Homework - yes or no?

(105 Posts)
nothavingagreatday Mon 04-Nov-13 02:35:18

I want to ask the mums and teachers here a question. My children age 4 and 8 (Reception and Year 3) do not get any homework. They both get library books from school and that is it. A lot of the parents at my school ask about homework and the school tells us that their policy is no homework. Recently, during a presentation at the school it was announced that "studies show that it is not beneficial to give children homework" and then they mentioned things like it's not productive, no evidence to suggest giving homework helps etc.

I totally disagree with this. I am interested in what you all think and need to here both sides of the argument.

whitsernam Mon 04-Nov-13 02:50:25

At these ages, reading to them and having them read to you/each other would be about the best homework anyone could think of. Plus involving them in household tasks: shopping - how many of these do we need? How much does that add up to? Just make general everyday stuff learning opportunities.

Our school has a goal of each child reading 20minutes per day, studies show it directly relates to exam performance. My grade 1 also has homework which some nights is 5 mind and some 15 mins. I think it is important for parents as they can see what their DC are learning in school and note if they struggle to complete the homework and are therefore not understanding what they are learning at school

nothavingagreatday Mon 04-Nov-13 03:27:42

I think it is important for parents as they can see what their DC are learning in school and note if they struggle to complete the homework and are therefore not understanding what they are learning at school"

AHA!!!! That is exactly my point.

mum23kidz Mon 04-Nov-13 03:29:02

I agree with most of the above, but thought I'd share what our school does.
For the younger kids through age 8, home work is just basically reading to the parent.
When they hit about age 8, homework is sent home on a weekly basis. My 9 year old has a home work book, which has the week's work. She has one week to complete the homework before handing it in. She can d as little or as much as she wants eachild night, as long as it's done within the week.
Homework is great to reinforce the skills learnt in school. It also is good practice too.

LoopaDaLoopa Mon 04-Nov-13 03:36:44

Homework is only ever set in primary schools when there is pressure from parents, who often don't understand pedagogical reasoning and want to push their children. It is very often meaningless and valueless, as many studies have proven.
Reading daily is very important however. I would much prefer my child read and was read to than they had to do tasks designed to placate tiger parents.

beansmum Mon 04-Nov-13 03:57:44

ds (9) occasionally gets homework - we do it because ds hates not following the rules, but it's usually fairly pointless and a lot more time consuming than is justified by any benefit ds gets from it.

I sort of understand about wanting to know what your kids are learning at school, but you could just ask them. I know exactly what ds is doing, because we talk about it.

Euphemia France Mon 04-Nov-13 06:44:54

How does the school communicate with you about the children's learning? Learning log? Nothing?

Jemstone Mon 04-Nov-13 07:28:52

I have a child in y1 and think homework us a complete waste of time. He gets given projects which he has a few weeks to complete, however since I work and we don't get home until after 6 it all has to be done at the weekend which just spoils it for both of us as that's when we relax and spend time as a family. I don't get homework from my job so I don't see why he should get it from school. (I don't count reading in this. Reading is fun, making a junk model is not!). I also don't see how these projects really help, I end up doing most of it as he really dislikes making models and drawing (unlike his brother who loves it) and I am not going to force him to spend hours on a thankless useless task.

Shanghaidiva Mon 04-Nov-13 07:30:58

DD is in year 3 at an international school and has the following homework weekly:
prepare for spelling test
character test (mandarin)
reading exercise (mandarin) - 2 x per week
reading - every night and one piece of work to be completed in reading diary (summary of story or draw a picture of a character)
one piece of maths per week and one piece of English per week

I think the only homework a 7 year old needs is to read every day. I know what she is doing at school as I receive an email every Friday from the class teacher with details of what they did that week.

BoundandRebound Mon 04-Nov-13 07:32:10

I work in a secondary and still have a child in primary (as well as in secondary) and I can categorically state, without any doubt, that homework is for the parents' benefit at primary and not for the child

nothavingagreatday Mon 04-Nov-13 07:32:57

I don't want homework just for the sake of it. My son is struggling at school in a subject. I just feel that if he had been given a bit of homework in the first place in the past year (age 6-7) then we would have seen that he was struggling and we could have helped him out a bit more. Herroyalnotness summed up how I feel.

nothavingagreatday Mon 04-Nov-13 07:36:55

But then Bound, how can yo explain this. My friends children attend one school and are given bits and pieces of homework. She gets reading, a bit of maths and some writing or spelling to do every week. If you look at the standard of these kids writing and spelling, compared to what I see in my class, the standard is much higher. So to me that says that yes, those children did benefit from this. Secondly my eldest son was given a tiny bit of homework in Reception. He was given tricky words to copy in a list. We loved this and he picked them up really quickly. My younger son is now in that class and the teacher told me she is not allowed to give them to me any more. How was that only benefitting me then?

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 04-Nov-13 07:41:22

I would count yourself lucky tbh. Dd has had homework since reception. And still gets it in yr 2. It's too much. Kids need to eat rest play and I don't believe there's anything they can't learn through just seeing friends. Board games, any game really, talking, and general play covers a lot of what they do without even realising it. I wish it was just reading!!!

