Home Learning Expectations
At Kahutara school we realise that home learning can sometimes be a stressful time, and that actually many of our students lead somewhat busy lives, with sports and other activities outside of school.
Prof. John Hattie, in his extensive research about what has the greatest impact on student achievement, says…
“Homework in primary school has an effect of around zero. In high school it’s larger. Which is why we need to get it right. Not why we need to get rid of it. It’s one of those lower hanging fruit that we should be looking in our primary schools to say, “Is it really making a difference?” If you try and get rid of homework in primary schools many parents judge the quality of the school by the presence of homework. So, don’t get rid of it. Treat the zero as saying, “It’s probably not making much of a difference but let’s improve it”. Certainly I think we get over obsessed with homework. Five to ten minutes has the same effect of one hour to two hours. The worst thing you can do with homework is give kids projects. The best thing you can do is to reinforce something you’ve already learnt.”
So what are the expectations?
We want home learning to be about positive sharing and making connections to classroom learning. It should also be about practising the basics, and maintenance of the essential skills.
What could it look like?
In the Junior School
Year 0, 1, 2 & 3 students: At this age we would expect students to be completing learning activities at home for approximately 15 minutes a day on at least 4 days through the week.
We recognise that learning and success comes in many forms and places. We consider playing sport, attending swimming lessons, dance, gymnastics, music, art and other out of school pursuits to be highly valuable and important to the growth of all students. Playing at a friend’s house and general playing at home is also important for children. We recommend 10-15 minutes of school based curriculum home learning to support these other pursuits. While there are plenty of options to choose from for additional home learning, it is paramount to give children time to play and not overload them with curriculum based learning.
“The experience of play changes the connections of the neurons at the front end of your brain,” says Sergio Pellis, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. “And without play experience, those neurons aren’t changed,” he says. It is those changes in the prefrontal cortex during childhood that help wire up the brain’s executive control center, which has a critical role in regulating emotions, making plans and solving problems, Pellis says. So play, he adds, is what prepares a young brain for life, love and even schoolwork.
But to produce this sort of brain development, children need to engage in plenty of so-called free play, Pellis says. No coaches, no umpires, no rule books.
We believe that all learning should be positive and purposeful. If your child is struggling with their home learning, or very reluctant to do it, please feel free to talk to your child’s teacher for some ideas or suggestions.
Most days, most children will come home with a reading book. This is a book they have already worked through with a teacher in a guided reading workshop. Children can read through this book to someone in their family or on their own. These books are at a level where children can work out any tricky words on their own – with support and praise. There may also be previous reading books included for practise around fluency and expression. As children become more independent readers and have success at higher levels, reading texts for homework decreases to once or twice a week.
Occasionally school events occur when reading doesn’t take place on a particular day therefore a new book won’t come home. Some children have word games in their reading bag to practice.
Spelling and Basic Facts
Some children have spelling tasks or basic facts to practise at home to help consolidate learning at school. These are put in their reading bag along with their reading books. Please ensure your child brings their book bag to school each day.
Additional Home Learning
If you wish to add more learning tasks to what teachers have provided, or if there is no home learning provided on a particular day, any of these activities can be chosen. These are also useful for the holidays. Logins and passwords for your child are on the inside cover of their Kluwell Reading Log books.
Emails, grocery lists and birthday cards are an authentic way to practise writing.
Personal reading, visiting the library and being read to all contributes to becoming a successful reader.
In the Senior School
We believe that rich conversations about what is happening in class and linking to our inquiry are the most important things you can do. Sharing learning and making connections to real life situations is a great way to solidify learning. By looking on Seesaw you should be able to see examples of your child’s work and goals. These should give you some ideas about the types of questions you could be asking.
We recommend using these sites to practise the basic skills.
The following links are from Kahutara School’s Google Drive. These are basic maths equations and miscellaneous basic facts activities. Simply ask your child what level they are at in class and click on the corresponding link below.
Another excellent website for basic maths facts is
Number Knowledge and Strategies.
Multiplication Grid – Can be used to support the learning of Multiplication and Division facts.
www.mathzlinks.wikispaces.com – This site has games related to each strategy and number stage.
www.nzmaths.co.nz/families – A specific site on the NZ maths curriculum designed for home learning.
Kahutara School Maths Hub – A site with different games, activities and videos. Students will be able to get on to this link as long as the are signed into their school Gmail account.
First School Years Spelling Activities – All sorts of activities to do with long and short vowel sounds.
All students need to be reading regularly at home. This could be reading independently or might involve sharing a book with a sibling or parent. Even looking at sophisticated picture books can still be a rich literary experience and can be nice time together. If your child is reading independently make sure that you check their comprehension occasionally by asking them questions to do with the text and vocabulary.
Kahutara School Literacy Hub – A site with different games, activities, reading and videos linked to literacy. Students will be able to get on to this link as long as the are signed into their school Gmail account.
It is important to keep up with current affairs, children could use the Kiwi Kids site for their home reading – www.kiwikidsnews.co.nz
Some children may be keen to improve their keyboard skills – Dance Mat Typing
Kahutara Primary School
990 Kahutara Road
RD1 Featherston, 5771
Phone: 06 308 8427
Laraine Nix and Liz McCreary