View From the Hill
The Importance of HomeworkHomework builds healthy work habits, and an important step at the start of every year is ensuring that these healthy homework habits are laid down as a daily and weekly rhythm.
Parents, your role is critical in supporting your child/young person’s homework habits by the way you establish space in the family routine for daily, sustained homework. A physical space is also critical: each child needs a quiet area where they can concentrate on their work without distraction. For younger children this could be the kitchen table or a corner of a living room where you as a parent can keep a watchful eye on the task at hand. For high school, a quiet area away from distraction is essential.
The inner space is equally important: for high school, ensuring that phones are switched off during homework helps concentration and focus. If you have any questions about your child’s homework habits, please discuss directly with your child’s Class Teacher or Mentor.
Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School
All aspects of learning at Glenaeon are considered in relation to the child’s stage of development, including homework. Homework is considered to be an important part of a student’s education and should always complement, balance and extend the nature of the learning at school, as well as building life- long habits of work and study.
Kindergarten to Class 2
The early childhood world is one of unity and active exploration of the world. Learning is through imagination and the intellectual faculties mature below the surface of feeling and will development.
For Kindergarten children creative play in unstructured settings provides a rich foundation for all later imaginative, cognitive and emotional development. In addition guided and simple handwork tasks, and participation in the domestic life of the home, are all that is needed to support the child at this stage in development.
Formal learning begins in Class 1 and over the school Years 1 and 2, the child’s academic needs are fully met in the classroom. Creative play, looking at quality illustrated books, completing crafts such as knitting, and simple home activities such as gardening and bushwalking all complement the child’s learning at school.
Elements of Homework: Classes 3 to 6
From around the age of 9, separation from the early world of childhood tends to be complete and formal learning can now be extended to homework. Gradually increasing from Year 3 onwards, students should spend from 20 to 45 minutes per day on activities drawn from the following:
1. Main Lesson completion and extension: Glenaeon’s main lessons are enriched, interdisciplinary blocks of learning delivered over a three week period. The Main Lesson task, usually completion of a book of the student’s own work, requires a combination of academic, artistic and design elements all devoted to a core topic that is appropriate to the students’ year level and stage of development. In the early years, the completion of this main lesson book is undertaken during school lesson time. As the volume and sophistication of work increases there is an expectation that main lesson work will be completed and the topic further explored at home, to a level appropriate for the year. Particular Main Lessons will include projects which creatively extend the learning around the topic eg Building project in Year 3, Animal project in Year 4, Ancient Epoch project in Year 5, Ancient Rome project in Year 6.
2. Basic Skills in core subjects: English and Mathematics practice is required from Year 4 onwards. Each week there will be practice exercises that revise and consolidate skills in English and Maths which have been laid down in Main Lessons. In the practice homework students will not encounter new material, but will deepen their understanding and skills in these core subjects.
3. Reading program: Literacy develops through a wide reading program which nourishes the imagination and builds vocabulary and comprehension. Students should read quality literature regularly, ideally on a daily basis.
4. Music Practice: Proficiency on an instrument is dependent on regular practice, and the more regular, the more the proficiency. There is now a wealth of evidence showing the cognitive, emotional and physical benefits on the growing human being of learning a musical instrument, as well of course as the simple human joy of making music.
5. “Homework”: Contribution to the household by regularly completing a household chore for the family. Children and young people learn to be productive and useful members of a community by regularly undertaking tasks that help the household: walking the dog, watering the garden, washing the car. If undertaken on a daily basis, these tasks build a sense of responsibility and a work ethic that will last through life.
6. Artisan Program completion: The Artisan program builds facility with the hands and motivation in the will. From Class 1 there is an expectation that from time to time Craft textile projects will be extended and completed at home eg knitting, sewing, crochet, cross stitch.
High School: Years 7 and 8: Homework in high school establishes habits of study, attention and self-discipline which will build a positive relationship to learning and a healthy work ethic for life. As students move into the high school, the demands of homework will increase: in Years 7 and 8: 60 to 90 minutes per school day is a basic requirement.
Main Lesson completion and extension: In high school the main lessons become projects in themselves, extended and rich tasks that deepen learning around a core topic eg. The Renaissance, Pythagoras, World Geography etc. Completion and extension of the main lesson work needs to be undertaken as part of homework requirements.
Homework/Study in Years 9 to 12: over these years students grow into a routine of a minimum 2 hours per school day, and up to 4 to 6 hours on weekend days in peak assessment times. Individual students can vary enormously in the speed with which they complete homework tasks, and these recommended times need to be seen in the light of student capacity. We recommend parents discuss homework habits with their child’s Mentor to establish a good, common understanding of what is both needed and achievable.
The nature, frequency and volume of homework set are left to the professional judgement of teachers in consultation with their Faculty Coordinators. Tasks will review and/or extend work that has been initiated in class. Homework diaries ensure that records of homework are kept and can be checked by teachers and parents.
The demands of homework increase in high school and it is important for students to maintain a balanced program: reading quality literature, playing a musical instrument, being part of a sporting team and contributing to the domestic life of the home continue to be important aspects of life outside school.
Helping Homework Happen:
While homework is undertaken by individual students, the successful fulfilment of the potential for homework to enrich a student’s learning is best achieved when it is a cooperative venture:
Parents and caregivers can help by:
· Taking an active interest in homework
· Ensuring that there is time set aside in the family routine for homework
· Encouraging and supporting students to complete homework
· Providing, where possible, a dedicated place and desk for homework and study
· Encouraging their children to read quality literature
· Assisting teachers to monitor homework by signing completed work if requested and being aware of the amount of homework set
· communicating with teachers any concerns about the nature of homework and their children’s approach to the homework
· alerting the school to any domestic or extracurricular activities which may need to be taken into consideration when homework is being set or corrected.
Teachers can help by:
· Explaining to students and their parents or caregivers the purpose and benefits of homework
· Ensuring students and parents or caregivers are aware of the school’s homework policy
· Providing quality homework activities related to classwork
· Setting a suitable amount of relevant homework which is appropriate to the ability of each student
· ensuring that students are aware of what is expected of them, and how their work will be assessed
· giving students sufficient time to complete their homework, taking into account, as far as possible, competing home obligations and extracurricular activities and homework set by other teachers
. coordinating with other teachers to ensure the demands of homework are reasonably spaced across a term
· marking homework promptly and appropriately, maintaining homework records and providing feedback to students and parents or caregivers
· alerting parents or caregivers of any developing problems concerning their children’s homework and suggesting strategies that they can use to assist their children with their homework.
Students can help by:
· being aware of the importance of homework
· being aware of their school’s homework policy
· completing homework within the given time frame
· alerting parents or caregivers to homework expectations
· seeking assistance from teachers and parents or caregivers when difficulties arise
· striving to ensure homework is of a high standard
· organising their personal time to ensure that sufficient time is given to completing quality homework within the set time.