Homework. Is It Really Necessary?

It’s not what it sounds like, I promise. We aren’t saying that we, an education agency, believe homework is baloney. However, schools in Poland have decided that maybe not all age groups need to be doing homework. This is no surprise, as we have to question just how much homework an 8 year old should really be doing.

Around exam age, and in the later teen years, homework makes sense. We want kids to do well in their exams and go on to study whatever they please, and sometimes this requires extra studying. But, if you are several years away from exams, and still do not know what you want to do when you leave school, home work can be a real drag.

The New Polish Homework Decree

The Polish government made a decree that stated children up to grade 3 would not be given any homework, meanwhile, grades 4 to 8 would have homework on an optional basis, but the homework would not be counted towards any grades. Poland’s school system is different to ours in the UK, so this may seem confusing. Let me explain.

Unlike in the UK, ages 3-5 in Poland are in preschool, and ages 5-6 are in kindergarten. So grades 1-3 would be years 2 to 4 in the UK for ages 6 to 9. Polish grades 4 to 8, would therefore be the equivalent of years 5 to 9 in the UK, and covered ages 9 to 14.

Parents in Poland are torn as while many see it as good, and enabling children to be creative in their free time. Others viewed their child’s homework as a way to keep tabs on their children’s studies and to know what the school was teaching.

In the UK, we use homework in primary school ages for children to consolidate the skills that they are taught in class. It is also used to help them understand revision opportunities. However, not everyone agrees with this, especially for the younger age groups.

What Do We Think?

Our very own Jacob Blackmore, rich with teaching experience, had his own views on this new decree in Poland. He told me whether he thinks it is worth the UK considering something similar.

” In early years, the most key homework is parents practicing basics, such as phonetics, reading, and general life skills. So, I do think that no homework should be given, but general skills taught at home by parents. In later years, such as in comp, having homework as an option prior to exam years is good. Not all kids will have the same level of parental assistance. It makes me think of art projects, and how some kids will have an artistically skilled parent, while others will have nearly no parental help. This can be quite unfair and leads to an imbalance, especially when homework like this is graded.”

Jacob makes a good point. Homework does make sense in secondary years, especially after year 8, when kids ned to learn how to revise prior to their exam years. However, grading homework, especially projects that may require family input can be unfair. Not all children come from a 2 parent home. Some children may not have access to the support that others do either. It is especially important that children are not overwhelmed by homework. Kids do spend plenty of time in school, learning during the day. Young minds may be like sponges, but they can still get burned out when having to take too much in.

We are curious as to the thoughts of our subscribers, schools, and staff on this topic. We can see both sides of this new Polish decree, and would love to hear your thoughts on it! What do you think? And, do you think it’s something the UK should consider?