Yr6 Homework – present tense, past tense

So, the 10 year old is getting regular homework now that he’s in the top class at his primary school. It’s all in preparation for his SAT’s next year and, whilst I’m not a big advocator of homework (I have the knowledge to help, just not the inclination), I can see how much he is improving. He has ADHD which includes a short attention span and a low reading age so homework can take a bit longer than anticipated.
Last night was no exception. At 7.30pm he wafted 8 pages of pre-printed sheets under my nose and pronounced that it (his homework) had to be handed in on Friday morning and he wouldn’t have time to do it on Thursday night because he was at his gymnastics training session for three hours.
We sat down at the table and, to encourage him, I got my Uni assignment out and thought that we could study in companionable silence.
Oh no... nothing in the O’Hara household is that simple.
Every question needed to be read with him or I had to listen. to. the. staccato. sound. of. him. sounding. out. each. word. and then I had to try and explain what the teacher expected from him (don’t they cover this in class?).
The first task was transposing given sentences from present tense into past tense. The conversation went a little like this:
Jake: So the sentence is “I want an Action Man for my birthday” and I have to put that into past tense. How do I do that, Mum?
Me: Well, think about when you wrote out your birthday list back in May and all the presents that you listed. You know you didn’t get all of them. Imagine that one of those had been an Action Man. What would you be saying to me now?
Jake: I’d say “I didn’t get an Action Man”!
Me: Um... I suppose that’s right but that’s not how you need to write it down. You need to change a word in the original sentence.
Jake: Do I say “No-one would get me an Action Man for my birthday”?
Me: Oh for God’s sake, it’s NOT supposed to be this difficult.... Er... you know when you asked for a biscuit an hour ago and I said ‘No’ and now you were going to go and tell Dad about it, what would you say to him?
Jake: I’d say “Dad, can I have a biscuit because Mum didn’t let me have one” and he’d probably say “Yes”.
Me: muttering under my breath *hhmm that’s about right*... Listen love, you have to write that you as if you were telling someone about the list for your birthday and you didn’t get the present....
Jake: I could have had... I needed... I wanted... WANTED!!! That’s the right word, isn’t it, Mum? Where’s my pencil? sticks tongue in the corner of his mouth and writes very slowly and neatly “I. wanted. an. Action. Man. for. my. birthday.” Right ... Question 2...
Last night we covered present tense transposition into past tense, imagination using the words could/should/would, division using number lines (wtf? what is wrong with putting a curly bracket around the bigger number and dividing each number?), marking weights on scales and a letter to home from a soldier in the first World War trenches. Come 9pm we were both shattered and drained!!
At least I know he’s probably got most of it right. When his dad and his 16-year old brother “helped” him with his homework one night they “helped” him to do it all wrong. Oh, what joy parents evening is going to be next week!