Homework for a 9y old

imagemy 9y old has been given some really difficult homework recently. stuff i would have trouble writing, and i have had to help her a lot with it, almost to the point of writing it!

last week-

"talking homework" to prepare for writing in school- "GM food is a good thing, discuss"
writing homework- "Deforestation is destroying the earth. Present a balanced argument"

this week, "The national anthem should be changed, discuss"

OK, so she is in the top set and does lit with the year 6s, but apart from the fact they havent covered these topics in school (she didnt know what GM food or deforestation were) they havent really been given any guidance on how to write a "discussion", its certainly something i usually struggle with. The homework seems march harder this year, i am sure it is due to the teacher, last years teacher might set difficult stuff but would send home guidance on how to help with it.

oh, and try fitting in doing the homework with all the other kiddies activities and christmas stuff going onimage

rant over.image


  • Those sound like pretty boring topics for a 9 year old...how disengaging.

    Surely the topics should be trying to get the kids imagination. The one about the national anthem sounds soooooo dull.image Poor kid.

    I would talk to the teacher about this.

  • Nick LNick L ✭✭✭

    ..tell her to base her argument about changing it to this.....


    ...not a parent so not really qualified to comment, but rather dull. PLus if they havent covered the topics then how are they to write about them? However, rpesumably this forms part of the school/national curriculum????!

  • It's keeping her from the tv / playstation / Wii / PC  so it can't be all that bad
  • I think it sounds quite interesting - beats a list of words for a spelling test or something like that.   Anything that encourages kids to think and have opinions is good.  

    I can see there are possible dangers if it isn't handled well in class - kids could be made afraid to have ideas out of step with the majority - but on the face of it it sounds like the teacher is doing a good job developing their powers of critical thought. 

    The national anthem one I think is particularly good - the other two do perhaps require a bit of scientific knowledge to really argue either way.

  • she gets spellings too most weeks. and maths. and reading.

    last year was great, it was stuff she could manage without too much help and in a relatively fast time. "easy" homework builds her confidence, the hard stuff is very discouraging, she left her lit homework to the last minute on sunday and i'm not surprised.

    this week she is doing percentages in maths and if i wasnt competent in maths she'd have no chance!

  • If it ends up being you doing most of the work then like you say what is the point ?

    If there is no guidance on how to prepare it then at that age I wouldn't do it.

    My 9 year old hasn't been getting much homework lately due to carol concerts and various other school stuff but his literacy homework certainly hasn't included whether the national anthem should be changed - of what interest is that to most people let alone a 9 year old.  A note in the home school diary should do the trick

  • Hmm

    I suspect a number of agendas are at work here...

    Schools are under the cosh to prove they are stretching the gifted and talented, and if your little un is in with the year 6s, she will fall into that group...

    The new Literacy framework places much greater emphasis on Speaking and listening - debate work is becoming more commen

     Presenting a balanced argument is more of a higher order skill - and higher ordr thinking skills are also on the horizon -

    all very laudible but bugger all use if the kid doesn't understand it.

    I suggest a quick chat ( not a letter) explaining the fact that you aren't sure how best to support the child and requesting some guidance. TBH teachers are snowed under at the mo and its tempting to dole out homework - but at times tthey simply haven't enouigh time to go into detailed explanations.

  • hmm, think a word with the teacher is in order. At the beginning of the term she was in tears about the maths (she usually loves maths) and a discussion with the teacher helped. although it is tricky this week she can do it, just needs a bit of explaining to make sure she gets the right sum. but one the christmas stuff is over will have a word next week i think.

    edited to respond to Barkles, well put, thanks. I know the teachers struggle to fit everything in that they have to, which has been at the expense of some things i would consider important, like French.

    Thought the "talking homework" this term was inspired, but now they have written as well.image

  • NamNam ✭✭✭
    Merry Meglet wrote (see)

    this week she is doing percentages in maths and if i wasnt competent in maths she'd have no chance!

    isn't the point of the assessment to see what she can do, not what you can do?
  • I have 16 yr old, 12 yr old, 10 yr old and 8 yr old daughters. 

    I think my youngest two would go into rebellion if they were set homework like that.  I get wound up enough about the dreaded termly 'school project.'  Kids that age just don't have the skills to research independently or to present reasoned/balanced arguments on such subjects.  Mine too are bright, and I am sure my 12 year old would have a go at the homework.  My 16 year old woul do it well and enjoy it, but in primary, they would inevitably either end up rewording pages off an internet site or getting me to do 95% of it.

