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 Post subject: Homework and travelling
PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:02 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 8:37 am
Posts: 111
Hi all,

DC is currently quite high on a waiting list for a GS which is around 15 miles away, I am not really expected to be offered a place but if we are I would like to have given this some thought in advance.

The journey would be more than an hour each way. Leaving in the morning at around 7:10am, school starting at nearly 9am and school finishing at nearly 4pm but not arriving home until close to 5:30pm (we would cut it down a bit by collecting and taking her to the bus stop). Do any of your DC's make this kind of journey? It seems to me to be an awfully long time for an 11 year to spend getting to and from school (at times it would probably mean walking to the bus stop from school in the dark/twilight) the knock on effect is that homework, tea and activities would then all have to be fitted in after 5:30pm.

DC is on a waiting for a closer GS but as she is further down this waiting list I doubt we will get to the top so if we turn down the further GS it will probably mean an education at a comprehensive school (albeit quite an "good" one) rather than a grammar school.

As a result of the above dilemma I have many questions about homework :?: :?:

How much homework is "normal" (in terms of time) to complete each night and at the weekend whilst in year seven of a grammar school?

Does homework increase as DC rise through the school? I assume it does.

Is there any difference in the amount of homework given by grammar schools compared to comprehensives?

If your children have long journeys to and from school (over 75 mins each way) how do they cope with doing the homework in the week?

Thanks

Rose Petal.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 6:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
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I don't think this journey is particularly unusual for GS/Indie children & they do seem to cope with it.

Homework load varies alot between schools but there seems to be a tendency for them to have quite a bit in Year 7 at GS.

Much is down to good time management & organsisation. Often they can leave longer homework tasks until the weekend or at least spread it over a few days.

Learning can be done on the journey, depending on the bus - if its a school bus they tend to be pretty noisy & more of a social experience :)
But vocab etc can be put on an MP3/digital voice recorder so their mates dont necessarily know what they are listening to!

Must be benefits to going to school much closer to home but only if you would be happy with the school & not constantly wondering 'what if'..
Not an easy decision to make.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:43 am
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Hi Rose. I wish you and DC luck with getting the school place you want.

Rose petal wrote:
How much homework is "normal" (in terms of time) to complete each night and at the weekend whilst in year seven of a grammar school?

You would be better off asking parents at the specific school, though even then you can't take it too literally. I know someone with twins in different classes at DC's grammar and in year 7 one was consistently getting more homework than the other!


Rose petal wrote:
Does homework increase as DC rise through the school? I assume it does.

Generally, but it depends what GCSE subjects they pick and to what extent they do homework at school (study periods, lunch, break etc). Humanities, IT and art/design seem to generate the most homework.


Rose petal wrote:
Is there any difference in the amount of homework given by grammar schools compared to comprehensives?

I have no idea, and as with your first question, a general answer may not be very helpful anyway. Within both sectors, there will be wide variability.


On a more general point, I am (still) surprised that DC at grammar generally get less homework than I would expect. However, the school gets excellent results, so they obviously know what they're doing. I think sometimes schools provide homework as some sort of proxy for good teaching and/or to impress parents, regardless of whether it is actually useful.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:29 pm
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Location: Berkshire
Can't be of much help, just to say that there are many children at both my son's grammar and at the adjacent girl's grammar that travel that, if not similar distances. At my son's grammar they do cope with it but only finding it tough at the beginning. Having spoken to parents of one child who makes this train journey, they said their son did adjust to the timings of the school day quite quickly. Only problem is that it is rather difficult having any of his friends over.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:58 pm
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Firstly I think your DD needs to be keen to attend the school for it to work. How does she feel about it?

My DD has a 50-60 minute bus journey both ways and is coming to the end of year 7. She found it particularly tiring in the first term (that Autumn term always seems to last forever anyway!). It is also highly inconvenient socially as many friends live as far from the school but in the opposite direction.

I often think how much easier it would be if she were at the local comp!

DD very quickly learned to organise her time and has coped well with the workload. Saying that, i think it's important not to be overloaded with extra-curricula activities in the evening. (She now has just one in the week and one on Saturdays plus all the lunchtime stuff at school).

