How much homework?

Sophie has written a diary entry based on her favourite book

We’ve had a busy couple of weekends with lots of visits from my family so this weekend we haven’t got too much planned. A birthday party tomorrow afternoon is a good excuse to go to Hastings and see grandparents, and a trip to see Granny for tea today. Family weekends without much planned are lovely, and often just what we need after busy weeks at work (husband) and at school (Sophie).

Sophie has had reading to do at home for most of her school life, and sometimes she is willing and able but other times it’s a bit of a battle to get her to concentrate. She’s very capable but reluctant to try. This week she ran out of school very excited about having homework to do. She has a chart of 35 things that will each earn her points on completion, of varying degrees of difficulty. Some of them look like they will be almost impossible to complete for a just turned five year old, but lots of them look like a lot of fun.

Painting a savannah scene or Amazon rainforest, learning to knit, making an origami animal, writing a diary entry as a character out of a book (as in the photo above), learning a favourite song or dance, flying a kite, visiting the library and going for a family bike ride are just some of the items on the list. I took a photo of the list and posted it on Facebook so family could see what Sophie was going to be doing over the next week. It prompted a series of comments from friends with children at her school, parents from other schools and friends who are teachers. Most of them commented on the list, saying they thought it was a hard list and that there were items on there that they couldn’t do.

I agree that a couple of the tasks are more difficult than I think she’s capable of, but we will give most of them a try and see where we get to. She’s very enthusiastic so hopefully it won’t be too much of a challenge. Some of the comments did make me think about family time and how we spend it. I try to read with her every day, and since I’ve been imposing an iPad time limit this has been slightly easier as she is less tired and more inclined to concentrate. I also encourage her to read and write when we’re at home or out and about. And we play games around maths when we can with Imogen around. I’ve spent most of her life worrying she was going to be behind at school being an August baby so I’m keen to extend her learning beyond school. However, many of the comments from parents were around how learning should be kept to school and home time should be spent with family. I’d like to think we get the balance right, but as with so much of parenting, I find myself wondering whether we’re doing the right thing or not.


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