I can't stand homework - do you think it's a good thing?

(188 Posts)
mydoorisalwaysopen Mon 16-Dec-13 09:34:39

DS1 (year 5) gets the same homework every week.... "This week we have been learning about X. Tell me what you know." Every week I have a battle to get him to do it and it just doesn't seem worth the effort. Marking is usually a tick and a smiley face. DS2 (year 2) gets a more detailed description of a task but very often it's a poster for this, that or the other. Marking is perfunctory but does occasionally contain a comment.

What are your thoughts on homework? I wish they didn't have any at primary school mainly as I think what they are set is of limited value and the main lesson being learnt is that mum will sit you down and drag it out of you. I won't be doing that every night for a couple of hours when they go to secondary school.

Moggy72 Mon 16-Dec-13 09:43:14

Yes it's painful. My Ds is in year 6, and now steadily getting more independent at doing homework. I've always Gwen advised to go for a hands off approach, and just see what they come up with on their own. I have a hard time doing that - control freak. But to be honest I think it is the best way.
I personally wish schools didn't give homework until they are 11+. Is there really a need - they should be able to cover everything in school.

Chivetalking Mon 16-Dec-13 09:44:08

By Year 5 the main lesson being taught is the habit of homework which will expand exponentially in eighteen months time when he hits Year 7.

No need to hover over it now or at secondary though. At Year 5 and beyond I left mine to face the consequences for themselves if they chose not to do it. Mostly they did it.

I hate homework! DS is in year 3, he gets numeracy, literacy every week and reads every night. On top of this they occasionally throw in a research project, most recent one was on farming.
And on Friday he came home with another book that is for writing about the characters from books that he's reading, this had to be done over the weekend.

I'm not saying completely ban homework but is there really any need for the ridiculous amount that they get, DS really struggles (We get tears) everytime he has to do it, I'm literally having to coach him through everything and feel that the homework is mine not his as most of the time he just cannot do it on his own.

When they are in school for 30hrs a week and then expected to do more work when they get home, when do they get chance to be children, play, have time to themselves.

I feel sad for him, 7yr olds shouldn't have to stress over mountains of homework.

I've often wondered if, as a parent you can tell the school that your child will not be doing any homework.

Lindor Mon 16-Dec-13 09:53:14

I don't mind a bit of reading or the odd spellings list but no more. I always told my kids it was up to them if they did the homework at primary school, so no battles and bad feelings at home. Fast forward to year 10 and sixth form. They get on with it and do a reasonable job on their own and are both doing well, having suffered no ill effects from ignoring homework at primary school.

Moggy I totally agree with you about no homework till 11+

Lindor I would love to let DS ignore his homework but his teacher has been known to make children miss break times at school to get it done. sad

Panzee Mon 16-Dec-13 09:56:01

I am a teacher and I hate primary homework. There, I said it. grin

But if you don't set it, guess who complains? Not the children, other teachers or head. Lots of (not all) parents!

I hate it too!
Ds 1 is year 9 and getting him to do homework has always been worse than drawing teeth. I hate it and he hates it and we both end up emotional about it - completely counter productive. I know I shouldn't have to stand over him any more but at the last pt meeting I was made to feel so small because he is under achieving that I now feel pressurised to make sure he at least makes an effort

DS2 on the other hand.. He hasn't even started school and he is setting himself home work

Procrastreation Mon 16-Dec-13 10:03:01

My input is to support study habits - but I try not to micromanage. (Hard when it comes back with not-great marks, & DD mutters under her breath 'at least its my own work; everyone else gets their mum to do it),

What I do do is set aside some time & space, protect them from act of sibling & line up a wee little treat after they've finished. When I check the work - I latch on to things like presentation & attention to detail - so that I am pushing a consistent message week in week out. I leave them to worry about content.

ShanghaiDiva Mon 16-Dec-13 10:03:57

Hate primary homework and, apart from reading, see no reason for homework to be set until children are 10/11.

NoComet Mon 16-Dec-13 10:15:40

There is absolutely no point in HW before Y5.

Before that many DCs don't write well enough or have the confidence for it to be anything, but a fight.

Even DD2 who could, in theory, read, write and use a computer well enough to complete a project in Y3/4 had nothing like the confidence and planning skills to actually do so.

