Jump to content

Homework: It’s what you do with it that counts.

  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 EBKatie

Posted 20 January 2012 - 08:47 AM

As the summer holidays draw to a close you can almost hear the   collective groan of kids around the country. In part that could be the   blisters caused by the new school shoes that they’re breaking in, or the   prospect of having to go to bed/get up earlier. Part of it is also   possibly the prospect of having regular homework again.

The   debate for and against homework is as old as - well - homework itself.   There does seem to have been a trend though in recent years of piling   ever more extra-curricular work onto our children. Ironically, the   increasing-homework trend seems to mirror the concern over the   falling-educational-standards trend. So the question is, for   primary-aged children at any rate, does homework really enhance their   learning? The answer seems to be, to paraphrase a quote from ‘The   Castle’, that it’s not the amount of homework you have, but rather what   you do with it that counts!

“The research is unequivocal that   there is no academic gain achieved by serving up homework in its current   form,” says child and adolescent psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg.“It’s a bit like the modern-day equivalent of cod liver oil: given from habit because it’s simply assumed to be good for you.”

Dr   Carr-Gregg asserts that the problem is the way in which homework is   often currently given. “A lot of (homework) is totally irrelevant to   kids lives,” he says. “It simply hijacks family time together for no   good reason. The five words: “have you done your homework?” instigate   arguments across the country, and research that I have done previously   has indicated that a large percentage of children simply surf the net to   copy and paste answers, or even get their parents to do it for them.   There is no educational value in that.”

However Dr Carr-Gregg does support an appropriate amount and type of homework, citing the homework grid   developed by Ian Lillico as a great example of where after-school tasks   can aid learning. “This type of out of school work, as it’s called, is   based on and involves activities such as baking a cake and taking a   photograph of it, or playing a game of scrabble with Mum and Dad.   Essentially it allows more positive family interaction and often   encourages children to move more - definitely a good thing!”

Dr   Caroline Walta, a former teacher and currently an academic co-ordinator   with the faculty of education at La Trobe University, Shepparton, is a   definite supporter of homework. “Homework is an opportunity for parents   to participate in their children’s education,” she says. “Ideally it   complements the classroom learning and it gives children the opportunity   to set up good lifetime study habits.”

Like Carr-Gregg though,   Dr Walta explains that to be effective, homework needs to be relevant   for the children. “Setting effective homework is an extremely complex   task for teachers,” she explains. “In setting homework, teachers need to   consider the age and skill level of each student. The homework needs to   be interesting, challenging and open ended and relevant to the   curriculum. The homework then needs to be assessed and subject to   feedback and teachers need to allow enough time during the school day   to provide that feedback. Plus teachers also need to be able to   communicate the homework policy to parents. Now they are all pretty big   tasks!”

Examples of homework tasks that have worked for Dr Walta   in her former role included nightly reading to increase children’s   literacy and fluency, personalised spelling lists, issues of global   concern, which gives children the ability to develop research skills and   mathematics. But not all at once! “Homework should not take longer than   a child’s natural enthusiasm can last,” says Dr Walta. “It should not   become a burden for parents or their children.”

At the end of the   day whether it’s a joy, a burden, or somewhere in between, homework   is a fact of life for most school children.

                But what is your view? Has your experience of   homework been positive, negative, or somewhere in between?

#2 PrincessPeach

Posted 20 January 2012 - 08:54 AM

I was lucky as a kid growing up, we didn't really have much homework, unitl we hit highschool & then, most of the homework was assignments anyway.

My mum has been a primary school teacher now for 38 years & the only year levels she feels it is appropriate for homework is from year 6 & upwards.

#3 bubblegummum

Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:03 AM

With 3 school age kids I've found it to be a terrible burden.  The homework that I feel they need or benefit from (e.g. if they are struggling with a concept or very open opportunities to research or create something) is not the homework they usually get.  

DH & I both work, and those evenings are precious family time where we can talk, have dinner or play a game.  They shouldn't be time for nagging parents, sloppy work by tired children and general stress.

I have one child out of three who quite likes doing homework.  We've had a few teachers who aren't overly concerned about homework completion and set interesting tasks but the majority have been very pushy about it being done even where they seem to gain nothing from it.

I always find the 'it will set them in good stead for uni' argument quite amusing.  I found that being able to study what I wanted to study was the great motivator for uni, not many years of homework.  And they can learn organisation skills from many other aspects of their lives - I don't think we have to rely on homework for that.  Being forced to do what is usually boring work, after a long day at school, must be really tough and I don't think it encourages learning.  I've had times where I've told my kids they need to get to bed and not read that night because they've been finishing off homework.  That's just so wrong.

#4 Nine.years

Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:04 AM

The homework needs to be interesting, challenging and open ended and relevant to the curriculum. The homework then needs to be assessed and subject to feedback and teachers need to allow enough time during the school day to provide that feedback.

