My two sons don’t really like doing their homework.
All those sentences to write and sums to complete don’t really appeal when there are balls to kick and trampolines to jump on and a garden full of sticks to turn into swords.
They moan and groan and procrastinate to only finally sit down to it when threatened with the ultimate of punishments; no iPad on the weekend.
It’s a nightly ritual that isn’t particularly pleasing for any of us, but we persevere.
What’s making it tricky though is the new realisation that some kids don’t have to go through the torment that they do.
Some kids are out there kicking that ball and bouncing on their own trampoline because some kid’s much nicer and much kinder parents have decided to opt their children out of homework.
So why can’t we mum? Henry’s mum doesn’t make him do it.
It’s tempting isn’t it? No more nagging and threatening, no more pleading and cajoling. Just say no to homework.
Life in Henry’s house must be calmer and quieter than in mine. Life in Henry’s house sounds appealing.
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It’s a route more and more time poor families are taking and one more and more schools are facilitating. If you don’t want your child to do homework, if you don’t agree with it – then don’t.
More schools are adopting the “opt out policy” and more parents are embracing the idea.
Some don’t opt out totally, just partially.
“We just do one exercise,” a friend tells me. She’s not Henry’s mum, but when she tells me of her homework policy I wonder whether her house is similar to Henry’s house.
“I pick one half of a page and tell them to just do that and I never get them to do their pre-set maths on the computer because it just takes too long.”
Henry does none. She does a third. Mine - I make them do the lot. Via iStock.
My friend tells me that the teachers don’t mind and it gives her back much needed time in the evening. She says that her kids probably do less than a third of what is set each week with full parental blessing.
Henry does none. She does a third. Mine - I make them do the lot.
Curious - and because she's the kind of friend who doesn't mind these kinds of questions I ask her what is really bugging me.
“Are you not concerned that you are teaching your kids they don’t have to do what they are told. That they are more special than the other kids? Are you worried they won't respect their teacher?”
Her answer: "sometimes you have have to do what you think is best for your children."
What I fear is that by enabling a system of do-what-you-want-not-what-you-are-told - by either partially or fully “opting out” - we are creating a generation of entitled children who will grow up believing if they just don’t like something they can opt out.
If the work is too hard or too difficult to fit in then just don’t do it.
Is it undermining a teacher’s authority?