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Homework Policy -What does your school do?

(17 Posts)
mussyhillmum Wed 30-Sep-09 14:56:13

DS has just started year 3. Apart from one term in year one, his class has never had homework apart from reading. They are now bringing home weekly spellings, maths homework and projects. All of this is absolutely fine except that my very able son is lazy and completely lacking in motivation.

Rather than turn homework into a battleground, I had hoped that my son would learn through natural consequences that homework had to be completed. My plan of action in the face of homework refusal was to tell my son that it was his choice not to do his homework, but he would have to accept the consequences the next day when he went to school. A huge spanner in the works was thrown into my cunning plan when I attended the year 3 curriculum meeting this morning. The HT was present and she made it clear that there would be no consequences for non-completion of homework. Her reasoning is that children should be motivated by "their natural love of learning" rather than "fear".

Whilst, I think that is a hugely admirable sentiment I know from experience with homework in year 1 that as soon as one child is seen to get away with not doing homework, a number of children (including my DS) will adopt the view that homework is optional and homework battle at home will commence!

My view is that if homework is set, it should be enforced with consequences by the school ie loss of golden time. However, I went to school sometime in the jurassic period in another country so maybe DS's school's approach to homework is absolutely normal and I'm simply caught in a time warp! I would love to know how other schools approach homework and what methods you use to motivate your DC to complete it.

Geocentric Wed 30-Sep-09 15:02:18

Diff country here but DS (yr1) has homework every day on different subjects. The teacher often sets them things that they share next day in a circle so that's enough motivation for DS as he loves to talk at circle time!!!

GrungeBlobPrimpants Wed 30-Sep-09 15:08:21


I can't see the point in the school setting homework if it's just for 'natural love of learning' - my dd would possibly have done it but my ds would see this as prime opportunity for school-endorsed lazing.

We have weekly spelling tests, homework has to be completed unless there is note from parent eg that it was too hard, or child sick etc. In year 6 if work not completed then it has to be done in child's break or lunch.

I'm not sure I motivate ds. I just assume an autocratic dictator pose and tell him to do it (usually 1 hour nagging plus half hour to actually do the work. Horrendous)

mussyhillmum Wed 30-Sep-09 15:16:52

Oh the nagging - I am dreading it! The stomping, the shouting, collapsing on the floor wailing "it's not fair" - and that's just me! Hmmm, I suspect I will find the "love of wii" a more useful bargaining tool than the "love of learning".

GrungeBlobPrimpants Wed 30-Sep-09 15:23:49

Oh yes only last night I was saying "do that worksheet and then you can have a half-hour computer break before your spellings" which sort of worked - he did his worksheet and then it took forever to get him off the computer for his second piece <sigh>

Smithagain Wed 30-Sep-09 22:38:03

DD1 is in Year 3. Last year, she had weekly homework sheets, with no apparent consequences for not doing them.

This year they have a homework book with 10 spelling words and 20 "maths facts" written in it every week. They are supposed to memorise them for a test the following week. So I guess the test is the motivation.

Also a topic-related task each half term (currently making a poster to promote healthy eating). No idea what the consequence would be if that didn't get done.

mimsum Wed 30-Sep-09 22:50:45

not sure about y3, but certainly from y4 upwards my kids have had to finish homework at breaktime if they've not done it at home

at the start of last year (ds has just gone into y5) the homework tantrums were reaching new heights of hideousness (it had been building up in y3 and came to a boil around October/November last year). The actual homework took ds about ten minutes, but the howling, wailing, sighing, stamping etc ruined at least 3 evenings a week so I realised I had to Do Something ...

that Something was bribery, pure and simple grin - if ds did his homework ^without a fuss^ <the really key bit> he would get a lego minifig (he would sell several body organs for lego, you might have to find your own bribery trigger). I also got him doing some homework every night, just to get him into the habit of it - I got the Bond ten minute tests which are completely manageable and time-limited. And hey presto it worked

We've now made it a bit more complicated, and he's earning points because he wants a new wii game, so every week's homework completed without a fuss earns him a point and after 6 weeks or so (depending on the price of the game) he's earned enough to get what he wants

mussyhillmum Thu 01-Oct-09 08:10:24

Mimsum - thanks for your idea re points for a wii game. I already have a well established system of "rewards" (pokemon cards) for violin practice, so he is used to the carrot approach. You have my sympathies re the pre-homework tantrums. It is so frustrating because once he settles down and gets on with it, he often quite enjoys it. I see from the posts that seem to be DSs who suffer Homework trauma. Does this mean I will have an easy time with DD? Fingers crossed because she is immune to any form of bribery!

noideawhereIamgoing Thu 01-Oct-09 08:30:50

I think if you're going to try and encourage a "natural love of learning" in Yr3 then you need to make sure the homework is fun & interesting that way no bribing should be necessary.

