My Grade R Is Getting HOMEWORK?!


We went to our PTA meeting last night.

It was our first of TWO nights that we have to attend because – too many children.

You know the kind of meeting right?  Where they tell you all about the school (which is really interesting if it’s your first kid), punt the extra murals, try desperately to get you sign up for the parent counsel (fool me once…) and just generally remind you of all the many things that you should be doing with your kids.  Play outside with them, limit the TV, cut the sweets, listen to them, ask them about their day, make sure they sleep enough etc.  Things you know, but as we get caught up in life, often get forgotten in order to frantically try and keep everything in some sort of control.

Should I even mention the Mom Guilt that comes with these meetings?  I probably don’t have to.  There you are, sipping your wine and thinking you have it kind of under control and then *BOOM*, suddenly you feel like you are not enrolling them in enough extra murals or too many extra murals, letting them watch too much TV, not spending enough time with them outside, not taking them to fun places for them to report on a Monday morning, not listening to them enough. Blah blah blah.  I’m so tired of this Mommy Guilt thing.  So tired.  Although I might just be tired in general.

And actually that’s not even where I wanted to go with this post at all…

From the big general meeting we split into the class groups and went to listen to our Grade R teacher inform us of how different this year is and how much they need to learn in order for them to be ready for Grade 1.  A few things that really stood out for me:

  • THEY GET HOMEWORK.  Granted they have an entire week to get through it, but you guys, my baby is bringing home work that needs to be done at home – that’s additional to what she learns at school.  This freaks me out a little.  To me she still seems so small and shouldn’t be laden with this kind of thing already.  Am I naive?  Do your little people have homework?  Do they love it or hate it?
  • Also in Grade 1 they start doing orals.  I’m not even joking when I tell you that the word “oral” (or even worse “mondeling” – the Afrikaans version of oral) strikes fear in my heart now, just as it did more than 10 years ago.  I’m already terrified for her and even more worried that I will project my fear of public speaking onto her (we have already noticed this fear in her and I don’t want to make it worse).  I still remember my first oral in Grade 4 as if it were yesterday – breaking down in tears talking about a trapeze and then running from the room to hide in the corridor.
  • We don’t read to them enough.  Or at all.  When I was pregnant I had so many images of me reading to my kids every night before bed.  This does not happen in light of the rush that is bedtime.  I’m so disappointed with myself on this and even when I remember to do it I don’t because it’s late and they need to sleep.  How do you fit in reading to your kids?
  • They need to know how to swim.  We swim often, but they have their arm bands and floating bathers on.  So like, they don’t drown, but if you’re particular about it, they can’t actually swim.  We need to change this.

Did I just list all of my mommy guilt induced things without intentionally going down that route?  Yes, it seems I have.

Flipping Mommy Guilt.





16 thoughts on “My Grade R Is Getting HOMEWORK?!

  1. Shame man I’m sure you are doing your best. As an ex Gr 1 teacher I was told no homework – instead you do oral work like counting, reading, spelling words, tables etc.
    I would say don’t stress about the extra murals, maybe just the swimming is worthwhile? I just started Nicky in swimming classes and the other kids are way ahead of him. 😦

  2. Jae has been getting ‘homework’ from about Grade 0. It was mainly to find pics of certain things etc but still, it was home work. And to be honest, we hardly made it through that, so how I am going to cope when she starts actual school I don’t know!

  3. Yip, my little people get homework and they have since they started school. I don’t remember homework in Grade R but my youngest definitely got homework from the beginning of last year. Fortunately she loves learning and reading so she doesn’t kick up a fuss but my oldest HATES it. What is worse is that the school expects you to find time to help them with it and they often come home without knowing what they are supposed to do. FUNSIES! Sterkte Cindy. And so it begins. gah!

  4. Ugh. My child’s teachers/schools would not like me. I would send a letter siting all the research proving homework has no value at primary level or make up something about having other kids and a job and supper and having to read aloud and play outside and throw in religion just for fun and that homework will not be done unless it can be done alone.

    Reading? We got got the ‘storybook international’ box set when my firstborn was little, yes it’s video but it has all the stuff we get from reading. Also, lately we have been big into audiobooks. Try and librivox for free stuff to see how they like it. It’s great for bedtime stories when you can’t keep your eyes open anymore.

    Sorry for the rant comment. I just hate the mommy guilt too ANSI even more I hate that they start laying on this pressure at age 5… let’s give em a head start on being behind and not enough! Grr

  5. I completely feel you on all those points, we started Grade R as well and its been GREAT for Danny but challenging for me hey.
    But there’s so many ladies out there (oh and Dads) that do it and get it right so I’m hoping it all works out in the end.
    We decided on karate for Grade R but also need to get him going with swimming lessons, only problem is R890 per term is a bit insane for 1 30min lesson per week and its a group class. Just my thoughts.

