Monday, November 19, 2012


Rethinking Homework

Homework…generations of parents and children have loved to hate it. The debate over homework is an old one, with attitudes shifting over the years.  My opinion has shifted over the years as well.  When I went to school it was expected that you would have homework every night.  Nobody questioned it.  As it turns out most of that homework was simply busy work.  I sure wish I could have that time back.  

As a teacher, I rarely gave homework outside of preparing for an exam or finishing a project.  I always made an effort to give the students adequate time to work on assessments in class.  All subjects are unique and require varying levels of homework. Homework can help students review and reinforce skills, but it cannot take the place of quality classroom instruction.  I do believe homework has its time and place, but it clearly must have value.

It’s very important for educators to understand the complexity and changing values of today’s families.  Gone are the days when children received the same messages about right in wrong from school, church, and at home.  Vatterott (2009, p.33) states, “the diversity of family values, family priorities, and individual differences in students renders the one-size-fits-all homework plan virtually useless.”  It is not our place to judge families based on our values. We need to be careful that they are not punishing children that have extenuating circumstances beyond their control.  However, there needs to be a balance where we are still challenging all students. 

There has to be cooperation among the teachers to make sure students aren't inundated with homework. There also has to be communication between teachers, administration and parents. We need to develop relationships with students that are built on trust, respect, and mutual understanding.  Through these relationships we can learn more about our students and become more flexible with expectations and homework. 

1 comment:

  1. Homework and differentiation should go hand in hand. However, to differentiate instruction and homework takes experience and a willingness to let go of a little bit of power. Student choice is very important, of course with a few restraints. This type of teaching takes time to develop, and is very difficult to master.