I don’t know whether school work is getting ‘dumbed down’ or not, but I do know my daughter is getting a fraction of the homework her dad and I used to when we were her age. Yes, I know that was an old person’s saying; the old “we had to walk fourteen miles barefoot in ten foot deep snow for just one hour at school when I were a lass” type of thing.
But, despite that, the fact remains true; she is getting less homework that we did - a lot less. Added to which much of it has nothing to do with the subject it came from; for instance her RE (Religious Education) teacher gave them homework to ask their parents what they thought about global warming. Another example is their History teacher giving them homework about whether this year’s London’s Olympics will be a success.
Even when she does get any homework it’s never very much – a recent example was the recent RE homework already mentioned. Basically I see it as parents homework, and not even anything to do with religious education. To me RE should be about learning about religion and all the other permutations of it; such atheism and agnosticism and then different religious beliefs – ie Judaism, Buddhism and Islamic beliefs.
I still believe that if kids were taught about each others beliefs, or lack of them for the atheistic/agnostic pupils, then they’d all be a lot more accepting when they grew up. Certainly it would hopefully lead to less marginalisation and so breed less fanatics on all sides.
Her math teach seems to be the hardest task master and even he doesn’t set too much homework or regularly; but what he does set is fairly comprehensive and quite big. I wish I’d had teachers who felt that, for their subject, a page of stuff once a fortnight was enough – something that would take me ten minutes tops to do.
Instead my teachers felt that an hour each of that days lessons for that night was enough; it had to be done then too as you knew that you’d have more the following evening, and so it just mounted up if you left it.
I had to do my homework the minute I came in – around 4pm – I would, if I was lucky and with a short stop for dinner, be done around 7pm; 8-9pm on Friday as we always got double “to cover the weekend”.
Instead my daughter sits down at 4pm and by 4:15pm it’s all done; am I jealous? You betchya. But I’m also concerned about something else; they never teach them about anything current. When we had the credit crunch, it wasn’t even mentioned at the school; even as kids watched their parents lose their jobs and, in some cases, they then lost their homes - forcing them into rented accommodation or living with relatives. Still the school merely carried on as if nothing had happened.
However, I’ve been told that, as the school has become an academy and has called itself a “performing arts academy of excellence”, the kids who take dance, drama, music or singing are worked a lot harder than the students choosing academic subjects. Of course here in the Midlands; in an area that is manufacturing, agriculture and animal management orientated then even being a dancer as good as Darcy Bussell, a singer as fantastic as Katherine Jenkins or an actor like Derek Jacobi won’t actually get you a job in this locality.
What the kids need is a good all round education to help them actually get work in an area that is already struggling. Tap dancing into an interview for a pottery painter or standing up and giving the aria from Tosca isn’t going to get you the job.
Still, I can always set her homework from me – and I sometimes do; mean mum? Apparently, so my daughter tells me, the jury’s still out.......
This is Simi, thanks for reading.......