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We do home work at the worst time of day possible.

Children’s brains are supposed to be receptive and open at the end of a day.

I was finding that homework was becoming more and more erratic.

Some nights we go swimming, some nights we go shopping, sometimes Prole2 has a friend over for tea.
Prole1 never has friends over for tea but I imagine all his teachers have busy lives.

Homework was becoming a real stress.
Reading books are fairly straight forward.
Prole1 picks up his book, reads it through and gets me to sign the record for is teacher.
Most days he reads his book from start to finish.
He could achieve this at any time given the space to sit undisturbed.

Prole2 is more of a challenge as I have to sit next to him.

I never really considered what it might be like to do homework with your kids.
Seems unfair that the school should make me do this.
It’s not MY homework.
I know how to read the Monkey’s Magic Pipe, why do I have to sit around and listen to someone who doesn’t?

I pick up most of my references for a stable home life from the telly.
1970’s telly at that.

Reading with your child is one of those things that the Waltons made look easy.
The kids from the Little House on the Prairie seemed to breeze through reading books with ‘Pa’ before happily getting stuck into their ‘chores’.

Prole2: M…M…oh no wait a minute….L..L..L..L..um…O…O…L..O..N…LON…G….LON…um…LONG…um…LONG….L…O..N..G…LONG A, LONG AG…wait a minute…O….LONG AGO…LONG AGO….L…O..N…G…A…G…O….um…LONG AGO IN…I…N…IN…A….LONG AGO IN A…F…F…FAR…AWAY…FAR…um…FAR…um…FAR…AAY…um, no….
AWAY…FARAWAY…um…L…O..N..G…LONG…AGO…I…IN…LONG AGO IN….um…LONG AGO IN A….what was it again?…FAR…FAR…FAR…FARAW…um…FARAWAY…FOREST.

We do this for half an hour a day.

I don’t remember endless hours of the Walton’s time being taken up with John Boy ripping the English language apart and leaving it scattered across the floor along side his father’s patience. I don’t so much have rose tinted glasses on when listening to Prole1 try to tell me the story of the Monkey’s Magic Pipe as a faint red mist behind the eyes.

Then there are the Maths Packs, a fun maths game that all the family can play.
Together.
Competitively.
With some one winning.
And some one else losing.
So we keep playing until someone else wins.
Usually the one who is good at maths wins.
Which means the one who is bad at maths gets crushed over and over again and all their confidence is stamped out of them across the kitchen table.
We played a snail game for an hour and a quarter until Prole2 final won.
Prole2 finally won because I kicked Prole1 under the table and he deliberately got a sum wrong.
We all had to have quiet time on the sofa after that.
I don’t even open the Maths Packs any more.

But the upping of the homework tempo has meant we were squashing it in here and there and missing it out completely on occasion.

The solution has been to get the Proles up half an hour earlier each day.

Up.
Breakfast.
Dress.
Homework for half an hour.
Go to school.

We manage to get it all done all of the time but it also means getting up really early.
This has had a knock on effect to our bedtime routine but everything is settled down to a regular way of working now.

Sadly, at the beginning of the day children’s brains are thought to be sluggish and unreceptive.

Seems me and Prole2 are going to be spending a long time over his books.

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