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Homework - who is it really for?! *spin off*

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#1 EssentialBludger

Posted 12 February 2013 - 09:49 AM

If homework is so hard that it takes the parents and a bunch of people on the Internet to work out, is it really for the child?!

DD (year 3) also came home with a lot of homework last night. After an hour of sitting down with her helping her to work it out, and then listening to her (very very long!!) home reader, I did begin to wonder.

Should homework require anything more than a very quick "little bit of help with this question please?". Or should it be an hour long activity with both kids and parents every night? What about people with 4,5,6+ kids? I'm trying to imagine who on earth would have the time for such homework that the kids can't do themselves!

I have nothing against homework, and nothing against helping her, but shouldnt they be able to do majority of it on their own?


#2 Sentient Puddle

Posted 12 February 2013 - 09:51 AM

The vast majority of studies demonstrate that homework in the early years is of little benefit - and only is there to appease over zealous parents who want their money's worth out of the school system and their children to engage in "busywork"!

#3 Percoriel

Posted 12 February 2013 - 09:56 AM

A friend last night posted on FB that she had to cut out leaves for a family tree for her Qld prep kid to do. Seriously, who is that for?? If the teacher wants pretty leaves on it, then do it in craft time! Sure, sit down with the parent and get the names etc but really, a whole chart? What is that teaching the kid?

I think homework in the early years should be readers and spelling and maths practice (like times tables etc). Anything else is a waste of time.

#4 Phascogale

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:05 AM

Homework that involves large amounts of my involvement is a PITA.  I don't find homework of that much value in the younger years.  The kids spend 6 hours at school, surely there's enough work done there.  There are plenty of other things that I would rather my kids do than have to spend a long time on homework.  If the child needs some extra help to 'get' a particular concept then fair enough.

Reading at night/home is a different kettle of fish and should be done regardless.

Last week my kids brought home homework that was more challenging but didn't involve that much parental involvement as they did the majority themselves which I thought was actually quite good.  This week was even easier.  In fact, too easy.  The kids have complained about their spelling words.  And I agree.  Way too easy.  In some ways good - because it means that they don't actually have to do anything in order to learn them.  But bad because they want to learn the more challenging words and I'd rather encourage that while they have that zeal.

#5 *LucyE*

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:15 AM

I agree.  I dislike homework that is busywork as well as 'projects' that are more for the parents to get competitive over.  

We opted out of homework for DS 2 years ago but he is now in Yr 4 and I do feel 30 mins of homework a night is appropriate.  What he is getting is proper revision work (so not me having to teach him new stuff) and they mark the homework as a class in the morning so the kids actually get to see where they are making mistakes and learning the correct answer.  Shat me off to no end having work sheets sent home and they either didn't get marked or the child was never talked through their mistakes.

DD is in Yr 2 and am ambivalent about her homework.  I am going in for a meeting with her teacher soon so will discuss it some more.  I see value in the work she is set, but at the same time, she is still so young and I feel that the time is better spent reading (not just readers) rather than doing revision.  But that's just for her particular situation.

#6 kpingitquiet

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:18 AM

While I'm fairly anti-homework, I think the family assignments are a way of making sure parents know what's going on and actually involve themselves in their children's schooling rather than just expecting the kids to do it all on their own.

#7 AngryBird

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:22 AM

I can't stand homework. I cannot see any benefit in it, and it wastes the few valuable hours we have as a family to share recreation, housework, chores and time together. I also think it encourages a '"work ethic" where work and home life overlap, and they develop the habit of bringing home their work to complete and being unable to switch off properly.

#8 Justaduck

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:22 AM

Seceretly hoping homework that is anything like it was when I was in school is a thing of the past when DD goes to school. I just remember all the fights it used to cause at home.

