Homework is work that is set to be done outside the timetabled curriculum. It contains an element of independent study in that it is not usually directly supervised by a teacher. It is important in raising student achievement.
Not all homework is done at home; in fact, for some students who find it hard to work at home, or for some tasks which may require resources (books, software, equipment) more readily available at school, it is necessary or desirable to carry out the task at school.
Homework enhances student learning, improves achievement and develops students' study skills and as such is an integral part of the curriculum. It requires careful planning and integration into the scheme of work of each curriculum area.
The amount of extra time dedicated to homework will increase as students enter the higher grades. Elementary students can be expected to spend 30-45 minutes on homework a day. Middle school students can be expected to spend 45-60 minutes doing homework a day. High school students can be expected to spend 1-2.30 hours on homework a day.
The role of the Parents
The role of the parent is crucial if a child is to gain success from homework. To reinforce its value through positive feedback will give students the confidence to persevere, work hard and reach high standards of achievement.
Parents can assist by:
- Providing a table, chair and a quiet place to work.
- Negotiating with the student when homework is to be done as a student's free play is important too.
- Checking the time spent on individual tasks.
- Ensuring that outside clubs do not hamper a child's quality of work and put a child under undue pressure.
- Checking presentation and content of all homework being returned to school.
- Signing the homework planner each week if available.
- Providing the school with information about any problems through the student planner or by contacting the school directly.
Frequently Asked Questions about homework
We have received questions and queries from parents and carers concerning a variety of aspects regarding homework. We have summarized these below in what we hope will be a helpful guide which will enable you to further support your son/daughter.
- “What is my role in homework?”
Encouragement is a major role. Ensure that your child manages and copes with the workload. Sit with them. Talk to them about the tasks. If youngsters verbalize their learning they are more likely to retain the knowledge.
- “I’m busy and don’t have time to help. What can I do?”
It’s not essential that you sit with them and work alongside them, but showing an interest is imperative. Ask them what tasks they’re undertaking tonight and sound enthusiastic!
- “I can’t help because education has changed since I was at school. I don’t know what my child is taught.”
You can support by appearing interested in school: reading the school newsletter; attend parents’ evenings. Generally show an interest in school. Check the school website.
- “I don’t know enough about a specific topic to help my child. How can I help?”
Youngsters thrive on rewards and encouragement. Maybe look at some information together. Help collect information. Supporting is an excellent way of helping.
- “It’s noisy and there’s no space at home”.
The school may provide clubs or a specific period dedicated to homework. There are also opportunities at lunchtime to complete homework.
- ”How much homework should my child be doing?”
As mentioned before, homework amount will vary from grade level. The current homework timetable is sometimes on the teacher’s website.
- “My child doesn’t tell me about homework. What can I do?”
Look in the planner. Ask your child open questions about today’s learning at school.
- “My child’s homework is set irregularly and then doesn’t get marked.”
The first thing to do would be to talk to your child and make sure of the facts. If there is an issue, tell us via the planner in the first instance, or write the teacher a note.
- ”All my child seems to do is finish off work done in class”.
It is important from time to time to finish off classwork. However, homework should take many forms. If you aren’t sure – ask or send in a query via the student planner.
- “My child spends more time than is necessary on her homework.”
Youngsters work at different speeds. However, if they are spending inordinate amounts of time on tasks make a note in their planner – or simply write=’x has spent 30 minutes on this task’.
The teacher will then take charge of the situation.
Homework is used to support classwork. It is an attempt to help youngsters become independent learners and more importantly form a base of good practice which can be built on in future years. Homework is an integral part of the learning process.