HomeworkI 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?

Image credit: squarepants2004j

[tags]homework, education[/tags]

7 thoughts on “Homework”

  1. I tend to assign homework over a period of time, rather than daily assignments, and they tend to be things that I want the kids to do but don't want to spend class time on it. We're not on a block schedule as a rule, so time is precious, though when I did teach a double-block literacy class, I rarely assigned homework.

    Some of things I think about:

    1. Many of my students have tremendous responsibilities already. Some of them work night jobs and struggle to make it to school on time the next day, and stay awake.

    2. We live in a less regimented society, one in which work is more likely to be structured by one's pace rather than the lunch whistle. So, in terms of "late" work, I tend to be flexible. As long as they get it done within a reasonable amount of time, I don't care much. Then again, it might have to do with the nature of work that I assign… AP test prep, etc is all conducive to working at one's own pace.

  2. I am only a second year teacher and I really struggle with homework. Many of the teachers I work with refuse to give homework. I plan on giving homework this year. The kids need the extra time building their writing skills. They just don't seem to realize writing takes time.

    My problem is that they just don't do it. This year I have a no late work policy. I figure if they really want to pass, they will catch on and do the homework. I know it seems harsh, but they need to do the work when it is assigned. Our school needs the skills to be learned for the state test.


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