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Homework: what is the point? (and on the links between school and home)

(57 Posts)
Arkadia Thu 09-Feb-17 11:39:28

I feel the other thread has run its course, so here is another one...

DD1 (P3) gets usually very little homework (which is fine), but it is ALWAYS the same week in, week out, AND it NEVER gets checked, let alone commented on. So, the question is... what is the point? Obviously she loses interest in doing it (and so would/do I).
There is certainly a pattern because in the previous years it was the same.
When you ask the teacher she invariably says that everything if fine.

Some schools in our council are doing away with homework altogether. That would be OK as such, but homework is the ONLY link that the family has with the school and with what happens in the classroom (except some little morsels of information that DD graciously gives us from time to time). So, on a wider point, do the parents have the right to know what goes on at school or should that be seen as a privilege?

irvineoneohone Thu 09-Feb-17 11:45:26

I think the purpose of homework in primary is to get children into the habit of doing a bit of work at home and getting ready for later years.
My ds' homework is always marked, and get house points according to effort he has put in them.

I think the problem is with school, not with homework itself.

Flicketyflack Thu 09-Feb-17 11:58:32

I agree with you arcadia and I believe that our teacher, but office staff, mark our homework! Ours is similar every week too.

I do find it useful inasmuch as it helps identify what the children are learning and it means we can extend DC work.

Many parents at our school are obsessed with it, some even ask for more!

Arkadia Thu 09-Feb-17 13:15:53

Flicketyflack, in our case we can't really get much info from it. It comprises a spelling card and some (dare I say, useless) "learn its".
She is supposed to choose a written activity and two "active" ones from a list.
It would all be fine, but the lack of ANY feedback makes the whole process rather pointless to me.
Last year I had a chat with the HT and she asked me whether I wanted more homework. After a little thought I went back to her and I asked for more meaningful homework as I don't believe that either this year's or last year's actually qualifies.

Arkadia Thu 09-Feb-17 13:21:37

Let's see... what do you get at P2-3-4 level (Y1-2-3 in England I believe)?

MongerTruffle Thu 09-Feb-17 17:01:48

At that age at our school they get between 8-15 spellings (depending on ability) to learn for a test, and either maths or topic homework (on alternate weeks).

Gildedcage Thu 09-Feb-17 17:11:38

My youngest P2 by your description gets 10/15 spellings which are tested religiously on a Monday. She gets maths and English, for which she gets three days to complete and return. I think the standard that she gets is good and it certainly gets marked. She is always proud to show you her results of her spelling tests. My slightly older children get a lot more. I do find with theirs that I'm having to teach them how to do things so that they can complete the homework but I always assume that this is because there isn't enough 1-1 for the teachers to know who are secure in what their doing so that they can complete the homework. I do feel sometimes however that they have too much when we never had homework at their age, but expectations of children is soooo much higher now.

irvineoneohone Thu 09-Feb-17 17:16:55

Ks1(yr1 & yr2) : Daily reading(20mins), weekly spelling(10)+ write sentence,
maths or literacy homework(optional), online reading(optional) comprehension(optional)

From ks2(yr3+), it's not optional. Daily reading. Spelling + writing sentence. Maths worksheet. Online reading, online maths, and sometimes research or topic related homework.

Arkadia Thu 09-Feb-17 20:57:50

Funnily enough I discovered just yesterday that there is a spelling test at our school as well. Never knew.
Anyway, I see that some have to do loads of homework. Not really bothered either way, but it is the lack of feedback that really gets on my nerves.

Also interesting that if you talk about skipping a grade there is deluge of replies (which I was NOT expecting). If instead you talk about homework... hardly anyone chimes in (and I was NOT expecting that either...)

irvineoneohone Thu 09-Feb-17 21:22:06

Personally, if the homework never get checked, I would be tempted to say don't do it to my ds. It sounds very demotivating.

For the link, our school has home- school link book along with reading diary. And school website has pages for each year group with details of topics etc for each term, split into each week. So we can find out what they are doing in literacy this week, etc., if parents wanted to.

sirfredfredgeorge Thu 09-Feb-17 21:47:19

Homework is not a very interesting subject, the evidence from studies is that it has little or no effect, but it's so confounded by other things, that the research is probably worth not much. About all we could say is it's certainly not essential, or worth much. Because of this, there's such a variety that every school is just an anecdote, and often the levels of homework simply reflect what the parents ask for. Lots of parents ignore it, or make up their own homework anyway.

As irvineoneohone says, many people like it because they think it's habit forming. I can appreciate that view, although I disagree with it because the habit I think is right to have is how to recognise what you need to practice and revise from your work and spend the time on that, or if it's not, invest the time in something else.

In terms of communication on what the school is doing, I hear mostly about what goes on from DD (YR1 England summer born) as she talks about what she's learnt. There's a general guideline on topics that they'll discuss, but given that the KS1 curriculum is almost all building basic skills, it's mostly just giving them the opportunity to practice the skills and talking to them about stuff.

