Pierre the goddamn Bear

Christ I never thought homework in reception class would be such a nightmare! I didn’t even think there would be any! She’s 4 for god’s sake!

Poor A is EXHAUSTED after a full day at school and then after-school club. I pick her up at 5pm, get home at 5.30 and attempt to cook dinner as fast as humanly possible to put some food in her before she falls asleep face down in said dinner…. The idea of trying to get her to concentrate on any phonics when she is so tired she can barely speak seems downright barbaric.

I honestly hadn’t given one thought to homework before she started school. My older daughter S has homework of course, but I assumed it started later on in one’s school career. I think the teachers assume we are trotting off home at 3pm to bake biscuits and watch CBeebies and have loads of time after school to lovingly and patiently do all the homework…

So far (bear in mind she has only been at school for TWO WEEKS), we have been asked to practice writing her name, practice writing out letters on various sheets of paper over and over again, make letters from playdough and cut out letters on paper to rearrange, and make protective clothing for an egg out of paper/tissues/etc.

Then there was Pierre the fucking bear…

We were sent the bear home for a week to document him doing stuff with us, taking pictures, print them out and glue them into the book. Here’s how it went:

An Ode to Pierre the Bear…

One wouldn’t have thought homework in
Reception class would be so taxing;
Yet in fact it turns out to be really distracting.
Pierre the Teddy Bear was sent home with a mission.
Capture the bear’s adventures in juxtaposition
to your daily outings, events and occasions,

Pierre was much cuddled and loved,
and read to and shown things and not much kid-gloved.
We took him to football to watch the match, and out for a treat and to play some catch,

Mum’s in a tizzy and kid’s in a state,
then poor Pierre was found under a plate.
Onwards to the museum we head,
though mum wished that Pierre could have stayed in bed.
Pierre was duly captured in numerous poses, and

We took the damned bear to the playground and park,
Skipped, swung and twirled and had a good lark.
Pierre the bear got trampled and trod,
Covered in mud and CHRIST I HOPE THAT THAT’S SOD!!!

By week’s end Pierre had had quite an adventure,
As mum realised there’s no ink in the printer,
To print out the escapades of Pierre the bear,
And send him on with relief to the next unfortunate heir….

We haven’t even had our first check in with the teacher yet, but I do intend to ask how seriously we need to take all this homework. I mean, I SO don’t want to be that mum who never does anything at home with their kid, and isn’t interested in their learning, but fuck me between working full time and fitting in swimming lessons and football practice and cooking vaguely healthy meals there just literally are not enough hours in the day to wrap up fucking eggs and print out pictures of goddamn teddy bears!

On another note, S has now had a homework nightmare as well!

The new secondary school informed us that there would be no homework for the first 4 weeks of term while all the new kids got used to the school layout and timetable etc – there is so much information for the kids to absorb they sensibly decided to wait a bit before adding in homework.

Except that our 4 weeks are up and in spite of not having any homework yet S and I are tearing our hair out trying to understand how it all works and we are both ready to throw the towel in and admit defeat and just not bother at all with homework. It’s not a good sign that we are both so stressed out about it already.

Basically the homework is set on google classroom online, and S is supposed to be given a laptop to do it at home but it’s going to take a while for the school to procure etc.

The school website has a page dedicated to online learning, with an instructional handbook and links to things, and a set of class codes for google classroom (which are from last year and not yet updated anyway). After pouring over the instructions and videos, it seems you’re supposed to use a 3rd party site to log in with a school email address which then gives you access to google classroom etc.

Conversations with my daughter go like this:

“You need to find out what your login email and password is and then we can try and set it up”

“I already KNOW my login I use it at school. It’s xxxxxx”

“Ok but what’s the email address?”

“They haven’t given me an email address only this login word etc”

“Ok well ask them at school to write down the full email address and password and give it to me to have a look at”

Next day:

“Did you talk to the IT teacher and write down the email?”

“I didn’t need to – I ALREADY KNOW IT!”

“Ok what’s the email address?”


“What about the password? Do you know that yet?”

YES! GOD! It’s xxxxxxx”

“Are you sure that’s spelt correctly? That word usually has a T in it…”

“Oh, yeah I think it does have a T, wait maybe I spelt it wrong”

I have sent MULTIPLE emails to the school to ask for help – I’ve asked them repeatedly to give me the information directly but they keep just telling S and she keeps thinking she has understood it when she defintely has not, so conversations at home are getting insanely stressful and there have been actual tears of frustration over this.

What I did glean from the school is that their webpage is out of date and all the instructional videos I have watched / read are not right anymore and they don’t use those 3rd party systems anymore, but there is no new information to replace it with.

We also cannot work out how to access Google Classroom and log her in (once we have a login to try) without logging me OUT of all my email and google accounts that I use for work, so we are in a complete muddle and might just have to tell the teacher we can’t do it at all until they give S her own laptop and help her to set it all up properly.

Utterly stressful and difficult and she hasn’t even been given any actual homework yet! Thankfully there is another meet the tutor event today so hoping we can get to the bottom of all this and I’ve requested that they actually just show me directly how it works. But christ it’s enough to make you never want to bother with homework at all – I don’t think they’ve realised how hard all this is for the non-tech savvy parents out there!

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