12 Aug

HOMEWORK! I wrote an earlier blog about homework. Since that time, more and more public school and homeschool teachers have weighed in on the subject, in a big way. Many teachers want to dump homework entirely. They cite research saying it is of no value.

I really like the Edutopia article about relevant research regarding homework.

In a teacher Twitter chat last night I recognized there is often no uniformity, school to school, district to district, class to class. Especially through social media, teachers who like homework have very creative ways to encourage parental participation in the learning process. “Parents Are Our Partners.”

If a district has a homework policy, it’s pretty clear cut what’s expected and a time frame. If there is no concrete policy, whatever goes.

Personally, I believe in homework, as long as it is relevant, meaningful, short and doable by the student alone or with appropriate parent help. No student should ever miss recess because homework was not done.

Here are seven reasons why I believe in homework:

  1. It reviews the day’s new learning.
  2. Some level of repetition reinforces what was taught.
  3. It provides a necessary structure after school.
  4. Homework offers a time to reflect and practice new skills.
  5. Quality homework offers extension projects which are worthwhile.
  6. Homework offers parents an opportunity to see what’s being studied.
  7. Reading as a family is considered homework in a perfect way.

That being said, homework should not take all night to do. It should be easy enough a student is not in tears, night after night with parents lamenting loss of quality family time, and frustrated or angry at teachers or the school.

If students do not have a technology-based home, assignments which are media heavy are useless and unfair.

There should be no homework in Kindergarten, or minimal, and it must be developmentally appropriate.

As a nana and parent of four, I recall night after night of our daughter’s tears over the math homework. Since she didn’t understand it at school, she certainly didn’t want to do it at home.

Common Core (CC) takes homework to a new level. Some of the STEM experiments and activities lend themselves well to at-home activities. Project-Based Learning (PBL) also makes sense to me, as families can share quality time.

BUT, in this crazy fast-paced world, I truly believe kiddos need time to decompress after school studies. Any homework in the lower grades MUST avoid worksheets, scrambled words, word searches, etc. It has to be solid review and an extension of what was learned that day. AND brief!

CNN Schools for Thought blog has a great article about the homework debate. It’s interesting to read both sides of the issue. Take a look.

Homework standards endorsed by the NEA (Natl. Education Assoc.) and National PTA suggest: no homework for Kindergarten. Then,

  • 10 minute rule per grade level.
  • 10 min. for first grade
  • 20 min. 2nd grade
  • 120 min. for seniors

I’ve been reading that homework is probably at least three times as much as the suggested standards, but I really have no clue if that’s true. In fact, I am weighing the homework debate very carefully. With school bells ringing, this is one debate we all better chime in on. Our home life and seamless extension with schools depend on it.

I’d love to hear from you about this issue.


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