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How much is homework really “loading up” parents?

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Brett Henebery | 30 Jan 2015, 12:35 PM Agree 0
Is homework depriving parents and children of quality time together?
  • Jane | 02 Feb 2015, 10:20 AM Agree 0
    Homework is too often a battleground.
    Education should be broad - let them play sport, dance, paint, build, garden! These too are about learning!
  • Neill | 02 Feb 2015, 10:39 AM Agree 0
    The research is pretty clear- in primary education reading and some basic facts help- all the rest is questionable, anything else should be optional. (Hattie, Kohn, BES- 2003 http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/series/2515/5947)
    Our website provides an alternative that has proven to be successful, honours the family and encourages whole brain learning http://www.waitakiri.school.nz/Our Learning/Home Learning.html
  • J Sanderson | 02 Feb 2015, 10:41 AM Agree 0
    I think the main issue here is Karl thinking 'he has to do the homework' and not his children. As a former secondary school teacher, I take umbrage at Karl's comments about his expectations on teachers :

    “That’s what we send our kids to school for - to load teachers up.”
    “I want to play FIFA 15 soccer with my boys on the weekends and teach my daughter the finer points of the high beam on the weekends. Quality time! Quality time with a capital K,” Stefanovic joked.teachers on the whole do not enjoy sitting at home 'marking' children's work instead of having their own 'free time'

    ... as the homework that is often distributed is done so for specific reasons, namely:

    * to help a child revise their learning from the day at school and find where they have either misunderstood or need further clarification
    * to help a child learn the disciplines of study and how to plan carefully, prepare methodically and research / think more deeply on issues
    * to refine a skill that was covered briefly in class that day
    * to begin a new task by having a child think through the problem on their own and come to class with fresh ideas.. and more...

    Homework is not about asking parents to do the work, it is in fact the opposite. Complications only appear once we clarify the child:

    * A bright child who listens in class and completes homework will find additional tasks at night quick to complete, as invariably they have already learned the disciplines of sitting down to study, how to approach a particular task, and how to research and analyse information.
    * For the child who was talking during class time, or who was unable to understand or hear the topic or activities but was too afraid to ask, then homework is their opportunity to revise the information once again and try to master the skill / task.
    * That leaves the child who hasn't kept up with their in-class work for various reasons, and homework then only becomes a problem if parents or family members don't make themselves available to help their children learn how to sit down quietly (without the TV, the mobile, the usual distractions in a home) and go through the questions to ensure they understand how to complete the answers.

    Homework is not meant to be a burden and if it, is then surely it makes sense that if a child won't speak up, then the parents should consider approaching the teacher to voice their concerns calmly and rationally. To think that teachers enjoy additional marking or should be 'loaded' up some more, simply shows Karl's lack of understanding about education and lack of respect for the profession.

    Children are at school to learn skills for life, to learn how to interact socially and build relationships to develop into healthy and happy members of society, but they are also there to acquire knowledge about many different aspects of our society. So if a child has a problem with completing a short oral presentation in Mandarin, it is not the parent's problem. It only becomes the parents problem if they try to do the task themselves instead of sitting down quietly with their child to read the question and guide them. If it is apparent that their child down not know how to approach the task, then a note in the homework book surely communicates this to the school. This information then gives the teacher the knowledge needed to take some additional time to sit with the child, and perhaps even the class, to re-establish comprehension and understanding of the task.

    As a mother of three children, I have total respect for family time, indeed I don't believe we have enough of it today. However, I feel it is important to understand and respect that homework plays an important part of revising knowledge and skills, as it shows a teacher how well as child is absorbing information and how able they are at producing results. Please remember that teachers are still very underpaid for the job they perform, particularly the teachers who perform at 150 percent of their capacity all of the time, so perhaps a little more respect and understanding for the purpose of homework would go a long way in our community.

    I would prefer parents to be a little more upset about the fact that in today's society we have 'sport' interfering with 'family time' in a big way, with Saturdays and Sundays no longer free to kick the footy, go on picnics, have family lunches and the like. Surely 30 mins to one hour of homework each night is not too much to ask to give our children the confidence they need to perform alongside their peers and feel a real sense of achievement.

    So Karl, please remember that you've been to school and come out the other side; your children's education therefore is not about how well you're doing, but it is instead about helping your children succeed.


  • Anthony | 02 Feb 2015, 10:56 AM Agree 0
    I agree with Neil (above) wholeheartedly. I am always hesitant to give too much homework as a Primary School classroom teacher, but the expectations from on high (School Board) and higher (my vocal parent body) forced me into it. Now as a Dad, I find most of the tasks my own kids have to do are simply time fillers. (If I have to help cut out spelling list words from magazines one more time..!) I'd much rather be spending time with my daughters teaching them how to correctly throw, catch and kick a drop punt. But as a teacher, I'll be staying late at school marking homework, so they'll have to figure it out themselves...
  • Jo | 02 Feb 2015, 11:27 AM Agree 0
    I have never believed that homework should be part of a child's life. If we can't teach what needs to be taught during the school day then we need to look at the curriculum - not burden families with the overflow. I am a primary school teacher and school principal and I think we assume too often that all families have the time and the capacity to complete homework but they don't and we are only reinforcing social inequities when we expect children to complete school tasks at home.
  • Antonio | 11 Mar 2015, 02:02 PM Agree 0
    Homework should be complusory each day and over weekend. I have found it interesting that Australian always compare its standard with those in Asian, and claim our academic standard is below. However they do not compare the study style at the same time. Let's look at China, it is not abnormal that primary and secondary student study in schools from 7:00am till 8:00pm. In Hong Kong, student finishing school around 4:00pm do homework study until 9:00pm to 11:00pm, and over the weekend plus most of the holidays. If the government or the parent really care about the academic standard in Australia, we must give our student more and more homework. Holiday is a time to relax as well as doing revision. It would be silly to think that the 2 week term break is time for fun only. Half of the time should be allocated to study or revision. Money will not improve the standard, only hard working will. If you want no homework for your kid, please don't yell saying they are not as good as those who work hard.
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