For the home, school or bus;Reviews

25th June 1999 at 01:00
LONGMAN HOMEWORK FILES (photocopies). English 1 (ages 7-9). By Jennifer Dunn, Michael Tonge and Louise Alleyne. Maths 1 (ages 7-9). By Paul Broadbent. Longman. pound;45 each.

Enjoy the ride, says Paul Noble

Several hundred photocopiable exercises are contained in these two attractive A4 ring binders, and I am sure that teachers will jump at the opportunity to use them. To illustrate my point, I can record that the first teacher in my school to have sight of them, jumped.

The only difference I can see between homework and normal work is the absence of a teacher to oversee the worker. It is regrettable, therefore, that this "independent study" has to be called "homework" at all, because although it might be done at home, it could equally be tackled in school, the launderette, or on a number 37 bus. Children do need to learn to cope with independent study and to be given opportunities to do so, but they do not need, necessarily, to do work at home. For some families with children of primary age (there are often babies around too) the burden of homework is too much.

These files are of high enough quality to warrant extensive use in the classroom. Putting together such a collection of exercises cannot be too taxing, but it has been well done with plenty of variety and differentiated work. If there are faults, they stem from the concept rather than the execution. It is not carping to observe that work with money, or work that involves measuring jugs and water, should derive from hands-on experience when you are seven-years-old. Putting these limitations aside, here is a quality black-and-white correspondence course for seven-to-nine-year-olds. Are you jumping?

Paul Noble is head of St Andrew's C E primary school, Blunsdon, Wilts

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