Tuesday, 11 March 2008


I hate having to set homework... probably even more than the students for whom I set it...

I remember being given homework for the first time in Primary school... I think it was for my last year: I asked for some Maths questions, because they were fun, and I loved puzzles. I remember having to learn a list of spellings every so often, and doing some reading, but that was it.

Secondary school was a bit more like work: you had stuff to finish off (if you didn't manage to get it done in class) and sometimes the odd essay... and the French vocabulary stuff had to be learned... Even so, there wasn't that much of it. It increased for the 'O' and 'A' Levels, obviously, but not much up until then.

Now it seems that everyone has to have homework. Merely finishing off what was supposed to be done in class isn't sufficient. And to make sure that you don't get it all on one day, there has to be a homework timetable. Looking at the timetable, I'd say that your average Year 7 (11-12 years) has to study at home for an extra hour and a half, minimum. Monday to Friday. This is on top of the school day, where they may have had (in my school, at least) five hours' of lessons... (some days they may have had something like PE for one of the hours, but it could be five proper lessons in one day.) They will have been in school from about 8:30am to 3:30pm, with travel time on top of that for some of them, and then homework.

There is precious little time after that for much else. And the research seems to show that homework doesn't actually do much good, at least not for younger children. I've been saying that for years. With any luck, someone will see sense, and get rid of it...

...however, until that happens, the homework I set yesterday is still due in tomorrow, and don't tell me the cat ate it...


Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with you. It just makes everyone's life a misery - and what do you do about the children who simply won't/don't do it, no matter what you say or do?

However, there is one area where I think it can be useful - and that is RE - but useful to parents as much as children. It can give those who have, shall we say, a less than firm grasp on their faith, an unthreatening way to 'revisit' it. Parents who have been poorly catechised themselves often appreciate a chance to come in at a simple level - and it's often when they try to explain something to their children or answer a tricky question - and realise they can't - that they respond to invitations to come to meetings to help them.

BTW I loved the last cat picture!

Marie said...

I once led a home work strike as all the students followed my lead (I was 11 at the time). We didnt do our homework for 6 straight weeks lol. My mother got called in to see the Headmaster, she was mortified! While in his office the headmaster said 'Marie is incorrigable!' My mother replied, 'Incorrigable? Marie is impossible!'

What do we with a problem like marieee fa la la la LA LA LA LOL!

In fun

Marie heehee!

Andrew said...

"homework doesn't actually do much good,"

Amen to that!

gemoftheocean said...

I would say a modicum of homework can be beneficial IF the instructor is careful. I agree in the lower grades it's not particularly helpful.

I'm surprised you got homework so late in primary school

I STILL have the assignment homework book I had from first grade, found it the other week. Not a lot every day, but a little bit every day. a few catechism questions, maybe a page or so of cursive (we weren't even taught printing, just went straight to cursive) a few math problems. Nothing particularly onerous, but it had a benefit of keeping mom and dad informed more or less of what I was learning, and then could help reinforce what I was being taught. In grade school anyway.

Foreign language and Math needs to be studied every day for best results.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

what do you do about the children who simply won't/don't do it, no matter what you say or do?

That was me. Never did a scrap of homework in school. Hated school with a violent passion bordering on a pathology.

Hated it hated it hated it. My mother, who had been brilliant in school, couldn't understand it.

I understood it perfectly. Most of the people there, including the teachers, knew less about the subjects that interested me than I did, and were incompetent at teaching the ones I wasn't interested in.

I lived in books, and my grammar and vocabulary (though not spelling) were better than my fifth grade teacher's. I begged my mother to teach me at home, but this was in the days before homeschooling.

Just found an interesting article on why English school children are unhappy.

be interested in hearing your comments:


ukok said...

My son agrees with you - homework does no good whatsoever he says ! (that's from Joe, aged 12 )


Anonymous said...

Homework for Primary school children should be banned... my 8 year old son is just not ready for it..& I don't believe in having to sit down for 2/3 hours every weekend doing it for him..especially when I could be blogging!

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

My daughter gets 'evening work' only if her schoolday work is not completed. This is rare as she likes her evenings.
Her friends who are in school frequently miss scouts and other benificial events and activities because they have homework.
I think this is bad for their social skills and broadening of interests. In fact I think it is bad for learning.
Sitting over a badly written text book copying chunks out onto a sheet of paper-or cutting and pasting from websites is NOT learning.
A lot of the homework my kids came back with was utterly pointless.
As for RE. Don't start me on Icons and the other rubbish they had in school!

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