This is the only type of homework I would have any time for, but launching into my child's third year of school, I've yet to see it.  It has always fallen down somewhere - either irrelevent, not interesting, not challenging (eg, it's just makework), or - worst of all - there's no assessment and feedback on it.

And the 'homework grids' pretty much make me want to scrawl **** OFF over them in red crayon and send them back to school.

Maybe they're not being developed properly, but I've yet to see one that isn't a token attempt to cram unassessable makework into a kids' spare time in a way that doesn't take into account their interests and abilities.  

And it's patronising in a sense - the assumption that the majority of children and parents can't come up with interesting ways to spend their evenings by themselves.  The old argument that without some form of instruction 'some families wouldn't' doesn't wash, because they're generally not the ones who do the homework anyway.

And the more prescriptive ones are just ghastly - I don't need to be told to bake a cake when it's 30 degrees inside and I have no intention of turning the oven on.  I don't need a six year old in hysterics because I won't let him set the table because he has fine motor problems and I'm in too much of a rush to deal with broken crockery.  And I really don't need the school dictating what we do with our very precious family time.  They don't know our dynamic - I do.

#5 Expelliarmus

Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:31 AM

I'm opposed to anything but reading aloud and maybe a bit of spelling practice (LSCWC) until Year 6. If the child asks for other tasks then sure, or if they have wasted time asking them to finish in their own time is reasonable. If that's during recess and lunch or at home - whatever works for that child.

Project type work that the child is interested in from around Year 5 can be successful but grids and lists of tasks or photocopied mathematics sheets make me growly.

Caveat: These are my thoughts as a parent and a as teacher.

#6 Guest_Bigmess_*

Posted 23 January 2012 - 01:12 PM

I was looking at school websites in northshore sydney and stmbled onto a Homework Survey -

2 out of 3 parents and kids find the load causes them distress and anxiety

I was SHOCKED that 9/10 spend over 1 hour a night on homework (10yos!) and a full 1/4 spent over 4 hours!!! WTF? I know Asians love their homework but 4 hours for a 10yo kid???

#7 barrington

Posted 23 January 2012 - 01:29 PM

DS's school uses the homework grid.  

My main gripe with the grid is that you are only given 4 nights in which to complete the tasks.  DS does a sport one afternoon, he comes with me when DD1 does sport on another afternoon.  One day of afterschool care and you are not left with a lot of time to complete the grid.

Its bloody hard with more than one child to adequately supervise their homework and ensure that everything else that needs doing in the 'witching hours' gets done.

#8 StinkerSlinker

Posted 23 January 2012 - 01:38 PM

And the 'homework grids' pretty much make me want to scrawl **** OFF over them in red crayon and send them back to school.

Absolutely this.  We ignore that kind of 'homework'.  I find it patronising to the point of insulting.  

Set homework plays a minimal role in our house, because in my experience the homework is a waste of DD's time.   She already does plenty of reading and researches different topics when they are of interest to her.

#9 MummaDiva

Posted 23 January 2012 - 02:02 PM

From my experience at my DDs (local public) school, the kids that actually do bring in their homework are the ones that are achieving at or above grade level, and they have parents that care about their education.  These kids are also the ones that have the parents that bother to help out at school (even though some work or have young children to take care of).  These kids also tend to respect their teachers, their peers and school property more.  Sounds like an awful blanket statement, but I really do see this quite clearly during the times I help out in the classroom.

I don't agree with forcing an unwilling child to complete hours and hours of unnecessary homework, but seriously, if some poor "Asian" parent (how racist can this PP get? this is such a poor taste comment - and no, I'm not Asian in the slightest) is motivated enough to help their kids succeed at school by setting a bit of extra work, why is that such a bad thing?  Why is it any of your business?

Parents should do for their kids whatever they think will help them succeed in the big bad world out there.  If that means homework, then do that.  If your child needs fine motor skill work, research some activities to help with that (lego, origami, building blocks, pattern blocks are a few that I can think of off the top of my head), write them down in a notebook and let your child's teacher know about it.  If your child needs gross motor skill help, find a local sports team to join.

FWIW, I had my child helping me to bake cakes and set the table from about 3yo.  So, if that came home as homework for my DD (she's in Kindy) and that was all, I would laugh my behind off.  I would have her extrapolate from there and add up the total volume of liquids added to the flour or the total weights of each ingredient, and what the total prep time was, etc.

