much time should your child spend on it?
The age old question of how much time should be spent on homework troubles most
parents. We need to strike a balance on the amount of time that should be spent by the child and the quality
of the time they should spend on this task. We also need to know how to support our child with the homework
without ‘taking over’ the task.
spoke with Tom Cunnane, principle of Kill National School on the subject. We first asked why did children get homework. “The idea behind giving a child homework is to consolidate what has been done
in the classroom, to promote independent learning. It also helps to
keep parents in touch with the child’s school work” says Tom. He
continued, “parents should be careful to support the child in doing their homework. This support is provided by ensuring that you agree a suitable time for
homework with your child. You should also ensure that the child has
a suitable place to work with minimum distraction (e.g. don’t have the TV on in the room). Show an interest in what you child is doing and if required by the school,
sign the homework.” When asked what a parent should do if a
child is having difficulty with homework, Tom advised that you should try to help the child with the issue and
also speak to the class teacher immediately. “With the new
structure in classrooms in terms of mixing children with special needs in general classrooms, the teachers will
very often differentiate homework to suit individual children’s abilities. This system has to work for every child so if your child is having difficulty,
the teacher may be able to give homework to suit your child’s capabilities”, said Tom, “therefore it is always
important to keep in contact with the teacher if there are any homework problems”.
how long should your child spend doing his/her homework? At second
level, the recommended times are printed in your child’s school journal and these act as guidelines for the
students and parents. For primary school children, most schools
also print the recommended times in the school journals so you can check this. Tom Cunnane recommended the following guidelines:
infants- no formal homework, perhaps some colouring or word
cards but not much more.
& 2nd class- 20
& 4th class- 30
& 6th class- maximum
of 1 hour
recommends that if you are satisfied that your child has worked diligently for the recommended times above and
still has not completed the homework, you should stop the child and write a note to the teacher explaining
this. This helps the teacher to also gauge how much homework to
second level students, as we have said previously, check their journals for recommended times. Also, given that they are older and have more maturity, you do not need to
supervise their homework as closely as primary level but providing the correct environment is still vitally
important. It is important that you check their journals every week
to ensure that they are handing in homework assignments and that there are no issues around the quality of the
homework completed. Most journals provide a weekly summary page
where teachers can record issues so a weekly check on these pages will provide you will information on how your
child is performing.