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What do you think about homework?

(21 Posts)
Bambambini Mon 23-May-16 12:28:19

I'm not acteacher but thought i might get some good insight here. I have a child in
Yr 9 and have been surprised at how little homework they seem to get. What is a normal expectation for this age group in a state school. Also, what is your thought on homework and is it needed or is it just expected? Does more mean better than less? Just want to understand better.

echt Mon 23-May-16 21:13:49

It should be fit for purpose, e.g. a reinforcing exercise for a topic that will be followed up very soon after in a lesson, or research/reading for topic to be stated soon. Could also be the final draft of a longer piece developed in class/first draft that will be worked on later in class. I suppose what I'm saying is that it should not be an add-on for no reason, but closely tied in with in-class learning.

Homework timetables, while often intended to avoid clashes between subject areas, often turn into checks on teacher activity and get filled up with pointless stuff to pacify SLT and/or parents. I have never followed one.

I don't teach in the UK, but my rule for homework ( apart from making it meaningful) is that it's never implied that weekends or holidays are worked for years 7-9.

Senior and exam classes are slightly different.

Badbadbunny Tue 24-May-16 08:02:10

My son is year 9 and I've (again) been surprised at how little homework he's had this year - some teachers have set virtually nothing, yet others loads regularly. Same happened last year in year 8. But in year 7, there was loads of it by every teacher. It's not per subject either. Last year he only got one Maths homework for the entire year, but this year it's 2 per week without fail. It does seem to be down to the discretion/attitude of the teacher.

We've actually correlated his end of year test results against the amount of homework - he's performed worse in the subjects where the teacher set little or none and done better where the teacher sets loads. This matches the whole class too as the end of year reports show the average mark for the whole class, and again, the average is higher for the subjects where the teacher sets more homework and lower where they set none.

I would have expected that there'd be consistency across classes, and that dept heads would have some kind of control/supervision over homework set by their dept. but it seems not. We're destined to lurching between too much one year and too little the next just dependant upon which teachers they have, which seems wrong.

JoRusso Tue 24-May-16 14:04:09

My daughter is a freshman in high school and she gets loads of homework by every teacher. Every one of them thinks their class is the most important. My daughter spends countless hours on homework trying to get everything done.

I was worried that she wasn't getting enough sleep. I heard that some parents used help of college students - paid them to do homework for their kids. I've even found this site which explains how to choose a place to order homework.

Has anyone tried it? Do you think I should use it or should I just tell my daughter not to try to get As in all classes and just prioritize?

kesstrel Tue 24-May-16 18:43:16

If you want your child to avoid having to do a huge amount of cramming in the months before GCSEs in Year 11, they need to understand, when they enter Year 10, that they should be working at learning/making revision cards and notes as they go. In order for them to be able to do that, they need regular homework in Year 9 (at least) to get them into the habit of working steadily outside of school, not just in random spurts when pressure is on. It is extremely irresponsible, in my opinion, for schools not do provide this.

Bambambini Tue 24-May-16 19:14:56

Thanks for the replies. And yes the apparent lack of homework seems to conflict with the homework planners given out in yr 7. I don't want homework just for the sake of it and to keep the parents happy etc but wondered what teachers views were on it - and if lots of homework is better (or wirse) than little.

Also, we are considering a move to a private school with a fairly good academic record but are also worried that this will mean a big change with a lot if homework required.

protar Sat 30-Sep-17 09:04:18

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Ttbb Sat 30-Sep-17 09:14:40

At that age I had a minimum of two hours plus anything we didn't finish in class as a school wife policy. But that was a private school. I think that it is important for teaching work ethic. If you are not used to working hard on your own time how are you going to cope when you go to university or on the off chance you get a real job that doesn't end when you leave the office?

Cynderella Sat 30-Sep-17 10:10:01

We are expected to set h/w every week, and in my experience, it's always the kids who do enough work that are diligent about completing homework. Those who would benefit from the extra work, hand in as little as they get away with. A huge number copy their h/w from others. I see them in the mornings and at break times!

I would like kids to go home and read through what we've done in class, and come up with questions on anything they aren't sure about. I'd never get away with it.

This year, I have planned homework in advance, so it has no meaningful links to a specific lesson. Y11 is easy - revision questions. Y9/10 are vocabulary exercises for the set texts, quotation analysis practice, context research or reading, annotation of unseen poems.

I think most kids in my school get too much homework.

Johnvjorn Wed 06-Dec-17 16:03:31

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bezecrymail Sat 16-Dec-17 15:28:38

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DrMadelineMaxwell Wed 20-Dec-17 19:57:55

I liked my DD's high school's approach. They had their lesson. If they finished their lesson's work in time and there was a homework task, they could start it early. If they finished it, they didn't have extra homework. If they had a longer piece of work to complete/redraft then that would take the time at home.

As a teacher (primary) I find homework a nightmare. We strive to make it meaningful and to tie into what we are doing in class. Can't assume the pupils have access to ICT even though more and more of our tasks can be set online, so have the same activities on paper too.
Then a core of children still don't do it. Or do the bare minimum. So then you have to plan these activities in a way that those who don't do their homework can still do.

And if you dare tell the children they should have done their homework, you get (several) complaints to the school.