Dd has a long day as school isn't local there is travelling time and by the time she's eaten dinner it's 6:00. By the time we get round to doing it its time she should be winding down for bed. Not doing school work. And like a PP said it ruins the weekend.

I don't know why parents want it so badly. It builds resentment of a subject. They learn more the following day if they are well nourished and well rested. Which isn't the case if they are doing home work at bed time.

strruglingoldteach Mon 04-Nov-13 07:42:50

No. Both as a teacher and a parent I hate set homework. I think primary aged children should be doing a lot of reading, and should be encouraged to find out about any topics they have. I also occasionally set my classes challenges- who can find out about x? But I very strongly believe that (apart from reading) it should all be optional.

I don't buy the idea that homework is necessary for parents to see what the child is learning, or how they are getting on. There's enough information available about the expectations at different ages/end of key stage. Instead of spending half an hour on homework each week, parents could spend a couple of hours researching the curriculum, then (if they feel it's necessary) spend some time doing low-pressure, motivating activities linked to the child's interests. Not sure how your child is doing in writing? Encourage them to write and send an e-mail to their favourite singer or sportsperson.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 04-Nov-13 07:45:45

They can practise reading and writing in ways that aren't home work. Letters to family, stories they make up. Drawing signs for their imaginary sweet shop/ice cream shops.

Why the need to spend what is a long time sat doing home work.

The home work takes longer than the teacher spends on a subject. They don't spend a long time on one thing in chook because they don't have the attention span. So you expect then to sit and do something they physically aren't capable of doing. That does not enhance learning.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 04-Nov-13 07:46:20

In school

gazzalw Mon 04-Nov-13 07:58:15

It's my biggest bugbear particularly at primary school. We live 30 minutes walk from DD's school. In the summer we think it important that she gets to play in the park after school. So by the time we get home it's 4.30 pm and bedtime is 7.00 pm. I would say that she's already had a very long day (out of the house at 8.00 am) and the last thing any of us need to be doing is homework/supervising it....

And I can tell you that despite doing homework at primary school from Reception Class, DS is no keener on doing his homework at secondary school than he was at the age of five!

It's very stressful for parents and children alike. DW is a SAHM and she is always commenting upon how difficult it must be for parents who work and don't pick up their children until 6.00 pm. How marvellous to spend your hour (or so) of quality time with the children doing homework hmm

nothavingagreatday Mon 04-Nov-13 07:59:41

I am talking about things like learning times tables in Year 3. As a parent my point is this. If the teacher, for example, tells me in the end of year report that my child didn't do that well in Maths and has not mastered times tables then my response would be, well why didn't you tell me earlier and send some times tables home for me to practise with him or why didn't you give all your students a bit of times tables homework to help them along? Yes, I could take it upon myself to buy books off the internet and try and reinforce it at home myself but, hey I left school 25 years ago. I'm sure the method I know has moved on since then. My point is that surely doing something from school is better than me playing teacher and potentially confusing the child?

nothavingagreatday Mon 04-Nov-13 08:02:10

By the way. I am not talking about an hour a day homework here. My son is 8 and gets none. He is home by 4pm, goes to bed at 8pm and has 20 weeks school holiday a year at International School. I am talking about getting half an hours homework every other day.

stargirl1701 Mon 04-Nov-13 08:03:30

I agree with your school OP. I am a teacher but my DC will not being doing homework beyond phonics and reading when they are in primary school. There is not a shred of evidence that it is beneficial and it can cause real disruption and resentment within families.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 04-Nov-13 08:11:08

It's not half an hour though. It's never half an hour. And that is a long time for a child to sit and so a oiece of homework. See how far you get honestly. They physically CANNoT sit there for longer than five mins and concentrate.

Do things yourself out and about or through games. Please don't sit there for ages doing this stuff it's not what you think at all.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 04-Nov-13 08:17:47

I can also say from my experience that it upsets them. You have no idea how many times I've had to send her friend away or her friend has been unable to come and play because they have this bloody homework to do.

If you could see the look on their faces, especially In the summer when is light and they could be in the den on the green or down the park or playing with the dog and they are stuck in doing maths. It kills me every time.

Be grateful, honestly.

Thingymajigs Mon 04-Nov-13 08:20:37

My son has had homework throughout primary school and I don't think it has benefited him even slightly.
90% of the work can only be completed by the parents and a lot involve buying materials (sewing costumes, cooking, online research). I agree that it creates unneccessary tension and worry within families.
If I was going to say one positive thing about homework it'd be that it prepares him for homework in secondary school. He has gone from complete refusal to opening up his school books when he gets in. But that took years of arguing. I'm sure it would have been less of a struggle introducing it at a later age.

Mam23 Mon 04-Nov-13 08:24:04

I so wish our schools were as enlightened as yours. The research is very strong that it is of no benefit. Our kids get home learning projects at half term and Christmas holidays as well FFS! Let them be kids! If your child is struggling with something specific, surely the teacher will let you know at parent - teacher meeting and you can help them - or ask specifically if you think there's something they aren't getting.

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