It should be readers for younger children & basic revision for older children imo

#9 Dylan's Mummy

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:39 AM

QUOTE (Percoriel @ 12/02/2013, 09:56 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
A friend last night posted on FB that she had to cut out leaves for a family tree for her Qld prep kid to do. Seriously, who is that for?? If the teacher wants pretty leaves on it, then do it in craft time! Sure, sit down with the parent and get the names etc but really, a whole chart? What is that teaching the kid?

I think homework in the early years should be readers and spelling and maths practice (like times tables etc). Anything else is a waste of time.

In prep they have topic that they class focuses on each term and their class room is kind of transformed into this theme. The family tree is possibly what they are doing this term. My SS's class had a dinosaur theme and a shop them and 2 others that I can't remember. They do spend a lot of class time doing these activities. We had to make a dinosaur bone out of news paper.

#10 Dylan's Mummy

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:48 AM

My SS is in grade 5 now and has never had too much home work. They get a homework sheet at the start of each week. Until the middle of last year homework was a real battle in our house because he was always too busy messing up in class and therefor didn't know the work that he had as homework. We would do our heads in trying to explain the simplest things to him. My husband would help to the extent of practically giving him the answers. I wiuldn't go to that extent because I feel that homework isn't about getting everything right but for the teacher to see what they are able to achieve on their own and if they don't understand something the. The teacher will know. There is a notes section on the sheet for parents and I would write a note there that he doesn't understand.

Since changing schools last year we don't have too many homework problems.

Homework has benefits to parents too, we get to see what type of things they are learning.

#11 ComradeBob

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:52 AM

Our school is just about to have a discussion about whether homework is appropriate and if so, how long should it be? DD is in Year 1 and we've been told it should take no longer than 20 minutes, tops.

I personally think that homework for any grade below about 4 or 5 should be banned. Kids learn in all kinds of ways through play, and that's what we should be encouraging.

#12 halcyondays

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:59 AM

I remember in the dark ages, when I changed primary schools the "quality" of the homework changed, and it was such a relief! No more fights with Mum and no more competitive parenting- which parent can do the best project and pass it off as the kids' work. No more stupid busy work.
I still got homework- parent was meant to check it with me, but wasn't a big deal if they didn't. It was revision that a kid could do, not needing a heap of parental involvement.

I also had a fairly dusfunctional family and no way my parents had time or were in a suitable frame of mind to do homework as well. I got quite stressed about turning up to school as a 9 year old unable to complete my homework or doing a 9 year old job of it, when everyone else's looked so much better.

I really couldn't care less about making leaves on a tree, no matter how pretty/interactive/"themed" it looked.

#13 purplekitty

Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:08 AM

The parents involvement in homework has increased over the years and it is a PITA.

School projects are no longer done by just the students. Parents and tutors seem to have a large input in both primary and secondary.
Some of the products I saw when my children were in school looked like a thesis.

What's the point? I don't need to revise what I learnt at school.

#14 treetree

Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:22 PM

Should homework require anything more than a very quick "little bit of help with this question please?". Or should it be an hour long activity with both kids and parents every night? What about people with 4,5,6+ kids? I'm trying to imagine who on earth would have the time for such homework that the kids can't do themselves!
We have six kids. If the little two go to bed without hassle, I have time to help the older four with homework. If they don't go to bed it becomes a real hassle.

BUT, I believe homework has value. It re-enforces not only the work children are doing, but also the value that education has. My primary school children actually get more than my high school children (assuming my HS kids aren't lying!) and they have work that has to be done with another person each week (spelling, dictation, etc) Sometimes a sibling helps another, but usually it's less than an hour a week.

I tell my high school kids to bring work each night, even if just notes or a book to go over. I have a half hour in our (loose) schedule for all of the older children to be sitting down doing homework. I want them to be able to regulate their own level of attention without prompting from a teacher, and without being in a school environment. I think this is an important skill, and without any type of structured learning work at home, I don't believe they can achieve it.

They also all have a half hour of scheduled reading time.

This leaves plenty of time for outside activities, games, a (tiny if at all) little television, music practice, activities, etc.