Sporatic rewards encourage more long term motivation & love of learning than rewarding a child for every piece of work completed.

katiestar Thu 01-Oct-09 09:28:02

Totally with the HT here.Research as shown that enforced homework for primary children does more harm than good.Yes, its great to set homework so that its there for those that want to do it (and strangely there will be some)
It is parents who are throwing their spanner in the works by feeling that thre child should be doing it if they don't want to.

mussyhillmum Thu 01-Oct-09 11:25:22

Interesting point about the research. I would be genuinely interested to know how making children do their homework is harmful. To be honest, I don't have strong views about homework in primary school. My concern is that if my DS is encouraged to believe that homework is optional,
he will take this attitude with him to secondary school. I'm also not keen on promoting the idea that DS can simply opt out of anything which does not provide enjoyment or gratification. Life is full of things that we "have" to do even if we don't enjoy them. Isn't that part of growing up and encouraging responsibility?

planejane Thu 01-Oct-09 12:01:42

Why do they have homework at all in primary? Really not necessary imo.

FernieB Thu 01-Oct-09 12:08:25

I agree, that if they are given homework, they should do it and not treat it as optional. Mine (aged 9) are given 20 spelling words per week, English, Science & German homework each week and Maths nearly every day as they almost always have classwork to finish. Any unfinished classwork is sent home for completion and non-completion of homework results in the child missing part of their playtime.

There is a particular TV programme they like to watch each day, but if homework is not completed, they are not permitted to watch it. I sit at the table with them and write letters or do sudoku (exercise my own brain). With their maths, I sometimes race them to do the problems.

They are becoming much more disciplined through doing homework and I don't see how that can be a bad thing. However, if someone would like to extend the argument so that I can prove that ironing is harmful, I may change my opinion.

kreecherlivesupstairs Thu 01-Oct-09 12:18:04

My dd is in grade 3 (y4 UK), she gets a small amount of homework (not sure why, it is hadly challenging) our rule is that she must do one part on each page before she can watch the telly, go on the computer or read her book. If she takes it to school and it isn't completed, she loses golden time to finish it. that's quite an incentive.

NikkiH Fri 02-Oct-09 09:49:59

Homework is my bete noir - I hate it with a passion. It has been the source of arguments with DS1 for many years and now looks like going the same way for DS2.

DS2 now in yr 3 and seems to be getting more homework than ever. It is set on a Friday to be in on Tuesday. They get house points for completing it - the more they do, the more housepoints they get.

Last week we split it into three sections and he did one on each day of the weekend. Totalled it took him two and a half hours and that doesn't allow for another 40 minutes spent hearing him read over the weekend. Ludicrous!

I don't know what the consequences are for not doing it - the kids have normally been brow beaten or bribed into doing it albeit in a half hearted way - but it is ruining so many weekends as it takes up so much time. It's definitely on my agenda to discuss at parents' evening.

DS1 has just started at secondary school and although he does get homework set practically every day he does have a week to do it in most cases. Not that he takes the approach of 'I'll do it straight away and get it out of the way!' - it's normally left til the last minute so more nagging from me. I do think there are consequences if he doesn't do it though so I might lay off the nagging and let him find out the hard way if he leaves it too late to get it done!

Builde Fri 02-Oct-09 10:30:26

I don't agree with homework at primary level. I think it prevent children playing and interferes with family life.

(Playing is the thing that develops intelligence, not homework!)

However, I have since discovered that few parents think this way.

If you are happy for your child not to do it and there are no consequences, then don't do it!

The teacher might enjoy having less to mark; homework is a real burden for teachers.

Miggsie Fri 02-Oct-09 10:43:33

The only thing you can really do is tell him that as he goes up the school the other children will be doing better as they did their homework...but this may not motivate him either.
So if there is no school sanction then you are a bit stuck.

My DD does hers voluntarily but if she didn't want to I wouldn't push her...some weeks she doesn't read her book and I don't make a thing of it.

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