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homework at primary school

(40 Posts)
messimum Sat 18-Jun-11 23:30:31

Is homework at primary school really necessary? I probably sound old when i say this, but when i was at school, (i'm 34 now), we had reading books in infant school and then they added in spellings and timestables in juniors. what would happen if we didn't do the homework? would my daughter (5yrs old) actually fall behind? if so, what on earth do they do all day at school? really i think they should work hard at school, then their free time is their own? Have i got this all wrong?

sunnyday123 Sat 18-Jun-11 23:42:36

my 5yr dd is in reception and gets 2 reading books per week (for which the school suggest 10 mins reading per night). Since getting to stage 4 ort she has 2 lines of text to write per week. I don't think this is unreasonable as we enjoy reading together and reading needs to be maintained in order for her to remember words.
I'd struggle to fit more in though as reading alone eats into out 'down time'. I do try to bring simple maths into everyday life e.g. when shopping etc but dont do any formal teaching other than the reading. I doubt nothing will happen if you dont do the homework but your DD may not progress as quickly as she could. My DD reads daily and has moved up from group 3 to group 1 (top group) through reading daily (others in group 3 admit they don't read much with their kids). I agree its tedious though and only do it out of guilt!

Grockle Sat 18-Jun-11 23:47:11

DS (5) has a new reading book every day and a piece of written/ investigation each week eg design a superhero, what shapes can you see.

TBH, its a pita but I suppose it's designed to get parents involved. I read to DS every night, we read together, cook, bake etc so I don't feel that we NEED the homework but it doesn't send DS a good message if we didn't do it.

I'm a teacher btw.

IndigoBell Sun 19-Jun-11 07:00:49

There's a lot of research that says that hw is bad for kids, for example The Homework Myth

It's your HT's decision (approved by the govs) how much hw your kids are getting.

But how on earth are you going to convince her of common sense?

Goblinchild Sun 19-Jun-11 07:18:51

I don't like formal, set homework in primary school, especially for KS1.
The difference is that at home, for 15 minutes or so, they get 1:1 support on writing or reading, unlike school where the ratio is often 1:15.

mrz Sun 19-Jun-11 08:13:28

I don't think it's necessary but there are many parents who "demand" homework and the previous government actually set homework "guidelines"
www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/Schoolslearninganddevelopment/SchoolLife/DG_179508

Homework guidelines for primary

The emphasis is on how homework helps your child to learn, rather than on whether it takes a certain amount of time.

For example, some children will work quicker than others and get more done in less time. The rough guidelines for primary school children are:

Years 1 and 2: one hour per week
Years 3 and 4: 1.5 hours per week
Years 5 and 6: 30 minutes per day

Your child shouldn’t be expected to spend much longer on homework than the guide times. It doesn’t matter if activities don't take as long as the guide times as long as they are useful. Schools should organise homework carefully so that children aren't asked to do too much on any one day.

Goblinchild Sun 19-Jun-11 08:21:50

It's interesting to give time-limited homework to older children with clear guidelines and see how many parents refuse to keep to them, despite the child's protests.
For example, extensive maths sheet (differentiated). See how far you can get in 20 minutes, no more.
Comes back completed, and you know that child has been working on it for an hour or two.
Something to practise for ten minutes a day over a week. Child drilled for 30 minutes plus and now hates the idea.
Same if you give work over a period of time, to be completed in a fortnight,
Bam, back on Monday. No time for thought, research, reflection, modifying or improvements. Or in fact, doing a bit a day to pace themselves.
Mum said....

mrz Sun 19-Jun-11 08:26:47

I send a short piece of written homework home on a Friday to be returned by the following Friday.

AbbyLou Sun 19-Jun-11 08:38:19

I teach Year 1. I expect my class to read every night but many don't. Every year we drill into parents how much of a difference this makes but some still don't bother. If the reading DIary has been written in/signed, they get a new book every day if they want one.
They also get a handwriting sheet every week which consolidates what we have done in the lesson. There is no time limit for this, just bring it back when it's done. Some do it religiously every week, some never do. That will always be the case.
Children also have a homework book which goes home weekly to be returned the following week. Every week they get 5 spellings and are asked to find and write down a few words for each of the phonemes we have learnt that week. This is good practise and I know it doesn't take long - my ds is in the opposite Year 1 class to mine so gets the same homework. Once a fortnight they also get a pice of homework based on our topic. This fortnight it was find out 5 facts about the Queen. Most children do this homework and I think most parents enjoy sitting down with their children and being involved in their school work.
Dh and I both work full time and sometimes it is hard to fit everything in but ds's homework is always done. IMHO if you haven't got the time to invest in your child's education for a few minutes a day, don't have kids. Homework is a good habit to get into. It instills a good work ethic into the children. If parents don't care about the homework, it gives the children the message that they don't have to do what the teacher says.

Bunbaker Sun 19-Jun-11 08:38:40

I'm not keen on the idea of homework at primary school, but I have found that learning spellings and times tables at home has definitely helped DD. At DD's school in years 4 and 5 they are in teams of 6 children and each team gets team points for good work and loses them for bad behaviour or not doing homework. So if the parents don't encourage their child to do homework they are letting their child's team down.

Chrysanthemum5 Sun 19-Jun-11 08:43:56

Isn't the point that a short amount of homework gives the parents an idea of what the child is doing at school? Plus doing it together shows the child their parent thinks their learning is important? I thought that mattered more than the content. But it has to be a small amount - 5-10 minutes in the early years max

IndigoBell Sun 19-Jun-11 12:04:03

OK, I get home from work at 7:30. I have 3 kids. I spend from 7:30 to 9:30 putting my kids to bed, and spending 'quality' time with them, which includes listening to all 3 of them read.

