Homework - yes or no?

(105 Posts)
nothavingagreatday Mon 04-Nov-13 02:35:18

I want to ask the mums and teachers here a question. My children age 4 and 8 (Reception and Year 3) do not get any homework. They both get library books from school and that is it. A lot of the parents at my school ask about homework and the school tells us that their policy is no homework. Recently, during a presentation at the school it was announced that "studies show that it is not beneficial to give children homework" and then they mentioned things like it's not productive, no evidence to suggest giving homework helps etc.

I totally disagree with this. I am interested in what you all think and need to here both sides of the argument.

PastSellByDate Fri 08-Nov-13 10:56:35

Hi

Again I think it is all about an unlevel playing field.

our school only sends books home in KS1. Books stop in KS2. children are meant to get a library book to take home - it's about once a month or half-term.

There are no times table practices - the school has written and informed parents that it is proven there is no benefit practicing times tables. (which I suspect is muddling no proven benefit of homework in primary school with possible benefits of knowing times tables).

I'm so old pointyfangs I still work in inches and I fear the 12 inches to a foot/ 36 inches to a yard thing does require me knowing my twelves times tables - but I entirely take your point. Twelve is of course simply doubling six - but as our school seems to have spectacularly failed to teach the concept of doubling or halving to most children that many seem to miss this basic numeracy pattern.

For me - homework is regular reading books coming home (and maybe an indication to parents to encourage your child to read a chapter a night or x many pages a night), some short maths practice problems to keep applying that. Sadly these are pretty much absent at our school and it shows - in SATs results, but just in comparison with other children from schools where homework is given.

One school in this area has 'optional homework' - they provide 3 homeworks each week - 1 English/ 1 Science & 1 Math and it is entirely up to you whether you do it or not. If you do it - it's marked and feedback is given. If you don't nothing happens. Oddly enough they have over 90% uptake of at least one homework a week with higher achieving children doing 2 or 3 pieces.

Someone mentioned after school clubs and a snack - and yes I totally agree (this would do a great deal to level the playing field).

Again - I suggest that we are all talking at odds because what each school considers homework (and feedback - our school limits themselves to a mere green tick) is wildly different. And I suspect that is a lot of the problem.

HTH

LudvigVonBeatles Fri 08-Nov-13 00:39:43

My son is struggling with some of the maths they do and the teacher is now sending home some things for him to do which takes about half and hour a week. I actually photocopy it and change a few of the numbers so he has more practise. He also has a word search to do which takes about 1/2 hour a week. Plus reading. I can see that my child's spelling is coming on in leaps and bounds so I am very happy to do it. At 8, I think this is a good amount of relevant homework.

uselessinformation Fri 08-Nov-13 00:02:52

At last a school with a sensible homework policy ie none.

pointyfangs Thu 07-Nov-13 21:54:31

I hate design a poster stuff. I also hate spellings; reading and fostering a love of reading is so much more useful in encouraging good spelling. Although DD2's teacher was a bit shock to find her using the word 'severed' as in 'head' in a story about Robin Hood - she has a gruesome imagination and does read very widely. She did however spell and use it correctly and it was almost Halloween...

Orangeanddemons Thu 07-Nov-13 21:51:16

Yes, useful home works in secondary school are helpful. But not the design a poster stuff. Ds once had to design a poster about the cannonisation of some saint, several about the pillars of Islam, and a million others.

But none in junior school. My dd age just 7 had to research the area she lives in for a presentation over half term.....and guess who did the homework....how can a7 year old do that?

Chloebeyond Thu 07-Nov-13 21:14:38

I do not understand why we start the children so young on the home work - my boy of 6 learns spelling one week and relay in them parrot fashion for two days and then promptly forgets them. I went to school in Denmark and did not start formal education till 7 and it has never held me back!

pointyfangs Thu 07-Nov-13 21:11:55

Orangeanddemons I mostly agree with you, though I have to say that DD1 (Yr8) had some maths homework that I thought was pretty good - it was to create a set of revision notes with examples of the topics she has covered so far this year. She's made some useful notes which will stand her in good stead come end of year exams.

We all also enjoyed the English/history homework which was to write a report on the battle of Hastings in the style of either a tabloid or a broadsheet newspaper - DD1 did hers in true DM style and it was hilarious.

That kind of homework is pretty rare though, even in secondary.

Orangeanddemons Thu 07-Nov-13 20:47:00

I loathe homework as a teacher and a parent. I do not think it is of any benefit until Year 10 and 11.

Tables and reading are all they should do, and maybe a bit of spelling. But spelling usually comes from reading. Ds used to learn spellings every week. Then promptly forgot them. Spelling is about practice not rote learning

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 07-Nov-13 20:40:01

The problem at my DCs' primary school was that the most disadvantaged children often led chaotic lives (the school had a large number of children with CP issues). These children might not always know where they were going to sleep that night. This type of chaos pushes homework which might have huge value to these children very far down the list of priorities.

Oblomov Thu 07-Nov-13 19:51:11

No. It is proven that it is not beneficial. Only in secondary should there be homework.

tricot39 Thu 07-Nov-13 19:15:46

Op - how did your meeting go?

Wellthen Thu 07-Nov-13 18:44:52

PSBD what you are talking about is effectively extra tutition, it doesn't come under the common understanding of homework.

Homework is when children take a task home, do it with little or no help and bring it back. The more adult input, the less it is homework and the more it is actually just extra teaching.

