Friday, 5 June 2015

Homework: should he? shouldn't he?

So we're back into the swings of things now with school. Mini is still getting on well, although homework still proves to be a struggle...

I get how he feels, I really do. He doesn't want to do his homework because there are other fun things to do at home. He worries about doing certain homework - usually handwriting projects because he is ashamed of his handwriting and worries it will be wrong/unreadable. Sometimes he gets so stressed out that it makes me stressed out and I have to walk away...usually before I get cross, but sometimes after which isn't helpful. The thing is - he's capable, and with a little support from us and from school, he can do it - and very well at that.

I *know* a lot of the time the shame thing is the biggest factor. He really does worry about his writing, not helped by his substitute teacher telling him that his writing was too big, then ridiculously tiny and she couldn't read it, rather than giving him some practical help like lined paper! (Why do they still give them plain paper to write on? Surely lines would help keep it neat and the right size?!).

The trouble is, he's also an 8 year old boy, and so we go back to that 'all children do that' thing. Typically 8 year old boys don't enjoy doing their homework. And, as I said before, I understand why he feels like that too and I know there is an element of that with Mini. But this is the line that the teacher understands, this is an explanation that makes her feel comfortable, this is what she sees in lots of the boys in her class, and all the classes she's taught before that. She admits that not all 8 year old boys are like this, but because it's typical behaviour, she sees that over and above any other explanation.
Which means the way it's dealt with is the way that she feels comfortable with too - firmness is the key. If he doesn't do it at home, he misses out on breaktime/lunchtime (the rest time he needs to chill and de-stress) to do it at school. Just like all the other 8 year old boys that don't do their homework.

I find it very frustrating. Part of me says 'sod it, we'll just allow him to avoid doing homework because it's so stressful for him' but the other part of me says, 'I don't want him missing out on vital de-stressing time during school, so he'd best get it done at home, even if meltdowns occur'. And undoubtedly, he does better at school if he's doing his homework at home to support his learning.

For now, we're being careful about the time of day that Mini does his homework - how full his tummy is when he does it, whether there are distractions etc, but I think next school year, this is going to have to be tackled with school, and we're going to have to find strategies that work.


  1. We had huge homework issues this year. I blogged about it myself (here: and here: At the end of the day the school needs to understand that all children are different and treat them as such, in more regards than just this. And it's up to you decide what is best for your child, not them, IMHO. Our school's principal once told me that all parents are the advocates for their children, and it is so true.

  2. Such a tough one, we've struggled through out the years. I have an agreement with school, that if the boys are up to it we get it done. However if we are going through a bad patch, we don't, that includes if I'm going through a bad patch. I know that my children will always need some support in completing homework and if I'm not in the right place, I refuse to put the pressure on all of us. I think a chat with school might be a good idea. Thanks for sharing on #WASO x