At a glance
- Reading and problem solving are good activities for your child to do at home.
- Play is an important part of your child's learning.
- Any homework should reinforce what your child learns in class.
- Schools develop homework policies with the help of teachers and parents.
- If your child is having difficulties with any homework activities speak to their teacher.
Public schools in NSW don't expect children in Kindergarten to complete formal homework. They encourage families to read with their children and be involved in family activities that assist the development of their skills in reading, mathematics and problem solving to make the most of what they are learning.
Learning through play
Thea Eyles, an early childhood expert with the NSW Department of Education and Communities, says young children in the early years of school need the time to play.
Homework should help build good learning habits; it shouldn't exhaust or turn kids off. Ken OlahNSW Department of Education and Communities
"I think the most powerful message around the homework issue for parents of children who are in Kindergarten and Year 1 is that playing is learning," Thea says.
"Early childhood educators know the importance of learning through play – it is this philosophy that forms the basis of early childhood education, and all of the international research supports this approach."
More formal homework usually starts in Years 1 and 2 where children may be asked to complete some maths, simple writing tasks, or an activity sheet. The purpose of this homework is to reinforce what has been learnt in class.
- to bridge the gap between learning at school and learning at home.
- parents to see what their child can do and to be involved in their learning.
- improve children's concentration and focus.
- children to retain and understand what they've been taught in class.
- prepare children for what they will be taught the next day.
- provide children with the challenges and stimulus they need to engage in their classwork.
NSW Department of Education curriculum expert Ken Olah says the homework policy, which schools use as a guide, is based on common sense.
"The amount of homework depends on the age of the student, the school context, the subject, the purpose for which the homework is set, and so on," he says.
"Homework should help build good learning habits; it shouldn't exhaust or turn kids off."
Schools develop their own homework policy with input from staff and parents. Ask your school for a copy.
If you find homework is becoming too much or is too difficult for your child, or there is something specific going on for your family that makes getting homework done a real challenge, have a chat with your child's teacher.
If kids are doing homework, they are probably not actively moving around. The number one argument I hear from teachers on why they give homework is to teach responsibility. Homework does not teach responsibility. If we are really concerned with students being responsible and if we are also concerned about them being healthy and well rounded I propose we sign students up for sports instead.
Homework is out of control. In some schools homework is averaging 3.1 hours per night. That is on top of the 7 hours that students were at school. Kids are being assigned more homework than ever. The 10 minute per grade level rule was not based on research and it is not being followed in most cases. For elementary school children, in particular, there is little benefit.
“All of our results indicate that homework as it is now being assigned discriminates against children whose parents don’t have a college degree, against parents who have English as a second language, against, essentially, parents who are poor.”
Homework leaves less time for kids to spend with their families, causes stress in families, deprives kids of sleep, and makes it harder to participate in co-curricular activities. Is the “value” of homework worth more than spending time with family? Worth more than being active? Worth more than being involved in the community?
There are many benefits to students participating in sports. They are physically active, they learn to work on a team, they demonstrate increases in academics, and an increase in self-confidence and concentration.
There is a lot of research to support the benefits of activity and sports. Let’s listen to the research that homework is not that helpful but sports are. Homework causes stress. Physical activity relieves stress. How about we stop giving kids homework so they can choose healthier options.Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2015