  6. These are all things that are on my mind as well this week. My little girl was in Gr R last year. They also got homework on Mondays that they had to do every night. We could only fetch her after work so we got home at about 6pm. Then you try and cook while you’re busy helping with the homework and then still looking after the younger kid as well. My thoughts were that the homework is not for the kid, but preparing the parents for the later grades. Oh, and she had to give 3 speeches during the year. I also panicked when I heard about speeches (I swear I still get nightmares about mondeling), but my husband on the other hand loved it. So far she did really well with it.

    Now in Gr 1 she gets 3 sets of homework per day. Luckily they do the majority at afterschool, but we need to review, and work on oral and pictures we also need to do at home. Another parent I spoke to said when they hit Gr 4 it’s on a whole new level, and very difficult to adjust. Mommy guilt – I already missed the first PTA meeting because I was away for work. Husband went but I would’ve like to have been there to meet the teacher and other parents etc.

    Extra murals are another whole different stress level.

  7. Look at your three gorgeous, precious little miracles… They are living proof that you are rocking as a momma. No mmomy guilt allowed my friend! Do what works and what is best for you and your children – according to you. (And I say this as a mom and a teacher!)

  8. Totally normal – most parents I know leave those meetings feeling completely overwhelmed and useless! Zoe got homework in grade R and enjoyed it as the focus was on fun learning, identifying words, writing her own name and letter formation. Homework is a pain, especially for an ADHD child who can’t sit still once her meds have worn off. But, don’t underestimate the value of homework in assisting them through the school day, It is a great chance to solidify what was taught in class that day.

    The swimming thing – I would say out of everything that you heard at the meeting – that’s the one you need to take most seriously. Get her enrolled in lessons, if she is already a happy swimmer it won’t take more than two or three terms to get her water safe and swimming strokes. You also want to know that while she’s at school you won’t have to panic about the teacher turning away for a second and disaster striking!

    Reading – Zoe and I loved our reading time every night. Kids need to be switched off from all technology an hour before bed every night to allow their brains to calm down. When she was younger we so looked forward to that quiet time every night, just the two of us. (Dad is a hopeless out loud reader lol!) Perhaps rotate each night with hub and spend just 10 minutes with each child, or all 3 of they will lie quietly, and look at it as a bonding and imagination building time for the family, rather than “if I don’t do this the teacher will crap me out!”

    Ok I will shut up now, sorry for the long ramble. And yes, Caley is right, you’re doing a flipping fab job already so trust yourself. xxx

  9. Please may I burst out in song? “Let it go, let it go……” Let go of the guilt. If any mom seems perfect to you I bet she is not. None of us are so you do not need to be. You are the perfect mom for your kids. That’s it!

    Ok on homework – we do not get until grade 1.
    On speeches – from grade 1. I am really fearing Mr L’s first one.
    On swimming – I think you do need to get this one done. For their own safety and your peace of mind.

    And all of a sudden I am wondering if you are schooling in English or Afrikaans?

  10. I was thinking/whinging about the same thing last night. Ava is also in Grade R. She doesn’t get formal homework, but they are required to participate in activities like Wacky Tie day every Friday with things she creates so that is homework. Also, each week, she is required to participate in Show & Tell, which must represent the weeks theme and she needs to do a minimum of a 30 second oral on her Show & Tell item. If she does not participate, she also is then not allowed to participate in Tuck Shop on a Friday.
    Over and above all that, she is also required to learn Afrikaans and Zulu. I just think it’s a huge amount for our little people. Ava only JUST turned 5! She is still a baby.
    I do agree with the swimming though, that is a necessary life skill.
    Good luck! xx

  11. Let it go Cindy! The guilt, the worrying, the stress – all of it. Put it in a bubble and let it go. I stopped going to all Camerons meetings 3 years ago and I only go to some of Kiara’s. Honestly it just was not worth it for me to get caught up in it all.

    Grade R is a shock and so is Grade 4 – you will get into the swing of things and it will become routine before you know it.

    Don’t put too much pressure on them to get it all right. Really it matters but it also doesn’t matter right now if that makes sense?

  12. Hi Cindy – we also hadn’t been making enough time to read but we started afresh this year and it’s going so well. Rachel picks out 1 book every night and we each takes turns reading it to her just before we turn out the lights. Takes 5 minutes (sometimes even less) and also lessens the mommy guilt! I know you’ve got 3 but maybe they can all snuggle next to one of you and you can read through a short story book. And let all the other guilt stuff go!!! There are no perfect mothers;)

  13. I have a big issue with homework. It’s one of the reasons I’m thinking of home schooling (with more than a little trepidation). I feel it’s crazy that a 7 year old, gets home from school after 2pm, has a quick lunch and then the rest of the afternoon is spent doing homework. I want him to have time to play and just be a child

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