Horrible Homework

Smarties British Candy
Smarties British Candy (Photo credit: fritish)

I muscled in on a discussion between some irate mums about homework on Twitter yesterday.

Apparently it is a universal issue of monumental proportions and I am not the only parent with the grey hair and eye twitch to prove that my child refuses to do his homework.

There are a lot of us out there who struggle nightly and at weekends to get the homework completed, and feel bullied by schools to make sure it gets done. It’s obviously harder these days when a lot of us women work, to find the time to monitor the kids homework as well as nurture them in other ways.

Homework sometimes feels like yet another way the government has of subtly leveraging parental guilt.

I was lucky with NC. I’m not saying that she always did her homework but she always took responsibility for it – she was far too proud to pass that baton of responsibility onto me.

I even remember scoring a few Head Teacher awards when she was in primary school, for projects that she was initially apathetic about – King Henry V111 was particularly odorous, I seem to remember – but man, if only you’d seen my wicked advent calendar-inspired front cover. The other mothers were spitting.

HEAD TEACHER’S AWARD – I should have been knighted!

Of course Kurt has been a very different story. Not only has Kurt never read a book, but he has also never completed a piece of homework voluntarily or in full.

Homework to kids with ADHD (and their parents) seems like a personal punishment from the Devil.

Persuading Kurt to do homework has been as hard as I imagine persuading Miley to be a good role model to kids is.

I’ve tried everything. I’ve used Smarties as math’s counters, guitar stickers as rewards, MacDonald’s as an incentive, timers, time out and mnemonics to help him remember things in what I thought were fun ways.

But I can assure you that it has been far from fun, and I threw in the towel a while ago. There’s only so much abuse a mother can take from her own spawn.

I still nag remind him about outstanding assignments and I am in secret communications with the school so that I am aware of every assignment he is given. But for the sake of my sanity and his mortality, there has to be a limit to my involvement now.

What I have done, and I realize that not every parent can afford to do this, is to hire a tutor to remove some of the pain. What she does is to brainstorm and organise him with those truly hideous assignments, those white knuckle ones with page upon page of description and educational jargon that make every parent want to hide in a small dark room and rock.

It is easily the best $40 I spend each week.

There are many kids who hate homework and there are an increasing number of teaching professionals (backed by research) who are questioning the benefits of it.

When you look at the pressure it puts on home life and the kids themselves, (who I am sure do far more extracurricular activities than they used to), it’s a wonder that it still enforced.

Home should be a safe haven for kids, not a battleground. Due to Kurt’s ADHD I have had to pick my battles, and in the scheme of things homework is of minor importance in terms of his overall development.

19 thoughts on “Horrible Homework

  1. Absolutely to your last statement!
    If he doesn’t pass, then do some kind of bridging course. If he doesn’t care and wants to be a rock star? Then let him see how far he gets. Hell, he may even make it to the top.
    Seriously this has been an issue for parents for years!!
    Kids have so much going on these days and if homework didn’t exists to the extent it does…My god..how much happier would 99% of households be!
    This really is a major problem as a parent.
    Excellent post from my favourite never a dull moment family! Lol
    Hugs to you all. Paula xxxx


  2. As a former teacher and a mom of three, I’m in total agreement. Our school district actually has a poilcy, with which teachers mostly do comply, that children should have 10 minutes of homework for each grade level they pass. This means that by grade 12 (last year of high school) they should have 2 hours of homework per night. Personally, I don’t think children should have any homework at all until high school (the four years of prep time for college or whatever they’ll be going on to after they graduate). It leads to killer stress for both kids and parents.
    -Amy at http://www.momgoeson.wordpress.com


    1. Will have a good read. Certainly, I like some ideas of this where you challenge the old fashioned curriculum which, let’s be honest, needs to be updated. But this would not work with my son, for example, as he needs structure.


  3. Ah yes the old battle with the ADHD will start for me next wed. Its has been four weeks I have been trying to get him to do three questions and a essay, but yet it has not been done. I dread the homework, partly because I feel its just busy work and two truthfully I don’t remember half the crap!! We take my son off the meds during the summer. Truth be known I enjoy his humor when he is off of it and socially he does better. But in order to focus in class it starts up again next week. Good luck to you this school year we are all fighting the same battle.


    1. That’s interesting what you say about his humor when he’s off it because my son is the same but he struggles with just simple language so we keep him on all the time. I hope he can manage the condition at some point without the drugs. Good luck!


  4. I totally agree. I never thought about homework for someone with ADHD, it would be such a battle. Visiting from DP blog Carnival. Nic @ Mums Take Five


  5. Fantastic post. And honestly, a full day’s work should be more than enough for any kid – how many adults willingly take work home to complete after they clock off? I’m glad you found a good tutor – they are definitely worth the money. Mamagoingsolo here, saying hi from Digital Carnival.


  6. I remember the homework horrors – my daughter is now in Year 9, and I won’t say that things are that much better but she is better able to assume what responsibility is hers and I am trying to encourage her to discuss stuff she receives with me rather than bottle it up and explode when it gets too much.

    I can only imagine how difficult it must be when you also have a diagnosis thrown into the mix.

    Homework should be an extension of learning rather than a drudge added on top IMO.


  7. As a teacher and a mother I think homework is one pressure families can do without. Children spend 6 hours learning a day in an institution and that is enough as far as I am concerned. Home time should be spend learning social skills and having down time.


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