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Topic homework project

(39 Posts)
bookeatingboy Sun 26-Feb-17 17:12:53

At our school there is a culture of pupils being tasked with some type of project assignment related to the current topic in school.

Design and build a miniature garden, make a musical instrument, design a water filter to clean dirty water etc. Now I certainly don't know any 8 year old that could do any of the above without lots of parental input.

I've had enough... I actually agree with homework, but these projects have turned into a competition between the parents and I really hate the fact that the school is dictating to me how I should spend time with my dc. I say this as someone who is fully committed to supporting the school in any way I can. I am of the opinion that any homework set should be able to be completed independently by the child with minimal input from the parent. I'm very close to just refusing to do them anymore but my 9 year old is really worried about how the teacher will react.

Please tell me if this type of silliness goes on in your school grin

theaveragewife Sun 26-Feb-17 17:15:00

Yes but I quite like it because it gives us a common goal and purpose for the half term! Having said that we've only had two so far - I'm sure by the time dc2 is far into primary and I've seen the same topics again I'll have had enough!!

and yes it's a competition between parents, and yes I'm going to win grin

TartyTart Sun 26-Feb-17 17:17:47

I hate all of this topic homework with a passion. It isn't helped by teachers given points/awards to kids who clearly have had a lot of help.

2017willbeawesome Sun 26-Feb-17 17:20:28

Welcome to ks2, I've made islands, stage sets, 3D bloody wind turbines on an island.... We have had a few of these lovely projects over the years (DS spent half term making another bloody island ....that yes I had to help with), they always get given out for completion over a half term or Easter Break & of course my DCs do them all themselves ....--of course they don't! They are too complicated and often require lots of complicated cutting out/oven baking clay - rah rah rah.-- I feel your pain, the unfortunate thing is they do get into trouble if they don't do them! I have bags of easy clay now, at least that's much more fun than making models out of cake (yes seriously!)

SaudadeObama Sun 26-Feb-17 17:25:27

They do but never over the school holidays, usually just a couple of days in the week. They also get a note saying everything they'll need at home, so for example a shoe box and modelling clay for a mini garden or an empty container and elastic bands for an instrument. So you do get lots of clearly kid made stuff. The first time there were one or two adult input ones. The projects are usually photographed and put on the school facebook page, as the kids had written their names on the models it was obvious who had made their child's model and didn't happen again grin

bookeatingboy Sun 26-Feb-17 17:49:42

We get two every bloody term and they aren't done in school, they are to be completed at home and bought into school by a certain date! The children are given house points an their projects are on show so you can clearly see which ones have been done by the parents!

I just don't agree with them at all and I'm very close to going in and speaking with head to ask her to explain the relevance of it all. Surely there is more mileage in doing them in school time so they are completed by the children.

2017willbeawesome Sun 26-Feb-17 18:08:53

Two a term confused oh my, I tear my hair out with one every bloody half term. Maybe have a quiet word, that is excessive.

Sparklingbrook Sun 26-Feb-17 18:10:27

Ours had one a term for two years in Yr 3 and 4. I refused to let DS2 do his 6th and final one because enough was enough. He had to do a 15 minute power point presentation. hmm

irvineoneohone Sun 26-Feb-17 18:26:31

Hate them. Teachers, please stop giving those homeworks to do at home!
You are ruining someone's weekends/holidays.

But then, I don't think it's going to stop, is it? I 'm sure a lot of teachers have children, so they should know how silly to expect all those resources are ready at home to use, and parents are clued up/have time enough to guide children.
WHY WHY WHY!!!!! Grrrrrrr!!! This makes me mad every time!

bookeatingboy Sun 26-Feb-17 18:46:37

If there are any teachers reading, please try to explain the relevance of doing this to me please!

How on earth do they help the children. The problem is that the children who get no guidance/support from their parents end up getting into trouble for not completing any homework/topic work. This certainly won't help these children at all, will just alienate them further.

bookeatingboy Sun 26-Feb-17 18:47:59

You are also well and truly pissing me off!

mrz Sun 26-Feb-17 19:31:42

I've never set this type of homework but in parental feedback (last year's class) a number of parents said how much they would like this type of thing. Now I've got nowhere to display 30 models of the Eiffel Tower sculptured in Victoria sponge so I'm afraid I'm not going to start homework projects

bookeatingboy Sun 26-Feb-17 19:51:47

mrz well done on your excellent decision. I can also guarantee that those parents would regret that statement after a few terms should you have decided to take their suggestions on board!

I don't know one parent in my child's year that doesn't feel the same way that I do, there are often numerous conversations in the playground or at after school activities and none of them are in any way positive.

None of them will be the one to voice that to the school thought.

bookeatingboy Sun 26-Feb-17 19:52:44


mrz Sun 26-Feb-17 20:01:55

As a parent I would have struggled to find to make a working model of the space shuttle or a life size TRex so why would I impose it on others wink

Buildalegohouse Sun 26-Feb-17 22:27:44

We have done this type of homework in the past.

