Homework in German primary schools

Did you know that primary school children in Germany have homework (“Hausaufgaben”) – from DAY ONE!

This is no joke – on her first day at school our daughter was given homework to do, which of course had to be done after opening the Schultüte.  She has had some to do every day since.

For me, this is something completely new, as I am pretty sure that I did not have this sort of set homework until I changed schools at the age of 11.  I believe that my primary school did use to give homework to classes 4 and 5 (called years 5 and 6 these days!), but this was abolished before I was old enough to be in them.

The homework that our daughter receives is supposed to take up to 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.  Which has led me to start thinking about how much we are meant to help or guide her through it.

Do we sit with her for the entire 30 minutes and guide her through?  Do we help her work out the solutions to the tasks she is being set, so as to get her started, or do we wait for her to say that she doesn’t understand the problem?

At what stage should we step in, if we notice she is making a mistake?  Should we explain the mistake to her and let her correct it, or should we leave that to the teacher the next day?

Comments and suggestions are welcome!

About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

Comments

  1. I would suggest letting your daughter do her homework by herself. This will give her confidence and a good working habit for later as she needs to learn it is HER responsibility.
    Some parents make the mistake of helping too much and then a mother might end up sitting daily with her 9th grade child doing homework together.
    Our first child hardly ever needed any prompting or help. Our second child knows to do her homework first and if she has any questions afterwards, I will assist.
    If a mistake is discovered, I will point it out and have her try to find the solution herself.
    As a good teacher or parent, we need to ask the right questions, and refrain from giving the right answers. The right question(s) will lead the child to the correct answer.

  2. I would suggest letting your daughter do her homework by herself. This will give her confidence and a good working habit for later as she needs to learn it is HER responsibility.
    Some parents make the mistake of helping too much and then a mother might end up sitting daily with her 9th grade child doing homework together.
    Our first child hardly ever needed any prompting or help. Our second child knows to do her homework first and if she has any questions afterwards, I will assist.
    If a mistake is discovered, I will point it out and have her try to find the solution herself.
    As a good teacher or parent, we need to ask the right questions, and refrain from giving the right answers. The right question(s) will lead the child to the correct answer.

  3. Hallo Maria,

    after about half a year I can say that is what we do. If she needs help, she will get it, but we let her work out the answer to a problem first.

  4. Hallo Maria,

    after about half a year I can say that is what we do. If she needs help, she will get it, but we let her work out the answer to a problem first.

  5. Hi Graham,

    I am an Australian school teacher and mother and I can tell you that children here have homework from the beginning of their schooling too!

    In my view, there are two main reasons for setting homework – the first is to establish good work habits and the second is to give parents the opportunity to see what their child is working on and provide some one to one assistance if required. It is not always possible to provide this in a class setting with 25 or more children.

    I encourage the parents of my students to help their child if they need it and to let me know if they have difficulty with anything. Sounds like you are on the right track to me 🙂

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