After a summer spent watching too much My Parents Are Aliens and playing Clash of Clans on the iPad, my kids were slow to get back into the concept of homework after school. Particularly as schools don’t give much in the first couple of weeks – it’s kind of nice to ease them in slowly, but doesn’t help them to snap out of their lazy summer holiday ways.

For my younger son in particular, this is a big year. Grammar school entrance exams are right at the start of year 6, so he has to make sure he’s completely on top of his game by the end of year 5. But there’s these annoying soldiers keep popping up on the iPad (and even my phone, for flip’s sake) telling him his clan needs a leader. The game was just too much of a distraction. He couldn’t cut down, so we just banned it. Drew a line under it.

There were protests when we told him what we were going to do, but the addiction was quickly broken and the game hasn’t been mentioned since.

Any my son developed a new addiction. To maths and English.

Now he’s in year 5, his tutor is giving him A LOT of homework. It’s traditional stuff – comprehension and maths. It’s challenging. Most of the time he doesn’t need help, thank goodness, because I can do the English, but not all of the maths.


There are weeks when he needs to do it every night, just to get through it. And he does. He just gets on with it. He works and works and works. He takes great pleasure in doing it, completing it and getting it right. I am in awe of his motivation and his enjoyment. He thrives on a challenge. If he can’t do something, he tries harder and thinks it through. He is so determined to achieve.

There have been times when I’ve had to beg him to stop and go to bed at 10pm, when he wants to ‘just finish this page’.

I had a ‘discussion’ the other day (there was alcohol involved – and not on my part, of course) with another parent who said we shouldn’t push him and he would do well whatever school he went to. Of course he will. But he will THRIVE at a grammar school. He needs the challenge and needs to be in that environment with people similar to himself.

I’m pleased to say his school challenges him in class, but his homework is the same as for the rest of the class. He does it in seconds. Without the work from his tutor to keep him motivated it would be easy for him to become lazy or complacent.

We are not pushing him or forcing him. He is doing what he enjoys AND he’s achieving something.

That’s got to be better than playing mind-numbing games on the iPad, right?

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. He sounds like a fantastic child. I sometimes think the challenge lies more with what to do if they put all the effort in, really push themselves, and then don’t get the results the want or need. How do you explain to a child that hard work alone is not enough? It’s a minefield.

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  2. Thanks very much. It certainly is a minefield! On intelligence alone he would have no problem with getting into grammar school, but they have to be able to answer the sort of questions they’re not used to doing at school – hence the work with the tutor. But he really loves doing it, which is great. Better to challenge himself with this than another game on the iPad!

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  3. I think you know your child well, and if he is enjoying it then good for him! My 10 year old gets a lot more homework this year than last, but like yours gets it done very quickly so he can move onto more ‘important’ stuff like Minecraft or bombing about with his mates, if I offered him extra homework he would be most unhappy! But then we have no pressure of grammar school concerns, we are in a comp area, and fortunately our comp is excellent, one of the top schools in the country once you weed out grammars and fee paying by all accounts! Did you just get your CATS results? Ours put him in the gifted child bracket, which does mean you can request extra support for them if you feel they need it I think- may be worth checking if you feel he needs more from school. X

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  4. I think that there is a difference between pushing them to their limits and encouraging them to do well so they can get to somewhere that will ultimately determine his future path, one hopes for the better. I wish I was encouraged more. He sounds like he’s responding well to the encouragement, and well done for banning the game. Sounds too much like things here! 🙂

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  5. Ha ha that reminded me of me; I had to ban myself off candy crush as it was taking over my life, so I fully understand how addictive these games can be. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, if you think it is right for him, then it is right. We have agonised over the grammar school thing but I don’t think we will be going down that route but it sounds like he will love it.

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  6. Your boy sounds like a very bright and determined character and like he gives a thousand percent to anything he really enjoys. I hope he does do really well in all his exams when the time comes and is rewarded for all his commitment. I hope he loves grammar school. It sounds like it might be the perfect place for him

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  7. Absolutely it is! That sounds like a typically wine-fueled conversation, people putting their two-penneth in where it’s not required lol! Your son sounds like exactly the right material for Grammar School, he is clearly desperate to learn and all you’re doing is encouraging him in that – wish my son was that motivated, he’s clearly bright but homework really is such a battle 🙁

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  8. Thanks very much, everyone. Interesting point about the CATs, Sonya! I will investigate. He’s having extra maths from school at the moment, which he’s really thriving on. Your secondary school sounds fab. My eldest’s is pretty good, but not as good as that.
    Thanks, TD! I must say reading about your Trouble 2 did remind me a lot of our family and particularly my own Trouble 2 here!
    It’s a tough decision whether or not to go for the grammar schools, Nikki, but it’s also nice when you’ve made that decision either way and you can stick with it.
    Suzanne – the wine-fuelled conversation is still making me angry – what right does someone else have to judge me and my child? Nobody knows him and what he enjoys and what he’s capable of like I do. Our decisions may not be right for everyone, but they’re right for him! My eldest is a nightmare with homework too – it’s a losing battle 🙁

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  1. The Xbox - Mum of Three World - […] ‘too much homework’ apparently. This from the boy who has always had incredible reserves of motivation for academic work.…

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