Rethinking Homework … REEDS
Revise Everything Everyday Done in School
At the PECHS Girls’ School, we are committed to the holistic development of the children in our care. We believe that they should get time each day to engage in physical outdoor activity, socialise with family, study the new concepts they have learnt and develop a sense of enjoyment in learning and have a bit of fun and get to bed at a decent hour. Since most of our children leave home in the early hours of the morning and reach home late in the afternoon, we believe that the daily dose of academic work done at home should be lightened a little.
In order to put our beliefs into action, in August 2014 we informed our students and their parents that there will be no formal homework anymore, across the school, from Years 1-10.
Now that certainly does not mean no studying or working on school work at home. It means your children have to take responsibility for their own learning and processing of new concepts and information that they acquire in school. And practicing REEDS on a daily basis is critical to their learning. If done as suggested it will develop a sense of responsibility, routine, time management and positive work habits.
Over the years, experience has taught us that giving formal homework can actually be counterproductive in the long run. Why? Because:
– Both parents and students restrict themselves and do only as much as they are given. They believe that by doing their homework, they will do well in class and clear their exams, which isn’t always true.
– It often becomes a cause for constant battle and resentment on a daily basis between parents and children resulting in negative interactions between them.
– Most parents depend on tuitions, an older sibling or relative to help their daughter and thus relinquish their own responsibility.
– Students do not take responsibility for their own learning.
An important goal of our curriculum is to enable children to learn how to learn, and to develop an appreciation of the value and practice of lifelong learning. The curriculum aims to instil a love of learning independently, on one’s own, that will remain with the child through all stages of formal education and will express itself in an enquiring mind and heightened curiosity.
We want every student to take responsibility for her own learning and we think this process should begin in Year 1, so that their study skills become better and better each year. So we came up with this idea as an alternative to the traditional homework assigned by teachers.
What REEDS Entails
On a daily basis, students of Years 1 to 3 are expected to go over their tasks of the day, which are mentioned in their diaries. They should be able to talk about and practise what has been done in class.
Students of Years 4 to 7 are expected to open their textbooks, workbooks and notebooks and revise what they have done in class that day and be able to articulate what they have learnt so that others understand what they are saying.
Students of Years 8 – 10 are expected to revise the subjects and chapters from their textbooks and do additional research on the topic covered that day/week. They should also practice math exercises and creative writing and occasionally do some prior reading and research for an upcoming topic.
Parental Involvement in REEDS
Children are natural learners and you can help them engage more meaningfully with curriculum content by supplementing their lessons with relevant real life experiences at home. For example, when they study fractions, you can bake a cake or cook something else with them to practice measuring ingredients. When they study the constellations, you can take them to visit the Planetarium or if you have a telescope, set it up and enjoy learning together and if none of that is possible, just sit together and look up at the night sky.
In the primary school years, you can help set the patterns for lifelong work and study. Negotiate a time with your child for study on weekdays and if you think it is appropriate, on the weekend as well. Tell your children that REEDS is their work and they have to be responsible for it. If they don’t study every day, they will have to face the consequences. Discuss with them what the consequences may be. Give them a small clock to time themselves. Suggest that they:
– Practise sums done in class for about 10 – 15 minutes.
– Write or draw about what they have learnt that day/week. Jotting down some questions that they would like to discuss with you or older siblings later is a good way to learn. Later, please do make the time for that discussion. This shouldn’t take them more than 20 minutes and another 10 or 15 for discussion.
– Encourage them to look up a dictionary for spellings and meanings of words they need for their writing.
– Read some books together. Consider this as leisure time together.
– As they grow older encourage them to read the chapters done in class and write some questions to discuss in class with teachers and peers.
– Encourage them to do some additional research on the topics they are currently studying. Doing some reading and research on upcoming topics is also a good idea so that they can contribute meaningfully to classroom discussions.
Encourage them to Practice! Practice! Practice! Reading, speaking with clarity, writing and math. The idea is that they learn how to learn because it is their work and they need to take ownership for it and be responsible for it. REEDS is attempting to encourage good, long lasting study habits minus the fear factor of being accountable to an adult the next day who might punish you if it hasn’t been done. We would like them to learn to be accountable to themselves. Children are more than welcome to share with their teachers what they have done during their REEDS time at home but it is not the teachers job to correct that work.
The Tuition Bug
We urge you not to send the children attending the PECHS Girls’ School for tuitions. It is our responsibility to provide extra help to those who need it. If your child needs extra support or is unable to understand the topics covered in class, please don’t waste any time. Encourage your child to talk to her teacher and let her know that she hasn’t understood a certain concept or topic. If that doesn’t work, you can write a polite note in your child’s diary or send us an email and we will ensure that she is given some one-on-one time with her teacher to go over what she hasn’t understood. We will do our best to help your child keep pace with the rest of the class. Tuition teachers are often unable to follow our philosophy of teaching and learning and will only confuse your child further. So please steer clear from tuitions.
With your support, we look forward to making REEDS a way of life that will prove useful throughout your daughter’s academic life and beyond. We urge you to adopt REEDS in letter and spirit.