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A Practical Guide to Homework

Why give homework?

· To reinforce work done in class.
· To develop study skills.
· To promote a similar approach to homework across all classes.
· To strengthen links between home and school.

Who gets homework? All classes except Junior Infants will get written homework.
While the work of Senior Infants is predominantly reading and oral work, as the year goes on, some written work will be given in the form of worksheets or workbook pieces to be finished.
The amount of homework given will depend on the age and ability of the pupils.
How much time should be given to homework?
Junior Infants allowing time for storytelling and talk about school, as well as allowing the child to ‘help you’ read the book that they take home from school.
Encourage the child to recite poems, songs nursery rhymes. Use everyday activities as an opportunity to develop your child’s oral language.

Senior Infants Approximately 10 minutes.
1st Approximately 15 minutes.
2nd Class Approximately 15-20 minutes
3rd.& 4th Approximately 20- 30 minutes.
5th & 6th Approximately 40 – 45 minutes.

The time spent should be concentrated activity,
This will include homework given by Resource, Learning Support or Language teacher. For children attending these teachers, priority will be given to their homework.

Teachers’ role

· Homework may be given at the end of each lesson or at the end of the day, at the teacher’s discretion.
· Homework is given every night, but not at weekends. Exceptions will be made for the child’s birthdays or special family occasions, if these fall on ‘homework night’.
· Class teacher operate award systems that allow a homework pass.
· Teachers take care to be consistent about the amount given and about correction.
· A certain time each day is given to each class to take down homework in their journal.
· Teachers ensure consistency in the amount and variety of homework assignments.

Content of homework

Homework given is normally a reinforcement of work done in class.
Teachers ensure that assignments given are clear and can be managed by pupils working independently.
There is a balance between oral, reading and written work; but the balance does not have to be rigid each night. The ratio of oral to written will change as classes get older, with older classes having a higher proportion of written work.
Oral work could involve interviews with parents (e.g. Family Tree—History; or surveys for data purposes in Maths). It will also involve some rote learning such as tables, words of songs or poems.
Reading – in Junior classes, children will read with an adult. In senior classes reading will be more independent and may have written work based on it. There is a system of monitoring the reading of each child operated in each class. Text-books, class novels, other reading material.
Written work could include story-writing, exercise from workbooks, history projects, Irish sentences etc. Much Maths homework will be written.

. Each class-teacher begins the school year using a system that facilitates monitoring and correction of homework.

Checking of homework

· Homework is corrected each day.
· In senior classes homework can be checked at different times during the day as the subject fits into the timetable, if this is what suits the teacher.
· Self-correction or peer correction under supervision of teacher may be appropriate. This is followed by quick scan by teacher to ensure homework has been done to a satisfactory level.
· Copies can be collected and corrected privately by teacher with written comments, where appropriate.
· Workbooks are checked and marked by teacher on completion of exercises.

Tips for Parents.

Try and organize for homework to be completed as early as possible.
Try and arrange a quiet place for homework with as little distraction as possible.
The child should be seated at a table for written homework.
Encourage your child to take care of school books.
Encourage your child to use rulers for margins and drawing lines.
Encourage your child to present work neatly.
Errors in written work should be corrected as follows (wrong spelling). i.e, draw a line through the incorrectly spelt word and put brackets around the word. Do not use tip-ex or scribble over the word.
After work is complete and checked by parent, please sign the homework journal.
As indicated above, each class is given work that should take approximately x minutes. If it takes a much longer than this time, please let your teacher know. Make a note in your child’s journal.

Homework not done or carelessly done
If homework is not done and there is no explanation from parents, children should do it the following night.
If a pattern of not doing homework is emerging, dates should be noted and parents will be informed.
For homework that is untidy/dirty, or careless children may have to repeat it.
If this happens regularly parents can be informed through notes on homework journal, informally in the morning or at going-home time.
It should also be mentioned at P/T meetings and on end of year report. Positive written or verbal comments to child,
in-class awards
positive comments to parents at informal meetings in the morning or going home time,
P/T meetings and end of year reports.
If homework is particularly well done, this can be recognised by: Pupils:

· Pupils should do their homework to the best of their ability. It is important that what they present to the teacher should be neat and most especially clean.
· Homework is almost always follow-on to, or a revision of, what has been covered in class. For this reason children should be able to do it with minimal support.
· Children may ask parent/guardian for help, not answers. However if they are having on-going problems, teacher should be informed.
· If child is unable to do or complete a piece of homework, write a note to teacher the next day.
· Homework is not a punishment, and never given as punishment. Its purpose is to reinforce material covered in class and encourage the child to be a more independent learner.

Parents: Please identify difficulties early in the year. Your teacher needs to know. No child should worry unnecessarily and fret over homework.

We merely insist that each child works to the best of his/her ability. A child’s homework should reflect this ability.

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