Do Our Kids Have Too Much Homework- Is this a Concern for Parents of Primary School Kids?

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

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:

Conclusion

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.

Regards

 

 

14 Replies to “Do Our Kids Have Too Much Homework- Is this a Concern for Parents of Primary School Kids?”

  1. Funnily enough, I have noticed over the last two years, that my now thirteen year old son is getting a lot of coursework and homework at the same time (both are to be completed at home!). 

    Not only that – I was surprised by the level of some of it (i.e. it was baffling me!). 

    When he was in primary school he was also given homework in his last year – when he was 10. We never received any homework in primary school. 

    Personally, I do feel that this is too young to be starting down this track – do you agree?

    1. If the school wants to give minimal homework , for whatever reasons, then that’s fine. A little bit of homework can keep a child mentally stimulated especially during weekends , rather than watching television. But too much quantity of homework is not good.

      Not sure why your son was given coursework and homework to be completed at home? I have a tough time explaining to my daughter the meaning of words that she gets for her spellings!

  2. I agree with you that homework is an important tools to help students revise what they learnt at school , help parents to know what their kids are learning and to know the progress of their kids too. Many teachers give homework to show parents that they work hard to help their students but most of the time parents do the homework for their kids and the target of homework can’t be achieved like that.Students need to enjoy life when they are not at school so giving them a package of homework can annoy them and make them hate studying. For me , homework can be given at least 2 days a week to let the students relax too.

    1. I agree with your suggestion Julienne of giving homework twice a week. But schools shouldn’t be gaining approval of parents by giving them “package of homework “, so nicely described by you 🙂

  3. Excellent article.  

    On the one hand, kids today seem to get more homework than when I went to school.  On the other hand, I do not know that they have the level of general knowledge that I had (they seem unaware of capital cities, world leaders’ names, even countries – and I’m talking about high school kids).

    I see a lot of parents running around doing things that their kids’ schools require of them.  I start wondering what it is that the schools are doing that they require so much parental involvement.

    I’m sorry, your article has opened a can of wiggling worms in me and I’d better get off my soapbox or I’m in danger of straying from your article’s premises! 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment Cath. Kids of today have too much to do , so many extra activities ..too much homework, how much is going to get retained in their brain?

       I agree with you schools ask for too much parental involvement at times. 

  4. I can relate to this, Priya. When both my kids were in primary school there was tons of homework. While my daughter could manage herself, I had to sit down with my son. Sometimes, I taught him quickly but at times I would feed him the answers because there wasn’t enough time to cover all questions. Also, both of us were tired at the end of day. Now, they are in secondary school and it is better. I do pity the teachers having to spend so much time going through all the kids homework. 

    Thanks for sharing.

    Sharon

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences Sharon. I have had similar experiences with my kids too. Sometimes my son is too tired and simply doesn’t want to do his spellings or his maths homework. They have got deadlines too for submission , which adds to the pressure !

  5. Hello Priya. This is indeed an awesome article and I think it should reach and be read by every teacher, School owners and parents too.

    My thoughts: I don’t think primary school kids should be given too much home work. It is not how far but how well. They should be given homework based on what they are taught. They should be taught based on what they can carry. Should not be given lessons beyond their level of understanding.

    Reading should be encouraged by parents. Quality reading too.

    Parents should stop doing assignments for their kids. They should assist them in doing the assignments. They are only causing more harm than good to their kids if they decide to do the assignments by themselves for their kids.

    Primary school kids should be allowed to enjoy their child hood. I personally think they deserve to enjoy while they are young.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your comment. You are right, quality reading is important. If the child is tired there is no point making them read just to finish the reading book. Sometimes homework assignments are so hard that the parents have to finish the homework as it is beyond the capacity of the child. 

  6. Hi

    I classify myself as “old school” and I firmly believe in homework for the kids. So, I agree with you at this point and also the argument that the chlidren must do their homework and not the parents. The parents should just help their kids and explain to them the words and the difficult aspects of the homework.

    Teachers should also consider the Primary school children as very young and not overwhelm them with too much homework. It may even have a negative effect on some kids, they could get scared by not completing all the work or not understanding a particular piece of work.

    Once again, I agree that the children mustn’t be pressurized so much as to undermine their confidence.

    1. Thanks for your comment Nicolaas. Homework deadline causes a lot of stress to parents too ! It affects family life as primary kids are too young to understand what a homework deadline is !  So parents finish their homework on child’s behalf just to complete the homework within the deadline. 

  7. Hi Priya,

    I have done a bit of hobby teaching even to kindergarten kids. I think homework is necessary and it should be appropriate both in quantity and quality. Teachers should consider the number of subjects the pupil has to handle and also listen to the complaints that pupils do give and objectively consider.

    Parents love to see their kids busy during school time with their homework and whatever they are studying, but of course, kids do have a limit of learning stress.

    Holidays are a good time for them to relax.

    The idea of parents doing homework for kids or not is influenced by factors such as the parents availability, their desire to see their kids excell in school.

    However, I think parents should be invited and spoken with by school authorities in order to come to an inclusive rather than a unilateral decision that will not please the parents.

    Thanks

    Isaiah

    1. Thank you for your comment Isaiah. It is good to hear from someone from the teaching fraternity. School authorities do take opinion of parents but the final decision will always be with the headteacher . I like to see my kids doing a little bit of homework and keeping themselves busy but cramming spellings , without knowing their meaning seems pointless to me! Education is good only if it can be applied!

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