Friday, December 31, 2010


We all know what it is, work assigned to be done at home. But what is the purpose? That varies per teacher. Some teachers assign homework because it is the thing to do but never bother to check it. Some may walk around the classroom and mark in their books whether it was completed or not, thus giving the student a grade. Others collect it, check for accuracy, and then provide the student a grade based on correctness.

However, there is little to no research that supports homework as a way to improve academic achievement. In fact, there is research that shows that too much time spent on homework is actually detrimental to learning!

So what is the answer? Do you think your child should have homework? And if so, how much? What should be the purpose of that homework? How should it be graded?

I want to know your feelings about homework as we prepare to launch our own school based on a model of reinforcing and correcting work immediately in the classroom, rather than sending home homework.

We value your feedback! Please share your opinions and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 gift card from Dave and Buster's! This contest is now closed.


  1. Homework seems to take up much of my child's time after school. I remember that when I was a kid, I ran around outside and played after school. Now it seems like there is so much homework my child doesn't get to play. I am not sure what the purpose of it is, but it really makes for battles at home about getting it done.

  2. As a graduate of an education program, I have mixed feelings on homework. As with any skill, learning and studying takes practice. I couldn't expect to become a guitar virtuoso in a year if I only practiced an hour a week; concurrently, students who are being correctly engaged in school should not expect to become proficient in a subject without practice.

    Let me emphasize "correctly engaged," though, because this gets to the root of one of the main problems I have with homework. Most of the homework students have is the same across the entire class and is usually in the form of a worksheet or a textbook page. It's accepted that all students learn differently from each other, so why should we expect that the same "practice" is going to benefit each student equally?

    When I was student teaching, my students had English homework every night. Whether they were reading for 30 minutes, researching mythology on the internet, finding examples of propaganda in the TV programs they watched, or completing a worksheet, all of them were expected to do SOMETHING that engaged their minds in an independent way.

    However, I am of the mind that there should be a certain amount of enjoyment in learning, and overloading students with hours of homework for one subject is a great way to get them to burn out on your subject. If my students are assigned to read for 30 minutes a night and they struggle through it, that's fine--learning is sometimes work, and it's my job as an educator to support them as they work. If they are assigned to read for 30 minutes and they get so into the story that they read for an hour, then I've done my job right.

  3. I don't actually have children, however, given that American students seem to be failing academically at an alarming rate. I can't help but wonder how much responsibility to educate children is falling back onto the parents? There are so many cutbacks in schools, most of which (Public) are already overcrowded and understaffed, that it's no wonder teachers don't have the time or ability to work with students individually or ensure that their homework is completed, let alone whether or not they fully understand the material. I read that more and more parents are willing to drive their kids to school and forgo the school bus because of a variety of safety concerns. Yet, they won't are aren't able to utilize the same care or concern regarding their children learning. That's not to say that parent's don't care, I believe they care greatly, but aren't capable of shouldering the burden of educating their children and expect, reasonably so, that the school system is/should be doing what we pay for. Unfortunately, it does seem like kids have a ridiculous amount of homework, but I'm not sure where/how that can be remedied without more funding for schools.

  4. I believe that homework should be work that you didn't finish in school. If you finish all of your work in school, you won't have homework.

  5. Some kids need homework in order to reinforce what they learn in school, others don't. I think that just assigning a set amount of homework per class on a daily basis cheapens the value of the homework. Most work can and should be done in class. If a student demonstrates proficiency on a test, they should be given due credit for having learned that knowledge, even if they didn't do the homework.

    If necessary, homework should be meaningful if it is assigned, and it should not over burden the student to the point of creating burnout. There should be a few classes where it takes outside work, such as research papers or projects, to complete, but it should not be at the expense of other valuable life experiences.

    Our kids do not learn in a "one size fits all" mentality. They should be given different ways to demonstrate proficiency.

    In short, I believe that our education system has become a machine that demands proficiency from day one to the last day, and sets kids up for failure if they can't complete all the tasks they are given. Homework has become a burden that just creates stress and unrealistic expectations, instead of a valuable reinforcement when used wisely.

  6. I am primarily in agreement with megan. Homework has a place to prepare for and practice the concepts taught in the classroom. For example, classroom time can be more valuable if the students have read something about the topic to be covered. Students don't need a teacher to read to them or to direct them to "read along". The teacher's value is in dissecting and reinforcing ideas covered in the reading. And I just don't know how certain ideas can be learned without practicing them regularly. Again, students reach a point where they don't need a teacher to look over their shoulders as they write an essay, you need the teacher to help you when questions arise or provide constructive criticism. This is more akin to the "adult" world, where you are expected to complete your tasks with guidance but not constant supervision.

    Yet I also believe that homework assignments should recognize that a student's life outside of school also has value. As soon as developmentally appropriate, students should have advance knowledge of what homework will be due at least a week out. That way if a student has a family celebration or obligation on Tuesday evening, he or she can get Wednesday's homework out of the way in advance. Teachers should not expect that every student every day will have the opportunity or even the temperament to go straight home and start doing homework until it is done.