From September, we’re changing how our homework routines, for three main reasons:
- to raise standards in key areas like learning times tables and spelling
- to follow research about how to get the best from homework (more about that later)
- following feedback from parents, who want more ways to support their child at home on current learning, plus specific tables and spelling to focus on
Weekly homework tasks
Each week, there will be one of three possible types of homework (not all three in one week). Homework is handed out on Friday and returned on Thursday. It should take a minimum of around 30-40 minutes, possibly carried out over a few days.
Talk Time: The purpose of Talk Time is to encourage a conversation around children’s current learning. We want our children to be expert talkers, using a variety of sentences and expressions, and able to back up their points or disagree with others in a polite way. Simply: it’s hard to be a good writer if you’re not a good speaker, so Talk Times using ambitious words, useful phrases, interesting sentences is the best way to support your child. Children shouldn’t spend a lot of time on the presentation of the Talk Time homework. Instead, children should make notes which will act as a prompt when it is discussed in class the following week.
Creative: Creative homework is an opportunity for your child to choose whatever they want to demonstrate some learning. For example, I can show what I know about food chains …your child could present all their learning in so many different ways, from a diagram with notes to a story or comic strip. Parents’ and carers’ role is to support, encourage, help but (obviously) never to take over and do the homework!
Practice Makes Perfect: This is useful homework when something has been taught in school but needs consolidation. The work should be fairly straightforward for the child as there should be no need for new learning, so just some encouragement from you is needed. However, it would be a great time to get your child to ‘teach’ you – they should be able to explain the key points or processes!
Research backs this up.
All of this corresponds to recommendations following research, which says:
Effective homework is associated with greater parental involvement and support.
Creative homework is just that: your child can be as creative as they want, and this can involve as much of your involvement and support as you want in order to get the most out of the experience.
Talk Time homework completely matches this, too, with not a lot of effort or time involved by you. It’s all about involving your child in thoughtful, open discussion, and in developing language use. We’re sure you’re going this already, but the Talk Time homework will present a focus for your family discussions that meet the next recommendation…
Short focused tasks or activities which relate directly to what is being taught, and which are built upon in school, are likely to be more effective.
Homework tasks will always link to some learning in school, whether that is in English, Maths, topic or something else, and the homework will always be followed up the next week with some sort of review:
- Talk Time homework will be followed up by a class discussion or debate.
- Creative homework will be followed up by sharing and celebrating the different homeworks, during which the teacher (and peers) will provide feedback.
- Practice Makes Perfect homework will be marked.
We hope our children do lots of other learning, too. Specifically, children should be reading each day, plus practising spellings and (from Year 2) times tables.
Reading: We can’t stress enough the value of reading. At the very least, it helps your child access lots of learning across all subjects. Research also shows other benefits, too, such as improved social and emotional skills. Reading could be fiction, non-fiction, magazines, websites – anything! Reading to your child is really valuable, too, so even a bedtime story counts!
Spellings (about ten minutes every day): From Year 1, children will be given a list of spellings to learn for a Friday test or some sort of spelling challenge – this could be a spelling investigation (research shows that active learning like this promotes better learning).
Times tables (about ten minutes every day): Starting in Year 2, children will also have a times table to learn for a Friday test – the aim is that by the end of Year 4 children have a rapid recall of all multiplication and division facts up to 12×12.