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 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.

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


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.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 04-Nov-13 12:17:47

That's how I find it prince

The summer holidays are the only time something isn't hanging over our heads. I hardly saw dd she was out with friends. The only time she came home wa to bring her friends into the paddling pool. She spent hours having water fights on the green, playing on the green, chatting to the friends and playing with dogs til 7/8 at night.

She went back totally refreshed from having to do morning and was able to concentrate and write far more neatly and fluently than she achieved throughout yr 1 despite all the homework. Doing NOTHING contributed far more!!!!

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 04-Nov-13 12:18:26

To do nothing not morning -damn iphone

EverythingUnderControl Mon 04-Nov-13 13:59:56

Year 6 was just horrendous for homework. The school were in such a frenzy over sats it became ridiculoushmm Even since they've been in yr7, although they get quite a bit, the homework hasn't been so relentless or unimaginative as it was at juniour school. It's quite a relief actually. What used to annoy me was that they'd spend a lot of time in school faffing about with dressing up days then send home piles of academic work which would decimate the weekend.

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 04-Nov-13 14:09:43

Heaven, I remember the 'write a story' homework for DCs before they could write. We used to get a soft toy sent home which we would have to write a weekend diary for.

By the end of the reception years this soft toy was known as Sodding Pepper. I used to dread seeing its little bag and book as I would have to spend hours on a Sunday night constructing something suitable, passing it through Google Translate then getting older daughter to correct my grammar.

EverythingUnderControl Mon 04-Nov-13 14:20:10

Oh blimey yes the class stuffed toy coming home for the weekendhmm. I used to dread it too and I wasn't fooled for a minute. I knew it was really just more homework dressed up as a stuffed toy. I'm sure there were some stealth boasts (or made up activities) that others had written in it's 'diary'. We actually managed to lose one toy and had to go in and confess to the class <30 quivering lips and eyes brimming that Brownie wasn't coming back) God what a terrible weekend that was.

Giles and Prince
It's reassuring to find others who don't make them do homework during their holidays

pinktab Mon 04-Nov-13 14:21:31

DS's primary school had a no homework policy too. I personally feel that it was more related to the general intake than the principle of no homework - very deprived area, most parents not in a position to help due to language/poorly educated themselves. One CT told me once that the real reason they didn't set homework was because there was no realistic way of expecting it to get done, as they'd tried in the past but parents just weren't helping/encouraging the children to complete it. There was a definite contrast in the SATs results of our school and the schools slightly further away, which had an intake from a more expensive residential area, where there were more determined parents who would be intensively supporting homework and often getting additional tutoring in as well.

I wasn't too concerned about the lack of homework. Our economic background was poor like many of the other families (we were living on the council estate where most of the school children lived) but I did have a degree and felt comfortable giving DS extra tasks/books. I think I preferred it that way, as it meant I could spend lots of time with DS after school doing things we considered most interesting, like going to museums and galleries of our choice, rather than sitting at home going over worksheets.

DS is at secondary now and is preparing for two of his GCSEs early in Year 9, top sets for everything, so I don't think it's affected him badly at all.

stripeytiger Mon 04-Nov-13 14:21:42

Completely agree with Prince. Couldn't have put it better myself. My DS hates it and it results in anger, frustration, resentment and tears (from both of us!).

pinktab Mon 04-Nov-13 14:24:57

Oh and we never got anything like a class toy either! I only heard of that being done on MN (which I only joined a few years ago). If they tried doing that in DS's old school I don't think anyone would expect to get it returned, things always went missing ime!

PeasandCucumbers Mon 04-Nov-13 14:32:04

I actually disagree with most of the comments but that is probably because the homework my DC's get is never some open ended project. It is always differentiated so my DS (Yr4) gets the homework of the most able when it is maths and that of the least able when it is literacy.

My DD (Yr3) always does her homework unaided and then I check it before signing her homework diary and I can't remember it ever taking her more than 15 mins. All their homework is designed to re-inforce work that they have been doing in class and provides more practice.

