Year 1 Free worksheets
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The beginner's guide to primary-school homework
What’s the point of homework?
For many families, homework is a nightly battle, but primary schools set it for a variety of reasons. ‘It helps to consolidate the skills that are being taught at school, and provides children with additional revision opportunities,’ explains head teacher Steph Matthews of St Paul’s CofE School, Gloucester .
‘It also gives children an opportunity to explore learning in an unstructured setting, encouraging them to be independent and follow their own lines of enquiry.’ In addition, homework creates a partnership between school and family, giving parents an insight into what their child is learning.
How much homework should my child get in primary school?
In the past, the Department for Education advised that Key Stage 1 children should do an hour of homework each week, rising to half an hour per night in Key Stage 2. This advice was scrapped in 2012, giving schools more freedom, but many still follow the old guidelines.
In Reception , formal homework is rarely set. However, children are likely to bring home books to share with the family, first reading books, and/or keywords to learn.
In Years 1 and 2 , children are likely to have one or two tasks per week. This could be literacy or numeracy worksheets (for example an exercise where children have to compare the weights of different household items), a short piece of writing (such as a recount of a school trip) or work relating to the class topic (find out five facts about the Great Fire of London ).
In Years 3 and 4 , most schools set two homework activities each week: typically, one literacy (such as a worksheet on collective nouns, or a book review ) and one numeracy (a worksheet on bar charts).
In Years 5 and 6 , children may have two or three pieces of homework each week. ‘The amount begins to increase to prepare children for SATs and the transition to secondary school,’ says Steph. These activities might include maths worksheets, researching a topic, book reviews and grammar exercises.
Alongside formal homework tasks, most children bring home reading scheme books from Reception onwards, with weekly spellings and times tables from Year 1 or 2.
Learning logs and homework challenges
Not all schools rely on handing out worksheets. Learning logs or challenges are becoming more popular: children are given a folder of suggested activities – from writing a poem to building a model castle – and must choose a certain number to complete throughout the term.
Other schools ensure that homework ties in with the current class topic. ‘We have a themed approach, and set homework activities that give opportunities to explore the topic in a fun way, for example, designing a method of transport that Phileas Fogg could use to travel the world,’ explains Steph.
Modern homework methods
Unsurprisingly, technology is playing an increasingly important part in homework. Some schools use online reading schemes such as Bug Club , where teachers allocate e-books of the appropriate level, or subscription services like SAM Learning to set cross-curricular tasks.
A growing number also set homework electronically , with children logging into the school website to download their task.
What if the homework is too much – or too hard?
If you feel your child is overloaded with homework, speak to the teacher. ‘Forcing children to complete homework is counterproductive, because they come to perceive it as a chore,’ says Rod Grant, head teacher of Clifton Hall School, Edinburgh . ‘This makes learning appear boring, arduous or both, and that is really dangerous, in my view.’
Most schools publish their homework policy on the school website , telling parents exactly what to expect. ‘Teachers should make their expectations very clear in terms of deadlines and how long it should take, and should also differentiate tasks to suit the level of the pupil,’ adds Steph.
No homework at all?
If your child doesn’t get any homework, you may feel out of touch with his learning, or concerned that he isn’t being challenged. But there are good reasons why some schools don’t set homework, or set it only occasionally, says Rod. ‘Although homework can be beneficial, family life tends to suffer as a result of it being imposed,’ he explains. ‘ If a school isn’t providing homework, there’s plenty that parents can do at home instead : reading with their children, doing number puzzles on car journeys, using online resources, and so on.’
Parents may also worry that without doing homework, children won’t develop study habits for later life. ‘There is genuinely no need for a six-year-old to get into a routine of working at home; there’s time to learn that later,’ Rod advises. ‘Parents need to relax and encourage children to love learning – and that comes when learning is fun, relevant and engaging, not through doing homework tasks that are unchallenging, or secretarial in nature.’
Homework: advice and support for primary-school parents
For information and support on all aspects of homework, from managing other siblings to helping with specific subjects, head to our Homework area.
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Interesting ideas for primary homework
- Author: Kevin Harcombe
- Main Subject: CPD
- Subject: Leadership
- Date Posted: 12 January 2011
Evenings and weekends are precious to us all. So don't waste children's time, and your own, by setting dull homework...
Homework – a compound word that resonates down the chalk dust swirling corridors of all our school days. Home: warmth, security, a place to relax. Work: well, fill this one in yourself, why don’t you?
The point is, the two things don’t often sit well together and I have always been ambivalent about the value of homework for children under 11. An Ofsted inspector once told me that they’d stopped being critical of schools about parental attitudes to homework, because invariably half of parents thought the school set too little and the other half set too much, so schools couldn’t win (no change there, then).
Some parents think homework must be a ‘good thing’, without being quite sure why. They may have read it in the Daily Mail, or they may be of the “I had to do it and it never did me any harm” school of thought, in which case what’s wrong with flogging and outside lavatories?