FartnissEverbeans Thu 21-Dec-17 20:12:35

I'm an English teacher. At our school we're supposed to set an hour per week for year 9 (y10 and 11 get two hours, A Level more than that but independent things like wider reading).

There's actually been quite a lot of research into this. Generally it seems to be the case that open ended homeworks (like writing an essay) are less effective than closed ended tasks (like a worksheet giving practice of a topic covered in class). However, higher ability students and older students perform better on open-ended tasks than lower ability/younger students do. In my experience there is a place for both depending on the class/topic.

I don't see why a teacher wouldn't take advantage of the opportunity to reinforce class work - students will remember content better and perform skills more effectively with spaced practice and homework gives them this.

FartnissEverbeans Thu 21-Dec-17 20:13:42

Just to clarify - all the research I've seen suggests homework is of limited value in younger students.

larrygrylls Fri 29-Dec-17 05:57:16

Most research has shown that homework makes surprisingly little difference to outcomes.

I think that marking homework is the poorest effort/reward trade that teachers do.

There are ways to improve it and I think that some homework is a positive but, as long as a student is progressing well, in some ways the less homework the better.

noblegiraffe Fri 29-Dec-17 18:59:15

Most research has shown that homework makes surprisingly little difference to outcomes.

Yeah but the research on this is shit and not worth paying attention to. What should be paid attention to is common sense stuff like 'practising your times tables at home is a valuable use of time if you don't know your times tables' and 'time spent out of lessons self-quizzing helps you remember things'.

You never see kids who go to sports clubs being told that it's a waste of time to practise their skills at home. If you practise stuff, you get better at it, if you practise it properly.

What is obvious is that crap homework makes very little difference to outcomes. Making a castle out of cake = waste of time. Doing maths homework that never gets checked against the answers so that the kid has no idea if they got it right or wrong = waste of time.

Good homework can be very useful.

larrygrylls Sat 30-Dec-17 05:40:35


I agree that genuine practice is useful but so much homework is done in the break before the lesson or copied that its validity is heavily diluted.

Also if a lot of kids get stuck, they just stop and panic.

I like supervised prep after school, with a teacher their to help but that is not realistic except at boarding schools.

noblegiraffe Sat 30-Dec-17 09:10:34

Any work done badly is of little use, that’s not just restricted to homework!

I’ve taught lessons which have made very little impact on the knowledge of kids, due to poor explanations, rubbish activities or the kids pissing around and not doing the work yet we wouldn’t extrapolate from that that maths lessons are useless and should be scrapped.

It really annoys me when people go ‘oh research says homework has no impact at primary’ when we know how important reading at home with your kids is. If ‘research’ has shown homework is of little value then we need to be asking why that is when we know extra practice is valuable. Perhaps the research was covering the sort of low value homework that parents often complain about on here, your junk modelling and craft projects that the kids don’t do themselves.

FartnissEverbeans Sat 30-Dec-17 10:25:53

Perhaps the research was covering the sort of low value homework that parents often complain about on here, your junk modelling and craft projects that the kids don’t do themselves.

I think that might be the case. Educational research is pretty poor generally, which is a shame. Reading is a very closed task though as I mentioned above so definitely useful (essential) as you say.

A lot of schools give junk homework because they think that's what stents want, which is stupid and shows exactly where their priorities lie IMO.

BlessYourCottonSocks Sat 30-Dec-17 23:19:53

The problem with setting homework is, as ever, time to mark it.

I absolutely agree that skills need to be practised - history essay writing, analysing sources, making inferences, etc are all things that need to be done repeatedly in order to get better at them. My problem is that I have too many classes, too many students in each and very little time. So I try to avoid setting much KS3 homework because frankly I don't have time to mark it properly, which then negates the value.

I understand the benefits, but because I'm up to my fucking neck with too many Y13 students, WAY too many Y12s, two Y11 classes with 30 pupils in each class on a new GCSE and 60 Y10s doing the same then KS3 gets pushed further down my list of priorities. It's nowhere near ideal - and good homework can be very useful, but I am just about at breaking point with my workload and I have to look at ways I can cut bits out to survive. Marking is massively time consuming - and I have to mark the books. What I don't have to do is set even more work to be done in the evenings. With the workload I've got I don't need to be inventing more work for myself.

noblegiraffe Sat 30-Dec-17 23:54:25

There are loads of things going on at the moment to change marking to reduce workload. Writing individual comments in kids' books is now recognised to be heavy on teacher workload and light on actual impact. Maths is really lucky in that you can set self-marking online homework (there are lots of products on the market for this now), or get the kids to swap and mark in class. My department has completely binned the requirement for teachers to mark homework, although obviously we still check that it has been completed.
Some schools do whole-class feedback, so the teacher reads all the essays or whatever, but instead of writing on each of them jots down common errors, spelling mistakes, whatever and then goes through with the whole class using a visualiser to show good examples. I suppose subjects like history require kids to learn facts so homework could be learning stuff with a multiple choice quiz in class to check that they have - Daisy Christodolou has done some interesting work on creating effective multiple choice questions. If they fill out those colour in lozenge sheets for their answers, you can get apps on your phone that do the marking in literally a couple of minutes. Or Socrative, or Plickers, or whatever.

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