#10 melstarr73

Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:05 PM

Lol, I read this post out of interest due to the fact that my 8yr old DS was complaining last night that "i wish they never invented homework". I am lucky enough to work part-time so I am able to take an interest in both my boys homework, I sit with them and help every afternoon. But then there are the days where we have Taekwondo (for said 8yr old DS) and soccer practise (for 6yr old DS) and then all semblance of order goes out the window due to a change in our routine for that day. Mostly I allow them to complete a small part each day, and we concentrate more on the home reading and sight words/spelling words. Homework does seem to be getting longer and more of a burden and some nights i would much rather we all sat down and just chatted about our day than having to stress over the "have to get the homework done" pressure. My 12 yr old DSS (who has just come to live with us) is struggling due to the fact that we are making him complete his homework, whereas his mum never encouraged it to be finished. The poor boy goes into high school next year and has no idea on how to even attempt his homework each day let alone the large amount he is getting already for year7 (we are in QLD). I do beleive that a small amount each night is fine for each child depending on age and year at school, however, there are days when we just decide to "give it a miss" in favour of going for a walk on the beach, or walking the dogs, going for a bike ride together. I prefer to try and balance things out for the kids a bit, a bit of healthy down time never hurt anyone!! original.gif

#11 jill1972

Posted 23 February 2013 - 07:05 PM

I too didn't get burdened with homework until I started yr 8.  All of my little ones struggle with it as do I merely because I'm ultimately responsible for it being submitted.  This gets me to thinking, it's really more a parents responsibility in the younger years.  So then what is really is the point of it???

The other thing is what takes some kids 10 minutes can take another over an hour.........hardly fair.


2 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users


Life with anxiety

At times, I feel pretty worthless. In those moments, all I want to do is curl up into a ball and hide in the dark. I can try to quiet my mind, but it won?t shut up.

IVF leaves woman pregnant with another couple's twins

An Italian woman has been told the twins she is three months pregnant with are not hers.

'My mother-in-law found out our baby's gender behind our backs'

My husband and I mutually decided that we didn?t want to know our baby's sex before the birth, but his mother couldn't handle that.

What you need for the 'fourth trimester'

In my opinion, the first three months after the birth are the most intense. Here's what got me through that time after welcoming my baby.

Weaning a toddler off a dummy: a 15-day plan

Weaning your child off the dummy can be a traumatic experience for both of you. Here are some tips to help you through.

Choosing to be a solo parent

Two women share their stories of longing for a baby so much that they each decided not to wait for a partner before becoming a mum.

Asphyxia link another piece of the SIDS puzzle

An Australian study has uncovered information which could lead to a better understanding of why babies die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Rescue dog Zoey and BFF Jasper star in adorable pics

Photographer, self-professed "crazy dog lady" and mum Grace Chon takes photos of rescue dog Zoey and her 10-month-old son Jasper together. The results are just too cute. See more on Instagram @thegracechon.

The ultimate travel stroller: the Mountain Buggy nano

We tried the Mountain Buggy nano and give it an enthusiastic thumbs up. As the ultimate travel stroller, it's practical, has great features, and looks fab, too.

Mum's heartbreak as son dies in road accident

Daly Thomas and her two young sons were walking home from church on Tuesday afternoon. Her youngest son never made it.

New Kate Spade baby bag designs

Don?t adjust your screen: this bright beauty is coming to you in full colour.

Easter gifts for babies, no chocolate in sight!

If this is your little one?s first Easter you might want to mark the occasion with something a little extra special. Here are 10 Easter gift ideas, which won't harm little teeth.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.


What's hot on EB

Win the brand new phil&teds vibe

Check out the good looking new release of the Vibe 3 and the Verve 4-wheeler inline strollers. To celebrate their release, we have a Vibe with double kit to give away.

Baby sleep

From birth to one year and beyond, read about baby sleep, soothing techniques, routines, and sleep school experiences.

Easter gifts for babies, no chocolate in sight!

If this is your little one?s first Easter you might want to mark the occasion with something a little extra special. Here are 10 Easter gift ideas, which won't harm little teeth.

7 tips for a kid-free trip, not a guilt trip

Although I?m jumping out of my skin to take my child-free holiday, I?m dreading the goodbye. But I?m determined to make the most of it without tarnishing it with guilt or sadness about leaving the kids.

Itchibubs: clothes for babies and toddlers with eczema

Parents of children who suffer from eczema will know only too well the scratching that occurs around the clock. A new clothing range aims to help make everyone more comfortable.

Ear piercing: what age is best?

What is it that shapes our opinions on what?s an 'appropriate' age for our children to get their ears pierced? Parents share their views on how young is too young when it comes to piercing.

Caring for kids helps grandmothers stay mentally alert

Looking after grandchildren can help grandmothers ward off brain disease - but it's also possible to get too much of a good thing, researchers say.

Why I loved my third home water birth

After two water births at home, I was determined to give birth to my son the same way. I just hoped this birth would be quicker than my last two.

Revealed: 7 ways food marketers try to trick consumers

If you?re confused by food labels, you?re not alone. Next time you?re shopping for food, look out for these seven common labelling tricks.

'My mother-in-law found out our baby's gender behind our backs'

My husband and I mutually decided that we didn?t want to know our baby's sex before the birth, but his mother couldn't handle that.


Free Printable Activities

Keeping little hands busy

Free printable acitivity pages like colouring in, cutting, word finders, mazes, maths activities and puzzles.

Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.