#15 threeinnyc

Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:36 PM

QUOTE (EssentialBludger @ 12/02/2013, 10:49 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If homework is so hard that it takes the parents and a bunch of people on the Internet to work out, is it really for the child?!

Ops I read the Q as: is it really bad for the parents? LOL.

For us, we don't mind to have little bit of homework. We know which reading/math level currently are through his homework. We also learn the quality of school from what sort of homework theyve given to their students (DS has been through to 3 schools; an international school when we lived O/S; one (supposedly a very good public school) and his current; a private one, so we know lol.

Edited by TST, 12 February 2013 - 01:16 PM.

#16 Vickery

Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:45 PM

My 8 year old (year 3 NSW) bought his homework home for the first time this year last night. He did his spelling words and times tables on his own, but he needed my help for his English and maths worksheets. He couldn't answer a single question without my help, it took over an hour and left us both frustrated and in tears. Dinner was an hour late and then he still needed to do 20 minutes reading, write a speech and commence a project that is due on Monday.  My other 2 haven't been given their homework books yet - I was tossing and turning all night, wondering how we are going to fit it all in.

#17 emnut

Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:07 PM

DS has only started getting homework really this year (grade 3).  I love what he has come home with though - the only must do things are to read to an adult for 10 mins 5 x & practice skip counting in 1 minute blocks for 5 nights.  Then there are options of 10 other things to do 3 of but these include playing outside, playing a boardgame, researching something to share, discussing something from the news, helping cook something & phoning a friend/relative, teaching an adult something they have learnt at school etc.  Hoping that it stays a something similar.

#18 MissingInAction

Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:23 PM

As a teacher, we were always encouraged to provide homework that was a little easier than what the class work had been (but on similar topics to what they were currently learning about).

Eg:  year 5 maths homework might be year 4 level questions on the same topic.  

#19 JJ

Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:25 PM

I'm also anti-homework in primary school, at least in the first few years.

It's for teachers and anxious parents IMO. I think there's little benefit to the kids.

My DD's homework last year (before I took her out of school) caused enormous emounts of stress. She almost always ended up in tears. Even though there were no big assignments (as she was only in Year 2 at the time), it took a lot of time and always included tasks she told me they hadn't done in class - more advanced maths problems than those they'd studied, etc. Her teacher regarded it as extention, but what it really did to her (and other kids I know of too) was to make her feel upset & insecure because she couldn't do it. What's the point? It's not even revision... (So going by PP's post, she should have had something a bit easier than what they did in class, but instead she was given Year 3/4 maths problems.)

Teachers' expectations come into it too. Her teacher kept saying she should be able the 4+ worksheets in "no more than 15 minutes", when it took her more like 2 hours all up (spread over 4 days), and she's not a "slow" kid by any means.

I've since worked out that she was beyond exhausted after 6 hours of school... far more so than I realised at the time. I think that's probably true for a lot of young kids who should just be allowed to have the rest of the day to play after 6+ hours of school.

Edited by JJ, 12 February 2013 - 01:27 PM.

#20 Grumpy1

Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:18 AM

The importance of homework is being rigoursly debated at present.  I see that some schools are giving the parents the choice as to whether they want their child to do homework or not as evidence seems to suggest that it does not help them.

I try to let my kids do their homework largely on their own.  Then if they don't understand something this ensures that the teacher is aware of any problems they are having.  I hate having to make my kids do homework too.  They really kick up a fuss after a day at school.  The only thing I suppose I like about homework is that it gives the parent some insight into what their kids are learning at school and how they are coping.  Without it we are largely in the dark.  I do not think that parents should be doing the homework for the kids (obviously defeats the purpose) but they may require a little guidance from time to time.

It seems that teachers are relying more and more on parents to pick up the slack due to  an overcrowed curriculum.  Their argument is that they simply don't have the time to teach them their sight words etc or read with them in class.  So we must teach the sight words by memorisation and also help them with their reading in grade one.  
My other issue with homework is that a lot of the terminology and theories and ways of teaching have changed dramatically to the point that sometimes it is incomprehensible to the parent so they can't help their kids even if they wanted to.

