Homework & Seesaw

We all want the best learning opportunities for our children at school and at home.

At Papanui Primary School we use Seesaw to share what your child has been learning at school. What traditionally is called ‘homework’ may not be the best mechanism for supporting a child’s learning at school.

Dr. John Hattie, a NZ educational researcher, in his book “Visible Learning” said, “The overall effects (of homework) are positive, but there are some important moderators.” Some of those moderators included:

  • Increasing the amount of homework did not lead to greater achievement.
  • Parent support for homework has a positive effect on achievement, whereas direct instruction by parents can have the opposite.

  • Task-oriented homework, such as the rehearsal of basic skills, had higher effects than homework requiring deep learning or problem-solving.
  • Effects were also higher when homework was not complex, or when it had a novelty aspect.
  • Projects were one of the least effective forms of homework.
  • A large amount of homework or lack of monitoring tends to lower student achievement.
  • For many student’s homework reinforces the fact that they cannot learn by themselves and cannot do schoolwork.
  • Effects are higher when involving rote learning, practice, or rehearsal of subject matter.

Experience has also shown us that:

  • Children and families are busy and not all families undertake homework creating inequities that are apparent in class.
  • Kids need time to play – for learning and for relaxation. The value of play should not be underestimated.
  • Homework can create tension for children. It can also create adversarial roles between the child and parent.
  • The ‘have to’ element of homework creates compliance. Children learn best when they direct their learning.
Papanui Primary students holding up their artwork

Guidelines for Homework

So, with this in mind, Papanui Primary has set the following guidelines because we know these are effective.

Junior Team

  • Every night read to or with your child or have them read to you.
  • Have your child select something from their reading folder to share with you.

Each of the Pods – Pūkeko, Pīwakawaka, – from time to time may also provide additional activities or resources that you may use to support a child’s learning in Literacy and Numeracy.

Senior Team

  • Read with or to your child each night or have them read to you. Capable readers may read alone and/or read to younger siblings.
  • Each pod has a range of websites that can be used at home to practice and reinforce classroom learning. These details will be provided to your children.
  • Take opportunities for children to participate in real-life maths, reading and writing (setting the table, baking, writing a shopping list, etc)
  • Enjoy family time and play games to develop social and emotional skills e.g. winning and losing.
  • Have conversations about things that are going on in the world and are important or of interest to your children.


We encourage parents to support their children by providing experiences beyond “school learning”. Spending more time directly interacting with your children in enjoyable ways will develop their self-esteem and character as well as Key Competencies.

  • Let the children play and play with them.
  • Read to your children – visit the library.
  • Monitor their screen time.
  • Talk, discuss and converse with them.
  • Get them contributing to the household e.g. helping /preparing a meal.
  • Joining a club – dance, cultural, sporting, St Johns, Keas…
  • Learn… to swim, a musical instrument.
  • Take social action… join the Kiwi Conservation Club 

If you would like extra advice about how to help your learners at home, make an appointment to come and have a chat with your child’s teacher.