Of course extra good quality teaching will have an impact. Homework does not.

pointyfangs Thu 07-Nov-13 18:32:50

PastSellByDate I think times tables aren't really homework any more than reading is though...

And I have to take issue with you on the 12s, we live in a decimal world and I really think the 12s thing is a Gove fad. Tables to 10 are quite enough, you can then derive 12 from 6 and 11 is basically a bit of fun.

I think homework isn't the answer to helping children in deprived families, I think tackling inequality and the remnants of the class system would be far better. Instead of setting homework - which will probably not be done in chaotic families anyway - schools should be given funding to run free clubs in and out of school to help these children with extra tuition. Include a decent afternoon snack and you'll be on a winner. However, that would cost a bit of money and it's so much easier for politicians to blame teachers and complain about falling standards.

</cynicism>

Xochiquetzal Thu 07-Nov-13 18:30:22

DD is in reception and gets a book ever day, spellings once a week and either literacy or numeracy over the weekend (they alternate which she is set but it's usually 2 pages of work sheets). Sometimes she gets an extra creative bit like decorating a haunted house for Halloween or making autumn pictures but she generally gets a couple of weeks to do that. it generally takes us 20-25 minutes a day for reading and spelling and about half an hour for the literacy/numeracy.

The creative stuff can take hours but that's because DD enjoys it and is a bit of perfectionist. Dd and I don't mind it, except when she's tired and doesn't feel like reading.

My 5yo (reception) has a reading book every day that he has to read at home and my 6yo (y2) gets homework.

I think children should have homework.

Janacek Thu 07-Nov-13 17:58:18

I resent homework. Especially useless homework set because teachers feel pressure to set homework from parents. I would rather spend time on areas where I know DS struggles like maths. There are good support work books and 20 mins going over weak areas is far more beneficial than colouring and making posters! Grrrr. My boys are also gr 8 piano and it is a struggle to get the practice in so I simply do the homework for them unless on the very rare occasion it is of some educational benefit.

PastSellByDate Thu 07-Nov-13 16:20:19

Really interesting discussion and definitely can see that there's everything occurring - no homework to tons (and clearly expecting parents to do it).

Education Endowment foundation says this on primary homework: educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/toolkit/approaches/homework

But....

It is notable that children of highly educated parents tend to read a lot and are encouraged to do a bit more at home (through educational board games/ video games; resources; encouraging parents; etc...).

So the problem with homework is that it isn't a level playing field.

Our school has nothing. They recommend reading 20 minutes a day but often neglect to send home books with children. Poorer families without many books at home and not belonging to a library or having internet access/ kindle - simply don't read.

I also find the shockingly bad performance in maths a self-fulfilling prophecy of low expectation. Many in dd1's year 6 will leave without having fully mastered times tables to x12 and unable to cope with fractions/ percentages.

It isn't the end of the world of course - but it sets them at a serious disadvantage as poor readers with weak maths skills as they start senior school.

So for me - with a mediocre school and many poorer families attending - I think some homework (well thought out & targeted for the child to do) is beneficial. I suspect those who do not like homework are already at good schools which are doing great things with their kids.

It's when attending school isn't really achieving much that doing more at home becomes the remedy.

Bumpsadaisie Thu 07-Nov-13 13:03:28

Mine is in reception. We are supposed to hear them read each night and then on Mondays they get a worksheet or two in their homework book to hand in on Friday. Usually colouring and practicing writing a letter/number.

Ge0rgina Thu 07-Nov-13 12:06:16

I had this problem too.. Sometimes you have to take it into your own hands! I recommend sites like this: www.bbc.co.uk/schools/games/

wordfactory Thu 07-Nov-13 11:56:23

I think in reception, only reading should be required.

A parent should try to listen to their DC read every day if possible. And they should read to their DC every day if possible.

By Y3, I'm happy for DC to have some homework provided it's meaningful.

For example, if a child is to make proper prgress with a MFL, then they'll need to be doing more than a half hour's worth of c'est un stylo once a week in class.

Ditto Latin, when and if that's introduced.

But heaven preserve me from projects.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 07-Nov-13 08:58:40

I'm getting fed up of all the comments in the home/school diary.

If it's not been filled out for a couple of days there's always a message. "What are you reading now" "what happened" "details please"

Ffs she's been busy doing the project you set, on too of maths and literacy homework you set. Is she allowed to eat is that ok???!!!

Most parents are not teachers. We can't accurately judge if a child has "got it" or not, except in very obvious areas like, erm, reading.

My Y1 DS is meant to do recorded reading at least three times a week, which should be his bookband book but for us is likely not to be, and then he has weekend homework (Thu for Tue). The teacher has said that if child hasn't finished within 15-20 mins, give up. So far it's been mostly phonics consolidation ("list some things in your house that have a -ch- sound") and number bonds, with the odd practical maths puzzle ("draw round x and see how many penny coins fit in it").

So that's a pretty light load compared to many here, but I think it's plenty. It still overshadows the weekend.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 07-Nov-13 08:54:07

Oops wrong thread blush

Reported oost

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 07-Nov-13 08:53:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 07-Nov-13 08:49:06

I too wonder, if they havebt cornered it in 6/7 hours what have they been doing all day.

The press is full of how we lack family values, how no one sits down together any more , how kids are glued to the tv etc.

This is why, I'm soooo sick of shoving dd2 some raisins on the sofa so I can spend hours the time researching birds.

It takes up so much family time.

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