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Homework! As a primary teacher what do u think? Do u believe homework is necessary at a young age?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by JENNIE.G, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. Hi, I'm doing a university Education BA degree and am really interested in what primary teachers think about homework and whether they actually believe it to be benificial to children at a young age.

    If you had the choice would you choose to set homework?

    It would be great to hear any feedback from teachers whatever primary year you teach!

    if any teachers have any strong views on this subject then it would be great to hear your feedback.


  2. Honey Loop

    Honey Loop New commenter

    This is purely my opinion and I think it depends on how young you mean by 'young children'. Also, whether you ask a parent or a teacher.

    As a parent, and teacher, I believe it is enough for nursery children to be talked to and shown new experiences. Reception and key stage 1, in my opinion, should only have reading and spellings. But since I live and work in an area where even this is too much work for some parents (note the use of the word SOME - I made a sweeping generalisation as the percentage of parents who do not support children's learning is significantly higher than those who do and consequently do not value homework activities) sometimes it's just like hitting your head against a brick wall.

    However, as a parent, I think that children in key stage 2 children benefit from a bit of homework - even if it is consolodation of something that was covered in class, or something in perparation for another lesson. However, I do not believe in onorous worksheets and number problems just for the sake of providing homework. When my children got to year 6 they had to work on a half termly topics of their choice,apparently to ge them used to the year 7 work load. (neither of my children did anything like as much homework until my son did his GCSE's!) as well as SAT's homework. I think it just added too much pressure on the children and teachers.

    As a teacher, I think the added pressure of marking homework is unnecessary. I've seen many homework books unmarked and boxes filled with unmarked homework sheets which HAD to be in by Monday...

    I suppose, after all that, I think that homework is only valuable if it serves a purpose to expand the child's knowledge of something relevant to the lesson just learned/about to be learned, not just as a task to be done at home, because the school policy says it needs to be given.
  3. Reading, spellings & tables - yes it is worthwhile. Anything else and I think the value is dubious. I'm happy to set homework but I no longer waste time chasing it up. I think it is a choice between spending my time chasing up the homework some and often the same children don't do or spending it on something to benefit everyone. No contest. I explain the same thing to parents at parents' evenings too!
  4. Yes definitely as long as it is set for a purpose rather than 'it's Friday, I must find a sheet to photocopy for homework'! I'm in year 6 so I send home work linked to the lesson maybe 3 times a week. As it is in the class exercise books and on the same topics it helps them and I tell them to involve their parents in both their classwork and homework. Parents also feel more involved as they know what we are doing each week. Generally it is to consolidate a lesson or for them to prepare for the next days lesson.We also have a great subscription to a website where I can set homewrk online that they complete at home by logging in. Once they've logged in it tells them if they have any tasks to do. I can then access this, see who has completed it and see how well they did - no marking!!!

    But no amount of homework I set will prepare them for the amount they will get in secondary school!
  5. As a parnet and a teacher I don't believe in homework. Reading yes and learning tables and talking and doing practical maths like weighing, telling the time, counting change etc. I have been particularly careful about what homework I set this year - as I am teaching my youngest son !! I don't chase homework that isn't handed in but I use class reward system to reward those who complete it. On the whole I try to set practical activities esp in maths and try to set work that doesn't have to be marked or is quick to mark.eg my Year 4s this week were sent home with a paper plate card and a paper fastener to make a clock and then get a parent to test their digital/24 hr/analogue knowledge - verbally. Each homework has a challenge so they can do extra if they wish.

    My son is in Year 7 and doesn't have much more homework than he did in Yr6 and lots eg science and maths is completed and marked online !
  6. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter

    I teach in KS1 and last year we decided to make a change. We were fed up of photocopying sheets for the sake of it which had little value and which were often completed by parents anyway.

    We decided to trial a project style homework where the children had 5 weeks to complete a project that was linked to our topic for that term. Last term our topic was food and I had pupils cooking at home with their parents - with photographs and a written recip, I had models of food, still ife drawings, research how bread was made etc etc - lots of variation! the feedback I got from the majority of parents was great - they said how much their childrne were enjoying it (andI also teach in a school where parents don't often participate). I think the fact that projects mean there is no right or wrong and they seem less academic encourages parents to help more - there is less pressure.

