‘I’m a primary school teacher, and I don’t make my own kids do Homework. Here’s why.’

I’ve been a primary school teacher for 20 years, and throughout my career, I’ve always advocated for the benefits of homework. 

From consolidating classroom learning to appeasing parents or preparing for high school, there are so many arguments to support the seemingly endless array of primary homework sheets found stashed between smelly lunchboxes and school hats. 

However, I have a secret. Even though I’m a teacher, I’m also a mum – and I don't make my own kids do homework.

Watch: SQUARE Teachers Translated Vaalia. Story continues after video.

Video via Mamamia

Here’s why:

I prefer to let them play.

Play is essential for fostering creativity, and as a teacher, I have witnessed how playtime has diminished over the years. 

Lunch breaks are now restricted by so many rules and regulations, leaving little room for unstructured play. For example, my school recently banned children from swinging on the monkey bars. 

I’m more than happy to let my own children abandon their homework folders and spend their afternoons building a fort together, ‘Bluey style’, while I have a cup of tea.

I’m not into the ‘busy work’. 

A random worksheet filled with spelling and math facts? Thanks… but no thanks.


I understand assigning projects or work that directly reinforces what has been taught in school that week, but providing students with tasks they claim they have never encountered seems pointless. 

Homework should serve a purpose in reinforcing knowledge, rather than merely keeping kids busy in the afternoon. My kids are busy enough as it is – have you seen their rooms?

The ancient readers aren’t relevant. 

Although they encountered reading difficulties when they were younger, my children love now reading. 

Unfortunately, most of the reading material provided by schools is not evidence-based. 

If your child’s school teaches systematic phonics and sends home decodable readers, you’re onto a winner (do your homework about those – no pun intended!). 

However, if the teacher sends home levelled readers from the 1960s, I think it’s safe for you to give them a wide berth. My son recently bought home something entitled ‘New Technology’... that described a facsimile.

(We swapped that ancient relic for a Minecraft book he was dying to read.)

Critical thinking skills matter.

Generally speaking, homework really doesn’t teach critical thinking skills.

I’ve come across some beautifully crafted worksheets in my time that ask children to engage their parents in activities like "finding angles around the house" or "counting cars on the street." 

Personally, I’d rather throw out some meaningful discussion topics around our chaotic dinner table. For instance, last night's discussion revolved around the topic "Is Chat GPT going to change the world for the better or worse?" The kids taught me a thing or two!


What about high school?  

As my daughter approaches the age of the students I teach, I’m aware that she will soon transition to high school, where the workload will significantly increase. 

Instead of focusing on traditional homework, however, she has chosen to participate in a local theatre production.

Listen to This Glorious Mess, In this episode, We thought we'd reflect on our parenting highs and lows of 2022 and have a think about our parenting new years resolutions for 2023. Post continues below.

I believe the skills she’ll acquire from memorising a script, working with a director, and building the confidence to perform on stage will better prepare her for high school than spending hours churning through online maths tasks.

So how do I reconcile the fact that I have been assigning kids homework for 20 years while being one of those parents who doesn’t even make their children do it? 

Well, in my classroom, no student has ever faced punishment for not completing homework. I make it clear to parents and students at the start of the year that although I’ll be setting homework, whether students partake or not is completely up to them. 

As for my kids, I’ll leave the old readers and the iPad tasks in their bags after school and take them for a walk to the library instead. 

I hope the parents of my students do the same.

Feature Image: Getty

Calling all internet users! Take our survey now and go in the running to win a $100 gift voucher!