Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sunday Funday - Homework policy

It's our school policy that learners should get Maths and English homework every day Monday to Thursday. Homework should help them develop/practice skills but should not take too long - many learners travel long distances and get home tired in the late afternoon.

We've also been seeing poor compliance with homework.

The solution we've come up with (actually my Maths HoD's idea) is to create a weekly homework sheet for Maths and English classes. This gets glued into special 'Homework Books' (notebooks) on Mondays and we encourage parents to check and sign these sheets daily.  The homework on the sheet gets done in the Homework Book for the subject, which makes quick correction at the start of the lesson easy.

It's a challenge to have the sheets ready every Monday but so worth it to avoid power struggles around getting homework noted down in diaries. When parents come on board, and many have, it makes a huge difference and even former reluctant 'homeworkers' start taking pride in their consistent efforts.

The homework sheet differs from teacher to teacher - many just highlight upcoming tests and quizzes and indicate the textbook exercises to be done for each day. I usually add some custom excercises and use the back to print a worksheet. 

Learners earn stars or stickers for homework assignments completed neatly and without errors, these  eventually add up to Merits. Homework repeatedly not done can lead to a detention.

That's it, it's been working for us. 


  1. Hi,

    I came across your blog via David Wees, and as a fellow mathematics educator I thought you might be able to help in spreading the word about an educational TV show for preteens about math that we're putting together. "The Number Hunter" is a cross between Bill Nye The Science Guy and The Crocodile Hunter -- bringing math to children in an innovative, adventurous way. I’d really appreciate your help in getting the word out about the project.

    I studied math education at Jacksonville University and the University of Florida. It became clear to me during my studies why we’re failing at teaching kids math. We're teaching it all wrong! Bill Nye taught kids that science is FUN. He showed them the EXPLOSIONS first and then the kids went to school to learn WHY things exploded. Kids learn about dinosaurs and amoeba and weird ocean life to make them go “wow”. But what about math? You probably remember the dreaded worksheets. Ugh.

    I’m sure you know math is much more exciting than people think. Fractal Geometry was used to create “Star Wars” backdrops, binary code was invented in Africa, The Great Pyramids and The Mona Lisa, wouldn’t exist without geometry.
    Our concept is to create an exciting, web-based TV show that’s both fun and educational.

    If you could consider posting about the project on your blog, I’d very much appreciate it. Also, if you'd be interested in link exchanging (either on The Number Hunter site, which is in development, or on which is a well-established site with 300,000 page views a month) please shoot me an email. We're also always looking for input and ideas from other math educators!

    Thanks in advance for your help,