    This term our topic was 'people' and their work is due in on Friday so I can't wait to see what they have done :)
  7. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Hate it, hate it, hate it.
    I would much rather use a scheme that encourages parents to spend time doing things with their children that are more likely to engage both parent and child in sharing & learning, than in trying to complete a task

  8. I use learning log-style homework which I do enjoy and feel benefits most of the children in the class. It's not so good for those families where there is no support at home, but I think that's always going to be an issue.
    I still have the "oh no, it's Friday" moment, but it's all based on work they've done in class so isn't hard to organise.
    Over the next 4 weeks, I've set them a presentation challenge where they need to research a topic of their choice and give a short talk to the class in January. Not sure how it's going to turn out...
    giggle. xx

  9. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I teach KS2 and I hate setting h/w and I think it isn't accepable to ask children to do work of any kind outside the school day.
    I would like children in my class to read at home when they have the time, to have a parent to read to them if they can and to just enjoy books. I do not want them to have to do 20 mins reading every night whether they have the time and inclination or not.
    Learning spellings is utterly pointless as parents want ever more difficult words and do not take kindly to being told that their children have forgotten words and so need to relearn them. Children learn the words, get 10/10 in the test and promptly forget the words. What a waste of time and tears learning them and a waste of class time testing them. Children also them believe they are good spellers as they always get 10/10, but actually can't spell for toffee.
    Tables learnign is fine if parents feel the need, but it should be fun not a chore.
    I generally these days (now I'm more confident, I didn't when I was newer/younger) set a homework such as 'Cook a meal for your family', 'Play a board game with someone at home', 'Draw me a picture of you in 10 years time', 'Describe to me your dream job and why'...etc. this encourages their creativity/parental involvement/discussion. Basically I set homework to be tasks that upper KS2 children should be doing anyway, but often are not.

    Mind you I could rant on about this for ages and bore you all senseless and make myself look a right moaning minnie.

  10. aspen_1

    aspen_1 New commenter

    Children borrow Maths games each week to play with their families. The games are differentiated according to level of difficulty.
  11. Hi.

    I teach in Yr1. We have reading everyday & after Christmas I'll set spelling h/w based on the YrR words. I try to think of as many different ways as possible - from sky writing to crosswords. I hope this gives parents an insight to the various methods of learning & provides them with ideas to try at home.
  12. In my opinion, parents with the interest, skills, knowledge and time to support their
    child's education will be doing it anyway and those who don't will not
    help their child with homework in a beneficial way. The group who would
    like to help their child but don't know how could be helped by a lists of suggested activities every term of half term. I'm not a parent but all to often I think homework ends up being a
    source of discord in busy homes, when children are being pushed to do
    it. Sometimes families have other things going on, I think schools should respect that.
    Absolutely agree with Minnie on the spellings. I have just started a new school where they set weekly spellings and the children persistantly do not recognise them in guided/shared/independent reading or writing, even when I remind them it's a spelling they've learnt.I give them the spellings for their weekly test in a different order to the one in which they've learnt it and several children have either told me they can't do it in a different order, or just written it in the same order they learnt anyway!
    We do offer a Maths library to parents/children who are interested and send home suggestions of maths activities and a project linked to a topic every half term. I think that offers both flexibility and support to families.

    Reading is useful to practise at home with young children, although I think it should be carefully handled. My nephew (Y2) gets a merit if he reads a book (a whole short one, or half a longer one) every night for a week, with the upshot that my sister makes him read even if he is tired or not in the mood, which I think is a real shame for him and could spoil his love of reading.I hear teachers muttering about how often parents hear their children read as if it's the be-all and end-all of good parenting. There is more to life!

    A waste of everybody's time in my opinion and (go on, I'll be the first to say it!) I never had homework when I was at primary school and I still learnt everything I needed to, just fine!

