I know that I am not alone in feeling like somehow the education system is failing our children, in the way it’s been structured with homework. I mean Emilie is in grade 6, the level, the quantity and the expectation kill all of us. Not to mention that sometimes my child struggles to focus (How to not deal with a distracted child). Now add to that extra murals which are compulsory and you basically have a child going to bed at 10pm. Which is not okay for me. Logically, this creates tension, and also a lot of pressure on your child. Especially homework pressure.

homework pressure

I’m the first to admit that I lose my shit, and I do it a lot. I have serious mom guilt about it when it happens, but I’ve been trying to be better. I’ve been trying to be more mindful of Emilie’s upcoming changes as well as the pressure. (Hey mom, cut me some slack!) As usual though, my human-ness comes through and I still apply the pressure way too much. A few weeks ago, I was checking homework and something struck me about the way the Math was calculated. Or actually the lack of calculations. When I asked Emma about how she calculated she hesitated a bit, and then started scribbling some things on a scrap piece of paper. Uhming and ahhing before she eventually said “I copied it”.

In that moment, I felt so many things. Anger, has this child lost her mind to tell me this? Disappointment, why would she do this? Shame, this is not how we have raised her. I walked away, partly because I wasn’t sure how to react and partly because I didn’t want to blow up right there. This is also a tactic I use to scare her a little because she doesn’t know what to expect if I don’t react. Did I just say that? Do I want to scare my child? This is the safer alternative for us both though. It took a while but I thought about the sports she had that day. The bed time we enforce and us always telling her to pay attention in class, so that homework is easier. Better yet, finish your homework at school!

Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. What did I expect from an 11 year old to do with all that? It was only 4 copied questions but it constituted a meeting in our home. Dam da da dum..nah not really. Ian and I had to discuss the way we were handling the amount of homework and possibly looking at cutting back and sticking to a better routine to enable her to be more at ease. Obviously we also had to talk to her about copying.

homework pressure

I too have copied some homework in my day, way back when so tried not to come down too harshly. Just enough to help her understand, that the homework is really for her own benefit and no one else. She’s doing herself a disservice by copying because she loses the opportunity to practice. Something the school deemed necessary. I don’t always agree with the way they are doing things, but it is what it is. We discussed her extra murals and that if her school work suffered we would need to re-look at the amount of days she’s doing sports. She was pretty disappointed in herself too, which helped me to stay calm.

What did I learn from this? Things are different from when I was at school. Not just a little bit but way different. The pressures are different, somewhat more and it’s hard! Striking a balance to find a happy medium between discipline, having a life and being a school going kid is even harder. We aren’t completely sure how to prevent this in the future but are more mindful of daily activities, assisting where we can and mostly just trying to keep communication lines open for if she needs to talk. (Omission is a lie, or is it?) Have you experienced this? I am trying to remember that not all her behaviours reflect badly on my parenting and that kids will be kids.

In the Meantime – Do you have tips to cope with the homework pressure? Please let me know in the comments.

7 Comments on When homework pressure leads to copying

  1. I really enjoyed this post. A lot of insight for those of us that still may get there…though I mean, I am not raising a copier 😉 LOLOL…#JustKidding This really was a great topic and you guys dealt with it so well!

  2. oh man, that sucks! I completely understand the pressures of school these days. Dudie is 8 years old and man alive the amount of pressure kids put on themselves, never mind us as parents and teachers but also to excel in sports and extra murals is incredible. We have cut out some activities just so that my kid can be a kid… More and more schools are investigating the “no homework” approach. Fortunately for us I work half day so I can supervise homework and activities. Sending your strength.

  3. I did a similar post on homework a couple of months ago. I agree, there are way too much pressure on our kids and on us as parents too. Times are surely different to when we were children and we can’t compare. As a parent myself of a Grade 6 and Grade 3 learner it is not easy as this year both have Systemic exams as well – so even more pressure. Plus we need to apply to High Schools early next year with Grade 6 results so the pressure is on to do well. The only thing we can do is to support and assist our children in their struggles to try to alleviate their stress levels.

  4. I also think that children are being pushed too hard these days, and homework is a big part of that. No real advice though! When I was a kid I used to stress about how much homework I’d get in the next grade after listening to friends and family in higher grades than myself. I think homework is a big deal for children. Schools forget that under their own pressure to achieve good academic results.

  5. Hi. Such an honest post! I am pretty sure we all lose our shit more often than we care to admit. My daughter used to get homework at a previous day care, but it was one sheet to be completed over a weekend. Her current day care doesn’t send work home as a weekly thing, but just now and then as a weekend activity. I do dread when the homework starts coming in full force though. I am all for homework – it’s a nice way of parents to get involved and help identify where any issues may be and support it. But I’m certainly not okay with the idea of hours that need to be spent on homework, as if the children don’t also have extra murals. As if the children should not have time to just play and be kids! This is definitely something I will be asking Principals of prospective schools as we prepare for Grade R next year.

  6. I think kids are given way too much homework – they shouldn’t be having to work until 10pm at night to get things done, and they SHOULD be able to pursue sports and other interests once the school day is over. It’s difficult when the school is piling on pressure, though, and there are tasks that need to be complete. I think it’s important to teach your child not to copy but I would also be very proud of her for telling you the truth and admitting her mistake.

    And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂 #blogcrush

    • The level of homework is an unfortunate consequence of the CAPS system, which is breaking so many kids in SA today. It’s a totally unnatural level of pressure to put on kids – and it starts super young, too. I dread when my kids hit high school….early primary is stressful enough right now.

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