It is unfair, in my view, to put so much pressure on time-strapped parents to teach things that should be taught in school.  My big beef is time tables.  My daughter is now in grade 4 and they introduced division the other day.  I said are you able to do it and she said no.  I said I'm not suprised because if you still don't know your times tables then how could you?  Since times tables are no longer memorised in class (my daughter is supposedly being taught her times tables by being given a sheet with sums written out that don't even follow on from eachother and just expected to know them) then how can they progress?  

I have been told by some teachers and parents on this forum that I should teach them at home or send her to a tutoring school.  Apparently memorisation of times tables is considered bad practise and a waste of valuable class time.  So the ball is in my court.  As I had no choice I began teaching my daughter, by rote, her times tables at the end of last year.  I was suprised that she remembered her 9's even though we had not practised them since the end of last year.  Proves to me that the method works and does stick.  We sing them along to a CD and she now has her 3's and finds it enjoyable to dance around singing them however she is very resistant to doing them initally and takes a lot of persuding as it takes her away from play time.  It should only take another couple of months for her to have them all.  I am totally convinced that rote learning is vital in some circumstances and this is what is missing in our schools and hindering many of our students.  

I do not believe I should have to do this as it is an activity that should really be done in the class room to benefit all.  I also will not hire a tutor again (I did last year but since she was against rote we saw no improvment) and also the cost involved.  I send my kids to school to learn and home time is their down time to relax and enjoy other activities.  Homework should be kept to a minimum.

There is a revolt against this insistance that parents spend so much time helping their kids with maths homework occuring in Canada.  Have a read of this article and see what you think.  http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/03/13/have-yo...r-homework-mom/

#21 Julie3Girls

Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:30 AM

I dont have a problem with homework. But then that might because of how my school does it and how my girls handle it.

Our school takes the policy that homework is revision or reenforcement. Not new learning. So if you find your child doesn't understand the homework, or doesn't know how to do it, you tell the teacher.  It means either the homework is wrong. Or the work that was taught at school has not actually sunk in, and the teacher needs to be aware of that, so they can focus on it, possibly work out a new way to put the concept across.

I've also been told to let the teacher know if there are ANY issues with getting homework done. Time, too hard, too easy, whatever.

The homework sent home is not a lot - list of spelling words, a page of literacy, a page of maths. Usually all 3 of my girls can do the weeks worth of homework in one go, 15-20 minutes.
Do they get any benefit out of it ... it varies. DD1 struggles with spelling, so spelling work is good for her. DD2 is fine with the spelling and maths, but I do see her concentrating and working a bit more with the literacy stuff, so I'm guessing she is still getting benefit there.  DD3 breezes through and complains it is too easy. This was solved when the school gave all the kids a study ladder account, as optional additional learning.  DD3 will usually log on to that after her homework. She loves it.

I would be guessing that for kids who are struggling with some of the concepts, homework CAN be a good way to practice some things. If my child was struggling with basic addition for example, sitting and practicing that has got to beneficial doesn't it?  

But it HAS to be balanced. And yes, I would defnitely expect a child would be able to do most of the homework on their own. I have no problem with mistakes in homework either, and I always make sure I leave them there for the teacher to see.

#22 unicorn

Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:43 AM

DD is in year 3 this year and they have a homework sheet that gets handed out at the beginning of the week and handed back in in Fridays. The teacher has stressed a maximum of 15 minutes per day. We always start the term out focused and getting it done but for me it's like see years resolution that I know I will never stick to for long, so by about week 3 or 4 it's all gone out the window. We do read nightly though, I figure if they can read there are books out there that will teach them just about everything.
DS is in year nine and for the last two years hasn't had much homework, he gets his work done in class and then does his homework while waiting for the bell. He does the odd project but they seem to be limiting what they expect them to do at home now. We shall see how this year pans out.

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