Sorry boss, the dog ate it.

HomeworkLast week, I read a piece by the BBC on homework.

Thinking back to my school days I was utterly terrible at homework. Academia generally wasn’t really my thing. I found it dull and my overarching view was that of irreverence. I have a very distinct recollection when in year three and being asked to write series of numbers thinking it was utterly futile.

It got me to thinking, when I’m at work there is no obligation whatsoever to bring it home. Yes, often I do, but that’s my choice and it makes life that bit easier in the nine to five. This isn’t a proclamation that working from home is a bad thing… I do some of my most creative thinking when at home.

However when I worked in more clerical roles bringing it home wasn’t an option – work ultimately stayed at work. Ever heard of a check out assistance taking work home, or a lorry driver sat on his couch researching the best routes to take? Nope. Me neither.

Some states have gone as far as to ban work after a certain time, notably – France.

So why are children then obliged to bring work home? Here’s the current UK guidance for head teachers:

  •  Years 7 and 8: 45 to 90 minutes per day
  •  Year 9: 1 to 2 hours per day
  •  Years 10 and 11: 1.5 to 2.5 hours per day

So on top of what is a near- full time working week, they’re also expected to carry on working at home another 2.5 hours by the time they’re 14. If they were working, and getting paid the national minimum wage, they could claim overtime worth more than £250 a month!

Fortunately, Jasper doesn’t yet have to bring anything home from Nursery. Helpful for us as parents, given we sometimes struggle to convince him to eat yogurt rather than paint the dog with it.

But the time is coming where Mandy, Jasper and I will convene at home, have tea, then Jasper will be obliged to open up his laptop to carry on where he left off until about 20:00pm. I’m yet to see where the ‘work’-life balance for school kids comes in.

Mandy had a chat with me recently about getting home and logging on. I wonder how that conversation will go down with Jasper’s teachers…