Homework in reception; How much is too much?

I don’t know about you, but personally, I am not keen on homework for little ones. I like to have some free weekends, go with the flow, check the weather and decide with my four-year-old what to do. Until now, evenings were often the same. My daughter would say if she fancied going out on her balance bike or to the park or just heading home. Now I am having to plan for homework and schedule it in.

What does she have to do? Surely it’s not so onerous?

Well, maybe you wouldn’t find it so. So here’s what she has to do and you can decide:


Doodle Maths.

She enjoys this. She sometimes gets frustrated with it if it is unclear or as she isn’t sure which the true and the false buttons are (YES/NO would be easier).

Three times a week:


I went to what I thought was going to be a talk on how to do this last night. It ended up being a rushed introduction to phonics over reception, years 1 and 2 and included spellings as well as writing and didn’t really go into the basics of sitting down and reading with your kid but there you go. We tried it tonight with the book instructions and I think it went ok.

To be completed by the 3rd December:

Twelve diverse tasks.

the twelve tasks to do and prove

This I am afraid is my major bugbear. I need to make a plan and work out how to provide evidence of tasks completed or my daughter will not be mentioned in assembly 🙁

So far we have done: balance bike and new balance scooter (need to print a photo); the alphabet poster (over two days); the Harvest festival bag and we have attempted ordering the natural objects from the park.

Extra things sent in book bag:

Design a Christmas card to raise money for the PTA. This was quite fun, I must say as my daughter is creative.

Christmas tree card design for PTA Complete a ‘WOW’ sheet. (I  had no idea what it was either when it arrived but it is to log things your little one is proud of).

All in all my opinion on the homework given:

I find it an intrusion into our time. We love museums, the swimming pool, going to the park, sometimes going to a performance, meeting friends and stuff like that. It would be nice to be able to do it without having to think ‘oh I must get a photo of that then get it printed’. So far so good with the maths and reading but I don’t want it to change our relationship and turn me into my daughter’s teacher (I do that by day in a secondary school and would rather not do it at home too!)

Do let me know what you think in the comments box. Do you think it is an invaluable age to learning at that age? Is there another side to it underneath (thinking league tables and Ofsted)? How much homework does your child get?


Tales From Mamaville


10 replies
  1. Liberty Henwick
    Liberty Henwick says:

    This is a major bug bear of so many parents, I recently ran a survey on Facebook and 78% feel homework in primary school is a waste of time. There has been so much research on this topic that says it has no value at primary level and yet schools persist. That chart of activities would do my head in too. I suppose they are trying to promote more parental involvement in children’s lives, especially as most parents work nowadays but this almost removes any trust that we are doing those things already. #itsok

  2. Sophie
    Sophie says:

    Hi there,
    I’m a Reception teacher so thought I’d comment if that’s ok. I’m also a mum to teenagers. As a teacher, you know how much curriculum there is and what pressure there is on teachers to bring their students on. It’s no different in Reception either I’m afraid. I must admit that I don’t expect Doodle maths every night as the children get bored with it so Three times a week is plenty. We don’t start Doodle until after Christmas with Reception either as they are so tired. Reading is a must as the phonics teaching moves very quickly in school. The daily practise at home is vital to help embed those skills learnt in school. Reading/phonics is something that can be done at bedtime for 5/ 10 minutes, no more than that. The tasks set look like things that some parents would enjoy doing anyway with their child and that’s what they are. They are a guide for parents I expect as, believe me, many parents don’t even talk to their children never mind share a rhyming story1 Perhaps see you child’s teacher and see if you could add a few of your own to this list like going swimming or feeding the ducks? I think that getting them into a routine from day one is important BUT I always stress to new parents that if your child is so tired and just need to go to bed, do that! No learning will happen if they are exhausted. Weekends are precious but these tasks don’t take long and your child will enjoy them. My child has 4-5 hours every night (although this is A Levels) so it doesn’t get easier!

  3. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    Thank you Sophie. Your comments are really insightful from the other point of view. We were advised 20 minutes reading to build up vocabulary. 5 minutes or ten minutes is much more manageable- phonics book and if as you say, my daughter’s not too tired a bed time story.

  4. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    Interesting survey results. Parental involvement is one thing but putting them under pressure is another, isn’t it? We do what we can as parents.
    My daughter has a broad vocabulary but now needs to crack on with reading. If I’d have known I may have started her sooner on the reading.

  5. kate
    kate says:

    I have two children of primary school age and I feel like half the stuff set is essentially homework for grown-ups. You end up doing about 80% of it on their behalf anyway, usually because ‘adult supervision’ often means ‘kids can’t do this yet, so a grown-up needs to do it whilst the kids watch instead’. Drives me nuts! Thanks for linking up with us, great post! xx #ItsOK

  6. Nicole - Tales from Mamaville
    Nicole - Tales from Mamaville says:

    It’s a fine line, isn’t it, and has got a range of opinions too. How much homework is too much? On the other hand, it’s crucial to start somewhere so your child gets into the ‘school and homework’ routine. Too many questions and as many answers. I guess we’ve got to find a middle path and work at the pace our child is comfortable with. Great post, thanks for linking up with the #itsok linky love.

  7. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    It is a fine line and for me, a question remains: ‘does the homework routine’ have to start so early?

  8. Warren_trait
    Warren_trait says:

    When my kids were in elementary school I complained to their fancy private school about too many hours of homework. The response from the head of the school was that other parents wanted their kids to have more, not less, homework so that the kids wouldn’t watch so much TV.

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