Facebook
Edutopia on Facebook
Twitter
Edutopia on Twitter
Google+
Edutopia on Google+
Pinterest
Edutopia on Pinterest Follow Me on Pinterest
WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

The Great Homework Debate

The Great Homework Debate

More Related Discussions
113 Replies 1970 Views

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.

Comments (113 Replies)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Lauren D's picture

I teach third grade. We give 20 minutes of reading per night and a math review of about 5 questions that is given on Monday and due on Friday. As a school, we decided that we wanted to focus on reading this year so each grade level requires nightly reading as homework. I have heard that teachers should give 10 minutes of homework per grade (1st grade=10 minutes, 2nd grade=20 minutes, etc). I personally do not grade the homework I send home (if I send home anything besides reading) because I feel like I will be grading the parents, not the student.

Trish's picture

I am a first grade teacher and totally agree with this approach (10 minutes of homework for first grade, 20 minutes of homework for second grade, etc.). Typically, my students need to read independently, read with someone or be read to for 10 minutes five out of seven days per week. I also assign an additional 5 - 10 minute activity (reading or math) a couple of days per week. So, it pretty much averages out to about 10 minutes per day of homework. To me, this is enough for a first grader.

Tiffany Z's picture

I agree with what you said about making homework meaningful. I work in a middle school also and although we do usually assign homework daily, we don't assign much. We try to assign problems that are either practicing a specific skill we learned in class, or that enrich the lesson in some way. Most teachers assign 10 or fewer problems each night. However, I do think that practice is important in math, so I do think that kids need some homework each night.

chuisjen's picture
chuisjen
First Grade Teacher, Michigan

Kim, I admire that you differentiate your homework for each student.
I give two homework assignments each week. Monday is spelling and Wednesday is math. Students have two days to complete each assignment.

Hanna's picture

I think that 20 minutes of reading and 15-20 minutes of other reading homework is a good amount for the 4th and 5th grade students that I teach. They should also be completing 20-30 minutes of math each night too. In the end, the kids would be spending about an hour on homework each night which I believe is reasonable and manageable.
I know that as they get older, homework only gets tougher and they will have to spend more time completing it. Why not get them ready step by step?

Lara's picture

As a teacher and a parent, I like the Monday Packet. As a teacher, I rarely have late homework because the whole packet is due on Friday. This also eliminates me using important instruction time each day to collecting and checking off homework since I only do it on Fridays. I also reward my students. When they return five weeks worth of homework on time, they get to choose something out of the treasure box. Usually, a pencil, eraser, etc. As a parent, I like the packet, because it allows us the chance to manage our own homework time. My three children have extra activities after school, so we can plan early in the week, how and when we will do the work in the packet.

Lara's picture

As a parent and a teacher, I like the Monday Packet. As a teacher, I like the packet because I rarely have late homework because my packets are due once a week -- Fridays. Having homework due only on Fridays also elimates valuable instructional time being used up each day to collect and record homework completion. I give a reward to students who hand in their homework on time five weeks in a row. They get to choose something from the treasure box (pencil, eraser, etc.). As a parent, I like the Monday Packet because it helps us to manage our homework time. My three children have extra after school activities. When we get our packet, we can plan early in the week how and when we will get the homework done based on the week's activities.

Sarah Nofo's picture
Sarah Nofo
2nd Grade Teacher

Kim,
I also teach second grade. I am in my 7th year of teaching and have tried numerous homework methods within my class. I like your idea of differentiating packets for your students. This is something I have not yet tried.

What I do is give the kids a reading bookmark on Monday. They are to read for 20 minutes a night and have it initialed by a parent. It is returned the following Monday. I also send home Math homework which relates to what we are studying in class (addition/subtraction fact sheets and various skill sheets; money, place value, etc.). I send home a monthly themed book report. Every now and then I might send home a Science or Social Studies assignment that pertains to the lesson in class.

As for the homework being returned, in my class it is hit or miss. I accept late work, however, work often goes unreturned. This is reflected on their report cards, but I dont' make the kids lose recess or anything. My parents are not as involved as yours, so it's hard for me to discipline a 7 or 8 year old when I know that parent support is a big part of the work getting completed and returned.

At the end of the month I have "Lunch Bunch." This is for kids who have returned all of their homework for the month. They get to come back to class and play games and do other fun activities of choice. Then they get to get their lunch from the cafeteria and bring it back to class to be eaten with the teacher. This is a very fun activity for the kids, they always love it. Sometimes I might even end it with a popsicle or other treat.

Brandy Frame's picture

Homework is an area I have struggled with over my past three years of teaching. Parents do not want to work with their child and claim to have no time for work at home. I have a 1 year old son and understand the importance of family time; however, I want my students to excel academically. I teach third grade and try to keep homework to 30 minutes each night. Most nights, I send a math(5-15 problems) and Language Arts sheet(5-10 questions), except on Fridays. The students are also required to read everynight and turn in a reading log each day to show what they read and how much. At the end of each school day, I give howmwork time. This allows the students to get all or most of the work done at school. My struggle comes in to play when parents complain because they have extracurriculur activites to get to. I do not think it is possible to please everyone, but I do believe balance is necessary and vital. If a child can do 5 math problems, they can do fifty. If they can't do five, they can't do fifty. I use that detail to plan homework accordingly. So far, I have had positive feedback.

Brandy Frame's picture

Homework is an area I have struggled with over my past three years of teaching. Parents do not want to work with their child and claim to have no time for work at home. I have a 1 year old son and understand the importance of family time; however, I want my students to excel academically. I teach third grade and try to keep homework to 30 minutes each night. Most nights, I send a math(5-15 problems) and Language Arts sheet(5-10 questions), except on Fridays. The students are also required to read everynight and turn in a reading log each day to show what they read and how much. At the end of each school day, I give howmwork time. This allows the students to get all or most of the work done at school. My struggle comes in to play when parents complain because they have extracurriculur activites to get to. I do not think it is possible to please everyone, but I do believe balance is necessary and vital. If a child can do 5 math problems, they can do fifty. If they can't do five, they can't do fifty. I use that detail to plan homework accordingly. So far, I have had positive feedback.

Sign in and Join the Discussion! Not a member? Register to join the discussion.