Monday, February 11, 2008

Homework a Homewrecker

Okay, here's one more article I had to share. This one is from the The Star. It is titled Homework a Homewrecker. Here's how it begins.
Homework is of little benefit to students from junior kindergarten to Grade 6, say the authors of a just-released Canadian study, who also found it is often the source of stress and burnout in children, as well the cause of conflict – even marital stress – for many families.
I spend a lot of time with my students discussing the merits of homework. I recommend a lot of games for math homework as a fun way to practice skills. What do you think? What are the advantages/disadvantages of homework?


  1. I honestly find homework as a waste, because the kids who really need the help don't end up doing it.

    Perhaps, if everyone would do it, it would be alright.

    If anything, I think schools should be longer with in class assignments where you have a professional help you.

    That's just my thoughts on it; I know I wouldn't want to stay at school longer or work longer if I was a teacher, though.

  2. I think some of the problems with homework completion include late release times (3:30pm here for elementary school) and after school activities that take precedence and delay the start on homework.

    I hear more complaints about homework from parents who are busy moving kids around after school to soccer, ballet, martial arts lessons, scouts etc. Homework is the last thing parents and kids want to deal with at the end of the day.

    Our personal experience has proven the value of homework in subjects like math which requires practice, practice, practice.

    In high school, the teacher has time to explain the concept, work a few problems and then the bell rings.

    I do not know how else my kids would practice the skills taught unless they practice them on their own.

    On the other hand, homework without purpose is pointless.
    Homework should be a diagnostic tool so students and the teacher can check for understanding and see what concepts need further explanation or clarification.

  3. If homework consisted of only independent reading and math games or one page of math practice, I would find it valuable. As it stands, though, I'm afraid that it does cause stress in our house; my third grader's mental energies and concentration are pretty well fatigued by the time he gets home (at 3:45 or so). I've also seen worksheets with unclear directions, out-of-date information, and grammatical mistakes ("Have the students went...?"). I've seen worksheets (corporately generated, not teacher-generated) that give multiple choice answers in which not one is viable from a grammatical point of view.

    From what I can see, everyone in my son's class does his or her homework. Some have an easier time with it than others. For some children, burning off their pent-up physical energy in a constructive way is a valuable use of time after school--at least at the elementary-school level.

  4. So far my son only has homework one night a week and it hasn't caused too much stress for anyone.

  5. Hey, Tricia. Here's a post I did about homework last year:

    I'm all for reading at home -- kids on their own and cuddled in with their parents -- and I know that sometimes you've just got to memorize your times tables. Also, the occasional cool exploratory project (making family trees and acting out Greek myths) has value.

    But by the time we pick up our kiddos, they've been in school for seven hours. They are tired. They are hungry. They are ready for fun, fresh air, food, exercise, cuddling, imagination and rest.

    In my humble opinion...

  6. Homework is freakin' killing me lately. My third grader is in one of those GT programs that I wouldn't have put her in, but believe me I didn't really have a choice. And the reason I wouldn't have put her in it is because now we have an hour of homework - at least- every night. And I say "we" because she has ADD issues and cannot stay focused on these assignments without me being there. I am now hating homework.