The children I teach, attend once a week for an 80 minute lesson and will get one homework per week. I think that this is enough homework as the purpose of homework is to test the child’s learning and to see what the child can do independently. When I set homework, it needs to satisfy the following criteria:
1. The child needs to be aware of the importance of the homework. They must not see this as some sort of punishment, and they must respect the time and effort I put in to give them the homework.
2. It needs to be linked to the work covered in the lesson, otherwise I will not be able to compare classwork to homework.
3. It needs to be at a level where the child is able to get 80% of the questions correct. Challenging enough to build on learning, yet easy enough to instill confidence in the child.
4. The child should understand the homework before leaving the lesson.
However, some parents want their children to have more homework. When I ask why, they say that it will keep them busy and help them progress much quicker. If a child is given more homework, does that equate to more progress?
When I started teaching, I used to do this. I used to give up to 4 pieces of homework to children upon the request of the parents. Big mistake!
The children would often lose their homework, because they couldn’t look after it properly. They didn’t have the organisation skills needed to keep track of the homework, check that it’s all done, and to make sure it was brought in the following lesson to be marked.
Of the few times it was all brought in, I would spend at least 10 minutes per lesson marking it. I believe in giving instant feedback, so I mark the homework straight away and go through it. Then I used to spend 30 minutes going over all the wrong answers. That’s 40 minutes of the lesson eaten up.
Now I insist on children handing in one good quality piece of work per week. The rules are that it needs to be done neatly, all questions must be completed and if the children want to, they can add things they have learnt. For example if I give a child a homework on the 3 and 4 times tables, what’s to stop them from learning about the 6 times table themselves? Or if I give a child a comprehension exercise, what’s to stop the child from continuing the story covered in the comprehension?
If you really want to keep your children’s brains active during the week, get them reading. Children who read make good learners. What’s your view on homework? Do you think your child gets too little or too much homework? If you are a teacher, what’s your experience of giving out lots of homework to children? I’d love to now.