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Media Release

23 July, 2007

WCED provides tips for parents on homework planning

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has provided guidelines to parents on how they can help their children with their homework.

The guidelines provide tips on how to organise homework, the time that children should spend on homework in each grade, and the benefits of doing homework properly.

"Homework requires careful planning and support from principals, teachers, parents and learners," says Kobie Kitshoff, Deputy Chief Education Specialist, Curriculum Development, at the WCED.

"Efficient management of homework, accompanied by careful planning, guidance and control by all the parties involved, will ensure that it does not become a burden."

The WCED is distributing the guidelines in Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa to parents via schools mainly in poor communities.

"School management teams and school governing bodies should use this opportunity to discuss with parents the importance of supporting their children with their homework," Ms Kitshoff said.

The guidelines provide the following tips on how parents can help children with their homework:

  • Go to the first parent-teacher evening of the year. Find out what homework for the new grade entails. Find out how you can help your child with homework.
  • Ask the teacher what the homework policy of the school is.
  • Praise your child for doing homework and for finishing tasks.
  • Help your Grade 1 and 2 child with homework. Also help your older child with homework, if asked.
  • Homework must be done at a specific time each day. Decide with your child when that time will be - then stick to it.
  • Ensure that your child always does homework in the same place.
  • Keep all the homework equipment in a box so you do not have to look for it every day. Homework equipment includes scissors, coloured pencils, glue, old magazines, a dictionary and extra paper.
  • Homework time must include rules for the whole family:
    • Switch off the TV.
    • No visitors.
    • No loud telephone conversations by other members of the family.
    • Use the time to read a book or to plan the budget.
  • Know how to contact your child's teacher.
  • Talk to the teacher if your child struggles with homework.
  • Remember, both you and the teacher want your child to do well.

The WCED recommends that children spend the following time on homework, depending on their grade:

  • Grade 1: 10 minutes
  • Grade 2: 20 minutes
  • Grade 3. 30 minutes
  • Grade 4: 40 minutes
  • Grade 5: 50 minutes
  • Grade 6: 1 hour
  • Grade 7: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Grade 8: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Grade 9: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Grade 10: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Grade 11: 2 to 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Grade 12: 3 hours

"The benefits of doing homework properly include developing a sense of responsibility and achievement," Ms Kitshoff said. "Homework will help children to develop their self-esteem, knowing that they can complete tasks and projects, and will build their capacity for working independently. If properly handled, homework can also teach a child how to manage time well."

Parents can find the guidelines on the WCED web at http://wced.wcape.gov.za (see Curriculum Development Minute 65/2007).



Issued by:
Paddy Attwell
Director: Communication
Western Cape Education Department
Tel: 021 467 2531
Fax: 021 461 3694
Email: pattwell@pgwc.gov.za

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2007 WCED