Teachers like it because it is a whole load less marking to do, although at my school we then had a whole afternoon of 'show and tell' of topic homework and it was difficult to tell if it was more boring for me or the kids.

We used to give a whole list of different options though, so some could be these big projects or smaller tasks could be chosen to make up the same number of points.

IMO homework serves little purpose. The kids that can't do it at school and have no support can't do it at home, the kids that have 'support' at home can miraculously do it all and can't do it in follow up lessons. Parents complain that it is too hard / too easy / requires too much support / doesn't require enough support. It's pointless and infuriating for everyone involved.

I, personally, LOVE IT when kids don't do their homework as it means I don't have to mark it or find anywhere to display it. I never tell kids off for not doing homework (although I'm year 6 so warn the kids they won't get away with it so slightly at high school!)

Having said all that though, we introduced topic homework to encourage the children to do 'fun' and educational things at home and spend time with parents. I love doing things like this with DD and DN, but thats because it's second nature to me and I appreciate that other parents don't have the time or inclination to do so.

rka2017 Sun 26-Feb-17 23:44:15

I hate them too.If you really busy with work or with some other issues ,then have no time to collect materials. It's time consuming.

IamFriedSpam Mon 27-Feb-17 09:23:40

Thank you mrz I remember hating those projects as a child (one year my dad - who has an art degree and was good at woodwork got so sick of seeing all the clearly parent made projects he crafted me one to bring in out of wood - very obvious I hadn't done it!). Its weird parents ask for these projects - surely if they want to make a scale model of a volcano they can do so without a dictat from the school.

TeenAndTween Mon 27-Feb-17 11:59:01

Homeworks like this are still set in secondary:

Since starting y7 DD2 has had to:
- create a model of a place or worship (RE)
- model of fracking (geography)
- somehow not been set Make a castle (French!) that other groups have had

I have got reasonably adept over the years at simplifying these so that the learning isn't lost in the craft.

NotCitrus Mon 27-Feb-17 12:39:53

We get one of these a term, no sanction if not done, but the kids want to do something so they can tell their friends about it. They had a meeting recently where the issue of doing open-ended homework was raised, and the teacher was persuasive that these ones really got the kids thinking about their topic, talking to each other and their parents, and generally interested in school - and also encouraged people to take photos and email them in so carrying a large creation for a mile in the wind and rain isn't needed.

The vast majority of creations are based on Lego or a cereal box and don't have much parental input - if it looked like parent-assisted creations were getting more kudos than others, then I'd have a problem with it, but as it is, ds is actually engaging with topics and the idea of home learning.

ExplodedCloud Mon 27-Feb-17 12:52:50

It's not just the models though. Ds is in Y1 and we're getting the most ludicrous homework set. It varies from write a book review (achieved with nagging and careful questioning) to research topic X. Which is fine when we can construe it to include lego or playdoh. Less great when it's research 'Jane Austen'. Ds gained nothing at all that weekend.
*topic changed as the actual topic was equally irrelevant to a 5yr old boy and I refuse to believe any other school has ever set the same topic.

bojorojo Mon 27-Feb-17 12:53:01

I think homework should be practicing something the child has learnt in school. Mine did lots of History learning in primary via topics researched at home. At least that taught how to choose books, or use the internet and filter relevant information. We still had children who found that difficult and left the homework info in their book bags! Just straightforward maths or English or reading is best. Making things - no!!!! Dreadful.

kesstrel Mon 27-Feb-17 13:29:28

TeenandTween It's bad enough that homework of such questionable value is set in primary, but I think doing it in secondary is beyond the pale!

TeenAndTween Mon 27-Feb-17 13:49:36

kestrel I'm in two minds really.

DD1 those kinds of homeworks were nightmares. Turned out she has dyspraxia which explained why she couldn't come up with ideas, or how to implement them, or even really do cutting / sticking with any competence.

With DD2 they have been OK: she has an idea, I simplify it, then we work together (often me doing the cutting and her the sticking & decisions) and talk about the project as we go so the learning goes in. At secondary she also has to do a leaflet or whatever to go along with it, but by the time the 'make' is done she has the knowledge for the writing. (DD2 has poor motor skills which is why I do the cutting unless straightforward).

The main thing is to work out what you want your child to learn with the homework and make sure that doesn't get lost.

WinkyisbackontheButterBeer Mon 27-Feb-17 14:04:08

I set these kinds of homework and have had really positive feedback from both parents and children.
I work in an area of considerable disadvantage and find that if I set worksheets or spelling etc it is not done. Many of our parents are very wary of academic work but will really go to town on something creative. It's the same with in school parents events.
I teach year 1 and set 1 homework per half term. Maybe the difference is that I set a key question for the half term and families are free to answer it however they choose.
For example, I set the question 'what is it like to be beside the seaside?'
We had: models, children made postcards, some sent photos with writing, one made ice cream and wrote instructions and one made a souvenir shop and did some maths around it.
The children loved presenting their homework to the class.
I think that it's sad when parents say that they won't help with homework and think that it can be enjoyable if it's embraced.

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