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Home is home and school is school

I am delighted to hear that the charity Family and Childcare Trust has a dedicated Family Friendly Week. It is right to celebrate the family as a bedrock of society.

There are many pressures on family life: one of my ‘bug bears’ is homework!


My view is that in primary school homework should not be set. School is school and home is home! There is enough of a burden put on children from an early age with SATs in Years 7 and 11.

I have seen parents with their children doing homework on trains, in cars and even walking to school. Parents anecdotally comment that they have to rush back from family events to make sure homework is completed. Children getting into a state because they feel that their homework is not ‘good enough’.

When my boys were little, we had more fun visiting museums and other places of interest than doing boring ‘work-sheets’.

My solution is simple: let us promote activities in the home and outdoors, which tap into children’s creativity and promote their independence. In addition, celebrate ‘Family Learning’ as a way of families connecting and building lasting memories together.

Instead of doing homework, concentrate more on whole family activities. The National Trust has a useful list of 50 things to do before you’re 11¾.

There is so much to see and do and most of it at little or no cost. Most importantly, there is always an element of indirect learning that takes place. For me, it is about creating those special memories that children have of their family – that to me is more important than homework!

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    I agree.parents need time after school to reconnect with their little children.
    No homework is more important than that!!

  • Kim Benham

    I so agree. When my children were young we were often at our local National Trust gardens at Downe House. Lots of role play, excersize running jumping etc, and appreciating nature. Far more educational than home work and precious family time.

  • Jacqui Burke

    Sorry in advance for the lengthy reply. This a topic I have strong views about.

    As a primary school governor we recently asked parents for their thoughts about homework. Typically views were very mixed. As a result of their feedback we concluded the following:
    -Homework should be an opportunity for parents to sit down with their primary age children and talk about what they are learning about at school. In some households we know that parents do not engage with their children’s learning in any other way.
    -Homework should be well designed so that it is engaging for the child and the parent (boring old worksheets are just not good enough). But this is a complaint about quality not quantity.
    -Parents should get sufficient information to enable them to support their child’s learning appropriately (again a quality issue).
    -Getting a child into the habit of doing homework contributes to the creation of good habits for their future at secondary school.
    -If homework is poor quality and dull, parents should feed this back to the SLT at the school and demand that better quality homework is provided.
    Finally a very personal reflection – I have wonderful memories of my dad (who I lost at age 16) helping me with my homework as a child. These are precious memories for me of spending personal time with my dad when he got home from work. Make that time special for your child.

    • Laura Henry

      Thanks, Jacqui.

      Love the story about your dad.

      I too have found memories of going to the park every Sunday, with my family and getting stuck on a boat in Hyde Park once!

      I think primary Schools should promote more family time, doing a range of activities and not homework, as the way forward.

      Homework, has no lasting impact (in primary schools-breaks my heart when I hear of Early Years settings that do homework), many families do not have the time and some parents have learning challenges and English as an additional language and are unable to help their children with homework. On the other hand promoting activities with families, is far more enjoyable and stress free.

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