I've got a feeling that homework in our school is actually quite tied to the parents and the child - the school knows we won't bother with any homework they "set", and DD won't care about any reward scheme for home reading and stuff, that they don't do it. I'm sure though that they would be more encouraging and meaningful guide in what we should work on if DD was struggling in any area where home work would help.

helenwilson Thu 09-Feb-17 21:52:57

I used to hate homework but now my ds1 is at secondary I can see the benefits of being able to work independently at home, so I think it is useful. It is a requirement at secondary and it is now just a habit for ds, dd1 is also very self motivated with homework. However, I think it should be "practice with purpose" because if you're going to spend half an hour on something, it might as well be useful ! I also think it should be something to show in class or hand in, because that is how it works at secondary - our new head has implemented "home learning" as a trial in some years (1 and 3) and the children don't take anything in, we just have to sign a sheet which I don't think is great as that's not how it works at secondary and the temptation to sign the sheet and not do it can be quite tempting on a Sunday night at bedtime wink Finally, I think homework should be something that children can get out and complete independently, they shouldn't really need parental support - certainly not at KS2.

irvineoneohone Thu 09-Feb-17 22:11:56

Sir, I am not particularly big fan of homework. Just used to it because of where I was educated.

But wonder if the child formed the attitude that homework won't matter, what do you do when she started secondary?
In Ks1, homework was optional in ds' school. When they become must do in ks2, some children really struggled, according to some parents.

Arkadia Thu 09-Feb-17 23:18:47

helewilson, our new head has implemented "home learning" as a trial in some years (1 and 3) and the children don't take anything in, we just have to sign a sheet
huh?

80schild Thu 09-Feb-17 23:34:19

All children struggle with homework in thw beginning. When they are ready though they will sit down and engage. I have one child in KS1 and personally I think he is to young he can't focus and can't be bothered. Beginning key stage 2 is reasonable with 10 mins / day and build up gradually.

Trifleorbust Fri 10-Feb-17 05:47:06

Why do you think homework is pointless without feedback? If a task is worthwhile, it would be worthwhile even if no-one ever knew or saw that it was done. How do you think people teach themselves anything?

I'm not saying feedback is pointless, but the value of homework might be greater than the value of the feedback.

mrz Fri 10-Feb-17 06:48:24

Research evidence shows that homework in primary is "pointless"

IntoTheDeep Fri 10-Feb-17 07:04:53

Research evidence shows that homework in primary is "pointless"

Doesn't that depend on what the homework is, to an extent?

DS1 is in Reception, and for homework he gets reading books, and activities for practicing phonics and writing. All stuff that reinforces the reading and writing skills that are still very new to him, which seems like a valuable thing to do.

CuckooCuckooClock Fri 10-Feb-17 07:08:05

Why don't you mark the homework and feedback to dd yourself?
Teachers have enough to do.
They probably set it because parents want them to. Then they have to deal with parents whining about it not being marked.
These non-issues add to teacher stress.

Kennington Fri 10-Feb-17 07:18:01

I thought that the point of homework was to reinforce and expand on what is leaned at school.
I would have failed all my exams if I hadn't done homework. Surely it is a good thing?
It also helps expand general knowledge and think in your own time about things.

mrz Fri 10-Feb-17 07:26:33

*"*^*Doesn't that depend on what the homework is, to an extent?*^ *"* beyond reading most has little impact on learning perhaps because many parents "help"
I see the main benefit as homework keeps parents informed about what their child is doing in class

sirfredfredgeorge Fri 10-Feb-17 09:28:16

But wonder if the child formed the attitude that homework won't matter, what do you do when she started secondary?

The attitude that I would want to foster, is responsibility for your own learning, so you would choose to revise and practice the things you need, and not the things you don't. Even in secondary there is a lot of discretion in homework - ie doing the minimum, or choosing the quality of mark you want, taking the punishment for not doing it etc.

If we've not fostered that mindset by secondary, then we can intervene then.

irvineoneohone Fri 10-Feb-17 09:49:31

Ok sir, I don't either agree or disagree with you.
I am positive about it because it made me realise learning is fun. And I think it had same effect on my ds too. (I think very encouraging comments from reception teacher every week had a huge effect. )

Trifleorbust Fri 10-Feb-17 09:55:00

The attitude that I would want to foster, is responsibility for your own learning, so you would choose to revise and practice the things you need, and not the things you don't. Even in secondary there is a lot of discretion in homework - ie doing the minimum, or choosing the quality of mark you want, taking the punishment for not doing it etc

This is the attitude of an adult, not a child. In the time it takes to learn this attitude a child can miss a hell of a lot. That's why we remove guidance and instruction over time, not all at once.

mrz Sat 11-Feb-17 07:34:05

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