it.

In answer to the other part of your question, at my sons' grammar school there is very little homework. They do it at school. Now I have one in sixth form there seems to be a fair amount of private study, but no one has ever been burdened with masses of work here. My daughter left school a couple of years ago and again, never got dragged down by masses of work, though she does work hard for herself.


You sound as if you are brilliantly aware of your child's needs and I would urge and encourage you to resist the pressure coming from school to study for hours. It isn't necessary, it doesn't 'get them into the habit' of working and it is entirely possible for them to develop a really good work ethic later on without sitting for hours going over stuff when they are little. Don't let anyone tell you that if they don't develop this ethic at 6 they never will. Your instincts are in my view spot on and you should run with them. You might actually find that teachers (and I was one for a long time) agree with you.

* and predictably you beat me to it by being concise, G55 :D


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 9:28 am 
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Amber - an amazing reply. I am so grateful for this. I know that DC's form tutor opposes homework but there are a few teachers who just pile it on.

I am going to be more organised and get DC to spend no more than 30 mins on homework as, at this stage, this time is more than enough. I often do the things you have done for your children - i.e. colouring in etc - no need for it all - I quite agree.

I want DC to enjoy the next two years at school and not have any stresses of completing homework.

thanks for replying so quickly.

Guest55 - thanks also. We did have a homework timetable but some of the subjects have excessive expectations.


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 9:40 am 
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LegoFriends wrote:
Is anyone else in the same boat? We need to make considerations for senior schools next year and seriously need to consider the balance of academic and non-academic life.

When thinking ahead about senior school, year 4 is a perfect time for the first round of open days/evenings visits. Those are a perfect opportunity for talking to current year 7 boys, who usually take groups of parents round on tours. I always made a point of asking them how much homework they were given, was it each night, when was it due (next day? two days later?) what were the penalties for not submitting it on time etc. etc. Some of the answers were very revealing and quite different from the official line from the Headteachers' presentations to parents.

Some schools have their open events in early June, some in September. Have a look at the websites of the schools you might be interested in and you should be able to see the dates. If you look past the 'show' put on for the parents and focus on talking to the current pupils, you can find out a lot of useful information first-hand. I did the open days in year 4 on my own to be able to 'zoom through' quickly and only took DC in year 5 to see the schools I though would suit him best.

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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 10:29 am 
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Location: Herts
I work weekly with students from a range of different prep schools and I have noticed that some of them have a very harsh regime of homework which some parents seem to live in fear of. Perhaps they like to give the impression of academic rigour.

The North London selective my dds go to has a homework timetable which suits us as they do lots of sport and music so can't always do homework on the night it is set.

I do support homework in primary school so that work habits are established and to reinforce the learning of the day.

Those who come to secondary school from a no homework primary school are in my opinion at a disadvantage and struggle to settle to the new regime. DG


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 10:56 am 
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We are from a no homework primary and I worry about how DD will initially cope at independent secondary that expects high standards of homework. Our choice of secondary was undoubtedly influenced by purported homework levels. At the offer stage I specifically rang the schools to ask about this and one said a minimum of 1.5 hours daily from Y7, which I felt might be too much to enable participation in sport, relaxing etc esp coming from a position of doing none (we did 11+ prep though). We know someone who has some regret about chosing Habs Boys as they and their son feels the amount of homework is adversely affecting their son's quality of life; he is stressed and miserable. The thought of having a regret like that worried me immensely.


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 11:13 am 
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No - definitely not in all state senior schools.
My dd is in year 8 at a N London selective - she gets between 40 and 60 minutes a night most nights but almost always with a week or so to complete it.
It is not unusual for her to have a night off in the week as well.
She went from more-or-less no homework in primary school (we also had those spelling sheets that you described Amber though - but we explained that would not fit with dd's or ds's learning needs so they would not be doing that!) to this in year 7. There were a few tougher days (especially at the start) but it has been very manageable.


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 2:36 pm 
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I work in the Indie sector and our y5/6 get 30mins of prep a night with the expectation that it must be in the next day, but some teachers will give them a couple of days to do it. Y7/8 get 2 x 30 mins in 2 different subjects per night, again due the next day.

My own two monsters do get homework, hardly ever see DS doing his as he does it at school when he arrives early in the morning with the occasional evening. DD tends to do hers all over the living room before I get home and then leaves it there! Neither of them have to have it in the next day and so have time to do their activities and enjoy themselves and they just have to balance when they are going to do it, both at state GSs.


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 4:57 pm 
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MedievalBabe wrote:
I work in the Indie sector and our y5/6 get 30mins of prep a night with the expectation that it must be in the next day, but some teachers will give them a couple of days to do it. Y7/8 get 2 x 30 mins in 2 different subjects per night, again due the next day.

My own two monsters do get homework, hardly ever see DS doing his as he does it at school when he arrives early in the morning with the occasional evening. DD tends to do hers all over the living room before I get home and then leaves it there! Neither of them have to have it in the next day and so have time to do their activities and enjoy themselves and they just have to balance when they are going to do it, both at state GSs.


I have to agree with you homework at my children's/nieces/nephews prep school was no more than 30 minutes a night in years 5 and 6 and is still the same.It didn't prevent many extra curricular activities to such an extent they adore the school and have many happy memories and continue to go back on occasions.

My youngest at her state grammar in year 7 gets 1 hour 20 minutes of homework per night 5 days a week.A number of girls do as much as they can in their lunch hour and some do it by coming early to the school at 8 15 have breakfast and do their work before school starts at 9.00 am.My youngest since she wants do to as much sports as she can spends all her lunchtimes doing sports and participating in clubs.

What my dd tells me some girls had an initial shock with the levels of homework and found it difficult with some girls getting demerits for not doing the homework or handing it in late.It was a culture shock for some girls .They had not developed good habits by doing work as it was given so it wouldn't build up leaving them time to relax.

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In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

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