She was totally paralysed by doing too much, too little or not exactly what the teacher wanted, so she simply wouldn't start.

The opened stuff schools tend to send home is exactly the sort of stuff that DC just panic over.

Somewhere, between Christmas Y5 and Christmas Y6 they grow up. Suddenly they trust their own judgement, they will take or leave advice from their parents in a way they wouldn't before.

They loss their dependence on being spoon fed in the carpet and being able to put their hand up. They stop needing only one (or two) teachers routines to feel safe.

There is a reason separate subject teachers start at 11, that's when DCs are ready.

mydoorisalwaysopen Mon 16-Dec-13 10:20:47

So glad I'm not the only one. I had mentioned this to a few people in RL and the reaction was quite different so I wondered if I was just being lazy. I think I'll take a leaf out of procrastreation's book and leave him to get on with a bit more. Consequence of not doing it is to miss a break and do it then.

Procrastreation Mon 16-Dec-13 10:32:40

I set a time limit for it.

e.g. go upstairs now & do homework. In half an hour I am serving milk & cookies.

Then I check after 10 minutes to make sure she hasn't melted sown over a broken pencil lead or similar, and again after another 10 minutes to give any steers or prods when required.

after 30 min, I am quite willing to write a note to teacher to explain effort put in. (only needed to once - and she then actually caught up in the morning, because she was embarrassed to show my note!)

My pet hate is when they gibber & dither & it spoils the whole evening.

columngollum Mon 16-Dec-13 10:39:32

Y1 homework. I don't hate it, but I can't see the point of it. So far it seems to have been unduly easy (for the most part.) We've got a policy of it's been set so we do it unquestioningly. I expect that if it stopped coming home it would make absolutely no difference. It only takes about 5mins, so it's no biggie, really.

NativityAlien Mon 16-Dec-13 11:09:27

Hate it especially project work and I have 3 DC so get 3 lots.

I understand reading homework but so much else seems pointless or once done not looked at and put straight up for display.

I hate the weekly spelling home work - because it doesn't improve their actual spelling and they lose break time if they get too few right and it knocks their confidence with spelling in general and it takes so much time up.

Then I supposed we do make it harder on ourselves as our DC do maths factor - and this has made a massive impact on their maths levels but is 20 minutes at day, and then on occasions we have needed to do dancing bears reading stuff or we've tried various spelling programs suggest here.

My eldest is only year 4 so maybe it will get easier but I wish the homework was somehow more relevant to them.

NoComet Mon 16-Dec-13 11:22:45

Weirdly maths practice is the thing almost never sent home from school and it's the one thing my DDs would do without fuss. Even DD1.

(DD1 is dyslexic, blatantly obviously so, despite ticking the whole check list age 6, it took to Y6 for school to formally acknowledge it. HW plus DD1 was clearly a nightmare)

Maths is also the thing we get buckets of from senior school. Practice really is the only way to revise maths (I learnt that the hard way, when I got my a level results)

VoodooChimp Mon 16-Dec-13 11:25:41

I don't think it's a good thing especially in infant school. Luckily my Year 2 DD doesn't get homework apart from reading books and the occasion project (eg. design a poster) which she enjoys.

Theas18 Mon 16-Dec-13 11:36:39

Nope not at all at infant level and little at junior!

I also had an interesting ( slightly depressing) chat with a newish secondary teacher who is in a " challenging" school . They don't set homework- why- because the good and parentally supported kids would do it and the kids who need to do it would not.... thus increasing the ability gap from top to bottom of the class. This then makes teaching harder and the stats for the school look worse.

what a terrible way for a school policy to be, but I can see why it is!

(caveat this is 2nd hand and I didn't even askk her subject)

columngollum Mon 16-Dec-13 11:43:16

Theas, that hypothesis contains a lot of assumptions on the teacher's part. Most people believe that homework is about practising what has already been learned, not actually learning new things. (Parents are not usually teachers, although some are. And even then they may teach something else.) So, I suspect that the teacher you're referring to might actually believe what she has said. I think in reality she doesn't see that she's actually not really discussing homework at all. She's actually just using homework to talk about a much deeper general problem.

Danann Mon 16-Dec-13 11:48:55

DD (5) actually enjoys homework. As we are on Christmas holidays and I managed to break my arm yesterday in the worlds stupidest clumsy accident I'm actually enjoying leaving her to do her worksheets, they are mostly dot to dot pictures and colour 5 baubles red type questions so not sure there's much value to them but they are keeping her quiet.

