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"Respect, Enjoyment & Perseverance"

School re-opens on Tuesday 22nd April 2014 for all pupils

Home Learning

At Courthouse, our view is that home learning should be meaningful and serve a purpose, not just be given for the sake of it. We know that daily reading, times tables practice and weekly spellings are immensely beneficial to pupils' progress and we expect these to be part of regular routines at home. In addition, a weekly reading task is sent home and pupils may also be asked to do some research. Occasionally, they may be asked to complete work not finished in class.

Each year, our annual survey of parents/carers brings mixed responses about homework, with as many calling for an increase as a decrease. The government has recently decided to give school complete freedom to decide how much should be set. For a number of years, the expectation has been that pupils in Key Stage 2 should have 30 minutes per evening.

One other advantage of setting homework is that it promotes good routines for studying at home. In this way parents and school can help prepare pupils for the rigours of secondary school life.

We would now like to find out your detailed views, so please expect news of a survey about homework in the very near future.

 


 

Current routines

Reading

Daily reading. A short spell of reading each day is much better than one long session per week. Any reading matter is fine, it doesn't have to be a novel, so comics, magazines, the newspaper, etc are all ok. Not all reading has to be read aloud. Where a child is confident in their reading and can manage most words without assistance, concentrate on asking questions about the content. Suitable questions include:

  • what has happened so far?
  • what do you think will happen next?
  • tell me about (character)?
  • what would you have done?

Follow up tasks might include: for a work of fiction - a diary entry, letter to a character, giving some advice, drawing and labelling something described in the book; for non-fiction - explaining how something works / why something happens, putting a process into your own words, coming up with questions to ask someone, explaining the topic to an alien.

Weekly reading

Relatively straightforward texts aimed at building confidence and involving family members; a variety of tasks are set, from very easy (some quite oddball! - see more about this below) to quite complex. Able readers in year 6 are expected to undertake regular book reviews. Other pupils may receive similar tasks from time to time.

Times tables

Daily practice, aiming for rapid recall of tables up to and including the 12 x table

Spellings

These are set weekly for most groups while they require the extra practice.

Topics

With increasing regularity as they get older, pupils are set small projects to be completed at home. In the lower school, these might be 'optional'. In year 6, they will have a number of detailed projects to complete over the year.

Alternatives/additions to the Book Bug reading sheets

We are aware that some of the tasks associated with the reading scheme books are 'unusual'. The intention is that over the course of a dozen books or so, there will be a variety of tasks, some easy, some more involved, and that children won't get bored of the same thing week after week. However, there are some that we agree are not very demanding and for those children/parents that want a more involved task, here are a few suggestions for alternative homework activities:

Fiction:

  • write the next 'chapter' of the story
  • re-write the story for another age group (e.g. much younger children, where language and illustrations are important points)
  • write the blurb for the sequel
  • write a letter to one of the characters - ask about their motives for some actions / suggest alternatives to the actions they took / find out how they felt when something happened
  • take on the role of 'agony aunt' and give the character some advice for a particular point in the story
  • telling the story in another format, for example a story board or cartoon strip - this would focus on the plot or suitable dialogue

Non-fiction:

  • write a glossary of technical terms
  • explain how something happens to a visitor from another planet
  • write 3 - 5 questions that require a good knowledge of the subject to answer (they might be questions for parents or other pupils)
  • draw and label a diagram to explain a process
  • write a follow-up series of questions - things you'd like to know now
  • follow the format and write a similar book (or extract) on a topic that they know well
  • do some research on the topic and compare the information from another source, e.g. the Internet (think about intended audience)

Either:

  • a book review, including recommended audience and the reasons for that
  • an alternative blurb aimed at a different age group
  • a comparison with another book the child has read - positive and negative points and explanation

You can obviously extend this list with anything similar. It won't be possible for teachers to mark this homework in detail, but they will always be interested to see what children have been up to and you might like to drop us a line to share your ideas for further tasks for a particular book (tell us what it is!) , so that they can be considered for inclusion on this page of the website in the future.