Homework for young kids is okay, but not too much

WHETHER primary school children should have homework, and how much, is a debate that always draws mixed opinions.

APN's Newspapers in Education editor Robyn Courtney, a former teacher, said it had been a topic of debate since she began teaching in the early 90s.

She believes the solution is not to ban homework or make it compulsory, but to remember it is a choice, much like practising a musical instrument or sporting skills.

"As a teacher I would give homework to my students not because it was the school's policy, but it was a chance for them to follow up on what we had done in class.

"I never believed in punishing them for not completing the tasks set but reminded them it was there for them to improve their skill level if they wanted or needed to."

Some parents commenting on The Observer's Facebook page about the issue was supportive of homework, but said there needed to be less.

Leisa Teather said basic homework helped, but sometimes students were given too much.

"The younger ones are quite often too distracted and excited to be home to be able to concentrate on a lot of work," she said.

"They need to be kids as well in the afternoon, before they get tired and dinner and bedtime."

Shannon Bartlett also agreed that kids should have homework, but said it should be revision, not an extra three hours on top of their six at school.

"Some teachers give to much, others are fine," she said.

"And it's not really a choice nowadays. Most students are punished for not completing it."

Kaihla Dennis said her Grade 1 daughter wouldn't be doing as well as she was now if it wasn't for homework.

"It took a lot of at-home learning and school for her to reach the average," Ms Dennis said.

"She is a May baby so was in the younger half, and at first it was full on in Prep, but now in Grade 1 I think the homework she gets now is a prefect balance for her learning."