Why Not Talk About Homework?

The debate that never ends: homework. How much is too much? Is it even necessary? Is it effective? Does it cause you too much grief? Have you ever unintentionally used it as a punishment? Does your school or district have a policy that requires you to assign homework?

Of course, there are those teachers who set about their lesson planning with a homework goal in mind. For whatever reason, they are determined to give homework every night. That was not me. I assigned homework based less on a predetermined formula and more based upon class goals, project timelines, and other variables. Really, I didn’t like assigning homework. But I did it anyway.

Research by the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education has shown that homework has little impact on grades but plenty of impact on standardized test achievement. However, this was at the high school level. For elementary school students, there was no impact on grades or achievement. And you know what else? Finland and South Korea ranked #1 and #2 respectively on the 2012 Global Index of Cognitive Skills and Education Attainment. Finland’s schools feature short days and few homework assignments. South Korea’s school days are long and often followed by private tutoring sessions and rote learning drills. Obviously, other factors are at play here.

What’s your personal philosophy on homework? Do you strive for consistency from night to night and year to year? Share your thoughts on the never-ending homework debate!

4 thoughts on “Why Not Talk About Homework?

  1. I thinks its a complete waste of time and resources. Kids are in school six hours a day. They have taken away most of recess time, half the time its not done. I think kids need time to be kids after school and have plenty of time for academics at school. At the elementary level anyway the only homework should be reading a book.

  2. I have parents complain because I don’t assign much homework. I tell them their children work all day with me, they get to play at home. If, however, they play in school instead of doing their work, they can finish it at home instead of playing with friends. I do assign math skill review pages about once a week, but those take less than 15 minutes to complete. I think having a reading book or novel to read at home is enough. Childhood is precious, and I have enough to grade as it is.

  3. We are not required to assign much homework at our school. I think it is better to have kids read or play educational computer games after working hard all day at school. The only homework I usually assign is a little math practice just to see if the kids can do the work with me right there guiding them. Also, as teachers we have no idea if the kids are doing the homework or the parents are. If they need help from their parents, it was probably too soon to assign that work for them to do independently anyway.

  4. Liz (and Kirsten and Robin),

    Thanks for your input and your opinions. It really helps us here at The Mailbox and your colleagues across the nation understand what’s going on in real classrooms.

    – Todd

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *