Monday, January 29, 2007


Here's an article questioning whether young children should be given homework.

Before I went to Secondary School, I never received a scrap of homework. I do remember lots of playing games and having a thoroughly good time. If I'd had homework every night at that age, I'm quite sure that it would have put me off school completely.

I'm fairly sure that by the time we left at age 11, every child in my class could read, write and do their tables. Maybe the difference was that when the teacher told us that we had to sit down, listen in silence and learn something, we actually did have to sit down, listen in silence and learn something.


Anonymous said...

As a teacher, it is a pain in the arse setting homework. It's extra work, both in the planning and marking, and in the chasing it up when it inevitably doesn't come back to you (although hearing some of the excuses is quite good fun).

As a parent of a small child, I know that when she comes home from school I would like to spend some quality time with her, not have her doing homework. It worries me when working in a reception class I had parents asking me why their children were not receiving homework!!! School should be a place to learn, and the teaching at home should (and I repeat should) be done by the parents. It's a shame that a lot of the time this doesn't happen.

Anonymous said...

I was at school 40 years ago,and I had the attitude that as I had been at school all day,the rest of the day belonged to me.'All work and no play......'

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with that - Before 11 I had no homework, did well but not overly and had a good time like children should. Secondary school came with the obligatary homework and I was ready for it and mature enough to manage it! Now i'm in year 13, studying for A-Levels and just wishing there was less - I get at least 3 hours a night, 6 hours at weekends. As a result of this, I spend more time doing schoolwork than sleeping, eating or stress busting - all nessesary activities!

billy said...

I teach in Primary and am forced to set homework. I leave a space for the parent to mark and make a comment. Those I get back I skim read and note anything that really matters. Those I don't get back I'm not even aware of because I don't log them in.
It has took me 13 years to realise that if I do something once I'll be expected to do it until I'm ill.
We are paid for 1265 hours over 195 days. No more, no less.

lilyofthefield said...

Speaking as a parent:
I don't kid myself that the time I spent with my kids when they galloped in from Primary school was in any meaningful way "quality", especially as they generally dumped their bags, grabbed some fat and sugar-laden snack and raced straight back out to play football, but I can't think of any better way of reducing the quality than forcing them to do more of the same they'd been doing all day.

It's the bloody teachers' job to make them do schoolwork they don't want to. I have enough to do making them wash and eat vegetables.

Speaking as a teacher:
I was required by school policy to set a "meaningful" homwework once a week because apparently (key word) it makes us look like A Good School. Because I think it's a waste of time even at KS3 (at least in Technology) and because I don't wish to spend half my life marking busywork, I used to set them "Visit a supermarket and count how many brands of yogurt there are"; "Try four different brands of crisps with your eyes closed and see if you can tell which is which" and "Read the labels of four different brands of baked beans. Note which brand has the most sugar".

James said...

In secondary school, I was once criticised by the SENCO for having too much of a boundary between school and the rest of my life. Given that one of the reasons the SENCO and I came to know each other so well was the serious bullying issues I had to put up with for the entire duration of my time in school, this struck me as a rather silly thing to say.
Mind you, deadlines were never my strong point, and still aren't...

Anonymous said...

Homework isn't given because it's good for the children; it's given because the lunatics who now run the asylum think it looks good to be cracking the whip and making 9-year-olds work every hour God sends.

Forcing people to work harder is only good when the work is effective and fruitful. At least 50% of what kids are made to do in schools is neither.

We took our 9-year-old out of the "Highy Effective" (OFSTED) local primary school, and sent her to a prep school that demands my whole salary in return for not giving her any homework.

She isn't just happier and more motivated as a result - she is also making much better progress.


Paul T said...

billy "We are paid for 1265 hours over 195 days. No more, no less."

Your passion for your vocation is shining through. Nearly 6.5 hours a day for 39 five day weeks per year.

lilyofthefield said...

I feel almost certain that my pithy two word response will be deleted so I'll let your imagination shine through instead.

Anonymous said...

After qualifying as a NQT I was filled with knowledge from teaching training institution. One such nugget was that setting homework for children was a good thing because parents would know how to help the child at home etc etc.

Filled with this knowledge I dutifully set homework from Year 1 class, until parents evening when one of the one of the parents told me that she was having to do all the homework I sent home because her child didn't like it.

This was the not the reaction I had hoped for and since I have made a point not to send worksheets home and instead set practical activities for the parents and children to do together, for example can you count all the even numbered houses on your way home etc.

But yes, I am a conformist, I do still set homework.