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The Great Homework Debate

The Great Homework Debate

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Hello Walden Group! I have done a lot of reading and a lot of talking to other teachers as well as parents about homework - how much to give, what to assign, packets vs. daily work, how much is too much or too little, etc. I'd love to hear back from fellow educators about what they do for homework. For example, I teach second-grade and I send home a packet that is differentiated for each student. It boils down to basically one page of math, one page of reading comprehension, and one spelling/word study per day plus 15 minutes of reading. It is sent home on Monday and is due Friday. I don't send home a lot of writing because it seems to be a flashpoint for battles between student and parent more than the other subjects. Does that sound appropriate, too much/too little, or should I modify it in some way? I am curious to hear from everyone about what they do for this, as homework tends to be pretty controversial in a lot of districts and among teachers/grade levels.

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Tim Ward's picture

I find it vital that students do some homework. I teach history, and it would be impossible to have students get all information from 45 min. a day. If they do not read at home, then they will not do well on assignments. I give very little homework which is graded on a right or wrong basis, but much more that is graded upon completness or just reading.

JenniferBrayard's picture
4th grade teacher

When I taught first grade we did one math page and one reading page, plus 30 minutes of reading every night. Your second grade homework sound appropriate. I just want to know how you do seperate packets for each child and stay on top of that? How different is each packet? How long does this take you?

Becca's picture

Hi All,

In my opinion homework should take no longer than an hour to complete. I teach fourth grade, and my students are required to complete 3o minutes of reading along with a written summary of what they read, and four math problems that are a review of what we have learned thus far. Additional homework varies, but shouldn't take more than ten minutes. During bus call, is what I call "homework help". During this time students are working on the homework, and coming to me with any questions they may have. I do not believe in busy work or assigning repetitive problems, because I know my students will be come bored, as would I.

Jason Scavalla's picture

I am parent of 2 boys ages 5 and 7. My oldest son is in 1st grade and he gets homework Monday-Thursday. In the beginning of the year he would get a work sheet and have to read 10 minutes each day. He now has to 15 minutes a day, work sheet, spelling words and new vocabulary word every Tuesday. He spends about 30 minutes a day on homework. It seems to be the right amout of time for him to spend on homework. I believe it depends on the student. This works for my son, but I know other students who stuggle with less homework.

Nick's picture

I teach 7th grade math and assign one page front and back on monday that is due friday. I try to assign little homework as I find alot of my students have busy extra curricular schedules and often forget to do homework if I have assigned a big load.

Miranda's picture

I teach 2nd grade and I give a homework packet each Monday due that Friday. I feel that it helps with those busy parents (aren't we all) who have after-school activities. Some parents love and appreciate it...others hate it. But it teaches them responsibility and to plan. You will never please everyone but I find I get a good rate of return and I offer a sticker if received on time. Every five stickers earns a pencil or pencil grip. Nothing special but they love it anyway!

Jenna A.'s picture

I teach 3rd grade in Ohio. As a third grade team, we assign the same homework most nights for all students. It involves a math fact page and math practice page. My district has adopted a scripted math program that provides the assignments. Students are also asked to complete a reading log Monday-Thursday nights. Most of the third grade teachers do not assign homework on the weekends. We have been asked not to grade homework. It is tracked daily by a sticker chart and included in a study habits grade but there are not any consequences for not turning it in. My students are becoming aware of this and I am seeing less and less homework each week. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can make homework a priority for my families each night while still following the no grading decision

opal williams's picture


We talk a lot about homework at the beginning of each school year. I've found that some parents like a lot of homework and those that have students involved in extra curricular activities would prefer a little less homework. I am a third grade teacher and my entire grade level uses a homework packet. I personally prefer to assign homework daily. I like homework to be a reflection of the day's standards. I check homework daily for completion not right/wrong. I choose certain assignments to use as the next day's review. I still struggle with 100% return of homework. I've tried silent lunch and no recess. When I use homework in the form of review and divide my class up into teams for a competition and rewards, I notice the next day a lot more students turn in their homework. For my students, positive reinforcement works better than the negative reinforcement when it comes to homework behaviors.

Gary Page's picture

Hello Kim,

I read your blog, and based on my experience, I've found that it really depends on the grade level that you're teaching, and (of course) the level of which you as a teacher expect your students to achieve. After reading about how you provide homework to your students, it is my view that obviously you expect your kids to perform on a high level. Personally I think you are doing a fantastic job at the way that you are assigning homework. I do not think at all that it is too much. It is very necessary to keep our kids 'educationally active' at home as well as at school. Providing enough homework is essential for a more attentive mind and attention span on the next day(s) of instruction. Keep up the Good work!!

Gary Page
EDUC 6610
-Walden Univ.

Michelle McIntyre's picture

I have prepared a daily homework sheet. It is not much and is very limited in activites. It is usually spelling and math practice and reading for 30 mins everynight. Every so often I put in a writing prompt and some sentence fixtures. It takes the children no more than 20 mins to do the activities and then the 30 mins of reading. Since I have been doing this I have gotten a great deal more homwork in, better reading fluency, and comprehension.

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