Tag Archives: primary school

On homework and hand holding

Do you ever get that thing where you are so sick at the sound of your own voice saying the same sentence over and over again that you start to want to cut your own tongue off? It was bad enough when I just had one inattentive husband to contend with. Now I have three selectively hearing kids as well….my vocabulary has reduced to about 20 words, which I seem to repeat over and over again. Annoyingly enough, though I have lost ALL the words which used to make me sound reasonably well-read and intelligent, I seem to have kept the sweary ones and there’s no bloody selective hearing when it comes to that, I can tell you. They just can’t WAIT to repeat a lovely juicy swear word on the bus, or in front of the in-laws…anyway I digress…

This weekend, it was the homework chat on repeat. Number one son had quite a nice homework this week – to design a front cover for a project on their new school, which is being built for them ready for September. That’s a pretty fun task for a seven year old, especially as they can use the iPad or computer to design it. FFS, these kids don’t even know they are BORN, doing homework on kit like that…not that my boy saw it that way. I mentioned it to him on Friday, and on Saturday, and then several times on Sunday, and then again (and again, and again) on Monday night. Funny that – mention homework to them, there is a thousand more interesting things to do, and yet at 7am on a Sunday, they just can’t find a SINGLE THING to entertain their little brains with so you can have forty winks or even some rare – um – action – in peace and quiet. FFS. Again.

Anyway, I mentioned the homework so often that even the cat was getting bored of hearing it. In the past, if this situation has come about, I’ve just put on my firm-but-fair face* and enforced it. Because they are kids, and they have to learn stuff, and I’m the boss, innit. And also because I want them to do their best at school so they can have choices in later life. And, just a teeny bit, because I am a secret authority fearer and the thought of someone not doing homework, even though it’s not my homework that needs doing, makes me twitch slightly.

This time, I couldn’t face the battle. There’s so much going on for us at the moment – work is full on, we’re in the middle of a shop move, I’m job-hunting, we’re trying to get our house reconfiguration project off the ground, two of the three of them have birthdays coming up…I am run ragged right now, even by my standards, and I just did not have the energy for a fight. So I told him it was fine by me if he didn’t do his homework, but he would have to explain to his teacher why he hadn’t done it, and left it at that. Well, not quite – I also wrote a note to his teacher explaining that there were NO extenuating circumstances AT ALL for the lack of homework this week. Because I’m a Tiger Mother. Grrr.

I’m stressing about all this a bit now. Should I have insisted he do it? You know, with the firm-but-fair face? What if there is no comeback in school on this and he thinks he doesn’t ever have to do homework again? Is nearly eight too young to start taking responsibility for this? Was it a terrible thing to effectively grass my son up? HAVE I RUINED HIS LIFE? AM I BEING OVER-DRAMATIC?

Pearls of wisdom to share? Be my guest!



On giving a dog a bad name

So I found one of the kids in tears yesterday. When I asked them what was wrong, they said it was because they hadn’t been invited to someone’s party. Now I tend to be quite unsympathetic on this sort of thing with my kids – they can’t expect to be invited to them all, just as they can’t invite everybody in the class to theirs – and I was reminding said child of this when they came out with something that stopped me in my tracks.

‘They wanted to invite me, (sob, sob) but their Mummy said they couldn’t, because she said I stole something from her Mummy’s bag once when I was in reception, (sob, sob) and I don’t steal things and (wailing now) I don’t remember stealing anything and I don’t want to be in trouble’.

UUUUh. Right. Once we’d calmed things down, I did some more digging, thinking that there must be a bigger back story to it all, but that’s still the sum total of the information I have about this. That, and the fact that I have a devastated child on my hands. Not because of the party –  that seems to be neither here nor there –  but devastated because they think they are in trouble, though they can’t remember doing whatever it is they are in trouble for.

Ok. Because I have nothing else to go on, lets start from the premise that my child did take something from someone’s mother’s bag, at some point during their reception year. I’m not really clear how this might have taken place, since the child in question doesn’t spend any time with this adult, but I suppose it could have happened on the yard, or in the park, or at a party.

Reception year would put the age of this child at between only just four, and only just five. Clearly children should not take things from people’s bags, but stealing? Really? A four year old doesn’t STEAL. A four year old might well think ‘I see that, I want it, I will have it’, but I don’t think at that age that stealing is really a concept they have, do they? Of course, a four year old should certainly be aware that they can’t just take stuff they want without asking. But knowing the correct behaviour, and then acting on it at all times, is something that comes with age, and with adult guidance. And if I had known about this incident, I would have dealt with it at the time and used the opportunity to reinforce the fact that you can’t just take stuff, and I would also have insisted that the child apologise to the adult in question. BUT I WASN’T GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY.

So given the fact that this incident wasn’t seen as serious enough to mention to me at the time, and that it happened aeons ago, and that we are talking about four year olds, I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that my child is being told by a classmate that their Mummy doesn’t want them coming to their party, because they ‘stole’ something. If this parent doesn’t want our kids to socialise together, for whatever reason, that is totally and utterly up to her and she has every right to make that call. I just feel that the way it has been done is unkind and thoughtless and unnecessary.

I don’t know whether to tackle this with the parent in question, or whether it will just make things worse. What would you do?