Why do we do Home Learning and Homework?
At Living Faith, we do not use the traditional model of homework that you may find at other schools. There are several reasons for this based on neuroscience, child psychology and contemporary research.
We design our home learning model around the following principles:
- Studies have shown that aside from regular reading, traditional homework has no long-term impact on student achievement in the primary school setting.
- All families are different and therefore assigned home activities need to be flexible.
- Play is an important and essential part of a child's development and with children already having over-scheduled lives, it is important to keep their ‘outside of school’ hours free to let them be kids.
- After a full day at school, kids' brains need downtime. To build strong neural connections, a brain needs diffuse thinking time to process what they have learned at school.
- Student attitude and disposition toward a learning area have the greatest impact on their engagement and achievement in the long term. Therefore, our primary focus is to encourage reading for enjoyment.
HOW DO WE IMPLEMENT THESE IDEAS IN OUR HOME LEARNING MODEL?
From Prep to Year 5 reading is the only compulsory component of home learning at Living Faith. In the early years, this involves learning new sight words, practising early reading skills and snuggling up with mum or dad to have their favourite books read to them. In the older years, home learning could look more like curling up with their favourite library book series and sharing these stories with their family. Either way, students are encouraged to read and read regularly.
Another component of our home learning model is the Home Learning Grid. This is a non-compulsory grid designed to give families flexibility in how and when they participate. Some families like the routine of ‘doing something’ additional, while other families have afternoons and weekends already filled with extra-curricular activities. The Home Learning Grid provides activity ideas whilst ensuring families the freedom to choose what works best for their circumstances. The grid includes a wide range of activities from Maths tutorials to acts of service. Twice a term, students have the opportunity to share their learning or creations with the class.
In Year 6, home learning changes slightly in preparation for high school. An additional compulsory element is introduced, designed to help students practise skills such as time management, self-direction and responsibility in preparation for secondary schooling.
HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT YOUR CHILD’S HOME LEARNING?
We have made it a priority to ignite a love for reading. One of our primary strategies is to encourage students to read for enjoyment rather than making it a chore. When it comes to valuing an activity, children will often take their cue from family members.
- As a family encourage the idea that reading time is a special time to enjoy rather than a chore;
- Be excited and show interest and enthusiasm when new readers or library books come home;
- If your child is a beginner reader, be patient and use the pause, prompt, and praise method. Try not to jump in and rescue them too early;
- Try to focus on providing feedforward for their personal reading goal. Some suggested ways you can support your child with their reading goal can be found here;
- Model reading yourself; and
- Talk about the books your child is reading and ask questions.
Your enthusiasm is contagious!
- Bianca Ravi, Director of Learning