But, there one thing that's playing on my mind more than all of that.
This is my own personal hell. Not because I'm against homework as such, but because no matter how hard I try I cannot encourage any of the children to willingly get involved without a) a row and b) bribery.
Ultimately if they don't do their homework it me that's failed, not them. I am the parent after all. It is my responsibility to make sure they do it.
As I sit here thinking about it, I can feel the fear rising in my chest. In fact, it's rather like being back at school myself. And homework, no matter how old you are, still sucks.
Here is a selection of the tasks that we've been asked to complete over holidays and the struggles I've had with them.
1. The Talking Box/Memory Box (aka The Box of Crap)
We had this task last year and the year before that (I'd consider myself an expert on this particular activity as a result). Just a simple cardboard box which you fill up with holiday memories so that your child can talk about them when they go back to school. This is fine if you've planned six whole weeks of foreign holidays, trips to theme parks and activities which require a second mortgage to fund them. If, like I did last year, you forget about the box until the last week of the holidays, when you have nothing planned other than labelling school uniforms, then you are left with the prospect of making memories in a slightly more creative fashion. I'm talking baking, den building and my bête noire, crafting. Once the panic sets in it is very easy to find yourself making pasta jewellery and salt dough like your life depends on it. And then, you go to print out all the photographic evidence which you hope will serve as an explanation for the dodgy looking box full of glittery tat, only to find that someone's jammed the paper and the ink has been used up printing a colour heavy screenshot of Thomas the Tank Engine (sent to print no less that eight times). FML.
2. The Holiday Scrap Book
This year's task in preparation for Year One. Now that the twins can write, we've got a diary/scrap book with 36 pages (front and back) to fill with tales of our holiday escapades. So far this has included a trip to the dentist and a haircut. This is week four. There is nothing in our diaries at all for the rest of the holiday (apart from the shoe shopping - kill me now). And, even if there were? How on earth am I supposed to get them to sit down for more than two seconds and write about it? When the books first came home I was naively optimistic about filling them up. The teacher's email said how excited the children were about writing in them. She was right - apart from my kids, who after proudly showing me how much glitter (why always glitter, eh?) they had decorated the fronts of the books with, lost them in their rooms and forgot about them. And I'm still vacuuming up the glitter...
3. Musical Instrument Practice
OK, so I thought that the school musical instruments were supposed to be returned at the end of the year, but no, it appears that ours (a trumpet) is here to stay over the holidays. Does that mean it needs practicing? Of course it does. Unhelpfully there are no earplugs for the rest of the family, should any music practice happen. Also, I am pretty much tone deaf and therefore not qualified to give the appropriate level of support required. Let's face it, DS2 is never going to be joining the Royal Philharmonic at this rate, is he?
4. Reading (The Infant Years)
"Biff the Teacher, Kipper", said Chip.
Times five million (seriously, how many of these books did they make?)
Can someone come up with a new reading scheme please? Maybe one which centres around the Kardashian sisters, One Direction or something vaguely topical and/or interesting?
Until they do, these are remaining firmly inside the book bags (totally with my blessing).
5. Reading (The GCSE Coursework Years)
Me: Have you started reading Lord of the Flies yet?
Teen: Why should I? Reading is obsolete now that we've got the internet. Anyway, haven't they made a film of it that I could watch instead?
Me: *weeps for future generation*
See, homework sucks, and not just for the kids. But, just like the kids, I wish I could avoid it.
I am dreading my children going back to school because of it (or should that be the lack of it?). And, yes, I'm worried that I'll get the blame. Maybe I'll have to make up an excuse to buy us more time?
I wonder if the music teacher would accept a note saying "the dog ate my trumpet"?