At the beginning of term there were a couple of occasions when my DS didn't come home with work and teacher explained to the parents at the meet the teacher evening that this was because as he was new to the school and obviously the class too the planned lesson had had to be changed due tobthe level it was pitched at being wrong so the planned homework was not relevant and therefore not sent home.

I totally agree with those posters who feel it gives the parents the chance to not only know what is being covered in lessons but, more importantly to me, whether my DC has confidently grasped the concept.

I should add that the school has a no homework policy before KS2 other than reading & spellings ( and yes I know most people feel spellings are pointless but again I think this comes down to the actual groups of words, we get ones re-inforcing a particular phoeneme (sp?) or spellung rule around suffixes for example)

allyfe Mon 04-Nov-13 14:56:35

I have found this a really interesting thread. My DD is in reception, and has just taken in her first holiday homework. But her homework was to find something out about castles, and to maybe do a picture or a model or just come in with the information. We were told we could perhaps take them to castle, and not to do it for them.

My daughter LOVED her homework. Coincidentally, her grandparents had a book they were saving on castles for my younger child and gave it to her. She was so keen to read her book (4 times), and she drew a picture of a castle, which we then cut out, and did a collage for the background, and a few other bits. She loved doing it with me. I was thinking this was a fantastic bit of homework and how much I loved it (I never got any as a child, and then struggled at GCSE/A-level when I was suddenly expected to do work at home). But, on reading what you all say, I really do think that homework should be fun if at all possible (I hate the idea of times tables). I loved the open nature of this homework, because it meant that we could choose what I knew my daughter would enjoy doing.

Having read this thread with real interest, I think my conclusion is that there is an inequality in terms of the ease with which families can fit homework into their routine, and that can be a problem. I like the idea of optional homework, where by children can choose something that they find of interest, or a way of expressing and learning that they find of interest. But I do think that it should be okay for parents to get involved with their children's learning projects if they want to (and can fit it into their lives). We got some looks this morning as we took my dd's homework in (she was feeling shy and didn't want to carry it), and someone commented we'd be working hard. My DD is 4, she definitely didn't do it all by herself. But everything on it we did together, and we talked about what we were doing and why. She loved it. To me, that is what homework should mainly be, about making learning fun, and making it a part of your everyday life and not just something you do in school.

pointyfangs Mon 04-Nov-13 14:59:27

There should be no homework in primary. My generation in Holland grew up without it, it was introduced gradually in Yr7 and then grew - but it was still never more than an hour a day even in 6th form and we all turned out just fine.

I have a DD2 in Yr6 who, because of SATs, gets as much homework as my other DD who is in Yr8. Madness.

pointyfangs Mon 04-Nov-13 15:00:42

I should add that I do believe reading is important - both listening to your child read and reading out loud to them. But it should never become such a strain that it takes the joy out of reading.

CoolStoryBro Mon 04-Nov-13 15:13:40

I've had any of a u-turn on primary school homework this year,probably because I can see the benefits it's having on my youngest children and their confidence.

I still don't think 5 year olds need anything more than reading each night, but by 8-ish, am quite happy for them to have a quick nightly maths and literacy review of the days work at home. It is about setting up and learning good study habits, which they do need at secondary school.

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 04-Nov-13 18:06:49

I disagree with the idea that homework in primary has any impact on study habits in secondary at least in my experience (3 DCs now all in secondary).

In my opinion homework in primary gets parents into the homework habit not the students.

lisad123everybodydancenow Mon 04-Nov-13 18:17:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rufus44 Mon 04-Nov-13 18:27:02

I have one in year6, one in year7 and one in year 10

I can't stand the homework and do not see the point in any of it (except I suppose in GCSE years, 10 and 11, but I still don't see any real benefit at the moment)

What really winds me up is that you can't take holidays in term time ( fair enough) but then the school gives you a mass of homework to do over the half terms! So when are you supposed to take the holiday!!

Under the above circumstances I would tell the school that they weren't going to do the homework but it hasn't happened to me yet [ disappointed as I love a good argument face]

pointyfangs Mon 04-Nov-13 20:57:09

Rufus I so completely agree with you re holiday homework! What really got me this year and last year was that DD2 (Yr4 to 5 and 5 to 6) had compulsory homework, while DD1 did not.

