It is summer holidays here in Japan which means the battle is on every day to get my children to do their homework. My memories of New Zealand schooling is that when school was out for the summer holidays, school was really out and the pencil cases were put away till the start of the new term. Therefore I have a huge problem with the amount of homework my daughter has been given this year (she is 9 years old...) and feel like telling the teachers to stuff off and let the children play in the holidays, but at the same time she goes to a Japanese school and therefore has to do what is expected of her. Tonight she finally finished her big project. I can remember doing projects at primary school and actually enjoying them. I can also remember that we were given a basic theme and a basic overview of what was expected of us. Title page, contents page, introduction, habitat etc. etc. My favorite project was one about a toe-biter. The theme was rock pools (if I remember correctly).
My daughter came home with a big piece of white paper, no expectations from the teacher and was told to research something during the holidays, present it on the big piece of paper and hand it in on September 1st. I personally think it is a little difficult for children of this age to do this without a bit more direction, so I helped her to do some basic brainstorming and worked through how she might present it etc. She decided to do it on our solar electricity system and the sun etc. and in the end it was all her own work and she is very proud of actually getting it done with some time to spare. Now she only has about 15 pages of maths homework, 20 pages of kanji homework, 3 pages of diary and a whole book of experiments etc. to do before we leave for Hong Kong on the 26th.... it could be a painful few days!