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.

nothavingagreatday Mon 04-Nov-13 08:25:18

Ok, I am listening. I came on here because I have been told that my son (just 8, year 3) is struggling in one subject. My knee jerk reaction was that if I had been sent homework then we could have avoided this. The other thing that you need to know is that I do not live in the UK. When I ask you, British ladies this question, you are all on the same page. The general consensus is that homework is not a good idea, let them play. I however, live in Asia and my son attends an international school. There are about 5 western kids in the class. All the other kids are Asian and their parents regularly tell me that Little Johnny has maths tuition on a Monday, Piano on a Tuesday, English on a Thursday, more Maths on a Friday, then Sat they spend all morning doing stuff and even on a Sunday they have tuition. When I go up to the school I can see that Little Johnny is reading Lord of the Rings and can do allegebra. Of course I do not believe in this at all, but it does get to you when they start comparing everyone.

I have been told that my son needs a boost. I do try to do some English, maths and reading with him, but I am no teacher. If I was in England I wouldn't do this because I wouldn't feel the peer pressure. That makes me sound like a sheep but it gets to you in the end. As for him needing a boost, my initial reaction is Argh, he needs a tutor to come over on a Saturday morning. But seriously, he probably needs the compete opposite.

Our household is struggling. I need helping to help my kids.

Confused mum confused

redskyatnight Mon 04-Nov-13 08:26:14

I think reading and times tables are great homework.

For everything else - if you have a keen child they will explore school subjects in their own time anyway. If you have a not keen child it becomes a nightmare battle.

DS is in Y5. Every night he is expected to read, work on tables (he knows them so we tend to ignore this), write out spellings into sentences plus do 20-30 minutes of other homework. Plus he learns a musical instrument so has music practice. And 2 nights a week he does an after school activity. Once you've factored in dinner and washing etc he has so little time after school to play and spend time with the family. And I don't believe he's had one single item of homework (other than the reading and tables) that has in any way benefited him. If he's struggling with something at school he tells me and we look at it together - and you can pretty much guarantee these are never the things that come home as homework.

TeenAndTween Mon 04-Nov-13 08:30:12

My y4 DD2 gets about an hour a week hw plus spellings, reading, times tables. I think that is about right provided the hw is sensible .

She gets maths and or English each week. Clearly defined tasks, differentiated per table in the class. I think they are really helpful as I can see what is being expected of her that week, and can go over stuff if she hasn't quite 'got it'.
In the past DD1 got some 'useless' homeworks where the skills to be practiced were unclear and the tasks poorly defined.

So maybe hw (Juniors upwards) is useful if there is an involved parent and the tasks set are good, but otherwise not.

DD2 is much more willing to do work set by the school than anything extra sorted out by us.

(Similarly the subjects DD1 is has most trouble with at secondary are the ones that have not set any useful homework. She needs extra practice on key skills but I can't see what she can't do if they never send anything home. (And books stay at school too)).

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 04-Nov-13 08:30:30

Those kids WILL burn out op I can see why you are so confused but these things come at a price. Those kids won't be happy they will be burnt out and stressed and miserable.

Your Ds has his whole adult life to work ridiculous hours, to live off coffee and cigarettes barely having time to wee let alone eat.

Clutterbugsmum Mon 04-Nov-13 08:32:49

I don't have a problem with my Primary age children getting homework.

DS reception gets reading and phonic's sounds and words each week. And occasionally have his homework book home for example for half term they would like a dairy of what he has done during the holiday. Yes I will have to do it for him, but it so the school can use as a way to talk about what he has done.

DD1 (yr 5) and DD2 (yr 1) have reading every night and a A4 sheet of Numeracy or Literacy although DD2 tends to get just one. They also have creative curriculum and have to do one of the subjects every other week. This could be writing,cooking or making something related to whatever area of history they are learning about.

Clutterbugsmum Mon 04-Nov-13 08:35:31

Sorry I meant DD1 & DD2 have literacy and numeracy on a Friday and needs to be done by the following Wednesday.

I have four in two different schools.
One doesn't do homework until year 6 the other has it all the way through.
Have to admit I prefer the former. I've not found homework other than reading particularly useful for young ones. They hate doing it and causes major angst at home, it also put one of mine off school. I refuse to do homework during holidays. I feel they need the break. Dd was given some before the holidays that is due in on Wednesday, we will do a little tonight and a little tomorrow and if it isn't done then so be it. I will write a note.

EverythingUnderControl Mon 04-Nov-13 08:41:11

I'm not for primary homework. Making reading 'homework' sucks all the joy out of it. Encouraging reading is great, formalising it into 5 diary entries a week kills it if they're trying to foster a lifetime's love of reading. I dont think infant age should have any homework. Maybe some in junior school, but interesting finding stuff out type of homework. We just had relentless columns of dull spellings, sentences, and piles of awful sats papers. It was just horriblehmm

amistillsexy Mon 04-Nov-13 08:42:29

nothavingagreatday, you are obviously concerned about your son, and you naturally want to help him.
I think the frustration is that you asked the wrong question...you asked about homework, and here in the UK, homework is compulsory for Primary age children.
Some of us see that our children are being given 'busy work' just for the sake of it, and resent having to make our children jump through that particular hoop, when we'd rather see them climbing trees and building Lego.
If you want to help your son to improve some things, there are lots of places you can find help on the Internet. Khan academy is very good for maths, for instance.
If you let us know what your son is struggling with, we might be able to point you in the right direction smile

nothavingagreatday Mon 04-Nov-13 08:47:26

I have a meeting tomorrow so I will find out a bit more about what the problem is.