So being the obstreperous sod that I am, I told DD2 not to touch the homework until the two PD days at the start of autumn term. Summer holidays should be sacred, and any other holiday should have no more homework than a normal school term weekend has.

And of course I would like to see no homework at all until Yr6. As for parents saying it helps them find out what their child is doing at school - if you want to know, ask.

bryte Mon 04-Nov-13 21:05:17

I would be thrilled if my DD's Primary school shared the view of your children's school, OP

morethanpotatoprints Mon 04-Nov-13 22:55:55

Hello OP, I don't agree with homework and believe it rarely has any benefits to the child, even at secondary level.
There is really no point to it.
I do see the point in engaging your child and giving them a love of learning, through play and fun activities.
Word and number games, or puzzles are brilliant for this and no homework required.
You can also research stuff your dc are interested in to provide some general knowledge and research skills.

missinglalaland Tue 05-Nov-13 14:05:15

Homework can be helpful if it is relevant and tightly targeted. Open ended stuff that the kids don't understand doesn't accomplish much. Five math problems to reenforce a new technique learned at school today is spot on for kids in juniors. Also reading a chapter out of a book the child has chosen for him or herself seems a good idea for the average kid, and not too onerous.

allyfe Wed 06-Nov-13 13:14:55

According to this, there is no benefit to homework in primary school.


pointyfangs Wed 06-Nov-13 13:59:55

missinglalaland I think most of us on here don't count reading as 'homework' - we're more talking about endless useless worksheets. Or in DD2's case, endless useless SATs practice.

I do support giving kids access to things like Mathletics, which are perceived as fun whilst also being useful - there are so many ways to get children learning in the home, and traditional homework is probably the last effective.

Foreverweeding Wed 06-Nov-13 17:42:22

In past years my eldest was given things such as a project to complete over half term, say. He wasn't in the least bit interested, it caused a lot of upset, nearly ruined the holiday and it never even got looked at or commented on. It used to make me so angry.

My youngest is in yr 1 and we have a reading book which my dc reads to me every night and I help him with his words etc., but no other homework (so far).

School takes up such a huge part of their day, they are exhausted and home time should mean just that. They need time to unwind and play with their toys etc., and feel it is not only pointless but unkind to then load more onto a young child when they have been at school for six hours.

Let them be kids and let them play. Young children will be put off learning and see it as a negative, a chore which must be endured and could cause greater problems educationally.

BrigitBigKnickers Wed 06-Nov-13 23:50:18

Read to and with their child foster a love of books.
Talk to your child.
Cook/ shop with your child talk about numbers in a real life meaningful context.
Sing/ learn tables including division facts.
Find out what your child is doing in school- follow up what interests them and persue it.
Encourage your child to take part in music/ sports outside school.

That is all

They do not need school directed homework activities to achieve highly.

This is what I did with both my girls.

DD1 is in the upper VIth (selective indie school but started in state primary)- predicted A*AB at Alevel.

DD2 is in Year 10 (grammar) spends 15 hours a week extra curricular performing arts classes. Around 1 hour a night homework. Predicted A*s and As across the board at GCSE.

School directed homework at primary school is NOT necessary.


nb- I am a primary school teacher.

Wellthen Thu 07-Nov-13 06:31:31

I don't understand how you can disagree when EVIDENCE says there is no benefit.

You working with your children at home is a different thing to homework so perhaps that is what you are talking about. If an adult is guiding their work, giving them feedback and doing this all effectively then this will have impact.Whereas homework (here's your task, do it, take it back into school) has no impact and is a huge pain for everyone involved.

Aside from anything else, impact or no, whats the point in it? GCSE students do it because there isn't time in the school timetable to do their homework. A level students do it to prepare them for independent learning and essay writing at uni. Undergrads and above do it because, well, thats what study is about: studying.

I am a teacher. I cant see me doing homework with my own children at primary beyond reading and tables and I will happily explain to their teachers why it hasnt been done.

