27 April, 2020

Primary School Homework: Struggling During Lockdown?

It dawned on me today during the usual morning planning session we conduct that there is a key reason why homework is such a struggle for Year 6 pupils.

It’s actually very simple.

They are used to working on a collaborative basis.  The classroom environment at this age is all about learning and sharing together.  And, because it’s all about learning as a team, there is less censure, less judgment and less pressure when things are wrong.

The journey to learn is more important than the result it seems.

Now this seems to be different from the way I was taught all those years ago (40 years!).  Classrooms were places of quiet (mostly).  Heads bowed we used to complete our work in near silence.  Books were handed in to be marked on the spot.

No Google Classroom for us. It was all about flexing those memory muscles and retaining information.

I will say that for all the advantages technology has given us, increased attention spans and the ability to focus don’t seem to be included.

So, my approach to making things easier is to get involved.  To adopt the approach I used when I was an English Tutor many moons ago.  To listen more and try to coach and motivate.

This, as many parents will no doubt agree, is tricky when you go through the list of work set (particularly for my Year 7) and feel stressed on their behalf!

It’s funny.  I always thought I’d take to home education like a duck to water but, as many experienced home educators have pointed out, this is NOT home educating.  It is taking over the reins from our beleaguered teachers temporarily in a crisis situation.

Home education requires strategy, materials, tools and techniques, a thorough knowledge of the syllabus and lesson planning skills.

It means pushing forward day in, day out.  Not getting to 3 and going “we’ve all done enough now, let’s put Netflix on”.

Or perhaps, depending on the age of the children it does.

Either way, I salute those who home educate on a full-time basis.

For my own part, we’re bumbling along, making sure work is done and deadlines are hit without too many tantrums (mine generally) and too much pressure being put upon kids who are desperate for fresh air, their friends and freedom.

One response to “Primary School Homework: Struggling During Lockdown?”

  1. Karen Pond says:

    As a retired teacher and a grandmother, I feel a great deal of compassion for the parent who have children in school. I am watching and listening to my grandson give his mom a pleading hard time because he can. It’s his mom. So I feel for you and your ‘bumbling along” feeling. I am sure you are doing more than you think you are. My daughter is afraid and concerned she will ruin his education. No. No. No. You described the struggle and should feel good about the support you are giving. Teachers that I have talked to are caught – teaching has been taken out of their hands. How do they work with something they have not been trained to do – no face to face, no interaction, no community building. But it prompts a question – how to move the learning forward and engage the young authentically. Also accessibility to the learning…is it equally accessible? I appreciate your post in light of being a mother, maybe even a working mother, while staying true to motherhood as you add a new hat.

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