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Is it time to stop giving our children homework?

(21 Posts)
caringdad66 Wed 26-Nov-14 17:30:10

Homework is the bane of my life.
It's a constant battle to ensure my children do it,and causes endless debates ,and even arguements.
I'm convinced a majority of teachers ,would welcome a homework ban,it would surely save them endless grief and aggravation,in marking and chasing it up.
Has there ever been a credible study into the benefits of homework ?
Does homework make our children happier?or does it make them more employable?
Does homework increase gcse grades significantly?
Why can't our children's education be done between 9am and 4pm,Monday to Friday?
There are probably very good reasons for homework,but at the moment in our house,I can't think of many !!!!!

reup Wed 26-Nov-14 17:40:27

I think most research at primary level anyway show it has no benefits. Don't know about secondary but several teachers I know don't think its useful until GCSE.

I dislike it as a parent and teacher. A school I used to work at gave it 5 times a week to year 5 & 6 but was never marked! So utterly pointless.

Its mostly parental demand that fuels it. God knows why.

AuntieStella Wed 26-Nov-14 17:45:19

You posted this in 'secondary education' so I assume you want to talk about homework for older pupils.

You'll probably find studies showing benefits of homework and studies showing the reverse. I doubt it makes pupils happier in the fluffy sense in the short term, but may well bring good results (which may lead to greater future options and thus the kind of happiness from reaching goals and having choices).

rabbitstew Wed 26-Nov-14 18:46:57

Well, I always found homework useful because it, at the least, forced me to review what I'd been taught in the lesson and demonstrate whether or not I'd made any sense of it. I don't think there was time in the lessons themselves to ensure that absolutely everyone had understood what was expected (the lessons would have got rather boring if literally everyone had to prove this in lesson time, particularly the quiet ones who never volunteered to share their knowledge and understanding, but who might go away, think about it and produce something quite interesting for homework). Also, it allowed time for more extended writing - again, not something that could be crammed into an actual lesson. I fail to understand how, if taken seriously and marked properly, homework can be anything other than extremely useful. It's where one side or the other fails to take it seriously that it becomes a waste of time.

rabbitstew Wed 26-Nov-14 18:48:25

Oh, and where parents do the homework for their children - that's a waste of time, too!

Roseformeplease Wed 26-Nov-14 18:54:47

I cannot, as a secondary English teacher, get through enough in 3 hours a week. Read a book - homework. Write a full length essay - homework. Class time is for introduction and reinforcing new skills and building on prior knowledge.

I prefer it if parents just leave them to it so I can tell what they can and can't manage. If parents get too involved it can mean my judgements about what a pupil can do are not as sound as I would like. Also, some work is towards exams so must be the pupil's own.

The only way you can get away with no homework at secondary would be to reduce the number of subjects taken, or halve subject content. Also, homework teaches time management and self-directed learning.

If you are having to do it with / for your children then you need to talk to the school about the work they are being set. Your intervention might mean they are being given work which is too hard for them as the teachers' judgements are based on a false premise.

LynetteScavo Wed 26-Nov-14 19:05:38

Primary homework is obviously pointless, apart from reading (which is vital) times tables or a bit of research/parents taking DC to an appropriate museum which shouldn't be compulsory.

Secondary home work is more important....but ds2 has friends doing 2 hours a night. While ds plays sport/sings to himself while building Lego etc. His comprehensive school gets excellent results, so I see no point in other schools giving out so much homework in y7.

DS1, in y11 does need to do some...he can do a lot of it in school with a teacher hovering. He definitely does no more than an hour a day at home, which he and the school seem happy with. I'm

ErrolTheDragon Wed 26-Nov-14 19:27:47

You shouldn't be constantly battling with your children once they're in secondary - you should provide them with a place and the means to do it, encourage them to do it, but they need to start taking responsibility for their own work.

A lot of homework in primary school may not be a good idea, but I think there's value in a gradually increasing amount (from just reading in Ks1 through a bit more in ks2) does help the children get into the routine - provided that you don't do it for them. My DD found that she started yr7 having slightly less than she'd got accustomed to which made the transition much easier for her than some of her cohort for whom it was a bit of a shock.

And they certainly will need to learn how to work independently to do GCSEs, especially the subjects with a significant amount of coursework, and preparing for controlled assessments etc. My DD is in Yr11 now and no way could she do everything she needs to within the schoolday.

pointythings Wed 26-Nov-14 20:33:13

In secondary I think it depends on the homework. At secondary age, schools and parents together should be focusing on teaching good independent study habits, and the same sort of homework that is set at primary is probably not the best thing to achieve this.

I went through the secondary system in Holland and yes, we had homework - but it was not for the teachers to mark. Instead it was either

1) discussed in class, and if you were picked to give an answer, got it wrong and were then checked and found not to have done the work, you got in trouble. If you had understood and retained the material, you could get away with not doing the work, or do it anyway and use it for test revision. The responsibility was placed squarely on the student.

2) you were set a deadline to produce a particular piece of work, like an essay, or the completion of a set number of sums or problems. This work would be marked, and crucially the mark would go towards your final report as well as your term report. Again, this placed the responsibility on the student

3) you were told you would have a test on units x,y and z on a particular day and you'd have to revise for it. The test would be marked, and there was always a minimum (and maximum) number of tests a teacher could set. Marking these was still a heck of a lot less than marking homework books every single week.

