Homework plays an essential role in the education process. It should be a purposeful learning experience which provides consolidation, remediation, enrichment and extension of the school's programs. Essentially, homework should be viewed as an educational activity which arises from an interesting, stimulating and appropriate school experience and which is seen by the child as deserving attention out of school hours.
It is imperative that homework is never used as a form of punishment if we are to develop favourable attitudes towards it.
To assist students to:
- Acquire the self-discipline necessary to work regularly;
- Develop the capacity to work independently as homework is primarily the responsibility of the student;
- Plan study so that they can meet deadlines for assessment tasks;
- Develop the habit of reflecting on the work they have covered at school;
- To consolidate skills that have been introduced and practised in the classroom;
- To assist parents to connect with the school as they come to better understand what is being taught.
The Benefits of Homework
- Strengthens home-school links;
- Allows practice, extending and consolidating work done in class;
- Teaches students to plan and organise their time;
- Develops research skills;
- Establishes study habits, especially concentration and self discipline;
- Affirms parental role as primary educator of their children;
- Provides parents with information related to what children are being taught;
Types of Homework
Homework may be varied in form. It could include:
- Practice - revises or applies knowledge gained at school
- Preparatory - prepares for future lessons
- Extension - encourages a deeper understanding of work given at school
Parents have identified that homework can be the source of home stress. It is imperative that we take reasonable steps to minimise this possibility. To assist the school in this, homework practices are to meet the following requirements:
- Homework expectations should be flexible enough to allow students to meet other family commitments (eg sport, music lessons, shopping, appointments, recreation, etc);
- Homework must never be set on the assumption that the parents will be able to provide a professional level of guidance;
- Homework must give due consideration to the resources that are and are not available in the home;
- Homework expectations must reflect the ability of the students;
- Homework instructions should be clear and written: minimum expectation is that the teacher writes it on the classroom board and the student copies it into diary, otherwise homework should be given on a homework sheet;
- Homework must be checked;
- Failure to complete homework may not automatically lead to discipline, but a 2nd failure to complete homework must lead to communication with the home (via communication slip);
- Keeping a balance between Family Demands, School demands, other social/sporting demands and the need for unstructured leisure time is important;
- In Infants, Primary and Stage 4, students are not expected to work during weekends or over the holidays except on long term projects where necessary;
- Stage 5 students can anticipate some holiday and weekend work, although teachers need to continue to seek a flexible approach to homework expectations;
- Senior Secondary students can anticipate a greater degree of holiday and weekend work, although at this level teachers need to keep flexibility in light of work and youth leadership commitments of many students;
- Assignments that span an extended period (i.e. greater than 2 week) should have progressive hand or check point dates so that work is not left to the last minute;
- Homework can occasionally might entail teachers setting 'Must Complete' homework for everyone plus 'Can Complete' homework/assessment for extension and even allows for remediation for others;
- Homework should be structured so that more advanced students do not have to spend significant time completing rudimentary work before progressing onto more challenging work;
- Homework should be designed to stimulate learning rather than boredom;
- Part of School homework routines should be a journal of 'Study Notes' for each subject that requires each student to do summaries for each of their subjects in readiness for exam periods. Some of these skills will need to be taught (note taking, summarising, identification of major points etc) in class and require teachers to have a good understanding of what they will be teaching;
- Homework must never be simply "busy work" such as colouring in, drawing "content free" title pages etc;
- In the Infants and Primary, homework is normally given by the class teacher but allowance should be made to allow other teachers (eg class maths groups etc) to give homework;
- In the Secondary, teachers are to ensure that students are making good use of their homework diaries;
- Homework must not become the source of ongoing teacher/student tension - difficulties need to be addressed by early communication with parents where a concern exists;
- Infants, Primary and Junior Secondary, homework emphasis needs to be on Literacy and Numeracy based skills. This is reflected in the time guidelines shown below.
Years K/1/2 - 10 minutes some nights (80% to be Literacy/Numeracy based).
Years 3/4 - 10-20 minutes each night (75% to be Literacy/Numeracy based).
Years 5/6 - 20-30 minutes each night (70% to be Literacy/Numeracy based).
Years 7/8 - 1 hour maximum minutes each night (i.e. 5-6 minutes for each non-English & non-Mathematics period taught; 10-12 minutes for each English and Mathematics period)
Year 9/10 - 90 minutes each night (i.e. about 10 minutes for each non-English & non-Mathematics period taught, and 20 minutes for each English & Mathematics period taught)
Years 11/12 - 90 - 120 minutes each night (i.e. 15-20 minutes for each period taught)