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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.

LooWaterSunset Mon 16-Dec-13 12:55:46

I'm pretty sure this is a UK thing. Oooh, homework is compulsory and IT MUST EXTEND the child's knowledge in some mad theoretical way. Plus it must always consist of A LOT of extra work. It must cover Word, Sentence and Text areas of literacy and every single aspect of numeracy. It's like Ofsted requires it and they'll get a big fat red cross against their inspection or something. I get the feeling that most teachers hate it as much as most parents, but if they didn't set it they'd be hung drawn and quartered by some.

In other places, the general bog-standard daily homework is designed for relatively easy/painless review with some short-term projects set for extension. It's all about building up the HABIT of doing some work each evening (i.e. they'll be able to do this independently when they're older) rather than endlessly torturing the kid, the parents and the teacher.

rabbitstew Mon 16-Dec-13 12:56:33

noramum - the idea in your last sentence works both ways. I never got any homework at primary school and loved getting homework at secondary school because it was a novelty and made me feel very grown up. I also know parents of children who got lots of homework in primary school who wish they hadn't, because they were jaded about the whole thing before they even got to secondary school and that attitude didn't change. You really don't need to build up to secondary school homework - secondary school is a whole new place with a whole new set of rules and expectations.

sonlypuppyfat Mon 16-Dec-13 13:00:11

When mine were in primary I never made them do homework I never did it at their age. Its too much of a battle and what are they learning when you are the one doing it.

icravecheese Mon 16-Dec-13 13:00:19

Not time to read all the replies, but my DS (yr2) was first given homework in yr1. I wrote a polite but firm email to his teacher & the deputy (who set the whole homework plan) and said there was no way we'd be doing it - yr 1 is far too young (as is general primary school age).

Deputy replied and said completely fine with that - they only set it because parents ask.

I don't mind reading several times a week, plus a few spellings, but the whole 'write a book review' or 'draw a venn diagram for blah blah' is, in my opinion, not needed at such a young age. I do, however, agree with targeting problem areas with specific children - eg some additional maths tasks for a certain child if they're having trouble.

The parents that argue that its just setting the kids up for the homework they'll receive in future school life... I just don't buy that either. Next we'll be getting babies to practise holding a pencil "because they'll need to be doing that when they get to school you know"'...bleugh! Our kids are doing EVERYTHING at a younger age than we did (did anyone on this thread ever have primary homework? I certainly didn't, and i'm not academically challenged as a result!), and I just don't like it - let them be kids for longer.

So, make you stand and don't do it! (unless, of course, your kids love it!)

ThreeTomatoes Mon 16-Dec-13 13:12:47

The only value I could see of homework at primary is that I got an idea of what she was learning, and could help her with her understanding (esp maths). Hated it though, weekly maths sheet & spellings and literacy. In the last year or so though they've switched to a project each term and very little else - so project would run for 4-6 weeks, and each week there would be a different part of the project to do. dd actually on the whole enjoyed the projects, it was fun for her.

What I DO hate is homework over the holidays, especially Christmas. WTF?! I've actually consciously not bothered getting dd to do it, even if there had been time to. Ridiculous.

Basketofchocolate Mon 16-Dec-13 13:19:10

My DS is in Year R.
Homework is a pain - pulling teeth as others have mentioned. It's stressful for us to remember to make time at the weekend as usually our family schedule doesn't mean much time at home. I wish at least that it was a mid-week thing - given on Mon, back on Fri. He's shattered and totally uninterested in anything school related during the week, but to give it on Thurs for Mon is a right pain. He needs to be out the house and having a break over the weekend. He's not even 5 yet.

Peers of ours in other countries their same age kids are not even in school yet - still a year or two to go. So, I think it's absolute b*ll*cks to say that they won't catch on to doing homework when older.

greenfolder Mon 16-Dec-13 13:19:45

i read with DD. i would do spellings with her and tables (tries to forget the years of doing this with DD2 before discovering at 11 she has no working memory).

I have not done this half terms homework,because it is never something a 5 year old can do. its stuff i could do, but where is the point in that?

Snowbility Mon 16-Dec-13 13:36:22

I don't mind reading and some Maths - practice in these subjects can only be a good thing - especially when dcs struggle with a Maths topic it means I can support and give them more one to one time at home than the teacher can in class.

BUT I detest holiday homework, especially the bloody project craft stuff that take forever and that the dcs needs parents to do a lot of it for them. It rude to impose on holiday time. And dcs get kept in at break time if they don't complete it to a good standard!!! So don't tell me it's all about the parents!

Inneedoftea Mon 16-Dec-13 13:42:37

Reading for homework is fine. I am a primary teacher and agree that if written homework isn't set it is usually always asked for by parents.

There was a study a few years back saying that homework usually was a waste of time at primary level. The school I worked in cut any homework other than reading and by Year 6 a few research projects with a month to complete. This helps children organise their time and learn to research independently and present info correctly. Hated marking them and it was very obvious who was supported correctly, who had parents who did it for them and those kids (who needed the homework the most) who printed off a few internet pages and stuck it in a folder on the morning it was due!

