Both my kids are in primary school and sometimes I feel so stressed and pressurised to finish all their spellings, home learning, times table etc, etc. It is also imperative that they do daily reading. How can a parent manage this every week with more than one child some of which I feel is quite unnecessary. Then I ask myself “do our kids have too much homework? Is this home work necessary?”
Should Homework be given at all?
Some parents believe that their kids should be given tons of homework. They believe that a school can be considered “good” only if they give lots of homework every single day! Others believe that kids shouldn’t be given any homework at all in the primary school !
According to an article in the Telegraph by Olivia Goldhill, a primary school in New York stopped all homework assignments. But this didn’t go down very well with the parents, they didn’t take it positively .
Homework, a proof of study for the school?
Are the schools trying to prove to the parents how much they make the children study through the homework? For example, when my child comes home with her maths homework, I can see what she has learnt in maths that week and when she does her homework I can see how much knowledge she has gained on a particular topic or whether she has understood the concept/topic at all or not.
So even if the schools are trying to provide proof or reassurance to parents who love homework, homework actually helps parents to know how much their child has understood a particular topic.
A form of communication
Through the above example, the school and parent and communicate with each other, in what topics is the child weak in? Which one is he/she good at? Which topic requires more practice or a better understanding?
Homework done by parent or child?
With homework, there is always the chance that the parent simply cannot be bothered to sit down with the child and make them do their homework. In order to save time they might just do the homework themselves and thus the purpose of homework is completely defeated.
As per my previous post , parents helping with homework, I have outlined why homework needs to be completed by the child and not the parent.
Quantity over quality
The issue for me is quantity of homework. Spellings , maths every week and home learning coming in every 2 weeks ! My daughter gets times table test every week too so that has to be learnt as well. She gets spellings which she doesn’t know the meaning of . The school should give spellings only of words the children are likely or expected to use at their age – words of which they would understand the meaning of.
Pressure on teachers to mark the homework?
Do teachers actually get time to mark all this homework? How would the teacher know if the homework has been done by the child or parent? If the homework is beyond the capacity of the child, most parents would be tempted to do the homework themselves!
Reading should be encouraged among primary school kids but they shouldn’t be given unreasonable number of books to read in order to get an award or appreciation from the school.
Mug up spellings and times tables
Complex spellings and times tables are given every week. So in case they do not know the meaning of the word, they just have to learn it without really understanding what it means. What is the point of this kind of education? Similarly, for times tables. , barely they have been able to understand the concept of multiplication, to expect them to know their times tables is too much !
As per an article on the BBC News website dated March 2012, the government guidelines for homework have been scrapped which means that the head of the school can decide how much homework should be given.The article also included something of interest to me, which is below:
Homework is necessary to consolidate the child’s learning but it should not pressurise or stress the children and the parents. Quality learning over quantity. Children should be allowed to enjoy their childhood too. Schools should keep in mind what is average level of the children before setting the homework.
Giving large amounts of complicated homework to young children, undermines their confidence. Also, it serves no purpose if the parents do the homework on their children’s behalf.
What are your thoughts on primary school kids getting too much homework? Or kids getting homework way beyond their capacity or understanding? Shouldn’t we let kids be kids? Share via comment box below.