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 04-Nov-13 08:51:21

www.suttontrust.com/news/news/smaller-classes-uniforms-and-primary-homework-among/

The piece of research is interesting to read about the effectiveness of various 'assumed to be good for you' educational devices.

IMO the most important thing you can be doing for your DS is talking with him about anything and everything. Take him to museums and exhibitions, talk about what you have seen.

We lived abroad for a while so I do understand the subtle pressure to conform and succeed.

nothavingagreatday Mon 04-Nov-13 08:57:09

In Singapore and HK believe me that press is definitely NOT subtle.

nothavingagreatday Mon 04-Nov-13 08:57:27

pressure, not press

ICameOnTheJitney Mon 04-Nov-13 09:00:57

I think it's fine. If a child is compelled to do some work/projects at home then all well and good. Otherwise, let them play and learn.

ICameOnTheJitney Mon 04-Nov-13 09:02:17

I say that having a DD who LOVES homework....she's 9 and at the moment she's like a little trojan...taking such pride and pleasure in her homework...but I suspect that's down to her rather brilliant teacher who has managed to ignite pride and passion in her. Bloody marvelous she is. smile

dappleton Mon 04-Nov-13 09:13:02

OP - think there's been lots of confusion on this thread because you asked about homework specifically. The problem seems to be communication between the school/teacher and you as a parent. I think it is totally unacceptable that the school knew for 1yr that your son was struggling with maths but didn't communicate this to you.
This is a fee paying school, you have a choice as to whether you children go there or not, when you have your meeting with them i'd keep that thought in mind. They really should have procedure in place for communicating with parents.

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Mon 04-Nov-13 09:30:08

Ds got homework nightly of writing stories, poems, letters etc. Ds could not read or write. This so called homework, which according to his teacher he had to do because it was part of the curriculum whether he could or couldn't read or write took 2 hours of tears and tantrums. At the end of year 3 he got prcisely 0 on all his tests as he could not read the questions. The teacher told me he was below nursery standard and I should consider sending him to a school that was more suited to his needs. I.e my son was backward. He was also bullied because of his problems. Other children would call him names because he could not read. The school just said that what the children said was correct as he could not read and what were they to do about it.
I removed him from school completely and after home schooling him for 2 years he got a level 5 in his Maths SATS. He can now read but he was having difficulty in writing. Ds is about to be tested for dyslexia. He is home schooled at the moment and he is working towards his Maths GCSE, he is 11.

herdream1 Mon 04-Nov-13 10:43:54

I think it is depending on the type of the homeworks that matters. I do not see much point in some open-ended projects. The beneficial homeworks are the revision of what is taught at school. While it is still fresh in the children's memory, (and, in my experience, with reference from children's own writing/notebook and textbook used during the lesson), children can do just a few questions to consolidate the new skills at home, which should not take more than 5 minutes. Without timely revision, things learned will be lost, won't they?

hels71 Mon 04-Nov-13 11:17:00

Homework............a waste of time and energy.
Children in primary should read....maybe practice times tables.
Sheets of literacy/numeracy/make a toad out of shoe boxes are a pain in the
After school children need to be children...not do more work...
I would love my daughter to be at a no homework school. She is keen to learn and quite able...but still hates doing homework.

blueberryupsidedown Mon 04-Nov-13 11:34:40

We have what I think a reasonable amount of homework, although they are repetitive and a bit boring, it takes probably 10 minutes three times a week. The kids are fine with it and so am I, I feel I have a better understanding of what they are doing at school. However my DS is Assistant Head in a primary school and he believes that homework in Infant is useless, and a bit of homework in Juniors (learning times tables, maths activities, writting projects, stories or journals) is OK. Reading everyday is essential.

blueberryupsidedown Mon 04-Nov-13 11:35:46

I meant my DH! Not my DS!

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 04-Nov-13 11:38:13

It's also the way that all kids get the same. Regardless of the fact that Amelia is free reading and can write a paragraph in minutes, but little peter is still on red and can't even read the questions.

One child's ten minutes after school is another child's tears and dismay and hours feeling crap because he can't do it. What does it prove? That mummy and daddy can do it.

Damnautocorrect Mon 04-Nov-13 11:54:45

My ds (reception) has reading every night and about an hour or twos homework. I hate it, he hates it and quite honestly he could do with the down time more than the homework.

Damnautocorrect Mon 04-Nov-13 11:55:07

Oh the hour or two is once a week!

My kids have homework and I hate it. It hangs over all of us all weekend. DS resents doing it. It's his weekend, why should be have to do more school work? I agree with him.

We have just had half term and I have not asked him to do it. He reads to me, but he had a half term of climnbing trees and playing and talking and being a child.

I do struggle though as school have asked him to do it and I want to instill a good work ethic in him so say he has to do it. But as far as I can see it adds nothing except resentment and putting him off learning.

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