CloserLook Mon 16-Dec-13 12:01:28

I found last year reception class homework utterly pointless. Very vague questions and a struggle to get DS to do it every week. It was mainly project work but not with much direction.

Now in Year 1 we just get a work sheet every week. Usually maths or literacy and always very short. I hate the fuss of sitting him down to do it when it then only takes 5 minutes at the most (but we still do it obviously).

I think I'd prefer a maths workbook for the term/half-term that they can do at their own pace as some weekends he's in the mood to do more than other weekends. He struggles with his writing so we practice that at home a lot anyway.

He gets a reading book every day so we concentrate on that in the week.

columngollum Mon 16-Dec-13 12:04:53

I can think of a list of reasons why teachers wouldn't want to give out a workbook. I'm sure it would be fine if all the parents and children got all the answers neat and tidy and correct!

PastSellByDate Mon 16-Dec-13 12:15:10

I like homework. But when I say that it is targetted hoemwork I'm talking about.

Not the kind the original OP has (tell me what you learned in class this week - where the parent has to basically get involved I imagine, in YR/KS1 at least).

I think a teacher realising his/her class (or a group in the class) don't quite get adding fractions then sending some problems home (maybe a photocopied worksheet) or recommending they play an on-line game or do something on MyMaths is a good thing.

I think schools sending home class reading and letting children bring home library books is a good thing. Getting them to write about it - think about their reading (especially in KS2) seems very beneficial and I look on in envy at friends children who do this -as our school has years when they don't and years when they do.

I am, however, at a school where some years homework happens regularly (or when OFSTED are visiting) and other years we have weeks on end with nothing.

I personally don't know if having more rigorous/ challenging and regular homework would have made a difference. But I certainly would have welcomed targeted worksheets when DD1 could barely add in Y1 or subtract in Y2.

We solved DD1's inability to do any sort of addition/ subtraction with numbers >10 at home and without support from the school. So although yes, it spared the teachers a great deal of work, I do kind of wonder about a system that just leaves it to parents who ultimately can't bear to see their child unable to read or add any longer and start doing their own thing at home.

Those of us who gave up on the school and started getting in workbooks, etc... have children who're doing well (they're in the group of kids not being heavily crammed for the SATs in Y6) - those who believed the school's strap line that they achieve excellent outcomes for all their children and believed the school when they would ask about slow reading/ slow maths school and got the answer 'they'll get it next year, year after year' - now are in a complete panic about achieving L4 on KS2 SATs.

A little bit of targetted homework along the way could well have averted it. Many of the kids struggling now were doing way better than my DD1 in Year R/ KS1. I've been consistently working about an extra 2 hours over a week on mahts (through Mathsfactor) and reading/ writing skills with DD1 since late Y2. She's now much more secure than many of these children. So for us, homework made a difference. It didn't come from the school - but it did mean that my child is leaving primary at the level I would anticipate a good student in primary school should be at.

I do take the point that better teaching in school & standards of achievement may also have been useful. However, as a parent, there's very little I can do to change the culture/ work ethic/ commitment of teachers in a school.

noramum Mon 16-Dec-13 12:35:49

I may be the odd one out but I like homework.

First, I see what DD did in school. I also see if she manages to understand the teaching. If she struggles then I know she hasn't understood properly what was taught. How can you otherwise check this? In a class of 30 it is easy to carry on but not doing well. We had virtually no literacy homework in Yr/Y1 apart from reading and as the result we had no idea how bad DD's handwriting actually is.

Now she has a piece of literacy or maths and has to write at least a A5 page. Makes much more sense.

Homework takes around 30 minutes at the weekend, less if it is maths as she loves it and we actually do it more difficult than the teacher asks. Saying that the teacher keeps it wide open so all levels can do it up to their knowledge.

We get a tick but also often a comment or she marks a specific sentence or maths task DD did very well.

But I would love more feedback, especially in the reading diary. I write a lot but unless I question the teacher I don't get any feedback at all. The teacher checks it once a week during guided reading but there is nothing saying where DD struggles so nothing to help her developing further to get on the next level.

If a small child doesn't get into the habit of homework how do you think a pre-teen will manage in Year6 or secondary?

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