Homework Policy

Homework provides the children with the opportunity of revisiting learning experiences encountered during the school day and of practising the skills and concepts associated with those learning experiences. In the senior classes some homework is designed to challenge the children’s ability and provide opportunities for creativity. The children are expected to do their homework to the best of their ability – no more, no less.

Why give homework?

  • To reinforce what the child learns during the day.
  • To provide a link between teacher and parent
  • To develop a child’s concentration skills and to develop a work ethic

How often is homework given?

  • Homework is given on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
  • Homework will be given on Fridays in all classes if homework has been neglected during the week
  • Sometimes at the discretion of the class teacher or the principal, children are given “homework off” as a treat or as acknowledgment of some special occasion.
  • Please note extra homework may sometimes be given during the week or at the weekend if a child has not completed their homework, has not made a suitable effort or has presented untidy work.

What is the content of homework?

  • Ideally homework will contain a balance between reading tasks, learning tasks and written tasks.
  • This balance is not always possible and can vary considerably from day to day. However, it should be noted that homework time devoted to reading and learning is as important as written work.
  • Homework will regularly contain reading, spellings, tables, written work, pieces to be “learned by heart”, drawing/colouring, collecting information/items and finishing work started in class.
  • Children often feel that reading and “learning by heart” is not real homework. Parents can play an important role in listening to reading and items to be learned ensuring this work is done well.

How much (time) homework?
The following are guidelines for time spent at homework. Different children will complete the same homework in different lengths of time. Time spent will vary from day to day and also from the beginning to the end of the school year. It is important to remember that it is the quality and not the quantity of homework that matters. The following are general guidelines only:

Junior Infants
Maximum time homework should take: 10 mins.
No formal written homework given in Junior Infants.
Children are sometimes asked to bring in objects or pictures related to class topics.
In the 2 and 3 terms parents are asked to do shared reading with their children. The children take home books to ‘read’ with parents. Parents are also asked to work with their children on basic sight vocabulary (lists provided by teacher )
Children are also given a name card to practise correct letter formation.

Senior Infants
Maximum time homework should take : 10 – 15 mins.
Reading to be completed nightly with parent’s assistance and supervision.
Reading record to be signed by parents to indicate that homework has been done.
Unfinished class work may be sent home to be completed.

First Class
Maximum time homework should take: 25 mins.
September: Reading and spelling only.
October – June: Reading
1 piece of the following:
Spelling Workbook. Maths Workbook.

Second Class
Maximum time homework should take: 30 mins.
Tables: 4 tables e.g. 1 + 0 to 1 + 4
Maths: 5 approx.
Reading: 2 – 4 pages
Spelling: 3 – 5 per night
Written work from time to time, mainly finishing off workbooks / stories.

Third Class
Maximum time homework should take: 40 mins.
Tables: Revision or new
Spelling: 5 or 6 ( English and Irish )
English: 3 – 5 sentences ( Skills Book, Spelling Workbook or equivalent )
Reading: 1 or 2 pages
Research / project work from time to time.

Fourth Class
Maximum time homework should take: 50 mins.
Spellings: English and Irish
2 pieces of written work
Research / project work from time to time.

Fifth Class
Maximum time homework should take: 1 hour

( less at beginning of year )
Fifth class homework is viewed as a form of preparation for homework in Secondary School. We often give homework that will not be requested from the girls for a week or more.
Pupils learn to organise homework time
i.e. 20 / 20 / 20 rule applies
20 mins learning (sp. tables, poetry etc. )
20 mins. Maths
20 mins. Written work

Sixth Class
Maximum time homework should take: 1 hr. 15 mins.
2 pieces of written work, which may include some reading.
Spelling in English and Irish
Maths and tables ( 20 mins. approx.)
A piece of learning most nights ( poetry etc.)
Occasionally homework time may also be spent working on their Reading Journal, Response Journal or Writing Portfolio
From time to time projects and research may be assigned. This work will be spread over a number of nights / weeks.
Corrections from previous work and tests do not constitute part of homework time. Unfinished work in school may be given in order for each child to keep up to date with class work.

Learning Support
Learning Support teachers will have a special programme of work for those children needing additional support. This programme can be arranged with parents to suit each child’s individual needs.

Leisure Time Reading
A recent survey by the DES (2005) highlights the importance of cultivating the habit of independent reading. Leisure time reading is essentially an out of school activity yet it does not easily fit into our homework model. How can we foster and develop this habit in our children?

  • Encourage children to choose books independently.
  • Talk to children about their choice of books and be aware of what they are reading in their spare time.
  • Encourage children to spend time reading on a regular basis. This should include weekends and holidays.
  • Library books should be brought back each week on the appropriate day. Every child should have a book for silent reading in class and one to read at home. Some children are well able to cope with reading two books concurrently. For others this is too confusing and so they need help organising themselves for their reading activities.
  • Continue reading aloud with your child as long as he or she considers it an enjoyable activity.
  • Let your children see you reading.
  • Join a public library.

Reading introduces us to diverse worlds and thoughts and gives children the opportunity to confront powerful emotional experiences in a safe environment. Reading allows us to share in the experiences of others and to learn from them. The cultivation of a regular reading habit privileges a child with a life enriching habit that will prove both pleasurable and valuable.

How much help should parents give?
Parents should try to help their children with homework by:

  • providing them with a suitable place and time to do their homework
  • endeavouring to prevent interruptions or distractions to the work, like T.V. or other children
  • Children should do written homework themselves and parents should only help when the child has difficulty.
  • If a child has difficulty with homework, the parents should help the child to overcome the difficulty with further explanation or examples, but not by actually doing the homework for the child.
  • If a child has substantial difficulty completing a particular task within a reasonable period of time (15 minutes), the task should be left uncompleted so as not to cause frustration and anxiety for the child. A note explaining the difficulty should be given to the teacher so that the problem can be addressed the following day.
  • Shared reading is not homework in the regular sense and it is simply meant to be an enjoyable exercise between parent and child. If it’s not enjoyable, shared reading should not be done.

How often should parents monitor homework?

  • Parents should check and sign a child’s homework journal every evening.
  • The pupil’s journal is an important record of the child’s homework. It is also a valuable means of communication between parents and teachers.
  • Ideally, all written messages to your child’s teacher should be put in the homework journal
  • Please check that your child records the homework neatly on the correct page and ticks each item of homework when completed.

How often do teachers monitor homework?

  • Teachers like to check homework on a daily basis.
  • As children get older and learn to work independently, some items of homework are checked less often e.g. every second day or once per week.
  • Children themselves under the direction of the teacher may check some items of homework (and classwork). This can be a useful part of the learning process for children.

When should parents communicate with the teachers about homework?

  • When your child cannot do homework due to family circumstances
  • When your child cannot do homework because she/he cannot understand some aspect.
  • If the time being spent at homework is often longer than the recommended amount of time.

When should homework be done?
Ideally, homework should be done soon after school while your child is still fresh.

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