It all started when I was at school. That dreaded feeling in the pit of your stomach on a Sunday evening, as you contemplated the mounds of reading, essays and sums you had conveniently shoved to the back of your mind for the rest of the weekend. That moment when you had to stop pretending to be engrossed in Antiques Roadshow and actually unglue yourself from the television and propel yourself to your desk.
It was horrible, and deadly dull. I think I can safely assume that I am not academically minded. The thought of the hours I spent locked in a dusty libraries while I was at university is enough to bring me out in a cold sweat. The ever present sensation that I had never read quite enough (or indeed nearly enough) to write anything close to a coherent essay, and then just winging it and hoping for the best, was not a pleasant one.
I was pretty good at fooling people, and have an upper second class degree to prove it. However, I will admit that my head of department once took me aside and revealed that he could only decipher about half of any essay I had written as my handwriting was so atrocious, so he was just assuming the other half was as good in awarding me high marks.
When I finally threw my mortarboard aloft, dumped my graduation gown, and headed off into the world of work, it was with a sigh of relief that my days of cramming were done with. Or so I thought, as now a few decades hence I find myself locked into homework hell once again.
I am sure when I was at primary school homework amounted to collecting a few pretty leaves to show off in autumn and keeping a scant diary of what you got up to in the holidays. Nowadays even in Year One children are given work to do every week, and by God is it mind numbing.
I am not entirely sure who the work is pitched at, apparently it is set across the year so every child in every class does the same assignment, which leads me to believe there are some real thickies out there. My boy is seven and he is 'challenged' by such conundrums as 'Which number is half of 8?' and the tricky task of working out that tortoises are slow. Surely only a half wit would be stumped by such questions?
The plus side of this is that it means we can whizz through homework double quick - hurrah. The downside is that whenever I 'help' my boy I get so frustrated that I am tempted to just answer all the questions and tell him to hurry up and write them into the appropriate boxes.
I can't shake the feeling that homework is a waste of time. Mine and his. He, along with most of his contemporaries, is too bright for the work to be an extension of his learning, and I can think of better and far more educational ways to spend time with my children. It seems that I am destined never to see the point of extracurricular study, I just hope my sons don't find this particular blog post when I am battling with them to get them to revise for their exams.