Gummy doing homework


The nightly nightmare of homework. Does your child walk through the front door and say, “I can’t WAIT to do my homework – just try and stop me”. Hmmm. I know some kids who do that, well that’s what their Mums tell me, and I would absolutely LOVE to know how they do it. Could it be:

1) Bribery

2) Threat

3) Can’t think of a (3)

Perhaps I’ll invite myself around to their house after school and take notes. On the other hand they might all just have better genes than us in which case it’ll be a complete waste of time.

When I weighed up the pros and cons of whether I should have a child, homework was never on the long list of ‘but what ifs..?’ such as:-

a)  But what if they’re born with two heads and I won’t know which to breastfeed first?

b)  But what if they are so consistently screamy and unpleasant, I’ll want to get shot of them?

c)  But what if I accidentally sit on them and they get squashed?

I know. I’m a bad mother for even having those thoughts. But I never would have imagined Homework was going to be such a toughie.

I really hope none of the teachers are reading this because I have a confession. I altered the spelling of Child One’s words on his book review today. He had written, ‘Am I ALOUD to skip the middle section of this boring book?’. We had two minutes to get out of the house and he takes at least that long to get ready. What would you do? So tempting to squeeze in an extra letter here and there and do a bit of creative reconstruction by turning a ‘U’ into a ‘W’. It didn’t alter the overall meaning and entirely accurate description of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Anyway, I apologise and I’ll never interfere with his homework again (unless it makes for an interesting post).

Well at least he’s reading. What can we do to help the children who have really fallen behind ? A recent study shows the UK is 22nd out of 24 top industrialised countries in the world for literacy.  26,000 children leave school every year barely able to read or write. How on earth has this happened? How is it that I’ve visited village schools in remote areas of developing countries to find 60 children sitting cross-legged in silence on a dirt floor. They have ONE teacher and an old blackboard with a piece of chalk. You speak to any of those kids and they want to be a doctors when they grow up.

So can we do something to make a difference? Save The Children along with Beanstalk have a reading scheme that invites people to volunteer as a reading helper for children who maybe don’t get support at home, have English as a second language or just have low confidence in their ability. They support literacy in primary schools in the North of England, the Midlands, London and the South East. At least have a look.

While I’m on my ‘Don’t be a Pain; use your Brain’ soapbox, this month is The Big Draw. If you don’t know about it already, The Campaign for Drawing runs the festival from 1st October to 3rd November. There are 1000 organisations just in this country offering drawing events for all ages and abilities. If you want to get out with your kids at half term or one weekend, do check this out. Don’t let me hear you say, “I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler”. It’s a cliché for starters, it’s clearly not true unless you have a bad case of DTs or Parkinson’s, and it’s defeatist. So get your kids off their Wiis, tablets, and any other gadgets that will slowly but surely turn them into zombies, and go and find your inner Leonardo. And I don’t mean him.



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