Homework! A word that stirs mixed emotions in many households. No matter how much it is loved or despised, homework has many positive benefits for students. However, there needs to be a common sense approach to homework expectations.
Commitments outside of school hours, such as sport, dance and music can have an enormous impact on family time. These interests provide excellent opportunities for children to develop skills and interests in other areas and are positive lifestyle choices. Homework; therefore should provide regular, independent practice which is time effective and helps to develop a balanced lifestyle.
Homework is important as it complements and reinforces classroom learning and fosters lifelong study habits. It also assists students to develop self-regulation and time management skills. Each school has its own homework policy and parents should be aware of this. Homework should be targeted to students’ learning needs and not merely be busy sheet work. Naturally, the age of the child will determine the length of time required to complete set homework tasks.
General student timeframes for homework are:
Lower Primary - (Students in Prep to Year 3) – about one hour per week, which equates to approximately ten minutes per school day.
Middle Primary – approximately two to three hours per week.
Upper Primary – approximately three to four hours per week.
Lower High School – (Students in Year 7, 8 and 9) – about one hour per night.
Upper High School – (Students in Year 10, 11 and 12) – varies according to individual subject expectations.
Research shows that the quality of homework provided is much more important than the quantity. Effective homework provides students with opportunities to practise skills, review content and deepen their understanding of concepts learned.
It is important to remember that homework should be targeted at each child’s current learning needs. Most students handle homework effectively, provided timeframes and expectations from the teacher are not unreasonable. However, some students operate below the expected level of class work and therefore may find homework frustrating and difficult as they do not understand the concepts being covered.
So, know what your child is expected to do and if they are having difficulty talk to their teacher about your concerns. They may be able to modify your child’s homework to better align with their current learning needs and make the homework experience better for all concerned.
Karen Carter is Co-Director at Kip McGrath Education Centre Burpengary, providing professional tuition by qualified teachers in Maths and English for Primary and Secondary students. Visit www.kipmcgrath.com.au/burpengary or phone 3888 2332 for a free assessment.