St Joseph's School Upper Hutt - Faith in the future. Love of learning. Love of life.


St Joseph’s Primary School


The St Joseph’s Way…

Our homework programme has been developed after considerable review, including making use of current research about what works, past experience and feedback from children, parents and teachers. We have developed a system that outlines what we believe is essential homework and also provides a range of activities for families to choose which are based on the key competencies within the New Zealand Curriculum. This dual system allows flexibility for busy families and eager learners.


Why do homework?

Our homework programme aims to:

·       Support the development of literacy and maths skills through practising at an independent level

·       Assist children in establishing developmentally appropriate work habits and time management skills

·       Enable parents to support their child with work that reinforces their child’s learning at school 

How can you help your child?

There are many things you can do to help your child. The later sections of this document provide you with some detail about how you can assist your child with the essential elements of the homework programme. Here are some general tips/reminders that you might find useful:

1.  Let your child have a bit of time to unwind after school.

2.  Discuss your expectations with your child about how long the homework will take.

3.  Feed their brain first – give them a snack and drink before they start.

4.  Choose a space that is comfortable and reasonably quiet.

5.  Get your child to check that they have everything they need before they get started – don’t get 
things organised for them, make them take responsibility themselves.

6.  Show an interest in their work and offer guidance when needed (but don’t do it for them!).

7.  Don’t allow homework to become stressful. If things get stressful and hectic, leave it for the night and pick it up another time. If necessary, let your child’s teacher know that it wasn’t 
completed for a valid reason – stress and upset families are valid reasons!

Signing off Homework

Homework is most effective when parents and teachers work in partnership to ensure it is done!

All children have a homework journal, which they use to record and complete homework within. Once your child has completed their homework, the ‘Homework Log’ can be signed off in the back of the homework book.

You can expect your child’s teacher to sign off the homework each week. As part of the signing off, they will check that work has been completed. Children often also receive oral feedback from their teacher about their homework. The homework log provides a space for comments from you, your child and/or the teacher. As the children often get oral feedback, teachers will not always comment in the box, however will do so from time to time or if there is anything significant to note. If you feel you are not getting enough feedback from your child’s teacher about the homework, please get in touch with them directly.

Incomplete Homework

If your child’s work has not been completed, please make a note on the homework log to let the teacher know why. Children are encouraged to take responsibility for the completion of their homework. As parents and teachers, it is our job to encourage them and support them to do so. Although your child’s teacher will check that homework has been completed and ask your child where it is, teachers have lunchtime commitments and it is not realistic to expect that they can follow up with lunchtime supervision of incomplete homework. Ultimately, we rely on you to ensure your child completes the work. If you are having difficulty getting your child to complete homework, please get in touch with your child’s teacher to discuss how they can work with you and support you in getting your child to complete tasks.



How long should my child spend on reading homework?

We suggest children should be reading each night (minimum of 5 nights per week). Use the following guide to determine how long your child should be reading for each night. This is a guide and outlines what we think should be a minimum – depending on the ability and interests of your child, you may lengthen this time, however we suggest you only do that if your child is happy to read on!

Years 1 & 2              5 - 10 minutes

Years 3 & 4              10 minutes

Years 5 & 6              10 - 15 minutes

Years 7 & 8              20 minutes


What should my child be reading?

Reading at home should be enjoyable and easy. In some cases, your child’s teacher will send a book home that your child can read independently. As children become more capable readers, the teacher may talk to them about their book choices, rather than sending a book home with them. If this is the case, your child’s teacher will let you know what reading options they recommend for your child. If for some reason you have not had guidance from your child’s teacher about what they should be reading, please get in touch with them.


How long should my child spend on spelling homework?

We suggest children should be learning spelling words once or twice a week and the times below are a guide to determine how long your child should spend on spelling. Depending on the ability and interests of your child, you may lengthen this time, however only do so if your child is happy to!

Years 1 - 4                5 - 10 minutes

Years 5 - 8                10 minutes


What words should my child learn?

There are 7 Essential Word lists, as well as a list of commonly misspelt words that children need to commit to memory before focussing on learning dictionary skills. Our aim is for children to learn the essential lists by the time they finish Year 6.

Your child’s teacher will ensure your child has a list of 5-15 words from these lists (depending on year level and ability) that they don’t spell correctly in their books. Sometimes, they spell known words incorrectly in their books, in which case they have not been fully committed to your child’s memory and they will be asked to relearn them for homework. If you think it is unnecessary for your child to learn a word you think they know, you may like to talk to them about making sure they proofread properly!

Your child’s teacher may think there is a need for more/less words, in which case they will let you know. If you think adjustments need to be made for your child, please discuss this with the teacher.


How long should my child spend on number knowledge homework?

We suggest children should be learning number knowledge each week and suggest the times below as a guide to determine how long your child should spend. Depending on the ability and interests of your child, you may lengthen this time, however only do so if your child is happy to!

Years 1 - 2                1-2 times per week for 5-10 minutes

Years 3 - 4                twice a week for 5-10 minutes

Years 5 - 8                2-3 times per week for 10-15 minutes

What should my child learn?

Number knowledge is the essential maths knowledge that your child should be able to recall INSTANTLY. There are many areas of number knowledge that your child needs to develop as they move through school. Your child’s teacher will provide them with an activity to support their number knowledge development.

Your child can also access Mathletics from home to develop their number knowledge skills. Each child has their own log in and password that allows them to access activities that is relevant to their numeracy stage level. If your child has misplaced their password please contact the teacher.