Socially, there's been quite a bit of taxi-ing, but most parents are in the same boat and there's been a fair bit of meeting half way to make life easier.

Whilst I sometimes question our decision to send dd to a distant school, she has NO REGRETS whatsoever and has loved her first year, being challenged and stimulated with peers of the same ability as well as having loads of fun.

I do hope this has helped. Good luck with your decision!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:15 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:25 pm
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Mine leaves home at 7.15 to catch bus at about 7.40. they get to school at about 8.05 but that's because the early start means they drive straight through, any later and it could take an hour. He's back at the bus stop at 4.15 (out of school at half 3) and home by half past-ish. So our return trip is quicker. His bro is due to start in Sept, bus outside the door (hoorah!!) but even though the school is 5 or 6 miles nearer, it's still a pick up at 7.50 (currently doesn't even get up, the lazy bones, til about 8.15, but then we live a 4 min walk - and counting - from school). It'll take an hour to get back on the bus (15 min drive - bus works out cheaper tho). They do get used to it (admittedly ours are home earlier than yours) although some mornings, like today, it all seems a terrible idea.
As for homework, it varies terribly. My boy (now y 8) was lucky last year in not getting much. His friend in another form seemed inundated. Maybe he was more conscientious? made more of a fuss? genuinely had masses more? Mine tends to be a bit of a skimper if he can get away with it. I know what you mean about it eating into home time - lovely to think it could all be out of the way by supper time and not grind on into the evening. That phrase "gets used to it" sounds grim, but it is true.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:48 am 
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As far as homework is concerned and how long it takes depends greatly on the child - how quick they are at completing it and how resourceful they are!

In year 7 to 9 my dd1 seemed to spend hours on her homework - when i investigated it appeared this is bcause she is quiet slow and methodical when completing it! Also where some of her friends were happy to complete homework on the bus journey she was not - preparing a quietish area to do it in.

So her friend may have got it done in just half an hour of "home" time - my dd would sometimes be taking an hour and a half - bless her!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:27 pm 
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Thank you for all the resposnes.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:34 pm 
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Partly to play Devil's advocate here, and partly because I believe it to be a valid point: the sample of parents you have sought advice from is likely to be over-represented by those whose children travel a longish way to school, because that is often the nature of grammar education. So they are likely too to think it A Good Thing that their DC are in these schools, and that the travel is worthwhile. Parents who think it unacceptable to allow a child to travel like that are unlikely to be answering your question! I have a DC who suffers very badly with travel sickness so a daily bus journey would have been torture. I also have a very close friend whose daughter travelled on a bus for an hour each way for Years 7-11 and then moved to a school within walking distance for 6th form. She is a changed girl, loves her extra free time and now speaks rather bitterly of her experiences travelling to the original school.

I say this only to give 'the other side' and not because I have any particular axe to grind. Good luck with your decision.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:46 am 
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My 2 older children attend a grammar school which, although not our most local school, is still very local to us.They don't have to leave until about 8 :10 and are back home by 4 :10 and school finishes at 3.40.I mention this because I don't have a bias due to my own children's experience - they do attend a local school.

However as it is a so called "superselective" - the girls come from very far and wide as there are no catchment/local places in the admissions criteria.Both my daughters have friends who have 90 minute journeys to school.I am not at all sure I would do this myself ...but they really do seem to cope.
My eldest has been at the school a few years and I have had several years of contact with the girls who come from far away and their families.They seem to adjust to it and do homework :shock: /listen to ipods on the journeys.It seems to be quite a social time.
I would say that all these girls were genuinely very keen to go to the school and when it is dark and cold in the winter months and the alarm is going off at around 6 - this is a necessary motivation. :(

Homework varies and both of mine have periods of little and plenty.Most year 7s need some organising at first wherever they come from.

All in all I think it depends just how much your child wants to go there and how good or bad your alternatives are.One of DD's friends comes from another county and leaves at 6.15 but her local school was placed in special measures by Ofsted and has a reputation for being an unsafe environment.As Dds' school has no catchment criteria, her parents felt it was the best, and safest , option.


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