Homework provides students with opportunities to consolidate their classroom learning, prepare for lifelong learning beyond the classroom and involve family members in their learning. The setting of homework takes into account the need for students to have a balanced lifestyle. This includes sufficient time for family, recreation and cultural pursuits.
Homework that enhances student learning:
- is purposeful and relevant to students' needs
- is appropriate to the phase of learning (early, middle and senior)
- is appropriate to the capability of the student
- develops the student's independence as a learner
- is varied, challenging and clearly related to class work
- allows for student commitment to recreational, employment, family and cultural activities.
Teachers will provide homework that is varied, challenging and directly related to class work and appropriate to students' learning needs. Teachers will check homework regularly and provide timely and useful feedback. Teachers will also discuss with parents and caregivers any developing problems concerning their child's homework and suggest strategies to assist with their homework. Teachers can help students establish a routine of regular, independent study by setting homework on a regular basis, explicitly teaching strategies to develop organisational and time-management skills and providing opportunities to practise these strategies through homework, while clearly communicating the purpose, benefits and expectations of homework.
New guidelines for Queensland state schools about levels of student homework emphasise a need for balance between family life and consolidating classroom learning.
Early Phase of Learning (Prep to Year 3)
In the Early Phase of Learning all activities at home or in play can assist children to develop literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills.
Homework tasks may include:
- daily reading to, with, and by parents, caregivers or other family members
- linking concepts with familiar activities such as shopping, preparation of food, local environment and family outings
- conversations about what is happening at school
- preparation for oral presentations
- opportunities to write for meaningful purposes.
In the Prep Year, generally students will not be set homework. Prep to Year 3 students will participate in a Home Reading program. In Prep each child may bring 1 or 2 short books home a week to share with their families to see themselves as readers and continue to develop a love of reading In Years 1-3 the Home Reading program becomes more formal using logs and incentives.
Homework in Years 1, 2 and 3 could be up to but generally not more than one hour per week.
Middle Phase (Years 4 to 6)
In the Middle Phase some homework can be completed daily, over a weekly or fortnightly period and may:
- include daily independent reading
- be coordinated across different subject areas, for example setting a task such as writing a letter (English) to the local member of parliament (Civics) about a local environmental matter (Science)
- include extension of class work, projects and research.
Homework in Years 4 and 5 could be up to but generally not more than two to three hours per week.
Homework in Year 6 could be up to but generally not more than three to four hours per week.
Students can take responsibility for their own learning by:
- being aware of the homework policy
- discussing homework expectations with their parents or caregivers
- accepting responsibility for the completion of homework tasks within set timeframes
- following up on comments made by teachers
- seeking assistance when difficulties arise
- organising their time to manage home obligations, participation in physical activity and sports, recreational and cultural activities and part-time employment.
Parents and caregivers can help their children by:
- reading to them, talking with them and involving them in tasks at home including shopping, playing games and physical activity
- helping them complete homework tasks by discussing key questions, or directing them to resources
- encouraging them to take responsibility for their learning and organisation of time
- encouraging them to read and to take an interest in and discuss current local, national and international events
- helping them balance the amount of time spent completing homework, watching television, playing computer games, playing sport and engaging in other recreational activities, or working part-time, and
- contacting the teacher to discuss any concerns about the nature of homework and their children's approach to the homework.