A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

At what age is “homework” a good idea? -The Times

In Nonsense on March 28, 2012 at 06:10

When should a child bring ‘work’ home? Sadly, there is no easy answer .

Homework? Before you’ve lost your baby teeth? Don’t bother, I thought, as I scooped up my children from their lovely state primary in Central London. The French have just declared that homework at primary level is tosh, and I used to agree with that wholeheartedly. In a sense, I still do.

Small children are focusing on work at school for six hours a day. Surely that is enough?

At home, there are all sorts of other “learning skills” to achieve: numeracy via cooking, motor skills via Lego, literacy via being read to. Plus, when a child is at home with the family, that is a different world to the one of school. Long may the boundaries last.

Homework before a child is about 8 is pointless. Then it is valid for primary schools to start bringing in proper, deadlined, set tasks. Children will learn the discipline of homework and the life skill of withstanding procrastination.

As my son earnestly told me yesterday, “I think about doing homework and put it off. Then half an hour later, I think, ‘Well, I could have done it by now.’ ” Quite.

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