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Unconventional Grade 6 homework assignment gets top marks from parents

Studies show playing is more beneficial to kids than homework. Do you think homework should be scrapped?.
Studies show playing is more beneficial to kids than homework. Do you think homework should be scrapped?. File photo

A teacher in Britain at Bucklebury Primary School has re-ignited the homework debate with her now-viral weekend assignment for her Grade 6 students.

Mrs. Thom explained that with exams coming up, it’s vital for the kids to use their time wisely.

So the first item on her list of 17 tasks for the 11-year-olds was to, “Go on a bike/scooter ride.”

See friends, read a book, do something you’ve never done before, and laugh until your tummy hurts were also assigned homework.

Eat ice cream made the list twice.

Her instructions were to “complete as many of these activities as possible and tick to say they have been done.”

‘Children are under pressure from babyhood’

Louise Harry and her daughter were thrilled to follow the teacher’s orders.

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“We have spent a happy day ticking lots of those boxes,” the mother wrote on Facebook.

The school supported Mrs. Thom’s style of exam prep, saying on Monday it wants to foster well-rounded kids “balanced in mind, body and spirit.”

“Tests at eleven years old do not dictate who you are or who you might become.”

WATCH: Life coach Erica Diamond discusses new studies that favour play time over homework

The majority of parents who weighed in online complained of the long hours of homework their children were coming home with.

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Lucy Finch said she once sent a note back informing her child’s school that the assignments were “excessive” and wouldn’t be completed.

“In my previous job I used to take work home, then like many others decided enough was enough and stopped doing it,” she wrote in a comment.

“Why should kids work at school then bring more work home?”

How utterly ridiculous that children are being put under such pressure,” Elizabeth Thomson said in the thread. “Children are under pressure from babyhood these days, but many parents are complicit in this.”

The infamous Chinese “Tiger Mom” Amy Chua boasted in the Wall Street Journal in 2011 that she never allowed her daughters to do extra-curricular activities or watch TV (one of the activities Mrs. Thom suggested for her students).

Chua credited their academic success to her strict parenting, and felt it best prepared them for the future.

The homework debate in Canada

A Québec elementary school decided to do away with homework a couple years ago. The goal was to ease pressure on parents and possibly improve student performance.

WATCH: A Quebec elementary school banned homework in 2014. Is it beneficial for students? Jennifer Palisoc reports.

Nova Scotia for years had a ban on homework for students up to Grade 3. That ban was lifted last fall, much to the relief of parents like Madonna Ryan.

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“I think they should have homework,” said Ryan, whose son was about to start primary school. “That’s something they should be doing every day.”

Michael MacDonald, an elementary school vice principal, said that teachers were encouraged by the new changes.

“I think teachers are happy students will have a chance to practice. And we know when students practice and come back to school that builds on their learning experience.”

WATCH: Nova Scotia implemented a new homework policy for all schools

In Newmarket, Ont., a high school class was asked over the past year to do their homework at school and learn at home from pre-taped lessons.

Teacher Donna Green said the flip allowed her to interact more with her students and let teens learn at their own pace at home.

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WATCH: Flipped classrooms has kids doing lessons at home, and homework at school

The method drew mixed reactions. One big drawback was that students couldn’t ask questions when they didn’t understand something in Green’s recorded class.

“It’s not possible to please all students.”

With files from Dave Squires, Global News

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