It is generally agreed that some form of work at home is desirable for all primary age children. Homework should not be an unpleasant experience and, in general, should be used to reinforce children’s school work.
Homework also gives parents an opportunity to discuss school work with their children, providing some understanding of, and insight into, the National Curriculum. Constructive and encouraging comments from parents enable the child to develop a better understanding of the work and reinforce what is taught in school.
The purpose of homework changes as children get older. Formal homework starts in Year 1 and is gradually introduced from the start of the year. For children in Key Stage 1 and Early Years, developing a partnership with parents and involving them actively in children’s learning is the key purpose and the activities children are asked to do at home may better be described as ‘homework tasks’ or home learning, rather than ‘homework’.
Homework does not just mean formal exercises carried out by children without help from adults. We positively encourage adult support. In the case of Key Stage 2 children, the involvement of parents in joint activities, which may be only brief, is most valuable in promoting children’s learning.
By the time children reach Year 6 their homework programme will cover a range of tasks and curriculum content. This approach benefits their learning and also ensures that, in relation to homework as much as other aspects; their transition to Year 7 (secondary school) is as smooth as possible.
If a teacher sets homework there is an expectation that this will be completed by a set day.
It is hoped that parents will support the school in encouraging their children to develop a responsible attitude to their homework.
Reading is a daily activity in addition to homework. Whatever your child is reading it’s good to check that they are grasping the deeper levels of meaning (why things happen or how things work). Ask them to tell you about what they are reading, retell parts of the story, explain a specific section or make connections. Don’t forget to explore words and vocabulary with your child too, using dictionaries in print or online.
And most importantly, continue to enjoy what you do together, give lots of encouragement and expand the reading experience to keep your child switched on. Don’t forget – if they are reading something they are not enjoying, it’s OK to read something else. Reading has really got to be a pleasant experience if you want your child to keep reading.