A primary school in the Highlands of Scotland has stopped setting homework for its 175 children.  Apparently 80% of the pupils and 60% of the parents were in agreement.  This school is the latest in a long string of schools around the world scrapping homework.

I have to wonder at this decision.  Is it because the parents and teachers have no control over the children, who do not wish to complete any set homework and therefore have been allowed to cop out, or is it because the council think the children learn enough during school hours and need to play when they return home?  The article goes on to say that in Spain, pupils from 12,000 schools have refused to do any homework at weekends for a whole month.

When I was at school I do not remember having any homework in my primary school, but once I moved to grammar school and then on to secondary school after a house move it was customary to receive homework every night.  I diligently completed this and didn’t even think about rebelling and refusing to hand any in.  In my grammar school a child was kept in after lessons had ended to finish the task if they had not completed the previous night’s homework.

Fast forward 25 or so years and it’s the turn of my sons to bring homework back after school.  My youngest son would always complete whichever task he was set, but dear Leon, my eldest son, was and is one of life’s rebels.  It was my distasteful job to ensure that when he was in middle school he completed whatever work had been set.  This involved much shouting on my part (in the days when I could shout) and much deferring of the task on his.  Eventually I realised the teachers were not even bothering to mark it quite a lot of the time, and I felt angry at all the effort I had gone through to ensure he gave it in when he was supposed to.  Right then and there I stopped bothering to remind him, much to my son’s amazement.

When Leon started at senior school I informed him that it was now up to him whether he did homework or not, as he needed to experience the consequences of his actions.  I stated that if he did not complete the homework set, then he might start to fall behind, which might then mean that he eventually received a low score in his GCSE exams.  Leon did not really care whether or not he incurred the wrath of his teachers or received bad exam results.  Unfortunately he did receive bad exam results in a few of the subjects, but he hid his disappointment well.  It was only once he started day release college at the age of 16 as an apprentice engineer, paid for by his employer, that he found subjects he was interested in.  He was working with people older than him, and he completed his course work and homework without so much as a murmur.  He is now 34 and on the first rung of the management level of a national company, barking out orders to his underlings and loving every minute of it.  We found out much to our surprise that our rebel son is a born leader!

Does it matter whether primary school children get any homework?  I would say it doesn’t really matter at all.  They are tired of studying when they come home, and all they want to do is play.  As they grow older and big exams loom, then they must be aware of the consequences of not doing the required course work or homework, but they must learn to be self-motivated and suffer the consequences of their actions.  I for one remember the stress of trying to get somebody to do homework in a subject they were not interested in.  Girls I think are more diligent and like to please, but boys, especially our boy, could not really give a toss.

What do you think?  Do primary school children need to do homework?