School, Homework and Education

I stand on the school playground daily and chat to the other mums. I’m very fortunate in that they are a lovely group of people, so the conversation flows as we all talk about our children.

There are often birthday parties to look forward to over the weekends, then there are the chats over missing items from PE kits, who plays with who and what toys they are all enjoying.

Then invariably, the talk turns to school, homework and education. It stands to reason, doesn’t it?

Boo’s in Year 3, Little Man in Reception, so I am now very used to the levels of homework that she has, familiar with the targets for this year and the concept of having such clear targets for 5 and 6 year olds. It has become the norm, yet I’m pretty sure that if you’d have told me the level these children are expected to work at a few years ago, I’d have been horrified. Every week they have spellings, a reading book, maths and some sort of project to prepare for. It seems like quite a lot for young children.

Some recent Maths homework. There was absolutely no need to make it colourful, she just did!
Some recent Maths homework. There was absolutely no need to make it colourful, she just did!

There is so much to do whilst they’re in the classroom, a lot for them to take in. A pressure upon the school and teaching staff to deliver give you the feeling that you don’t want your child to be left behind. These early years build foundations for them, and though I am still fairly relaxed about it all, I wonder if part of being relaxed is simply because the kids are meeting these targets?

My thoughts on schooling for them is that I want them to be happy and feel safe there, I want them to enjoy their friendships and throw themselves into trying and learning new things. Reading is something that I have always been passionate about as I think it underpins all other learning, and of course maths as they need that daily. Fortunately, they are both doing well in these areas so we are content, they are enjoying school.

This isn’t the case across the board and whether it remains so over the coming years remains to be seen. I’ve been surprised by how many parents already have tutors for their children. I think the key concerns are over reading, with some additional support also been given in maths. I can only see this increasing as the time comes for end of year exams, with people turning to support from the experts.

This didn’t seem to happen when I was at school. Or if it did, I was totally oblivious to it. Yet now it seems to be the norm. I think tutoring is more accessible now, more widespread and is seen as an extra support in the days of an overly bureaucratic education system. But then I’m also pretty sure that we didn’t get anywhere near as much homework, teachers had more flexibility and were given more time to simply ‘teach’. Things have definitely changed.

My daughter’s only in Year 3. My Little Man is in Reception. It’s going to get tougher, isn’t it? Before we know it they’ll be applying to unis and dealing with university acceptance rates. Ah well, all in good time!

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post


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7 thoughts on “School, Homework and Education”

  1. I feel similar to you Jocelyn, midge isn’t ahead in anything but she’s where she should be so I relax, keep her there but I’m all too aware of the other children in Roo’s class how well many of them already read and can write their name well and there’s my boy clearly slower on the uptake. Of course I know he’ll get there but the extra effort it takes me the extra time and even persuasion to get him to work and not be behind, being always sought out by his teacher for chats and homework and little tricks to get him recognising letters etc is very stressful!

    1. It’s such a lot, isn’t it? And they’re still so young. As you say, they’ll catch up but the pressure to do so is always there x

  2. It always surprises me when people have tutors for their primary age children, who might not even be at the appropriate developmental level for whatever their classmates are doing. We all learn at different speeds and that doesn’t offer any indication for what we might be good at in the future, just what we are good at now.

    1. They all develop at such different rates, don’t they? They’ve so much to learn that they can’t do all of it at the same time!

  3. Oh my days… year 1 and they’re considering (if not already booked in) tutors?! To be perfectly frank Jocelyn, I’m shocked! Yes, in the grand scheme of things secondary school is not very far off on the horizon for our children… but in my mind it’s so sad that parents are feeling the need to/bowing down to the pressure of putting extra on their children. Perhaps it IS because the teachers are under so much pressure to hit these targets that they instil that pressure on parents via homework (far too much for my liking!) Perhaps it’s because our girls are meeting targets that I’m so shocked that some of their classmates are going to tutors… I don’t mean that to sound like a bragging mum there. When it’s in black and white, it’s so hard to get the tone right! And I appreciate this is a collaborate post so I’m trying not to sound too harsh but really and truly, these children need to be allowed to excel in what they’re naturally good at, not moulded into being ‘all-rounders’. Shame on the government for letting this pressure be fed back into our homes… Sorry Jocelyn, I feel better for that!

    1. I can tell you now feel better! To be fair, though, I was actually chatting to a mum on the school run this afternoon who was telling me her son has a tutor who comes round for an hour every week and he thoroughly enjoys it, so much so that when she couldn’t make it for a session recently he was upset! It’s for his handwriting and as well as they writing they’re playing games and doing exercises to strengthen his hand, and his mum tells me it’s really helping. So hey, each to their own!

      1. I suppose I’m leaning more towards the ‘academic’ subjects instead of the ‘honed’ skills in my comment. And well if he’s having fun and doesn’t really see it as learning, I must admit that I struggle to argue with that one. In that same way that a science tutor might do a take on the mad scientist I suppose… Food for thought!

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