There is a huge variation across the country on how homework works. Some teachers and parents are adamant that homework must be completed, but there is a small but significant movement to “ban homework” due to the argument that it consumes too much time and puts too much pressure on both parents and kids.
What we really want to know is, is there any truth from a scientific perspective that homework is a waste of time?
There are a few suggestions and recommendations based on research around homework:
- On average children should be given roughly 10 minutes of homework per night for every year they’ve been in school, so a Year 3 student might spend a maximum of 30 minutes per night on homework. If they are being given more than this, there should be good reason.
- The quality of the homework is much more important than the quantity. You should not be giving homework for the sake of it, if there is no relevance for homework then do not set it. If the homework seems irrelevant and dull then both the parents and children will put it off altogether.
Homework packs are a great way to give students fun and quality tasks to complete in their own time at home. The variety of tasks can help teachers assess the different areas that each student struggles with or particularly excels in.
- The idea of homework is for the children to practice and expand on the things that they are learning at school. There should not be pressure on children to get every task right every time, but instead the emphasis should be on giving each task a go and giving them feedback so that they know how they can improve next time.
- Explaining the value of the homework you are setting to parents is just as important as all of the above. Encourage parents to support their child and help them understand why they are being given homework. Each child is different, so try to be flexible to an extent with the amount of work you expect to be completed. If a child is having a particular difficulty in one area then parents and teachers should communicate so that this can be worked on as a team.