Homework is an integral link in the chain of communication between school and home.
Homework fosters independence, self reliance, self esteem, co-operation , responsibility and lifelong learning. It is an essential part of primary education as it re-enforces what children learn in school. It provides a link between teacher and parent and encourages parental involvement in their child’s education.
St. Laurence’s N.S. Homework Policy was reviewed and fully revised in 2011 – 2012, following consultation with staff and parents. (Research questionnaires)
The need to redraft and revise the Homework Policy of St. Laurence’s N.S. can be attributed to the following:
- Further strengthening of home – school links.
- Reinforcing the learning experienced by the child during the school day.
- Ensuring clarity as to the recommended times to be spent on homework and what the schools expectations are in regard to homework (time, content, approach) for each class level.
- To illustrate the reasons why we give homework to children in school and to outline the current practice in the school.
Relationship to School Ethos and Mission Statement: St. Laurence’s N.S. seeks to develop each child to his / her potential.
- It is the policy of the school to, as far as is possible, identify all the needs of the pupil and put in place measures to adequately cater for their needs.
- The school also encourages the active involvement of parents in enabling their child to take responsibility and work independently. The Homework Policy of this school facilitates these ideas.
- This Policy was drawn up in consultation with staff, pupils and parents. Each family was issued with a research questionnaire early in the 2011 school year. This reflects the consultative approach taken by the Board in the schools development.
St. Laurence’s N.S. Homework Policy will promote homework:
- To benefit pupil learning.
- To re-enforce what the child learns during the day and work done in class.
- To develop a child’s concentration skills and develop a work ethic.
- To develop study skills.
- To strengthen links between home and school.
- To provide a link between parent and teacher.
- To challenge children’s ability and provide opportunities for creativity – (homework is meant to be achievable by a child i.e. it provides an opportunity to practice work already done. It is normally prepared by the teacher in class. However, sometimes with senior classes some homework is set to challenge children’s ability and to provide opportunity for individuality.)
- Children will be given work from any curricular area for homework and activities may reflect certain topics and methodologies present in the curriculum, as well as more traditional homework, familiar to parents.
Guidelines (Content of Policy)
How often is homework given?
- Homework is given on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but not on Friday.
- There are exceptions:
- 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” or a “Subject Pass” as a treat or as acknowledgment of some special occasion.
- The amount of homework given may vary throughout the different school terms and seasons
What is the content of homework?
Homework is recorded in a homework journal by all children from Rang 1 to Rang 6 who are required to have a standard homework journal. Infant classes use their own templates. Homework may be given at the beginning or end of the school day. All classes (Junior Infants – Sixth Class) receive 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.
- All children receive the same homework (differentiated at times),yet provision is made for children with special needs with the Learning Support teacher and the Resource teacher having an input into homework for children with special needs. The class teacher has a focus on quality of homework and expects each child to achieve his/her own potential.
How much (time) homework?
The following are guidelines for time spent at homework and content for each class level. 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 quality and not the quantity of homework that matters. The following are general guidelines only:
Infants – up to 20 minutes.
- Rang 1 & 2 – 20 to 30 minutes.
- Rang 3 & 4 – 30 to 40 minutes.
- Rang 5 & 6 – 40 to 60 minutes.
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. or other children.
- Children should do written homework themselves and parents should 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 in the homework journal to the teacher explaining the problem.
- Shared reading is not homework in the regular sense and it is simply meant to be an enjoyable exercise between parent and child, (for example Library packs are in addition to allocated homework time.)
How often should parents monitor homework?
- Parents should check a child’s homework and sign the homework journal every evening.
- 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.
- Ideally, all written messages to your child’s teacher should be put in the homework journal.
- Please check that your child records homework neatly in the correct page and ticks each item of homework when completed.
How often do teachers monitor homework?
- Ideally teachers like to check homework on a daily basis. However with large class numbers it is not always possible to check each child’s homework journal every day.
- As children get older and learn to work independently, some items of homework are checked less often e.g. every second day or once per week.
- To foster confidence, Teacher may not correct every mistake.
- Some items of homework (and class work) may be checked by children themselves under the direction of the teacher. This can be a useful part of the learning process for children.
When should parents communicate with 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 being spent at homework is often longer than the recommended amount of time.
When should homework be done?
- Each family situation is different – both parents working, child minders etc. Ideally, homework should be done before any television is watched soon after school while your child is still fresh, however some children need a break before starting homework.
- Homework should never be left until morning time before school.
What happens when homework is not done?
- When homework is not done regularly and is a concern to the class teacher, the matter is brought to the attention of the Principal, who will contact the parents and arrange a meeting to discuss how the matter can be resolved.
- In-class corrections
- Checking homework diaries.
- Parent / teacher meetings
- Teacher designated tests.
- Pupil profiling.
- Teacher observation.
- Feedback from parents and pupils.
- General air of satisfaction.
Roles and Responsibilities / Implementation
All stakeholders have a role to play in the implementation of this policy from pupils, staff, parents right up to the Board of Management.
Ratification / Communication
The policy was ratified by the Board of Management of St. Laurence’s N.S. on 7/2/2012
It is also on the school website on www.stlaurences.scoilnet.ie in the policy section.
Timetable for Review
This policy will be reviewed and if necessary, amended in September 2014.
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.
Ratified by the Board of Management of St. Laurence’s N.S. on 7/2/20122
Signed: David O`Grady
Chairperson Board of Management