A few weeks ago, Chris Reinhold asked me if I had read Cathy Vatterott's book Rethinking Homework. She was very excited about the book and said it had really made her reevaluate some of her beliefs. She was right. The book is very thought provoking. So, I thought as we approach a new school year, with hopefully new vigor and positive expectations, that a discussion about homework and how we feel about it could be worthwhile and informative. I would like to hear how you feel about homework assignments. Do you give homework daily, weekly, not on weekends- what is your goal or objective? Is it for remediation, to move a lesson along, to teach responsibility? Do you feel parents are supportive? How many of your students do homework on a consistent basis? Do you correct homework? Do you give corrective feedback and integrate it into the lesson? Do you follow the "10 minute" rule per grade level?

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I think that with the increasing change in family structure and the economy, that the home lives are not what they used to be. Homework was once seen as a positive way to reinforce skills, teach responsibility, and inform parents. All of which were true when I was a student. However, homework is time consuming. As a parent of school age children myself ( and as an educator) I see both sides of the fence. I am tired of arguing over how to do the homework, what to write, or trying to show my son the easier way to do something. After a long days work, it is quite overwhelming!

Having said that, I feel that SMALL amounts of homework that we are SURE is simply review is good. This year my purpose will be very simple.... review, quick... easy.....not cumbersome for students or Parents. Some parents like lots of homework, others don't. I do want to teach some responsibility... but after reading this book.... I question if that is my job once they leave the classroom??? Wasn't it ours before???? It seems that the lines of responsibility get blurred.
Good Morning Everyone - During a workshop with Alan November the thought of making homework classwork and classwork homework was discussed. One 4th grade teacher state that she has been doing this for years with much success. The idea comes from the fact that if homework is done incorrectly the feedback time to students is too slow.
I have concerns about incomplete seatwork assigned as homework. The child who doesn't complete thier seatwork for whatever reason, sometimes then has the arduous task of needing to complete not only that incomplete class work but homework, as well. The result is incomplete work in both areas, frustrated parents and teachers. In addition, to the child falling further behind. Chris makes excellent points in her argument that the demands of daily living can be too overwhelming for students and parents alike. Homework that needs help is not good homework. The student should be able to review, explore, investigate, write on thier own. The research on homework suggests that homework is ineffective, especially for struggling students. However, even the experts are reluctant to abandon homework. I think we need to rethink about the kinds of homework we are giving.
Hi All... cool discussion.

Practicing something wrong is not a really good practice and we see that often with homework.

Homework needs to be almost perfect practice or why bother......

My 2 cents..... it should only be used to practice skills that are at mastery level.... other wise we are
actually locking in something that will need to be un-learned.....

be well... mike
Hi All -
Recently a few of us went to a workshop and the presenter talked about his conversations with brain researchers regarding homework. Brain research has demonstrated that if a child goes home and completes homework incorrectly and does not receive feedback immediately the brain learns the wrong information. This makes it even more difficult for them to learn the correct information. Therefore, I believe that we should be sending students home with work that allows them to practice/rehearse information that is correct. I think Susan is right we have to reevaluate what kinds of homework we are giving.
Hi All-
First, thanks to Susan for reading this book with me! The research is astounding and the arguments in the book show all sides of the box.

So- what is the next step? It appears we all agree about what homework SHOULD BE.... how do we get there effectively? How do we get ALL teachers on board? How do we convey this to parents that BEG for more challenging tasks?
Interesting topic!

When I taught resource room in 7th and 8th grade, I basically gave up on assigning homework because it was so rarely completed. To give homework which the students could complete themselves -- and complete accurately -- felt like a lot of busy work. The class time spent following up on homework collection and feedback seemed like an ineffective use of class time.

I also share the concern about students practicing skills incorrectly. In primary, though, some students actually seem to want homework! My goal is to give homework which they can complete independently, although I admittedly like when parents sit with their children and work on it with them. Unfortunately, the lack of parent involvement in some families often makes homework completion another academic area at which some students experience frustration and/or failure.

As a parent, I appreciate homework. It makes me aware of what Ben is doing in school, and I definitely feel more connected to his education. Since I rarely set foot in Ben's school, helping with or even just checking on his homework allows me to be involved. Sometimes it can be laborious, but I would prefer he have it than not.

While we cannot force parents to be actively involved in their child's schooling, homework does force a child to share what he's doing in school with his family. It is a way to urge parents to step up. How many parents would be aware of their child's academic levels otherwise?

Another concern I have is that students who aren't given homework will have a very difficult time with higher education. Even for those students who can work independently in school, most college work is done outside of the classroom. I'm not sure if students lacking experiencing in finding the appropriate time and place to study beyond the academic school day and building would be able to effectively manage their own learning.

I guess I should read the book! (Uh-oh, more homework for ME.)
A friend came to me very upset with his son's new teacher just last week (from a private school in PA). On the first day of school his 5th grade son was given 20 pages of Social Studies to read, plus a written assignment that was due the next day. His son was struggling to complete (due to understanding the materal) and asked his father for help. Much to his dismay, he did not know the answers to the questions either and therefore had to read the 20 pages before supporting his son. His question to me (like most parents), 'who's homework is this, mine or my son's?' I often hear parents complain about the amount of homework sent home. My feelings on homework are this...homework should not be a punishment for children or parents (I have spent many nights at my house feeling this way!) or teachers for that matter. The 2 main reasons I give (or not give) homework is 1) to give parents an opportunity to see what their child is learning at school and 2) give the kids an opportunity to master the skills they have learned.



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