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Primary School Homework - how to help

Every school will have its own policy in relation to homework. Similarly, every home should have one! The best policies are those that are worked out jointly, between all interested parties. The key is to establish a routine and stick to it, with no or few exceptions to the rule. If you have concerns about your child’s progress, or if there is a persistent problem for your child in doing certain homework, you should always discuss it with the teacher.

Some helpful tips

The following tips might help:

The benefits of homework

Homework will tend have a specific purpose and will be given consistently, in small quantities. It is extremely useful for a number of reasons:

Don’t judge your child’s teacher by the amount of homework he or she gives! Valuable school time can be ineffectively used if too much homework needs to be corrected.

Some time guidelines on a class by class basis

The infant classes will not get homework. Parents of children in the infant classes are always encouraged to read stories to and with their children as often as possible, to play games with them (not educational games necessarily) and even watch television with them.
In 1st and 2nd class, twenty minutes per night, in one or two subject areas, with a little reading should be sufficient. In 3rd and 4th class, this goes up to forty minutes and typically, in 5th and 6th class, homework time will not exceed one hour.

Your role

The NCCA (National Council for Curriculum and assessment) produced a really useful booklet to coincide with the introduction of the 1999 Primary School Curriculum. As regards homework it contains the following:
As a parent, you have an important role to play in:

Try to make sure that children make an honest effort to do the homework without assistance. If they have a difficulty, your help should generally take the form of prompting and guiding them towards completing the task that is set. If you have given them a reasonable amount of help and they still cannot complete the task, you can help best by writing a note to the teacher telling him/her of the child’s difficulties”. Ref: Your child’s learning – Guidelines for parents, NCCA 1999.

Source: The Essential Parent’s Guide to the Primary School Years by Brian Gilsenan, published by Primary ABC.