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Wednesday 9 October 2013

Homework or not?

Hi friends!  I posted a question on my Facebook page the other day asking whether teachers though homework was a good thing or not.  The teachers that left comments all indicted that they DID NOT like homework.  My children currently go to a school where homework is not formally given, the are encouraged to do home reading and to finish any tasks that were not finished at school, sometimes I like this, sometimes not.  My children seem to finish everything at school, so homework is usually reading and piano practice for my daughter (she loves it so not really a chore for her)
I think this is a topic that is hotly debated by both parents and teachers so I thought I would open it up here for discussion.
As a teacher I dislike assigning homework, copying, marking it and following up on those that didn't do it and were unlikely to ever do it for whatever reason.  As a parent I dislike the time it cuts into my family time, I am not of a worksheet mentality I would rather have my kids doing hands on as much as they can.

As a parent I like to read with my child, I like to see what they are doing in the classroom and I like to see where they need help so that I can be part of their schooling without having the opportunity to be in their classroom.  At the moment I don't think I am getting a complete picture of that on a weekly basis.

So you can see why I sometimes like it, sometimes not.  There have been many articles and studies done on whether we need homework or how homework is outdated and needs to be more reflective of our modern lifestyle as indicated in this article.

Over the last couple of years I would like to think that in my classroom I have slowly been modifying my homework to reflect the modern lifestyle will all have.  I have given my students a rubric that allows them to make choices about the activities they complete and they amount that they do.  My homework also includes family activities so that any extra curricula activities are part of their "home"work.  The student would have to complete the shaded activities and then choose any of the others that they would like to.  I just noticed that record the spelling strategies you used should be shaded.

Here is a quick sample of  one week.  Please note this is not current as I am subbing at the moment.

After I had written this post I noticed a fabulous blogger I follow Amanda at Teaching Maddeness  has just done a blog post on how she sets up her homework which has another spin on homework, so why not head over and check it out.  If you have a way that motivates your students or parents to engage in homework please feel free to leave a comment


  1. I send homework out every Friday in a red folder and have students turn homework in on Friday as well. This allows students to do homework on the weekends.

    I fought with the idea of homework for a long time! I know that reading is important, so my kids keep a reading log... but what about math? My teammates and I decided to keep a math log, similar to the reading log. Kids are encouraged to practice math facts and math patterns 3 days a week. In my newsletter, I tell parents what we're learning and how they can practice it at home without a worksheet. Students write how they studied math down and I give it a simple check mark.

    This has made "grading" homework so much simpler! Plus, kids get to have freedom while at home.

    It's not perfect, but it works out well right now!

    Love your blog... I'm your newest follower!! :-)

    Seconds at the Beach

    1. Hi Elizabeth, thanks for stopping by my blog! I love that you include how to practice math without a worksheet, this is something I have tried to convince parents of with little success. Would love to see how you set it out.


    2. I'll have to blog about it sometime soon!

      Seconds at the Beach

  2. Hi Tania!
    I agree, that setting and marking homework that may or may not get done is a time consuming task and not necessarily helpful. However, with my own daughter, I had been asking her teacher for her spelling words to help her practice them at home. I recently purchased a Spellodrome account instead.
    At my children's school (The same that I teach at!) home work consists of Home Readers (a leveled text) and they have Mathletics accounts which we encourage to use.

    It is nice to know what's happening in your child's school and yes, homework can help show what is happening in the class.

  3. I understand where you are with homework. My son's school gives very little homework, and the kids have plenty of time to be kids. The teachers there read a book called The Homework Myth that helped them make that decision. He only has to read, do some spelling, and study for tests. Every once in a while he has a few math problems, probably just to show us what they are doing.

    On the other hand, our school gives what I consider way too much homework, which many kids do not finish or do. They are always in trouble for it, which I really don't like too much. Kids need time to be kids, and my son is lucky!

    I have also noticed that without the homework, the kids in my son's school actually score higher on tests and have higher self esteem and better social skills. It says a lot for having homework or not!

    Reading Toward the Stars

    1. I agree that I am enjoying the fact that my kids have more time to play and do things that they enjoy....I also am enjoying the fact that my son and I don't end the day arguing about how much homework he has to complete. I find it interesting that there is so much disparity between schools as far as homework goes.

  4. I strongly disagree with Homework other than reading. As a parent I saw little value in what my kids brought home to do each week. How many adults spend a day at work and then think, 'Gee I haven't had enough, think I'll take home some more to do.' (with the exception of us dedicated teachers ...naturally) Let them play, cook, talk to their families and relax.

    I also think that a struggling student has spent all day struggling and now we add more to do at home? Few parents can offer the assistance they really need to suceed at the tasks. Some even in an effort to help undo the work we are doing at school. Confusing.

    How many parents complete their kids homework for them...another aspect to consider... whose work are we actually marking.

    Do it at school, leave it at school and Love learning I say.
    Julie :)
    Mrs Stowe's Kinder Cottage

    1. I love that you point out that teachers do "homework" as well...we are suckers for punishment I think :) I agree that it is particularly difficult for those kiddos that struggle, my son has been one of those in the past and we struggled daily with homework, he is a much happier kid at home and school now.