school

"I'm making my kids do homework in the school holidays."

I’ve never been a big fan of kids doing homework and have made my feelings known multiple times, which is why it is probably a bit confusing that I will be making my children do homework every day of the school holidays.

I haven’t changed my mind about it. Homework is generally a waste of time and completely ineffective. Unless the kids have specific things they need to work on.

Then homework is needed.

You may argue that had I been more diligent with my children’s assigned homework tasks I wouldn’t be in this mess, and perhaps that is true. Philip, 12, isn’t in need of any homework for any particular reason. He is pretty self-motivated and always has a little project going for himself like learning how to code or how to do video blogs. But I have asked him to join us during “holiday homework time” to motivate Giovanni, 8, and Caterina, 7, who may take a little convincing/forcing/bribing.

Do your work guys and then we’ll go bowling!

Giovanni is on the autism spectrum and finds it difficult to complete or even begin his work in class. He’s made some progress recently thanks to his occupational therapist adding school visits to his therapy schedule and my own “tough love” approach when I volunteer to help out in his class.

8 ways to nail homework when you don’t have a clue. Article continues after this video.

I tell him, “If you aren’t going to do your work when I come in I just won’t come in anymore,” so he has been putting more effort in, thank goodness.

Then I recently discovered that Caterina, 7, isn’t the best reader or speller and I take full responsiblity for this. For the past year-and-a-half I have been so preoccupied with Giovanni’s needs and therapy that I haven’t given her the attention she needs when it comes to her sight words and reading.

She’s on quite a low reading level and her best friend is on a quite high reading level. I know I shouldn’t compare them. Children progress at different rates, blah, blah, blah, but we haven’t been reading every day as we should have been so we have some catching up to do.

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The school holidays seems like the perfect time to me because they won’t be tired from being at school all day and I won’t be tired because I’ve had a little sleep in.

I’m never going to be one of those parents who demands their children do homework every, single night. I’d prefer them to relax most afternoons and evenings, to spend time being bored and thinking about other things they’d like to do with their time or even just spend some time daydreaming.

We tend to save most of our homework for one or two nights of the week which can be a bit stressful but is worth it just to be able to relax most nights of the week.

'I've always wondered what home schooling is like. I suppose I am about to find out.' Image: Good Will Hunting, Miramax Films

Multiple studies have shown that homework isn't helpful for most children until senior years in school from around Year 10.

To me, homework should always be for a specific reason. If a child is struggling in a particular area of their learning they do a bit of extra work at home so they can improve. Homework for homework's sake is pointless.

The homework my children will be doing during the school holidays definitely has a point and during the school holidays I will have the time to help them with it.

During school term each week I just don't have the time or inclination to help my children complete hours upon hours of homework.

We'll be sleeping in as many days as possible, relaxing and doing heaps of fun things but we'll also be doing our work.

I haven't thought of what to call it yet. I definitely won't be using the word "homework". That's a recipe for disaster. I'll probably avoid using any sort of label. We'll just get into a routine where we sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast, relax and maybe do something fun, have lunch, then we'll do our work, all of us including me, and then we'll spend the rest of the day relaxing.

I've always wondered what home schooling is like and I suppose I'm about to find out.

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