St. Colmcille’s Boys’ National School, Chapel Lane, Swords, Co.Dublin K67 WP65

(01) 8405132

St Colmcille's BNS

Ní neart go cur le chéile


Homework – General Guidelines

  1. Parents are asked to ensure that their children complete the homework each night. In the event of the homework not being attempted or not being completed, teachers may insist that the homework is completed by the children during some of the breaks.
  2. Each child should have a homework notebook and homework copies.
  3. The recommended average time for homework ranges from thirty minutes in First Class to one hour in Senior Classes.  Some children in Sixth Class may spend up to ninety minutes at homework.  The recommended times are only guidelines because too much emphasis on “time spent” may cause a habit of “clock watching” to develop.  The best criterion is has the child made an honest effort to do the homework.  If your child regularly exceeds the recommended times, and this is not due to poor work habits, you are welcome to visit the school to discuss this matter with the class teacher.
  4. Where exceptional circumstances prevent the completion of homework, please forward an explanatory note to the teacher.
  5. Do not do the child’s homework for him.  Work set for homework will have been prepared in class.  Please check your child’s homework for neatness and point out mistakes.
  6. Changes have taken place in the way in which certain areas of Maths are being taught.  In helping your child, please adhere to the methods being used in school.  Providing alternative methods may lead to confusion for the child.
  7. Oral work is as important as written work. Please listen to the child read, and examine spellings and tables.
  8. Parents should check homework notebook and/or homework each night.
  9. As a general rule, homework is not given at the weekends.

Homework for Various Classes

Junior Infants: As part of the reading programme, the pupil is given a word wallet in which a number of words are regularly added. These words can be practised each night. The main emphasis of the infant programme is on oral language and it is important to listen to your child as he relates the day’s news, and repeats rhymes and songs.

Senior Infants: Preparation of reading, a small amount of Maths, and there may be some writing.

First Class: Reading, a small amount of Maths, some spellings and there may be some writing.

Second to Sixth Class:

  1. Reading/Spelling
  2. Maths: Sums as a revision of day’s work; Tables to be learned.
  3. A small amount of writing may be given as a means of revising day’s work.


It is primarily in the home that the habit of reading is fostered.  Encourage your child to join the library and help him to appreciate that reading can be fun and not a chore which is confined to school or homework.  Encourage reading in free time and during holidays.

For a reading programme to be successful, it will require the encouragement and active co-operation of parents.  Specifically, parents are asked to listen to the child read on a nightly basis.  Use the method which has been outlined above.  Don’t panic about the child’s reading or cause him to panic.  Be positive.  The road to good reading may not be smooth, but the child will get there in the end.


Addition / subtraction tables are taught in second class, while multiplication tables form a large part of the third class programme.


Spelling is taught formally from First Class onwards.  Spellings are taken from the graded spelling programme which is in use in the school.  The following system is used to teaching spelling:

Look at the word, Cover the word, Write the word, Check the word.


  • Make sure that children always write from memory.
  • Write down “asked for” words and remove them before they write.
  • Help them with their handwriting because handwriting influences spelling.
  • Watch to see if children are forming their letters correctly.
  • Encourage them to be careful.
  • Praise them for all attempts.


  • Let learning to spell become rote-learning.
  • Let them sound out words they want to spell.
  • Allow them to copy words letter by letter.
  • Spell out letter-by-letter “asked for ” words.
  • Allow them to continue writing their letters incorrectly.
  • Let them think that they are poor spellers.


The children are taught the basic steps of a joined script style.  While readiness is a factor, it is to be hoped that most pupils will be using a joined script by the end of First Class.

Group Teaching

Progress in all subjects varies from child to child and consequently your child may be grouped in his class with children of similar ability.  The child’s rate of progress rather than his rank in the class is the primary consideration.