(reviewed by staff, management and BOM reps April 2011)
Homework fosters independence, self-reliance, self-esteem, co-operation and responsibility and life long learning. It is an essential part of primary education as it re-enforces what children learn in school. It provides a link between teacher and parent and encourages parental involvement in their child’s education.
In general, homework is meant to be achievable by a child working on their own to the best of their ability. It is normally prepared by the teacher in class. It can be used to practice what is done in school or can be designed to challenge children’s ability and provide opportunities for creativity.
How often is homework given?
Homework is given on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays but not on Fridays with certain exceptions:
If homework has been neglected during the week
In senior classes some project work is undertaken at weekends.
Sometimes at the discretion of the class teacher or the principal, children are given ‘homework off’ as a treat or as acknowledgement of some special occasion.
Usually, homework contains a balance between reading tasks, learning tasks and written tasks. This balance is not always possible and can vary considerably from day to day. However, it should be noted that homework time devoted to reading and learning is as important as written work.
Homework will regularly contain reading, spellings, tables, written work, pieces to be ‘learned by heart’, drawing/colouring, collecting information/items and finishing work started in class. Children often feel that reading and ‘learning by heart’ is not real homework. Parents can play an important role in listening to reading and items to be learned, ensuring this work is done well.
Duration of Homework
The following are guidelines for time spent at homework. Different children will complete the same homework in different lengths of time. Time spent will vary from day to day and also from the beginning to the end of the school year. It is important to remember that it is the quality and not the quantity of homework that matters. The following are general guidelines:
First / Second
20 – 30 minutes
Third/Fourth 30 – 40 minutes
Fifth / Sixth class
50-60 minutes with additional reading
Enter homework accurately in homework diary.
Ensure they take home relevant books and copies.
Complete homework assignments to the best of their ability.
Present written work neatly.
Encourage a positive attitude towards homework in all subjects from an early age.
Encourage children to work independently as far as possible. Resist over-helping.
Encourage children to organise themselves for homework. Have all books and materials at hand.
The pupil should have the Homework Journal open to tick off work as it is completed.
Agree a suitable time for doing homework, taking into account; age, the need for playtime, relaxation and family time.
Providing a quiet place, suitable work surface, free from distractions, interruptions and television
Encourage good presentation and neatness within a reasonable time.
Sign the homework diary (1st-6th classes) checking that all homework is complete.
Check that the child has all necessary books, homework journal, copies, pencils, mathematical equipment, dictionary, P.E. clothes, if needed for the next school day.
Communicate difficulties to the teacher using the homework journal or scheduling a meeting.
How often do teachers monitor homework?
Teachers set homework, review assignments and provide feedback to students. They also monitor homework to help identy pupils with special difficulties.
Ideally, teachers check homework on a daily basis. However, with large class numbers, it is not always possible to check each child’s homework journal every day. As children get older and learn to work independently, some items of homework are checked less often, e.g. every second day or once a week. Some items of homework (and class work) may be checked by children themselves, under the direction of the teacher. This can be a useful part of the learning process for children as it promotes responsibility and self esteem.
What happens when Homework is not done?
When homework is not done regularly the teacher contacts parents with a view to resolving the situation. If the situation continues, then the matter is brought to the attention of the Principal who will contact the parent(s) and arrange a meeting to discuss how the matter can be resolved.
Homework and Holidays
Please note that it is our policy to discourage pupils from taking holidays during term time. We do not assign work for them for their holidays, nor set catch up work for them on their return. You are reminded that if your child is absent for twenty or more days in the school year, we are obliged to contact the National Welfare Board