So, yes, I absolutely do not have time to do 10 minutes homework with each kid each night.

The homework they get is almost never very useful. When I do have time to do work with them I want it to be useful to my child. I want to work on their top problem, not some random worksheet which is either too easy or too hard for my kids.

If you see parents who don't support hw as parents who don't care about their children's education you are totally wrong.

c0rn55ilk Sun 19-Jun-11 12:04:32

It is a waste of time

IndigoBell Sun 19-Jun-11 12:09:06

And I really don't have any free time to waste sad

Goblinchild Sun 19-Jun-11 12:19:12

So let's start a campaign to get formal, set homework in primary schools banned. But 10-15 minutes reading being too much? sad
My DS was always too wound up after school to do anything, but he was ready to read for a bit before I left for work at 7.40am, so that's when we did it.

jalapeno Sun 19-Jun-11 12:42:53

In year 1 we have 2 reading books per week and spellings. I think that's enough and my DS would be reluctant to do any more!!

RosemaryandThyme Sun 19-Jun-11 13:56:56

My son's school recently (Jan) stopped all homework for KS1, other than encouraging reading.
Parents report that children are choosing at home to write much more (little stories, notes,diaries), particulalry those child who battled against doing homework with their parents.

sillybillies Sun 19-Jun-11 14:33:02

As a mum, I'm happy in reception to do a 10 mins reading and although it hasn't been set this week I would agree with learning a few spellings. I don't agree with anything else being set for homework in primary school. I attended a seminar which discusses options for reducing h/w in secondary schools as it one of the biggest issues for conflict in both school and home and to look for alternatives to encouraging independent study. Sadly it appears there is strong resistance from parents to changing how homework is set so nothing changed.
Rosemaryandthyme - lucky you, very progressive school.

Runoutofideas Sun 19-Jun-11 14:33:36

My dd is in yr1 of an "outstanding" primary with particularly involved parents. There is no homework apart from reading books. I agree with RosemaryandThyme in that this seems to give the children time to write things of their own choosing, and play and learn in their own way after school. Very occasionally, about twice a year, a piece of work comes home which could be something like designing a poster for the summer fair or writing about their favourite book, but these are always totally optional. It seems to be a good system and I would certainly not be pushing for more homework.

acsec Sun 19-Jun-11 14:42:13

I teach Reception and we expect the children to read every night, for about 10 mins but it doesn't have to be the reading scheme book (which are boring beyond belief), it can be any story. We also send home a little maths game on Monday to play over the week and return it on Friday with a little comment on whether child enjoyed it, found it easy/ hard etc.
I might also ask the children to 'go home and find out something about...' then ask them the next day what they discovered.

I can honestly say, that in most cases the children who read every eve progress faster than those who don't. Homework shouldn't be a burden imo, reading with your child is fun and the maths games are things that can be done fairly painlessly.

sillybillies Sun 19-Jun-11 14:51:55

acsec - I I don't mind the 'go home and find out something about.. type homeworks and I'd probably be happy to do maths games as long as they were fun. Its really the masses of worksheets for homework that I'm opposed that I've seen my niece get from her school. As my DD is only in reception, I'm not sure what their policy is for homework in other years.
Also on my previous post I sent spellings haven't set this week - meant to say this year!
Totally agree about reading every night. I don't really think of it as homework.

ndume Sun 19-Jun-11 14:54:49

It depends what sort of hw. My dd has been reading a book for maximum 10min since she learnt how to read every day except fri and weekend optional. Although since she became a free reader she reads as much as she wants, which is usually longer than 10mins. This is because she enjoys the stories as she choses the books herself. We didn't do much of maths in reception as she knew counting etc. In yr1 she started using mathletics which we spend 10mins max. At the 1st PTA meeting she was on 1c, her teacher said that's ok so no advice . Again she took upon herself to spend longer on practising maths. By the 2nd PTA she was on 2B although was expecting 1a at end of yr1!

Saying that I hate "set homework" which requires me to do help. I told her teacher I won't do my child's homework therefore they shouldn't bother telling asking me to help dd to make x,y,z toys. Surprising they children now do their arty things at school and parents get the product.

IndigoBell Sun 19-Jun-11 17:12:19

Everyone (I think) agrees that reading at home every day is a good thing.

If school didn't set all the other homework, then we'd have enough time to do the reading. Plus it would show that school really believes reading is the most important thing.....

For example my DD in Y3 gets reading, spellings, times tables, and 2 worksheets. If I can't fit them all in, which one will I drop? Well the one which the teacher won't know I've dropped is the reading......

So it's no good complaining kids don't read at home, and then set loads of other homework.......

(I don't drop reading with DD btw, instead I drop spellings and times tables, but others might....)

c0rn55ilk Sun 19-Jun-11 18:14:57

ditto Indigo
homework (apart from reading) is ineffective and cuts into family time.

marycorporate Sun 19-Jun-11 18:22:05

How long is it taking you? My DD is 5 and gets one worksheet to complete a week. We do it the morning after she gets it, over breakfast. I reckon it takes about 15 minutes maximum. I only have one young child (and one secondary age child) so obviously those of you with 3 or more will have a different experience, but I do work around 10 hours a day, 5 days a week - I don't see the problem and really enjoy watching her progress.
Surely you'd want to do some kind of education based activity with your children? Why can't that be the homework?

Or ar others getting a lot more than mine?

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