Research has shown that the completion of homework has a very positive and significant effect on achievement, and it embeds positive learning habits for lifelong learning.
Parents, carers and other family members can and do make a real difference to children’s education. When parents and schools work together children do better.
Parents who show an interest in their children’s homework and talk to them about it really help them to learn. With support and encouragement, children find it easier to get into the homework habit.
Homework provided opportunities for pupils to develop the four capacities outlined in A Curriculum for Excellence;
- Enthusiasm and motivation for learning
- Learn independently
- Use literacy and numeracy skills
- Determination to reach high standards of achievement
- Take more responsibility for their own learning
- Practice and build on what they have learnt at school
- Develop confidence to deal with frustrations, overcome difficulties and solve problems
- Learn how to organised and manage their time
- Achieve success in different areas of activity
- Manage to organised and timetable homework activities
- Encourage independence
- Make informed choices
- Develop knowledge and understanding of the world
- Evaluate environmental and scientific issues
- Learn and work independently in the future
- It allows consolidation of work done in school
- It allows children to prepare for the work to come
- It develops research skills such as using libraries and other resources which may not be available in the classroom
- It provides opportunities for individualized work
- It provides structured opportunities for parental involvement and support
- It provides information for parents about the on-going work of the class
- It encourages the children to develop a sense of ownership and responsibility for learning
- It develops good habits of independence and self-discipline in learning
- It trains pupils in planning and organizing their time
How and When is Homework given out?
How and when homework is given out will remain dependent on individual Class Teachers. Class teachers will always explain carefully their personal procedures to their pupils, and parents through a letter at the start of the school session and through the use of will find a note in the pupils’ homework diaries to clarify the homework arrangements.
To help both the parent and the pupil to focus on the homework each pupil has a diary with the activities noted inside.
The homework diary should be used by both parent and teacher to pass on any comments about homework.
It should be signed daily by the parent to indicate that he/she has overseen the child’s homework and is happy with the effort that has been put in by the child.
- To plan homework activities which reflect the work being done in class.
- In the infant stages, to record homework activities in the diary and in the upper stages to ensure that older pupils record their homework activities in their own diaries.
- To provide appropriate resources.
- To ensure that there is a variety of activities.
- To assess homework and provide appropriate feedback
- To complete homework to a high standard.
- To bring the homework diary to school daily.
- To hand homework in on time.
Types of Homework
We set a wide variety of homework activities throughout the session. Where a choice of activities is offered, for example in Spelling Activities, children should be encouraged to challenge themselves to the best of their ability.
At the lower end of the school, reading from the reading scheme will always be prepared in the class and should be reinforced at home. At the early stages it is appreciated if the parents read the story, discuss the pictures, the main characters and ask the child to anticipate what might happen next. The children will usually also have words to learn. Sometimes the children may be asked to read the next chapter/s in a short text as they become more able readers.
In the middle and upper part of the school children are expected to engage with reading independently. This should include a variety of genres and texts. The focus should be on reading for enjoyment. Children are welcome to take books from the school library. Children will occasionally be asked to report back about what they have read at home both formally and informally.
At all stages children will be given chosen library books to take home to share with parents.
The children may be given out spelling words to learn over the week. Often they will be words with a common letter pattern, but they will also learn to spell basic words and sometimes they will have spellings relating to their project.
To help the children really learn the words, parents should ask the children to spell them throughout the week – writing them out on one occasion is not usually enough to memorize the words. The children should be encouraged to use the Look, Read, Cover, Write, Check method so they are looking at and trying to remember the whole word and not sounding it out (as many words are not spelled the way they sound!)
Other Language Homework
The children may be asked to complete other language homework based on work being taught in the class e.g. aspects of grammar, a short written personal account or report.
Social Subjects Homework
The children may be given homework relating to their class projects. This may involve investigating and gathering information, completing related work sheets and at the middle to top end of the school some simple research work.
If a child begins to fall behind his/her group, or does not complete given work in school then they may be given work home to catch up, but this should only be on the odd occasion. If there are any ongoing problems with this the class teacher should contact the parents to try to resolve them.
Where Should Homework be done?
Individual children have their preferences, but in general the following conditions are thought best:
- In a warm, well-lit area of the house.
- On a flat surface, preferably a table/desk for all written activities
- For reading, find a comfortable chair
- Away from distractions such as TV, pets or other family members who are not involved in the homework.
Time Allocated for Homework
The following is a guide for time that should be spent on homework on average per night:
Grade K – up to 15 minutes per night
Grades 1, 2 and 3 – up to 30 minutes per night
Grades 4, 5 and 6 – up to 45 minutes per night
Pupils with Additional support Needs
Homework is set for all pupils as a normal part of school life.
Teachers ensure that all tasks set are appropriate to the ability of the pupil.
If a child has additional support needs, we endeavour to adapt tasks so that all pupils can contribute in a positive way.
When setting homework for pupils who have specific needs, teachers refer to the Individual Education Plans (IEPs).
The Role of Parents
Parents have a vital role to play in their child’s education, and homework is an important part of this process. We ask parents to encourage their child to complete the homework tasks that are set. We invite them to help their children as they feel necessary and provide them with the sort of environment that allows children to do their best. Parents can support their child by providing a good work space at home, by enabling their child to visit the library regularly, and by discussing the work that their child is doing.
We ask parents to check the home/school diary every evening.
If parents have any problems or questions about homework, they should, in the first instance, contact the child’s class teacher. If their questions are of a more general nature, they should contact the Head Teacher.
Suggestions on how parents can help their children at home are discussed at Parents’ Evenings, and are included in the Pupils’ Reports.
Monitoring and Review
The Homework Policy is reviewed within the cycle of School Improvement Planning.
Homework diaries are monitored throughout the year by the class teacher.