The current trend in public education is to have a policy to giving homework. You might ask what these kids are doing in school for five hours or more per day. Most of it is not learning. (I am pro homeschooling). The homework is supposed to "train" children into being compliant workers for future slave bureaucracies.
Thanks so much for the reply.
I have to admit I do wonder about the utility of this homework. One of the tasks was so broad and vague that a friend of ours, who is a leading world expert in the field, couldn't summarise a possible response in bullet points in under 3 pages, when the kids have been given a 4 page limit. I have no idea how they are meant to tackle such enormous and nebulous tasks - here kid, summarise the history of the western world in a page...don't let the internet distract you , and no plagiarising. That's not the actual task he was given, but when I first read one of his tasks and thought about being 12 and trying to tackle it, I felt dizzy.
There is no way I would have been anything other than completely overwhelmed by the existence of the internet as a child - enter a search term, get 100,000,000 results. Now sort out the relevant information and write it up in four pages... Shoot me now. Please.
1. study time should be the same every day and same duration. So if they bring home 20 minutes worth of homework and study time is 30 minutes per day then they need to do 20 minutes of homework and ten minutes of some other quiet or enriching work (reading, colouring, puzzles, educational games).
We are definitely trying to structure his time and are operating on a 40/10 cycle, with the 10 minutes being physical exercise as he stores tension physically and has to shake himself out. It seems to be helping so far.
2. you as a parent are in charge of homework so if there is too much then stop. You might write a note to the teacher about why it was completed. It is better that it is completed well rather than rushed through and done poorly.
We are going to have a meeting with some of the school staff - the school seems pretty disorganised and dismissive. One of the assignments was late as it was handed out just before term break when our son had another school commitment, with the expectation that the kids would do the assignment during the holidays. Huh??? HOLIDAYS, people. We spend most of our holidays on a working family farm, and there is no time for major school work and why should there be?? Holidays, people!!! Sorry to be ranting, but what on earth makes this people think kids don't have or need time away from school?
3. is the child actually learning the skills? You might have to review and make sure they have the basics learned. A kid who can not add two digit numbers together correctly is going to have difficulty adding three digits numbers.
His main issue seems to be executive functioning - time management, breaking down tasks and prioritising. I also think the ridiculous scope and vagueness of the tasks really doesn't help.
4. You might have to add a motivator to the cause. Some kids just enjoy learning what they are interested in. You might have to relate the subject to something he loves. Some people use rewards such as getting a treat at the end of the week for doing chores as well as homework. Use a chart if the child is capable but really you have to restrict gifts, treats and tv is you are doing to use this because it might not motivate them. (they have so many toys that another one is really nothing to work towards).
Thankfully my partner is great at making their work relevant - he went to a Steiner school and has an amazing ability to translate concepts into images, stories or even songs, and to apply or illustrate them in the kids' daily lives. It really helps.
5. You have to set what the standards are and tell the kids that is what you expect. Let them try to have some freedom every so often to surprise you with how responsible they can be. Sometimes you have to stop nagging.
LOL. Our issue seems to have been the other way around - we were giving him some freedom in the hope he would self-regulate and take responsibility, but he wasn't. It was mainly triggered by anxiety about failing - he was so scared by the prospect that he was getting stuck and unable to even start projects. He also admitted though that he has been feeling too proud to admit he has been procrastinating or doing the wrong thing - he very much wants to feel he is succeeding and doing right.
We have worked hard on explaining that we would much, much rather hear about what is going wrong than have him falling apart in silence, and that there is nothing he can tell us that will shock or dismay us (honestly, check my blog, there's not much that would make me blush). He seems to understand, but his internal sense of drive and the pretty high expectations he has of himself seem to be tripping him up a bit.
We're making headway, though. Today he realised that he is a visual thinker, and that songs also help him understand things, but that lists of instructions really don't help him. That's great, as my partner is visual and musical, so can help with translating and explaining things. Small steps, but steps.
I will talk to my psychologist this week and see if we can look at other strategies or insights.
It's a challenging business, this parenting caper.