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Isn't it about time we got rid of homework, at least for the under 14s?

(252 Posts)
Solopower1 Wed 17-Oct-12 18:16:43

Just heard on the radio (PM Programme, Radio 4) that there are moves afoot to stop setting HW in France. They did this years ago in Spain. Didn't catch any more details (eg what age children) but they are considering lengthening the school day by half an hour so that the kids can do their HW before they go home.

Apparently there is no research that proves that doing HW benefits a child! (Which isn't to say that it doesn't, of course, but still).

I think it would be a great idea to abolish homework, at least for those under 14. It has always been a huge burden in our household, and caused so much tension. Plus the school day is really short. In Scotland there are no classes on a Friday afternoon - not even for sixth formers.

It wouldn't stop parents from going over their kids' HW if they wanted to, nor would it prevent anyone from doing any amount of extra research. What it would do, however, is make things just that little bit more equal. It's not fair, imo, that children from disadvantaged backgrounds who get no help (or might not even have anywhere to do their HW), are still expected to produce the same quality of work as a child whose parent does it for him/her.

What do other people think?

orangeandlemons Wed 17-Oct-12 18:22:34

I agree.

I'm a secondary school teacher, the ones who do the best homeworks generally get the most parental support.

I have 2 dc's, most of their homework from primary/junior involves my input. so it is actually my homework.

When properly thought out, it can extend learning beyond the classroom, butI have never got the point of endless posters. Why?

Beanbagz Wed 17-Oct-12 18:30:00

Would love to see an end of homework.

In fact i suggested to my DD that she tells her Y6 teacher that we don't want any more practice exam papers to do over the Half Term holidays (since i have every confidence that she could pass the exams right now never mind in January).

She looked at me a bit hmm so i'm going to suggest it myself at tomorrow's meeting!

RedGreenWhiteViolet Wed 17-Oct-12 18:37:27

Definitely. Dd goes to a sensible school which only gives spellings and very occasionally some maths (Year 1) but my nephew got so much homework every day from Year 1 onwards that he had no social life or time to relax.

I can understand homework at secondary school but I don't think that it should be expected that teachers give homework every lesson until Year 9 at least.

I remember my dad going along to a school meeting when I was in Year 7 and complaining that we didn't get enough homework. We got at least 2 hours an afternoon but he wanted me to be doing more than 4.

bowerbird Wed 17-Oct-12 18:44:27

Definitely agree! I hate hate hate the atrocious "fun activities" the school devises which are anything but. A little spelling, a little maths practise I wouldn't mind so much, but these endless projects, which can only be done by with a parent are ridiculous.

losingtrust Wed 17-Oct-12 18:46:16

Would sign up to that one and heard the conversation. We never had homework as DCs and research says it is much better not to have it.

losingtrust Wed 17-Oct-12 18:49:23

RedGreen I had the opposite. My Dad does not believe in any homework at all even in secondary apart from studying for exams. He had nothing until his apprenticeship and went on to get his HND. The School Council at DD's school voted against it in holidays and HT agreed. He also reduced it to the odd spellings and TT (pet hate for me but at least upfront about it) and reading. Have said on other thread it is beating schools academically that have lots of homework.

Sastra Wed 17-Oct-12 18:51:06

Is it a relatively recent phenomenon? I'm 28 and didn't get any homework until secondary school. My sister's 22 and was the same?

Solopower1 Wed 17-Oct-12 18:56:00

I don't think it's the homework per se that makes a school successful. It would be the proportion of parents who help/do it with/for their kids - if it had any effect at all, which, apparently, it doesn't.

On the other hand, a longer school day could make quite a bit of difference. It would be one way of at least making sure that everyone had done it, and if you do that, the whole class benefits, because things can go faster during the lesson if everyone is up to speed.

LynetteScavo Wed 17-Oct-12 18:59:46

I would agree to no homework, apart from reading for under 11's.

For some reason my DC are happy to read the books they bring home from school, but none that we own or get out of the library. hmm

I also think asking for parental support with spellings and times tables is a good idea, but I see no point in word searches (one Y3 word search homework took me 2 hours hmm) or posters.