  13. Hi RJR_38, I'd be really interested to know how you went about implimenting this, especially as you are also in KS1. I think it could be valuable for my little ones too. Would you mind sharing your ideas further?
    Thanks in advance.
  14. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    This made me laugh, as I really struggled to resist saying it! [​IMG]
  15. NicoleK

    NicoleK New commenter

    I'm Year 2. I hate written homework. I hated in when I taught KS2 as well. Homework has absolutely no value with the exception of mental maths practice and reading practice, perhaps handwriting practice as well. Learning lists of spellings are a waste of time. Activities like making fairy cakes or planting seeds in the garden with lots of speaking and listening hold a great deal more value in my opinion, especially at KS1 and FS.

    I think that anything more just acts as a stressor between teacher and pupil, teacher and parent, parent and child and so on.
    Involved parents tend to do it for their child rather than with them. many of my children have hideous awful homelives and I am just grateful to see them turn up each morning. The last thing i want to do is chase them up for homework that they don't want to do and I certainly don't want to mark.

  16. Glad it came across tongue in cheek, that's how I meant it!

    Hmmm, so now my question is, with all this anti homework feeling, why are we still doing it???!


  17. Because parents expect it!

    I teach yrs2/3 and refuse to set homework other than reading and "words" to read and spell-not for testing, each child works through "the list" at their own pace. We also do "Big Writing" but I ask the parents just to talk about whatever we are covering. Some parents still insist on writing out the whole piece for their child-as if that will help! I am still asked when they will be getting "proper" homework and I simply say I don't set it. If the children want to do reading and writing at home or bring in items to talk about or show things they have made, I am much happier than piles of worksheets, usually completed by elder siblings-for me to mark!
  18. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Far from 'preparing children for secondary school' homework in primary schools is a dangerous evil. I've not yet come across a teacher who insisted on getting it handed in, so the slack children (mine, I'm afraid) develop the idea that you don't need to do homework if you don't want to. This causes HUGE problems when they go to secondary school and homework ceases to be 'optional'.

    As a parent I hate projects to do over half a term or whatever. I don't want to be constantly thinking about it, as if it were my homework, and I can be sure my little darlings won't do it if I don't make them. And then their stupid school gives a prize for the best project, in other words, they give a prize to the child with the most diligent parent. Why? What's the point. There have been some very sensible comments on here, especially the one saying that supportive parents will do things anyway and the other kind won't help their children with anything. Please can we scrap homework.

    My children are all lucky to be good spellers. None of them has ever learnt his spellings, ever. They then get praised for getting them all right. What a waste of time.

  19. like many others with parent hat on too, I think Y6 is the time for a small amount of homework in preparation for secondary, (certainly my children got very little h/w at secondary with Primary far outstripping the amount set.) I do think though that times tables, reading and some spelling can be achieved at home, but this happens only at the homes who would do it regardless of whether it was homework or not. Many parents just don't help their children and its those children who end up making up excuses for their parents - ' Mum was too busy because....' and children really shouldn't have to do that. So for me the ideal would be, h/w from Y6 is ok, not before.
  20. Well there may not be many but I am one and so are the other KS2 teachers at my school and my previous school! If I set homework and ask for it to be in on a certain date then it is done or children stay in to do it. I always set it one day for the next and the majority of my children manage that. There are a couple who never do it, partly due to lack of support from home and also the children's own poor organisation. I know there are also other children who get little support at home but do the homework anyway. One who I thought would never ever do it has now changed and does try although he gets no help, I do make the homework a step easier than what we are doing in class so it acts and practice and reinforcement, and those who don't get support should be able to do it by themselves. I also give them a creative homework and encourage them to think and use their imagination and I have had some excellent and totally child initiated responses.

    I do believe that children should learn to take responsibility for themselves, that it helps prepare them for secondary school and also later on in life when there are deadlines that need to be met for work etc. I also think that homework reinforces how important working hard and school in general is.
    I don't believe in children spending hours after school sitting being forced to complete endless worksheets etc. and I give a time limit for my homeworks. I do tell parents that if the child can't finish the work in the time limit to just write a note saying how long they spent I don't punish children for not finishing or not quite doing what was asked so long as they have had a try.


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