Is Homework Beneficial in Primary School?

Our School’s Perspective

Over the last few months you may have seen news articles reporting things like “Education researcher calls for primary schools to have ‘courage’ to rethink homework” or “Primary school children get little academic benefit from homework“.

Homework is influenced by more factors than most other instructional strategies: the home environment, student aptitude, motivation, and age can all impact its effectiveness, either positively or negatively. There are many experts that believe homework simply stresses out students and their families, with others believing it remains relevant and important to enhance learning and instil good habits.

So, is homework beneficial in primary school? Here’s what we think…

Understanding Our Homework Policy at Good Shepherd Lutheran School

While we believe homework does support learning completed in the classroom and fosters independent study habits, we made a change to a far less structured approach at the beginning of 2024. This shift to a less structured homework approach aligns with our philosophy of nurturing well-rounded individuals.

By giving children more autonomy over their learning, we encourage them to explore their interests and develop critical thinking skills. Play, research, and inquiry become central components of their education, promoting creativity and curiosity.

In practice, this means that instead of worksheets or assignments, students can engage in activities that spark their imagination and drive their enthusiasm for learning. They might choose to read a book on a topic they are passionate about, conduct a small science experiment at home, or work on a creative project that integrates multiple subjects.

As such, our new homework policy now reflects this and is designed to be clear, supportive, and manageable for both students and parents.

Is Homework Beneficial in Primary School? Our Home Learning Policy

Purpose and Benefits of Homework

Learning is an integral part of every child’s natural development. From birth, children learn from their parents and other significant adults. At Good Shepherd, we highly value home learning where parents and children explore together, emphasising quality interactions.

We recognise that students often have afterschool commitments and that family life can be complex and busy. Therefore, our home learning policy provides parents and carers with ideas, strategies, and resources to complement the learning taking place at school.

Our goals for home learning include:

  • Supporting and promoting rest, play, and balance;
  • Fostering lifelong learning;
  • Making connections between family life and the classroom;
  • Allowing families to have input into their child’s learning.

Homework Guidelines

The amount and type of homework vary depending on the stage of learning:

  • Foundation (Pre-School): Homework is not typically assigned at this stage. Instead, the focus is on developing a love for learning through play and exploration.
  • Years 1 & 2: Students may receive short, manageable tasks such as reading with an adult, practising spelling, or simple maths exercises. The emphasis is on fostering a positive attitude towards homework.
  • Years 3 & 4: Homework includes reading, spelling, and basic math tasks. Assignments are designed to be completed independently, encouraging the development of personal responsibility.
  • Years 5 & 6: Students receive more structured homework, including longer reading assignments, research projects, and practice exercises in various subjects. This stage prepares students for the transition to secondary education by promoting effective study habits.

Time Allocation

To ensure homework is effective and manageable, we recommend the following daily time allocations:

  • Years 1 & 2: Up to 20 minutes
  • Years 3 & 4: 20-30 minutes
  • Years 5 & 6: 30-40 minutes

These time guidelines help balance schoolwork with family time and extracurricular activities.

Supporting Your Child

Parents can support their children by:

  • Providing a quiet, well-lit space for homework.
  • Establishing a regular homework routine.
  • Encouraging and praising their efforts, not their work.
  • Communicating with teachers if there are any concerns or if the homework seems too challenging.

Homework and Technology

We encourage the use of educational apps and online resources to support learning. However, screen time should be balanced with other activities to ensure a well-rounded development.

Feedback and Communication

Teachers provide regular feedback on homework to help students understand their progress. We also encourage open communication between parents and teachers to address any issues promptly.

We aim to make homework a positive and productive experience for all students and their families at Good Shepherd Lutheran School.

For more details, please refer to our comprehensive Home Learning Policy document. You can also view all our other important school policies here.

If you have any questions or need further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly team at the front office.

Resources for Parents

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