An article from the BBC highlights some interesting stats about cultural attitudes towards schools and what parents are reported to value about aspects of their children’s education and their involvement in it with respect to helping with study and homework.
“Happiness, Happiness, I got more than my share of happiness”, so goes the theme song of the late Ken Dodd, yet it is the UK parents who appear to be most concerned for their children’s happiness in school and why not? Surely being contented and settled is conducive to learning, although according to the sample of respondents from the different countries, only just over ten percent of UK parents spend an hour a day assisting with their offspring’s homework and study, while this rises to over sixty percent in India.
Are there other reasons for the amount of time parents spend helping with homework? Almost certainly there are. Parents and carers have busy schedules; some have more than one job to juggle, not to mention irregular work hours. Another reason why some parents may feel daunted and slightly out of their depth when it comes to supporting their child’s study relates to the changes to the curriculum. A lot has changed since the parents were at school. The result is that some of it bears little resemblance to the way parents remember being taught.
Let’s think about the subject of English for example. From a young age children learn technical names, such as ‘digraph’. According to the dictionary, a digraph is ‘a combination of two letters representing one sound, as in ph and ey.’ Slightly older primary children begin to recognise their fronted adverbial from their subjunctive clauses.
There is of course a debate as to whether homework is necessary, with some countries like Finland having far less homework as this report describes.
The reduction in homework does not appear to affect the quality of education or achievement according to the international PISA results. Be that as it may, here in the UK, homework is here to stay and there are ways we can help to support our children to do the best they can.