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A guide to homework for parents


Credit: Meriden School

Homework is a much debated topic for students, parents and schools.

Our guide to homework for parents will help reduce any excess homework stress for kids. Homework that is age appropriate and well suited to your child should be engaging.

Research shows clear benefits of homework at a high school level. Studies reveal effective homework should ‘integrate and expand’ on school learning.

Although homework is a much-debated issue, purposeful homework with just the right degree of challenge can be a powerful learning tool. In Meriden’s Senior School, homework is designed to reinforce or extend the girls’ learning of the day. When new skills are practised they become routine and this builds students’ confidence.

Christine Kenny, Head of Teaching and Learning, Meriden

Many teachers believe homework offers non-academic effects such as responsibility and managing tasks.

A guide to homework for parents:

How much homework should my child be receiving?

A study from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) revealed Australian students are spending more hours doing homework.

Homework researchers have found younger children should be devoting less time to homework.

Harris Cooper, a psychologist at Duke University and author of “The Battle Over Homework” endorsed “the 10-minute rule”.

“Multiply a child’s grade by 10 and that’s the rough guide for minutes of homework a night. That recommendation is consistent with the conclusions reached by our research analysis.”

Harris Cooper, The New York Times

Christine believes “quality over quantity” is true for homework.

Sitting at a desk for long periods of time does not necessarily improve student outcomes. Homework is introduced slowly in Year 7 to give students time to adjust to new routines.

What type of homework should my child be receiving?

Studies on homework are varied and do not always show conclusive results. They do find positive academic achievements when homework is age-appropriate and suited to learning ability.

“A one size fits all approach does not work”

“Just as students have different needs in the classroom, they also have different needs with homework”, said Christine.

Christine says teachers at Meriden often pose open-ended questions which invite students to respond at their level of understanding.

Students may be asked to work on a particular activity for fifteen minutes, meaning that some students will produce more than others. Teachers may also give students the choice of tasks at different levels of difficulty. Research has shown that students gravitate to the tasks that best suit their skill level and expertise. This approach has also been shown to improve student motivation and engagement.

Ida Ajdari, Business Manager and Head Tutor at Sigma Education believes students should be challenged with the same topics in different ways.

This forces them to think outside the box. Homework should start easier with more drill type exercises and progress to problem solving and application.

When is homework not beneficial?

Ida finds two main reasons why her students may not respond well to school homework.

1. Time and motivation

Ida finds most of her students lack time and motivation despite not finding the homework difficult.

The Department of Education provides tips for parents to help children stay motivated:

2. Level of difficulty

Ida has found that students lack motivation for homework that is too difficult.

It is better to provide them with homework that increases in difficulty incrementally.

If your child is finding homework too difficult, you may consider contacting their teacher or investing in private tuition.

Parents can also take specific steps for children managing exam stress.

Summary

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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