    How do other parents at you schol feel about this?  If you find others feeling the same, I would suggest a nice non-confrontational talk with the class teacher, explaining your feelings, and asking at the very least for more specific guidelines/support for what she wants doing.  Preferably she might realise it is nearly the end of term, so it is time to ease off with homework anyway........

    Personally I don't see why they need homework before senior school anyway.  I  had no homework before age 11, yet did very well at school and university.  They need to be kids and play.  But that's a different rant......

    Talking of which  my weekend is destined to be spent helping my 10  year old cook  'Ancient Roman Food' which is her token Ancient Romans project, given that she has been under enough pressure this term with 11+ exam.

  • Nam, yes of course thats the point, i do have a friend whose children are set homework and have to do a set time on their own and then stop, whether finished or not. one of the previous teachers did say she was not bothered about the homework, she only set it cos she had to. i havent had much contact with this one as he's not the form teacher. i do try to assist and encourage, rather than actually "do" the stuff!

    Runner-bean, i never got homework either, and even at senior school not that much. i hate the word "Project", thank goodness i did traditional exams and not loads of coursework, i would not have done as well! School do say they set the homework because they have to, usually by this point in the term it fizzles out, they are busy with christmas concerts this week.

    the deforestation one i had to research so that i knew the arguments first! (thank goodness for the internet)

  • I'm with Popsider on this one.  Top set kids are bright.  They need to be pushed or they get bored.  These topics are way better than a list of spellings.  In writing the response, the child will have to a) research using a computer, b) construct sentences, use punctuation and grammar, c) engage with their parent (yes you! image) and have to think to form an opinion/argument!  It's bad timing I agree with this time of year, but if my memory serves me right my daughter came home with a project on mythical creatures and another project requiring 10 pages on choose a pet and discuss what the animal needs and how to take care of it at a not too dissimilar age.  However, my son who is lower sets (apart from maths where he is a genius) gets none of these projects which is worrying... 

    If schools are not seen to be pushing the clever ones, some parents will go in and complain that the homework is not hard enough.  The teacher's can't win.  I'd take it as a compliment if your teacher thinks your child is capable of doing this work. 

    Having said that, whenever difficult or unusual homework came home, there tended to be a guide from the organised teachers, but not always from the disorganised ones.  I would ask for some guidence - of which the teacher must be working from.

    I must admit I used to go nuts at the amount of difficulty and volume of kids homeworks over the years, as it encroached into my evenings hour after hour, but having seen the results in my daughter who is gifted and talented in five subjects now at the age of 14, it is because she was pushed at a younger age by ambitious teachers which I now retrospectively thank them for.  It means I will have a five-star care home.  image

  • sounds to me that this would engage better with da kidz if it is was done in the form of a debate 'this house believes that ...."

    that's what we did in year 7, so a similar age, (although this was back in 1993)

  • [raises hand]

    Siiiiiiiir? What's deforsitimicatshuuuuuuuun?
  • 9 year olds are year 5 - well mine is.  They are expected to spend half an hour on their homework each night.  sometimes in our house it can be a bit of a nightmare especially if they all want to do some research on the internet as I have 3 kids and one pc.  My son is a whizz with his numeracy but his literacy isn't that good to the point of when he does worded problems then he has trouble - I personally would rather spend that valuable time that I have with him reading and trying to improve his literacy skills than doing his homework for him researching about GM foods. (which I do I hasten to add)
  • I do think that on top of spellings, maths and reading all in one week is way too much for junior school - just I think the homework that encourages you to use your brain to think critically is most important out of that lot.      

    I think stuff like that depends on the kid - some kids who might be good at other kinds of work find that sort of thing difficult because they like to have a right or wrong answer.   When I taught in higher education you got a lot of students who could tell you what other people had said about a subject but lacked the skills or the confidence to critically analyse the issue themselves - and I think in society generally having an opinion  is perhaps unfashionable.  

    Still can't see why people think the national anthem one is dull it's a great question for kids to argue.

  • popsider wrote (see)

    I think stuff like that depends on the kid - some kids who might be good at other kinds of work find that sort of thing difficult because they like to have a right or wrong answer.  

    yep, me and her are very alike, scientific/logical brains which like a right or wrong, find it difficult to get started on literacy stuff. But i do think literacy teaching has improved, the guidelines/check lists they are given really help to get the required elements (punctuation, grammar etc) into each piece of writing. perhaps thats why i think its difficult too!
  • I have to say I would leave it to the kid to answer as they think right...........the teacher can then assess if it is too difficult.......If parents keep on doing most of the homework then the teachers will keep on giving harder work to challenge them..............

    I only ever check over the homework to make sure it has ben done and give a few pointers of options if they are really stuck.

    I did my own homework in school so i'm not about to do an one elsesimage

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