Missymoomum Thu 07-Nov-13 08:00:19

I have children in Yr1 and Yr2 also in an International school in Asia and i really resent the homework they get. Neither particularly enjoy it although my yr1 dd does get on with hers without too much complaint. They are supposed to do some reading every night and then get maths or English homework to do over the weekend as well as spellings and they have 20 mins Mandarin homework over the weekend too. They also do ASA's a couple of times a week all of which involve some kind of sport and tbh i'd rather they're out running around than sat down doing homework at their age. We try to do reading every night but they're tired after a long day at school (in school for 8.15, finish and back at home for 4pm) so sometimes they don't want to do it and i want them to read for enjoyment not because they're being forced to so they don't do it.
In terms of the amount of tuition your child's Asian classmates are getting, you have to remember that this is the culture here but i can bet you anything they have also moaned and complained and they will probably, at some point, feel resentment. Children get more joy out of doing things they enjoy than from things they are forced to do.

LudvigVonBeatles Thu 07-Nov-13 08:35:28


I have one in Reception and one in G2 and the older one doesn't get a thing.

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Thu 07-Nov-13 08:40:17

Ds once got for homework a piece of paper with parts of a viking longboat that had to be cut out at coloured in and glues together. He was 7 at the time and guess who did it. This was clearly homework for the parents as I did my best on it but it was really difficult to get the parts to stick together. After spending 2 hours of my life (which I will never get back again) doing this task, he took it into school.

The Merit was awarded to a girl who brought in a wooden viking longboat complete with rowers. The 7 year old told the teacher she had hand carved it. The teacher believed her!!
Teacher obviously didn't shop in Tesco.

CorrieDale Thu 07-Nov-13 08:45:28

I wish my school had the same policy. If the kids are working hard at primary school then they shouldn't need homework. Reading? Fine. Spellings? Hmmm. Ok. Tables? Yep, going with that. Researching Florence nightingale? Pointless busy work. Making a working model of a muscle? Parental homework. Which, incidentally, leads to kids thinking that homework is a family activity - this is something that many kids still believe when they reach university and expect their tutors to pretty much do the work for them. It all starts in nursery with food diaries...

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 07-Nov-13 08:49:06

I too wonder, if they havebt cornered it in 6/7 hours what have they been doing all day.

The press is full of how we lack family values, how no one sits down together any more , how kids are glued to the tv etc.

This is why, I'm soooo sick of shoving dd2 some raisins on the sofa so I can spend hours the time researching birds.

It takes up so much family time.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 07-Nov-13 08:53:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 07-Nov-13 08:54:07

Oops wrong thread blush

Reported oost

Most parents are not teachers. We can't accurately judge if a child has "got it" or not, except in very obvious areas like, erm, reading.

My Y1 DS is meant to do recorded reading at least three times a week, which should be his bookband book but for us is likely not to be, and then he has weekend homework (Thu for Tue). The teacher has said that if child hasn't finished within 15-20 mins, give up. So far it's been mostly phonics consolidation ("list some things in your house that have a -ch- sound") and number bonds, with the odd practical maths puzzle ("draw round x and see how many penny coins fit in it").

So that's a pretty light load compared to many here, but I think it's plenty. It still overshadows the weekend.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 07-Nov-13 08:58:40

I'm getting fed up of all the comments in the home/school diary.

If it's not been filled out for a couple of days there's always a message. "What are you reading now" "what happened" "details please"

Ffs she's been busy doing the project you set, on too of maths and literacy homework you set. Is she allowed to eat is that ok???!!!

wordfactory Thu 07-Nov-13 11:56:23

I think in reception, only reading should be required.

A parent should try to listen to their DC read every day if possible. And they should read to their DC every day if possible.

By Y3, I'm happy for DC to have some homework provided it's meaningful.

For example, if a child is to make proper prgress with a MFL, then they'll need to be doing more than a half hour's worth of c'est un stylo once a week in class.

Ditto Latin, when and if that's introduced.

But heaven preserve me from projects.

Ge0rgina Thu 07-Nov-13 12:06:16

I had this problem too.. Sometimes you have to take it into your own hands! I recommend sites like this: www.bbc.co.uk/schools/games/

Bumpsadaisie Thu 07-Nov-13 13:03:28

Mine is in reception. We are supposed to hear them read each night and then on Mondays they get a worksheet or two in their homework book to hand in on Friday. Usually colouring and practicing writing a letter/number.

