I went to my eldest daughter’s curriculum night (she’s in 8th grade) tonight, and I heard a somewhat familiar refrain from each of her teachers: “I don’t give much homework.” Well, why? I don’t think 30 minutes to an hour is too much for an 8th grader, and I want her to have study skills for high school and college. I realize her school is on a block schedule; therefore, her classes probably get a lot done at school. I still think it’s odd that they give so little homework. I realize some people believe homework interferes with family time, but I think students need to learn how to juggle all parts of their life. If they have homework, they need to set aside time to do it when it doesn’t conflict with family time. For instance, I used to do my homework as soon as I came home from school. If I recall, I almost always had about 30 minutes to an hour of homework in middle school.
Also, my daughter’s school has a policy whereby teachers are required to give incompletes if students have missing work. Students must do the assignment and get some credit for it, no matter when it’s done. Frankly, I think this is really unwise. What kind of responsibility is the school teaching its students regarding turning work in on time? My daughter turned in a Spanish assignment well over a week late last year, and her teacher gave her a 100. I talked with her and told her I didn’t think it was fair; plenty of students turned in the assignment on time, but it made no difference. She got extra time and got the same grade!
I don’t give homework every night, but my students do a fair amount of homework in preparation for class — mostly reading homework. And I give quizzes to hold them accountable for it, too. They have 20 vocabulary words every two weeks and have to complete vocabulary cards. Of course, this wasn’t the case when I taught at a rural school — most of my students spent an hour or more on the bus in the afternoon, and they wouldn’t have done the work anyway. We were on a block schedule, so I wound up assigning a lot of classwork to break up the long periods. But my daughter is not in a rural, underperforming school. She needs academic challenge.
What do you do about homework? What factors do you have to think about?
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