Parent Matters #2 – Homework

Parent Matters

This occasional series is for teachers and parents exploring areas of concern that parents have about all matters educational.

This word can send shivers down the spines of children, parents and teachers. It is one topic that is never far from the top of agendas for schools and can cause major ructions in homes.
The reason for bringing it up now was an article over at Sticky Fingers where Tara Cain outlined a possible battle field for her family over the different approaches that she and hubby take over the children’s homework. One ‘supports’, the other ‘encourages’ with completely different results. Do go have a read – ‘Let Battle Commence’!
Homework is a strange invention and falls foul of the lack of a firm definition. The only thing that is agreed is that it is work that is not done at school in a classroom. For some teachers, it is the opportunity to ‘finish off’ work that was started that day. Others see it as extension of work already done, giving the chance for some independent study.
Often, research projects are set which allow for the opportunity for parents and indeed families to get involved in the learning. This is where there is a cross over with Tara’s post. If families have helped, does it then stop being the child’s work?  This then comes right back to the question of what the purpose of this ‘additional’ work. That debate has gone on for a long time and will, I suspect, continue to do so. Without going into a detailed essay, my view is that it should add to the child’s learning, be purposeful and be marked! (This is a real bête noir of mine. If children have taken the time to complete homework it should be marked with consideration)
As this piece is under ‘Parent Matters’, when it comes to homework make sure you know what the purpose of it is. If you are clear of why it has been set, you will then know what you can ‘help’ with and what you need to supervise. It will also be easier to explain to your youngster why they are doing this school work when they have finished school!
Has homework been a problem for you and your child? Do you think homework is a necessary evil or a pain in the neck which should be abolished?

If you have a topic you would like to explore please leave a note in the comments below.

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