My DD (Yr 1) has reading, spellings and a small piece of literacy and numeracy each weekend. I like to see it as I can see what they are doing, but wouldn't be upset if the school decided against any homework (other than reading).

columngollum Mon 16-Dec-13 13:44:10

I agree, I genuinely don't see the point of "parent work." Homework which the child can basically do but may need help here and there, OK. (I still don't see the point of it, but bleh.) But the other? Completely mad. Maybe if parents were competing with each other on the basis of my son built a scale model of Ancient Rome out of matchsticks, then OK. But that has nothing really to do with the children, does it!

purplebaubles Mon 16-Dec-13 13:48:08

I think the homework your child is getting is pointless!

It should at least have questions/tasks etc to complete, that should be differentiated so not every child gets the same one.

To just set, 'tell me what you know' is a total cop out.

Go and speak to the teacher and say you want proper homework or he's not doing it!

ps. teachers have to set it, but it's not mandatory to actually do it. So complain if there are consequences for not doing it.

ashamedoverthinker Mon 16-Dec-13 13:48:36

My DS gets homework he is in year 3

Numeracy - specific exercises that seem to relate to classwork
Literacy - same as above
Reading book
Library book

Ocassional large peice of writing or full on project.

homeworkmakesmemad Mon 16-Dec-13 14:08:15

My name says it all

Ban it - please!

Meglet Mon 16-Dec-13 14:18:34

Another one who likes homework. It gets them into good habits IMO.

Y2 DS has spellings and reading every week, then they alternate either maths or english homework each week. I quite like seeing what he's been learning, I didn't know he could punctuate until he sat there and did it, quite happily, in front of me.

I don't want him to be thrown into the deep end at senior school, like I was. Better to build it up gradually.

hmc Mon 16-Dec-13 14:22:53

Don't like homework at primary school with the exception of Y6 - if they don't get homework in Y6 then there is a massive wake up call as soon as they hit secondary school and it is piled on!

Andro Mon 16-Dec-13 14:23:47

Setting home work in Y5 and Y6? Great! Make it relevant and targeted, mark it in a meaningful way and use it to set good habits for secondary school.

Anywhere below Y5? Ugh!

As for the preponderance of art and craft based homework, it torture pure and simple. My DC hate it and I despise it...and that includes the super-abundance of posters!

ikuji Mon 16-Dec-13 14:43:53

LooWaterSunset homework is not just the UK thing. I come from a country where homework is a part of schooling from the very beginning and is done on daily basis (DC start school at the age of seven though). However the contents of HW reflects the work done in the classroom and is set to reinforce the skills being practiced that day. The task for each subject (math, literacy, reading) is short and does not take long to complete. The homework is marked by the teacher daily.
IMHO relevant HW can be a very good tool in communicating what the child is learning and how s/he is progressing.

Redcliff Mon 16-Dec-13 14:50:56

I also hate homework - my DS yr 2 was struggling with it so much (3 hours was not unheard of) that I turned to mumsnet and got the great advice of 30 mins per bit and no more. If it's not finished then I just write "this it was DS did in 30 minutes". Has solved most issues.

I wish he had a design a poster type homework - he would love that.

feelingdizzy Mon 16-Dec-13 14:52:59

Hate it, and I am a teacher.It may have some value in Y5 and 6,to prepare for secondary.Otherwise no,I really don't think it has much value.

Tailtwister Mon 16-Dec-13 15:10:26

DS is in P1 and he gets writing practice (x2), numeracy (x1), reading books (x3) per week and a word tin.

He gets nothing over the weekend so far. He can do the writing and numeracy independently and obviously I have to do the reading books and word tin with him. I don't mind it and neither does DS. It all reinforces what they have covered that day in class and gets them into the habit I suppose.

Does it have any value? Hard to say really, but it's good to see what they are covering each week and how well he's coping.

Tailtwister Mon 16-Dec-13 15:11:52

I might add that even on the heaviest nights, it never takes more than 30 minutes to complete.

defineme Mon 16-Dec-13 15:22:08

I think kids need reading, times tables (from the appropriate age) and that's about it at primary. The odd bit of research perhaps.
However, I'm very lucky that my twins usually love doing their weekly maths sheet/writing homework. Ds1 on the other hand had to be dragged through it with a sweet at the end!

Chippingnortonset123 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:25:43

I just ignored all homework in state primary apart from reading at home. We had Roger Redhat which I thought would put them off reading so actively ignored that.

shoppingbagsundereyes Mon 16-Dec-13 15:25:50

Depends on the homework. That sounds pretty crap. Ds in year 3 and gets hwk every night. Usually it checks his understanding of what he has done that day or reinforces his knowledge. So he was doing grid references in geography and brought home a sheet where he had to identify items on a grid using said grid references. Maths is always really well set. The only one I get narky about is history which is often colouring in a sheet.

NoComet Mon 16-Dec-13 15:50:26

HW in primary does not set up good habits for the future, it just causes stress!

At senior school the whole atmosphere is different, classes are streamed, HW is (almost all) an extension of the lesson and the DCs know what to do and can do it themselves.

They know if they don't they will get detention.

At primary school HW is almost an add on. Frequently intended to stretch not reinforce, which invariably caused confusion.

Differentiation is a nightmare, HW was invariably to easy for DD2 and 'too hard' for DD1, until Y5/6 the hugely different rates at which DCs learn to read and partially write cause massive problems.

It's one thing in a class situation to accept some DCs write a couple of sentences another a page.

But if your the parent of these DCs and the one who writes the whole page is three years younger it's massively difficult.

Yes in Y11 my dyslexic DDs English is still horrible, but by Y7 she could muddle through her HW herself.

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