PastSellByDate Thu 07-Nov-13 16:20:19

Really interesting discussion and definitely can see that there's everything occurring - no homework to tons (and clearly expecting parents to do it).

Education Endowment foundation says this on primary homework: educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/toolkit/approaches/homework


It is notable that children of highly educated parents tend to read a lot and are encouraged to do a bit more at home (through educational board games/ video games; resources; encouraging parents; etc...).

So the problem with homework is that it isn't a level playing field.

Our school has nothing. They recommend reading 20 minutes a day but often neglect to send home books with children. Poorer families without many books at home and not belonging to a library or having internet access/ kindle - simply don't read.

I also find the shockingly bad performance in maths a self-fulfilling prophecy of low expectation. Many in dd1's year 6 will leave without having fully mastered times tables to x12 and unable to cope with fractions/ percentages.

It isn't the end of the world of course - but it sets them at a serious disadvantage as poor readers with weak maths skills as they start senior school.

So for me - with a mediocre school and many poorer families attending - I think some homework (well thought out & targeted for the child to do) is beneficial. I suspect those who do not like homework are already at good schools which are doing great things with their kids.

It's when attending school isn't really achieving much that doing more at home becomes the remedy.

Janacek Thu 07-Nov-13 17:58:18

I resent homework. Especially useless homework set because teachers feel pressure to set homework from parents. I would rather spend time on areas where I know DS struggles like maths. There are good support work books and 20 mins going over weak areas is far more beneficial than colouring and making posters! Grrrr. My boys are also gr 8 piano and it is a struggle to get the practice in so I simply do the homework for them unless on the very rare occasion it is of some educational benefit.

My 5yo (reception) has a reading book every day that he has to read at home and my 6yo (y2) gets homework.

I think children should have homework.

Xochiquetzal Thu 07-Nov-13 18:30:22

DD is in reception and gets a book ever day, spellings once a week and either literacy or numeracy over the weekend (they alternate which she is set but it's usually 2 pages of work sheets). Sometimes she gets an extra creative bit like decorating a haunted house for Halloween or making autumn pictures but she generally gets a couple of weeks to do that. it generally takes us 20-25 minutes a day for reading and spelling and about half an hour for the literacy/numeracy.

The creative stuff can take hours but that's because DD enjoys it and is a bit of perfectionist. Dd and I don't mind it, except when she's tired and doesn't feel like reading.

pointyfangs Thu 07-Nov-13 18:32:50

PastSellByDate I think times tables aren't really homework any more than reading is though...

And I have to take issue with you on the 12s, we live in a decimal world and I really think the 12s thing is a Gove fad. Tables to 10 are quite enough, you can then derive 12 from 6 and 11 is basically a bit of fun.

I think homework isn't the answer to helping children in deprived families, I think tackling inequality and the remnants of the class system would be far better. Instead of setting homework - which will probably not be done in chaotic families anyway - schools should be given funding to run free clubs in and out of school to help these children with extra tuition. Include a decent afternoon snack and you'll be on a winner. However, that would cost a bit of money and it's so much easier for politicians to blame teachers and complain about falling standards.


Wellthen Thu 07-Nov-13 18:44:52

PSBD what you are talking about is effectively extra tutition, it doesn't come under the common understanding of homework.

Homework is when children take a task home, do it with little or no help and bring it back. The more adult input, the less it is homework and the more it is actually just extra teaching.

Of course extra good quality teaching will have an impact. Homework does not.

tricot39 Thu 07-Nov-13 19:15:46

Op - how did your meeting go?

Oblomov Thu 07-Nov-13 19:51:11

No. It is proven that it is not beneficial. Only in secondary should there be homework.

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 07-Nov-13 20:40:01

The problem at my DCs' primary school was that the most disadvantaged children often led chaotic lives (the school had a large number of children with CP issues). These children might not always know where they were going to sleep that night. This type of chaos pushes homework which might have huge value to these children very far down the list of priorities.

