After a lengthy day of sitting at a desk and listening to their teacher’s instructions, your child comes home from school. They drop their heavy schoolbag bursting with books and announce, “I have so much homework!” Right then you know you’re in for a long evening of reading, writing, and arithmetic.
I do not consider myself an expert on this topic, but students should not be bringing an exorbitant amount of work to do at home. I believe that homework is supposed to be a chance for children to practice and reinforce what they learned earlier in school that day. The next day, that homework is then supposed to provide a quick assessment for understanding, and an opportunity for the teacher to answer any questions the students may have encountered during the assignment, through a mini-lesson.
I’ve been through the ‘crazy nights’ of homework where the teacher assigned 20 math problems and my child didn’t know how to do one, let alone all 20. Two or three problems would have been sufficient practice. I’ve also helped my child complete assignments, a.k.a. busywork, that had nothing to do with what they were learning in school at the time. What a waste of time! I think some teachers and parents hold to the archaic belief, that an abundant amount of homework leads to better learning.
Although I assigned homework to my Kindergarten class, I questioned it’s validity. After being in school all day should a five-year old really have to sit down for more written work? There were times when I didn’t want to assign it, but school administration required it. Some parents would complain to the office when a teacher didn’t send work home for the night. When I assigned homework to my class, I did my best to keep it simple for them and differentiate the homework to the students’ ability levels. I wasn’t always able to accomplish this goal due to time constraints and resources. Also, preparing homework this way can be very difficult to plan and keep track of.
For example, if I had a student who had poor fine motor skills and couldn’t identify the letter of the week, I would give them a worksheet that required them to color the uppercase and lowercase letters different colors. Whereas another child, whose skill set was more advanced, would receive a worksheet that required more writing and initial sound practice. I tried to make the homework brief and meaningful.
Like the subject of education itself, homework can be a controversial topic. For further information on the topic please view the link below. It has a list of resources that are perfect for an informed discussion between teachers, parents, and administrators.