Does this comment sound familiar? I hear it nearly every single day and I am in constant battle with Miss 6 to get her homework done on time. The thing is, I hate forcing her to do it. She’s only in grade one and I would prefer that she be outside playing in the fresh air, learning about nature, getting some exercise or playing indoor games using her imagination. I was astounded when, in Prep last year, she started bringing home homework. Let kids be kids for as long as they can. They grow up way too fast!
Miss 6 is a busy little bee anyway and we always find her writing stories, cards, poems etc, painting, drawing, playing shops, restaurants and teachers or reading chapter books.
Here’s Miss 6’s menu for her new restaurant that she’s just opened. I enjoyed a lovely lunch!
I believe it is good to practise sight words/spellings/number facts and reading for homework, but is it really necessary to write them out every night of the week? With so many after school activities like gymnastics, swimming lessons, after school care (on the day I work) and after school activities, we are hard-pressed to fit homework in. And I believe weekends are for fun, relaxation and family time, not homework.
When a friend of mine told me that her uncle, Richard Walker had co-written a book with Mike Horsley called “Reforming Homework”, I listened to an interview on the radio and read some articles about their research. They came up with some interesting conclusions.
Mike Horsley said, “Students benefit from homework that is well prepared, interesting and challenging, but not overtaxing. On the other hand, homework that is repetitive, boring, too easy or difficult for students, does not contribute to new learning. High-quality tasks encourage students to invest effort in their homework, which leads to improved outcomes, whereas low-quality homework has adverse effects on motivation, effort and achievements. We’re not saying homework should be abolished, just reformed and refined.”
Richard Walker said, “Where parents are over-controlling or interfering in their students’ homework activities then that’s been shown pretty clearly to not be beneficial. But where parents support their children’s autonomy and essentially try to provide guidance and assistance rather than being interfering and controlling, that’s beneficial for students.”
If you would like to read/listen to more, Rachel Carbonell (on AM with Tony Eastley) interviewed authors Richard Walker and Mike Horsley about their book, “Reforming Homework.”
So, I have stopped with the constant banter of, “Hurry up and do your homework,” and Miss 6 does a little bit each morning as she has her breakfast. Sometimes we set the oven timer and see how many number facts she can write before the timer goes off, while I I try to beat the timer, cleaning up the kitchen! And sometimes I offer small rewards!
Miss 6 is happy to play Spelling City on the computer instead of writing out her spellings. She has also introduced me to some fun ICT number games such as Funky Mummy, Save the Whale and Shark Numbers.
What are your thoughts on homework and do you have any tips for making homework fun?