These may well be the same parents who can remember how to do quadratic equations; unlike me whose secondary school child regularly weeps into her calculator at half nine of a Tuesday evening whilst bewailing the fact her parent is a mathematical imbecile. (Watch out, I riposte, it’s genetic.)
When homework has a positive impact
The nub of the matter is that homework is only useful when meaningful, related to and supporting class based work, well matched to the child, time limited and marked with top notch feedback from the teacher. Sadly, this is only the case in a minority of cases. Having got those longwinded caveats off my chest, here are some suggestions where homework can be manageable (for both the setter and the doer) and have a positive impact.
6 creative homework tasks
Interview a family member about their school days, work, play, food, etc. This develops questioning skills and can be recorded rather than written. Digital dictaphones are available for 20 quid and are within the reach of most schools. Results can be shared and presented in any way from a video presentation to a pie chart.
2. Pack a suitcase
Following some input on WWII and the mass evacuation of the young, set the children the task of making their own evacuation suitcase. (Some children will literally make one out of cardboard, but it’s the contents that are the key). What five things would they take with them and why? They can write this, or simply talk through their suitcase with the rest of the class. It’s the thinking behind this task that is the real learning. The speaking/ listening/writing is, as so often, a secondary benefit.
3. Flour babies
Read Anne Fine’s tremendous book of the same name, then provide the children with their very own flour baby (basically a 1 kilo bag of flour they have to look after as if it’s a baby). Children will draw faces on theirs, dress it, even push it to school in a toy buggy. Again, the real learning is in the thinking and empathy the activity generates.
4. Parent portraits
Sketch a parent in Henry Moore / Lucian Freud style, i.e. unflatteringly. It’s great fun, gives the parents a break from the child’s “I don’t know what to draw” cry and is a chance to look at more recent British artists.
5. Set up a museum
Our Y3 and Y4 children were recently given the task of designing their own Egyptian artefact at home. Resourcefulness from children – irrespective of family background – was stunning. We received several hieroglyphic scrolls (rolled up around cotton reels, rubbed with a tea bag to give the ageing effect) a multiplicity of pyramids (made from card, plasticine, lego), sarcophaguses, jewellery and lots of mummified Barbies and Kens. The class was turned into a museum, with carefully written exhibit cards and children curators on hand to explain the historical background to why the Egyptians valued these things, and opened up to parents and other classes on a Friday afternoon.
6. Serve breakfast
Sanctions for not having done homework don’t work, rewards do. Compare “If you don’t hand in homework you’ll miss break / lunch / PE / life.” With ” If you do hand it in regularly you’ll be invited to the end of half term Big Breakfast in the hall where your teacher will serve you toast, cereal, yoghurts, juice, etc.” Simple really, and a special occasion to look forward to at the end of half term.
Level the playing field
Set up a homework club…
For those children who don’t have access to books, internet, paper, pencils, scissors, glue at home, you could start a homework club and give those attending use of the school’s ICT facilities. For those familes who are ‘book poor’ you need to make sure your own library is well provided for. Last Christmas I asked assembly, “How many of you got some sort of a book as a Christmas present?” Less than half the hands went up. In the People’s Republic of Harcombe, when I get round to setting it up, the giving of books as presents would be enforced by presidential decree.
Throw the book at them
When parents ask about homework for their child I always respond that a) the best thing for a child to do of an evening is have some quality time with family and friends, sit down for a meal together, play a sport, learn a musical instrument or sing and not feel badgered into working all the hours God sends, and b) reading is just about the best homework anyone, adult or child, can do.
Parents don’t count reading as homework, see, and we need to educate them (this parent thinks homework is when you have indentations in your finger from holding the pen/tapping the keyboard for three hours, because writing is homework).
Time spent reading is seldom wasted and is either entertaining, thought provoking or informative or – just like this article, hopefully – all three. If you like you can structure what the children read by recommending lists (The Redlands Ten – ten books to read before you’re 10) to add a little challenge to the task. Local libraries might be able to help by ordering multiple copies of books for those parents that can’t/won’t buy them. Children get a certificate (and a book!) when they complete the ten.
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Design a medal for Paris 2024 Olympics. Activity. KS1 KS2 EYFS Homework Provision
Subject: Physical development
Age range: 5-7
Resource type: Worksheet/Activity
20 February 2024
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Design a medal for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
A versatile activity which could be used as a class task, extension activity, homework, after school club provision etc.
Other Olympics activities and presentations are available in my shop and as part of a bundle.
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A bundle is a package of resources grouped together to teach a particular topic, or a series of lessons, in one place.
All about the Olympics Bundle. Paris 2024. Powerpoint, Quiz, Flag, Mascot, Medal. KS1 KS2 EYFS
All about the Olympics. Bundle includes a powerpoint presentation, quiz and 3 activities. Suitable for whole school primary assembly, classroom tasks, homework etc. Celebrate Paris 2024 with your class or holiday club. Bundle Price saves 33%. All resources available individually as well.
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