The Link Term 2
From The Glamorgan Home/School Team
( Reference Ministry of Education website)
The Value of Homework
There is a lot of debate about the value of homework, especially for primary school aged children. Some studies suggest that homework is not very useful for this age group, or has only a small benefit.
Most people suggest that reading at home is very beneficial. This includes reading stories regularly to your child. Reading to children at all ages is crucial for vocabulary development and higher understanding. High quality literature exposes children to more sophisticated vocabulary that they may never hear or use elsewhere.
Encouraging them to work on basic maths facts and spelling tasks has a big impact also. The ability to problem solve and use higher strategies in maths can be held back by a lack of quick recall of basic facts. All teachers see the difference when these are regularly practised.
Research suggests homework should be short, frequent and monitored by the teacher for the most impact. It is beneficial if the teacher provides some feedback to your child.
Interactive homework involving parents has a very positive effect, for example, using maths fractions when preparing food or helping to weigh ingredients when baking. Estimating and using measurement and reading time are areas that can be turned into fun games also.
Teachers set homework for different reasons. It can be helpful to know why so that you can support that at home.
It may be set to
– practise skills like maths and spelling
– fix new learning in your child’s memory
– check how successful the classroom teaching has been and where your child needs some help
– to help students apply what they have learned to new situations or contexts
– to develop research skills
– to prepare and practise for class work eg School Poetry Competition
– to encourage you to get involved in your child’s learning
– most importantly it helps to develop self-management. Self-management is one of the Key Competencies and essential for later academic success.
How can I help my child with homework?
If your child does bring work home here are some tips to help them:
– let them have a bit of time to unwind after school. They will have been working all day
– give them a snack and drink – their brains work better with fuel
– make sure they have a suitable environment to work in. Let them choose a comfortable space, clear away any distractions and keep siblings away from them
– decide together how long their homework will take
– make sure they have everything they need before they start – a set of fun stationery just for homework can be a great motivator.
What if they get stuck?
Help your child problem-solve by explaining or showing them the steps to complete a task. Let them do the steps though.
make up a similar question or task as an example. Show them how to work through it and then get them to have a go at their homework task
– try giving clues rather than the answer, but be aware of frustration levels – both theirs and yours
– keep the clues simple – remind them of all the other times they have been able to work things out
– ideally homework will be connected to something they’ve already learned, so encourage them to think back and start from what they can do.
Don’t help them too much, for example, explain where and how to find information, rather than giving it to them.
Reading Eggs and Mathletics should be completed at an independent level. Mathletics has a self-help icon to assist children.
What if I don’t understand their homework?
If you’re confused by your child’s homework, talk to their teacher – you won’t be the first parent to do this. Look at the Maths pages under the Home/School link and find out the stages of teaching and learning. Algorithms for instance are not taught until Stage 6. Teaching them to children before they are ready can cause confusion.
It may be that your child is happy to ask for help and then they can explain things to you. They may also be able to find answers by using the internet or the local library, or by asking an older sister or brother.
There are some parent great ideas for helping with reading, writing and maths on the Ministry’s tki website (www.tki.org.nz -search – parents supporting learning).