What we believe about Homework
Homework is a way of liaising between the home and school and giving the children the opportunity to consolidate what has been taught in the classroom that day/week. We also see this as an opportunity for the children to develop positive work habits and time management skills.
Children’s days at school are jam packed and often at home they need time to unwind and have freedom to initiate activities from their own motivation. Links have been made between boredom and creativity. When a child is constantly entertained or kept busy with homework or other expectations they have no time to delve into their own minds, experience being at loose end, perhaps being bored and getting to the point where they develop their own creativity and resilience. So homework is kept minimal and is tailored around the child and their needs: 10 minutes for juniors, 20 minutes for seniors and up to 30 for Intermediate students. One of the most valuable things you can do is discuss your child’s learning with them in a positive and encouraging way. If you are worried about your child’s self management or ability to plan tasks, you could give them home duties such as setting the table, doing the dishes, feeding pets etc which grows self discipline and preparation for larger learning loads in the future.
The homework we encourage includes reading, spelling, number study/basic facts/tables and Religious Education. Any additional work which may be set would be pertinent to the work being covered in the classroom and may cover all or some curriculum areas and is at the teacher’s professional discretion.
Reading the take home book - they read daily at school but don’t have a new take home book every day. They benefit the most from re-reading a book they have covered at school. You can help children do this by using the pause prompting praising technique.
“Early Words” practice for new entrants until they graduate from this program.
There may be some spelling words. Our spelling learning and practice is done as part of our classwork.
Reading of their choice - please help your child create a routine for reading. Your teacher will discuss with the children how to find reading material.
Basic maths facts such as times tables
Sometimes there will be inquiry or RE work to finish, research or follow up.
Yr 7-8 have homework tasks to help instil the discipline of working at home in readiness for doing this at high school. Sometimes there will be inquiry or RE work to finish, research or follow up.
Our spelling system is based in school where we teach children how to spell - we don’t expect this teaching to happen at home. Spelling is a problem-solving activity. It involves knowledge of how words look, how words sound, spelling rules and the background meanings and derivations of words. The system we use is based on the most current research and practice advocated by the New Zealand Resource Teachers of Literacy. Children who are still learning their basic words may have some words sent home to learn but our teachers mainly accommodate this during our class learning time.
What the Research Tells us about Homework
According to John Hattie who has conducted a metasynthesis of over 50,000 pieces of research into education, regarding homework. An effect of 0.4 is considered to be a year’s progress meaning anything more than 0.4 is an addition to learning and anything less is slowing down learning. The research on homework shows:
The biggest positive effect on positive learning outcomes is parental expectations and encouragement (0.80)
Communication, including parent interest in homework, discussing school progress and learning (0.38) - meaning this contributes towards normal progress.
Parental homework supervision, rewards/consequences (0.18) - takes away from progress.
Parental surveillance of homework - negative effect - causes harm.
Large homework expectations from a school ends up causing at least parental supervision of homework and at the worst parental surveillance which, according to this vast body of research, actual slows down or gets in the way of learning. We know from our own experience that enforcing homework from the school’s perspective also leads to school-based consequences and rewards, and class time taken up with pursuing and marking homework. We know some parents would like homework tasks but this can take away up to 2 hours of class learning each week to police and follow up learning which we know is slowing down progress. So we don’t do that.
At intermediate level we know children need to get into the habit and self-discipline of doing homework and so they have some homework tasks to complete, mainly for the purpose of self- management.