Big man is 6. He loves playing in the park, making leaf soup and collecting sticks. After spending most of the day at school, I believe that he should be doing these things. He should be playing with his brothers and using his imagination. By the time he's got home from school, had a snack, dinner and a bath, there is very little time left for him to do this and even less when you factor in homework.
Each week, big man has a maths sheet, spellings and a literacy exercise. This is on top of the reading he should be doing every night. It is a organisational nightmare at the best of times trying to get 3 children to bed, but trying to encourage big man to do his homework on top of this makes it even harder. Whilst I do accept that it is beneficial to his learning, I feel that it is excessive. He is being forced to grow up too quickly and he finds it hard coming home from school and being expected to do additional work.
As a teacher at secondary school, I also had issues with homework. In the lower school (years 7-9) I believed that very little homework was necessary if (and the keyword here is, if) the children concentrated in lessons. Parents seemed to want their children to be set homework and would complain if there wasn't enough. As a teacher, however, collecting it in was a soul destroying task. Kids "forgot" or "Didn't understand it." They never seeked help before the due date. The general quality was poor. More time was spent chasing students and issuing detentions than marking it. In my personal opinion if children worked hard in the first place and then just read over their work every couple of weeks then it would be enough. At GCSE practice exam questions would be a better alternative to homework. I suppose it all goes down to the attitude of the student. A high achieving student would look over their notes whether a teacher asked them to or not. In turn most parents with a child at primary would do reading and learning games with their children. However, on the basis my child went to school and I was given a sheet on how to read books with my children, maybe I am wrong. Just because my children have been exposed to reading from the day they were born, others will not be as lucky. That makes me sad. That is probably the reason that everyone is set homework, although I question whether it makes any difference if there is a lack of parental support there in the first place.
I know that people will have mixed views on this subject. Whilst I agree that some work is required I do resent so much at such a young age. I will, however, ALWAYS support the teachers of my sons and would never allow them to not do their homework. More than anything, I believe that teachers and parents need to work together. I don't like homework hanging over a weekend and try to get big man to complete it on a Friday so he really can have a break. At least then he can have 2 days of just being a 6 year old. What do you think?