LynetteScavo Wed 17-Oct-12 19:03:18

I think some state schools look at high achieving private schools, and try to run their schools along the same lines, hoping for the same academic results. Private schools wear ties? Oh, then we will too. Private schools give out lots of homework? Oh, then we will too. (I'm waiting to be told I will need to provide my DC with a blazer)

PostBellumBugsy Wed 17-Oct-12 19:03:37

No, I think homework is really important. It gives parents (who are interested) a chance to see what their children are doing and how well they are doing it.

I think I have a much more informed discussion at parents evening because I know what my DCs are struggling with, what they are clearly finding easy etc.

I also think that children benefit from having to do a bit of work on their own, outside of a classroom environment.

Solopower1 Wed 17-Oct-12 19:03:51

In China, older kids/uni students are able to earn money by coaching the younger ones. One of my son's friends (sixth former) does this.

So, if properly organised, it wouldn't have to be the teachers who stay late to supervise. Classroom assistants could be offered the work, along with sixth-formers and local students. And the money would come from the LEA. Or the pupil premium, which (I think?) was set up to help disadvantaged kids. What better way of spending it!

So if anyone thinks that HW makes a child more of an independent learner, doing it in school would have the same effect as doing it at home, presumably.

Solopower1 Wed 17-Oct-12 19:06:39

Postbellum, presumably any parents who wanted to see what their children were doing would still be able to, wouldn't they? They could check through the work afterwards.

exoticfruits Wed 17-Oct-12 19:07:50

DCs never used to have homework before they were 11yrs- they got it because parents wanted it. I don't think they need it, but you will never get parents to agree.

Sparklingbrook Wed 17-Oct-12 19:07:56

It depends what the homework is TBH. Tonight DS1 and I are making a puppet of Prosperro from The Tempest. I am trying to glue his hair on whilst pulling my own out. grin

I would prefer normal written questions than all this making stuff.

TheOriginalNutcracker Wed 17-Oct-12 19:09:11

I wish this was already in force.

wordfactory Wed 17-Oct-12 19:09:32

Homewor when properly focussed is priceless.

Short, and I mean short, focussed pieces. Lots of revision (particularly in MFL and Latin). My DC have tests to revise for every week and it has become part and parcel of life. It makes the end of year exams a much easier proposition, ditto GCSEs.

These homeworks work wonders.

Posters...not so much.

brdgrl Wed 17-Oct-12 19:12:33

My two teenage DSCs go to what is allegedly a top grammar school, and before that to a good primary school...and they never seem to have any homework to speak of. They'd benefit from a bit more, frankly. So would we, as postbellum says, it would be good to be able to see how they're progressing and working through things, and would involve us a bit more in their schooling.

When they do have homework, it is total crap. For technology last year, my 14 year-old DSS had to draw a safety poster. Other times, they are asked to basically compile bits of information cut and pasted off the internet. I'd like to see a return to more worksheets and practice exercises.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 17-Oct-12 19:12:58

We had tons of homework in junior school - hours and hours of project work in the holidays.

It was the bane of my existence and totally put me off learning.

Solopower1 Wed 17-Oct-12 19:13:23

Wordfactory, they could still do that sort of homework at school, in the half hour after class. The only difference would be that all the children did it, not just the lucky ones like yours, who have already established good working habits.

Sparklingbrook Wed 17-Oct-12 19:15:01

The projects are a PITA. 4 weeks to do it. All done the night before.

losingtrust Wed 17-Oct-12 19:18:53

The problem with homework is a lot of parents do it for the kids. Hands up if you haven't. This does not really benefit the child although I would agree with Wordfactory about revision but not until secondary. It made me laugh on the radio this morning as it was discussed and the DJ admitted his mom had written his degree thesis for him because he was too busy. She was disappointed that she only got a third. Parental involvement too far!

BeatTheClock Wed 17-Oct-12 19:18:56

I agree. What possible benefit there can be to giving a 6 year old homework I'll never understand.

I especially detest the homework which has only briefly been touched on in school ie subject generally introduced but basically sent home for dc (ie parents to teach) or research from scratch. Highly annoying esp when I find out that whilst in school they've been watching a dvd hmm

Sparklingbrook Wed 17-Oct-12 19:20:12

It's just easier for me to glue Prospero's hair on TBH. grin

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