Some parents and teachers may have the wrong idea of what home work is supposed to be about. They interpret home work as asking parents to be teachers by introducing new work to children. To that end, they will actually do the home work assigned for students. That should never happen.

Ideally, homework should be teachers asking parents to be aware of what children are doing at school. The “ask” is for them to know that skills being acquired, are set as homework to reinforce the learning that’s taking place. For that reason, maths tables, spelling words, and reading are frequently extended beyond school for extra attention and awareness at home.

Homework should be about practice being offered to students to help revise their knowledge of facts and understanding to become independent learners. It should not be a case of new, untaught work being introduced to students to learn about and complete as homework.

Parents fill a prime role in teaching their children when it comes to the development and reinforcement of personal development skills. Eating, drinking, dressing, manners and deportment skills are the responsibility of parents, not school teachers, to introduce and teach. At school, teachers will reinforce what has been introduced at home, enabling children to practice these personal competencies. It would be totally unfair for parents to renege on these elements of child development, because that teaching belongs within the family.

Home work should be defined in the same way. It is all about practice to help children become more independent in their understanding of what has been taught at school. Children like being able to show pride in spelling accuracy, in knowing their tables, in developing a piece of prose, in offering neat and tidy work. These are all skills that form part of the teaching challenge. What teachers teach children at school, can be shared with parents through practice at home. It’s not for parents to “do”, but rather the offering of a chance for them to be aware of children’s learning and to encourage consolidation and reinforcement. Homework helps parents to be aware of what has been taught. It is an important part of the school – home partnership.

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