Why give homework?

  • To re-enforce what the child learns during the day.
  • To show parents what kind of work the child is doing in school
  • To develop a child’s ability to work on their own, their concentration skills and self discipline
  • Homework is meant to be achievable by a child, i.e. it provides an opportunity to practice work already done, and it is normally prepared by the teacher in class. However, sometimes with senior classes, some homework is designed to challenge children’s ability and provide opportunities for creativity.
  • Children are expected to do their homework to the best of their individual ability – no more, no less and the main emphasis in our school is on effort.

How often is homework given?

  • Homework is given on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, but not Fridays. There are two 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 acknowledgment of some special occasion.

 What is the content of homework?

  • Ideally homework will contain 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.                

How much (time) 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 effort the child makes rather than perfect homework that matters.  The following are general guidelines only:

Junior Infants             No formal homework but time with a parent talking about school, reading a story to the child etc.

Senior Infants                         10-15 mins

1st Class                                    20 mins                                   

2nd Class                                   20-30 mins                

3rd Class                                   30 mins                                   

4th Class                                   30-40 mins                                                                  

5th Class                                   40-50 mins                              

6th Class                                   50-60 mins                              

If a child is spending longer than these times on homework tasks a parent should talk to the class teacher.  Normally there is no homework at weekends or on a school day just before a public holiday.  However, children in middle and senior classes may sometimes be asked to work independently on projects at weekends.

How much help should parents give? Parents should try to help their children with homework by:

  • providing them with a suitable place and time to do their homework
  • preventing interruptions or distractions, like T.V. phones, games consoles, or brothers, sister or friends distracting them
  • Children should do written homework themselves and parents should only help when the child has difficulty
  • If a child has difficulty with homework, the parents should help the child to overcome the difficulty with further explanation or examples, but not by actually doing the homework for the child. In this case the parent should write a note to the teacher, in the homework journal or notebook, explaining the problem or have a word with the class teacher.

How often should parents check homework?

  • Parents should check and sign a child’s homework journal every evening. Remember homework is a great link between home and school and it is important that the child feels that the parent values their effort.
  • The pupil’s journal is an important record of the child’s homework. It is also a valuable means of communication between parents and teachers.
  • All written messages to your child’s teacher should be put in the homework journal (additional pages available at the end of the journal).
  • Notes about half days, parents meetings and other letters to parents are usually put in the current day of the homework journal. Please check your child’s journal for such notes on a regular basis.

When should parents communicate with the teachers about homework?

  • When your child cannot do homework due to family circumstances
  • When your child cannot do homework because she/he cannot understand some aspect.
  • If the time spent at homework is often longer than the recommended amount of time.

Remember

If homework is a stressful experience between parent and child, something is wrong!  This leads to poor learning and defeats the whole purpose.  Should this happen on a regular basis, please contact the class teacher.