DD1's school is moving towards options 2 and 3 and I am pleased - DDs know they must do the work and revise because it will matter, but teacher workload in terms of marking is reduced.

NotQuiteSoBig Thu 27-Nov-14 09:10:35

Thankfully DD does her homework at school in prep session so rarely brings any home to do. When I have looked through her books, the work set has been consolidation of the lessons to ensure that they have been understood.

StarDust14 Thu 27-Nov-14 09:41:51

I believe that home work is necessary. Students may think they understand the topic in class but when left to do it on their own at home they may find it difficult. Besides, hw encourages research and independent work.

TheWordFactory Thu 27-Nov-14 09:54:26

Homework is vital consolidation.

A history lesson on sources explores a number of examples, discussing their usefulness or their reliability.

The homework would be to look at an actual source and analyse its use or reliability ie putting knowledge into practice.

Also, those students who have worked towards regular end of unit tests throughout GCSEs will sail through!

PastSellByDate Thu 27-Nov-14 14:47:50


credible study showing homework in secondary benefits pupils by ~5 months in secondary:

Same organisation is less clear about benefits in primary.

I think the issue for you is having homework be a fight. I can only speak for my DDs - but for us we feel doing homework is important - it provides an opportunity to practice skills, consolidate information and occasionally homework can be a lot of fun or a real challenge. We don't expect our children to 'love' doing homework - but to understand that it's part of being a student, helps them keep up and improve.

I suppose I see it in the same context I would see a DC practicing an instrument or playing a sport with friends out of school or taking lessons/ joining a club/ orchestra. The extra practise makes them a better musician/ player/ etc....

But I will admit I have had to remind and cajole and no, it isn't always easy when they don't like the subject. But our solution was simple - no TV/ computer/ video game until your work is done - in the same way I don't relax of an evening until I've cleaned up the kitchen and some nights after the kids are to bed, I return to the computer and carrying on with work so I can meet deadlines.


TheFriar Thu 27-Nov-14 14:54:43

Yes studies for primary school children have shown that it's not worth it.
Even though in actually finding that we do some homework in our house to compensate for some 'lacks' in the teaching (it's about learning to spell!)
In secondary, there is no say you can do it wo homework. There is do much to learn and children don't be able to do it wo learning at home as well as at school.
I think your issue us theocracy that your dcs are fighting against it, not the fact it's not really necessary.
So your answer us to give ways to teach them to do it themselves wo a fight and wo your input, rather than saying it's not worth doing it.

kesstrel Thu 27-Nov-14 15:02:42

I find a big problem with homework in secondary is when it is not set regularly by the school, and instead comes in either floods or droughts. This makes it very difficult for the parent to insist on a routine for creating good study habits (which will be very important later on, and is best built up gradually). It also encourages an attitude of "do the minimum necessary", which could be problematic later, when GCSE and A level students will need to take their homework and revision very seriously.

makemelaugh Thu 27-Nov-14 17:53:12

Finland sets no homework. They have one of the best education systems, the kids are avid readers and reach university well prepared and educated. How so then?

MauriceTheCat Thu 27-Nov-14 17:57:01

At which should it be set? If not Primary then Yr 7 when there is already a lot of turmoil. If not Yr 7 then Yr 9 to add to the complexity of options or Yr10/11 to support GCSE or maybe not until A level when less subjects?

Or maybe university... when they have to be self starting... Or maybe...

Or maybe little and often as soon as possible to encourage self learning and responsibility

makemelaugh Thu 27-Nov-14 18:03:40

Self learning and responsabilty could be done in study periods during school day in library or classroom. Our children are working more hours than most adults with office jobs. DS leaves at 7:30 back at 4:30 then add 2 hours homework some days...

WillkommenBienvenue Thu 27-Nov-14 18:11:23

If homework only benefits children by 5 months over their school life then surely it's not worth it. They would be better to have an extra half hour at school and incorporate homework into it.

OP I am absolutely with you.

Pointythings there is a definite lack of testing in UK schools which I have been banging on at teachers about in a big way. They think I'm just a fuddy duddy wanting a Govesque approach to learning. Actually no, testing works, testing or being asked a question without warning is the only way of checking whether a child has learnt something and it really sharpens the mind to revise for a test.

lljkk Fri 28-Nov-14 19:19:53

I wonder a lot about this, too.
DS seems to be on track for all As @ GCSe & he does no homework. He's no genius, he has a lousy work ethic.

If homework matters than he should fail for not doing it (this IS the American system; there he would be held back a year and have to do summer school). He won't care otherwise.

If it doesn't matter, it shouldn't be heavily expected because it just leads to pointless friction.

pointythings Fri 28-Nov-14 19:26:01

I agree with you, Wilkommen. The school my DDs go to have regular tests throughout the term. It just makes sense. Both my DDs have good revision skills as a result. An added bonus is that they get feedback throughout the year on the things they are weaker on and need to work on.

We have to be careful not to go Gove and put all testing under government control though - that way lies madness.

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