Is Homework Compulsory

“They won’t learn after a certain amount of time because their minds begin to wander and their motivation is reduced.I don’t advocate piling homework on; it’s not going to work.Dr Carey, however, believes parents are hard-wired into believing all children should have homework, all the way down to junior infants, because they experienced it as well.

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It causes arguments, tears and disruption to family life,” says Dr Carey.

He maintains that children need to have a break when they get home from school. “They need a break, to relax and go out and play in the fresh air, get exercise, talk to other kids.

“Homework deprives children of a right to play, to sit and day dream and to sometimes do nothing in particular at all. but it has a big impact’ As soon as Sarah-Jayne Tobin’s son comes in the door from school, homework takes over. It needs to be done as soon as we get home otherwise Nathan is too tired,” says Tobin, whose son is in third-class.

The brain needs some oxygen and some down time.” ‘We all hate homework . “Otherwise, it takes twice as long and there can be tears.

It means that Sarah-Jayne often has to hassle him to get it done. I hate being that mum, the massive pain in the bum!

“Trying to do homework on those days [when it he tired] is a nightmare . ” Despite the tears and occasional stress, she feels it is a good thing for Nathan and other primary schoolchildren.

If there is an international authority in the field, it’s most likely Prof Harris Cooper of Duke University in the US.

He conducted the most comprehensive research on homework to date from a 2006 meta-analysis.

Schools need to concentrate their policy on what’s absolutely essential, such as literacy and numeracy targets. Primary school homework at senior class level shouldn’t take more than an hour and, if it does, the school needs to review it.

“I also think that a games approach could be adopted for homework purposes: parents and children alike should be encouraged to take up some board games both as socialisation tool and also for critical thinking and numeracy skills,” says Tuohy.


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