I asked the Be A Fun Mum community on Facebook about their opinions on homework for primary school students. There was a huge response (737 comments) and below are the results:
The main feedback to come out of the discussion are as follows:
- children spend enough time studying at school & research suggests homework is not effective
- parents find it hard to allocate time for homework
- cuts into time for play, extracurricular activities, family time etc.
- reinforces what they learnt at school
- it gives parents an indication on how their child is doing at school and what they are learning
- teaches good habits for high school years
I can see it from both sides. Personally, I’m in the no-camp (expect for reading!). Homework impacts greatly on the harmony of our family life. My husband is away a lot, and I’m on my own most of the time with the kids, so when there are afternoons like I described here, homework is another thing we have to juggle, another deadline to meet, another expectation to fill. I find the continuous grind takes a little joy out of the freedom to do some of the things I see add a lot of value to family life, like the children coming home, chatting, eating, running outside to play for hours, helping with dinner and that sort of thing. I can hear words that say, “Can’t you still do that?” It’s not about the time, but about the impending job of homework affecting the tone of family life, and I’ve noticed this especially with my kids with learning challenges.
It was interesting to see that I’m not alone in struggling to juggle homework, with a whopping 72% of people indicating the desire to limit homework to a minimum.
There are certain things I do to aid the homework effort. One is to have a dedicated homework box with staples the kids need. The kids can grab the box and sit at the kitchen table. It’s essentially a box with stuff thrown in it; not beautifully sectioned or pretty by any stretch, but it does the trick. Having things readily available makes doing homework easier.
This is what I have in it:
- Lead pencils
- Colouring pencils
- Paper glue
- USB (for Powerpoint Presentation Orals)
The Homework Box is kept in the School Station (which is an Ikea Expedit unit with drawers).
Hair: All school hair stuff is kept in this box. This includes brushes, hair bands, bobby pins & spray-in conditioner.
Homework Box: The homework box is kept in this drawer.
School Folder: The kids can put their homework folders in this drawer for when we get to it. Only the younger kids use it (the older kids keep their folders in their room).
Keeps: I keep this drawer for special drawings, awards and other things I plan to keep in each child’s respective school memory box. At the end of each year, I sort through the items and glue/add them to the scrapbook/box. (I plan to do a post about this soon if anyone is interested).
On top of the School Station I have two trays:
Forms In: Paperwork the kids bring home from school. I also keep any other child-related paperwork here (sports/medical).
Info/To Do: This is a fairly general pile. For example, I keep information about excursions, sponsor chid letter to reply to, move paperwork from the ‘in box’ to this tray once done, paperwork that is not important but I have to look at again…
In addition to the writing materials in the Homework Box, I keep a few extra pens for general use in these cute juice bottles I decorated with tape.
Pencils / Pens / Permanent Markers
Another storage systems that has proven to be hugely handy (but not related to school) is my bits and bobs box. My daughter made this toolbox at school and I claimed it for the kitchen bench. It looks cute and is great for the odd items that gravitate to the kitchen bench but have nowhere to live: Loose change, keys, my running watch, husband’s wallet, headphones, charger chords etc.
I would like to say these systems keep me organised and on top of everything, but alas, sometimes they don’t. However, they certainly do help my effort to keep family life running smoothly.