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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

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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Barry Germinara's picture

Hello Kim and Walden group,

I teach 6th grade social studies, and personally I hesitate to assign more than two days of formal homework. I usually assign biographies and or longer reading passages on a Monday and look for feedback on Thursday through formal written assignments or even a pop quiz. The only other homework I give is test and quiz review for that weeks quiz. I expect a lot of participation from my classes, and they know this so unless they are slacking in class participation I keep homework light. I do occasionally hit them with a heavier load of work, but I would rather have them focused in class with me to guide them than to create busy work to do at home. Just like in classes that we have all been in, busy work is something that students can identify immediately and I stay as far away as possible from that type of assignment.


Ameina's picture

Hi Kim and Barry

I recently had the problem of homework with my son's grade5 teacher. He gave the class 52 sums to complete for the next day then turned around and gave them 55 additional sums when they brought in the previous one for the following day. How much home-work is too much?

Andrea R.'s picture
Andrea R.

I am of the opinion that 107 sums in two days is a monuental undertaking for the student. However, I think that perhaps the teacher was a bit overzealous. How may sums do they need to practice before he is certain they have grasped the concept? In addition, he is giving himself a mountain of work to mark all those sums. We need to put ourselves in the parent's place sometimes. If his child came home with that, I am sure he would have been there at the crack of dawn the next day!

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