Orangeanddemons Thu 07-Nov-13 20:47:00

I loathe homework as a teacher and a parent. I do not think it is of any benefit until Year 10 and 11.

Tables and reading are all they should do, and maybe a bit of spelling. But spelling usually comes from reading. Ds used to learn spellings every week. Then promptly forgot them. Spelling is about practice not rote learning

pointyfangs Thu 07-Nov-13 21:11:55

Orangeanddemons I mostly agree with you, though I have to say that DD1 (Yr8) had some maths homework that I thought was pretty good - it was to create a set of revision notes with examples of the topics she has covered so far this year. She's made some useful notes which will stand her in good stead come end of year exams.

We all also enjoyed the English/history homework which was to write a report on the battle of Hastings in the style of either a tabloid or a broadsheet newspaper - DD1 did hers in true DM style and it was hilarious.

That kind of homework is pretty rare though, even in secondary.

Chloebeyond Thu 07-Nov-13 21:14:38

I do not understand why we start the children so young on the home work - my boy of 6 learns spelling one week and relay in them parrot fashion for two days and then promptly forgets them. I went to school in Denmark and did not start formal education till 7 and it has never held me back!

Orangeanddemons Thu 07-Nov-13 21:51:16

Yes, useful home works in secondary school are helpful. But not the design a poster stuff. Ds once had to design a poster about the cannonisation of some saint, several about the pillars of Islam, and a million others.

But none in junior school. My dd age just 7 had to research the area she lives in for a presentation over half term.....and guess who did the homework....how can a7 year old do that?

pointyfangs Thu 07-Nov-13 21:54:31

I hate design a poster stuff. I also hate spellings; reading and fostering a love of reading is so much more useful in encouraging good spelling. Although DD2's teacher was a bit shock to find her using the word 'severed' as in 'head' in a story about Robin Hood - she has a gruesome imagination and does read very widely. She did however spell and use it correctly and it was almost Halloween...

uselessinformation Fri 08-Nov-13 00:02:52

At last a school with a sensible homework policy ie none.

LudvigVonBeatles Fri 08-Nov-13 00:39:43

My son is struggling with some of the maths they do and the teacher is now sending home some things for him to do which takes about half and hour a week. I actually photocopy it and change a few of the numbers so he has more practise. He also has a word search to do which takes about 1/2 hour a week. Plus reading. I can see that my child's spelling is coming on in leaps and bounds so I am very happy to do it. At 8, I think this is a good amount of relevant homework.

PastSellByDate Fri 08-Nov-13 10:56:35


Again I think it is all about an unlevel playing field.

our school only sends books home in KS1. Books stop in KS2. children are meant to get a library book to take home - it's about once a month or half-term.

There are no times table practices - the school has written and informed parents that it is proven there is no benefit practicing times tables. (which I suspect is muddling no proven benefit of homework in primary school with possible benefits of knowing times tables).

I'm so old pointyfangs I still work in inches and I fear the 12 inches to a foot/ 36 inches to a yard thing does require me knowing my twelves times tables - but I entirely take your point. Twelve is of course simply doubling six - but as our school seems to have spectacularly failed to teach the concept of doubling or halving to most children that many seem to miss this basic numeracy pattern.

For me - homework is regular reading books coming home (and maybe an indication to parents to encourage your child to read a chapter a night or x many pages a night), some short maths practice problems to keep applying that. Sadly these are pretty much absent at our school and it shows - in SATs results, but just in comparison with other children from schools where homework is given.

One school in this area has 'optional homework' - they provide 3 homeworks each week - 1 English/ 1 Science & 1 Math and it is entirely up to you whether you do it or not. If you do it - it's marked and feedback is given. If you don't nothing happens. Oddly enough they have over 90% uptake of at least one homework a week with higher achieving children doing 2 or 3 pieces.

Someone mentioned after school clubs and a snack - and yes I totally agree (this would do a great deal to level the playing field).

Again - I suggest that we are all talking at odds because what each school considers homework (and feedback - our school limits themselves to a mere green tick) is wildly different. And I suspect that is a lot of the problem.


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