April 8, 2007 at 6:15 pm | Posted in education, elementary, homework, schools, teachers, third grade | Leave a comment

It has always been my contention that homework for the younger students is a silly invention created by teachers to make parents feel better.    I’m a little bit wrong, but since the research is not conclusive yet, I can maintain my contention with ease!

Check out the Review of Studies on Homework by Caroline Sharp.  The research on the benefit of homework at the primary level is inconsistent!  And “Time spent on homework explains only a small amount of the variance in pupils’ achievement scores, even at secondary level.”

My favorite quote is this: “The limited research into pupils’ preferences indicates that pupils dislike being set routine homework tasks (such as finishing off classwork) which do not contribute to their learning. They prefer interesting, challenging and varied tasks that are clearly defined and have adequate deadlines.”

Homework Policy 

What does this mean for my homework policy?  Well, I send home the daily reading/writing homework (see previous post) to make the parents feel better.  I know my hard-working students read for 20 minutes or more and then write and my non-hard-working students just write something down.  But, the parents feel better.  I don’t stress about whether or not they do their homework because my kids have enough to deal with without having their teacher go on a tear about some questionable benefit of homework.  I’m also aware that some of my kids don’t even have a bed to sleep on, never mind a set, comfortable environment to do homework (laughable!) as per the research so I really don’t care if they finish their homework!

What I do have to be mindful of now is setting interesting projects as homework.  Perhaps a weekly project that the students can do with the resources they have and that correlates with our learning in the classroom.   That would certainly take more work on my part, but I imagine that it would be more engaging, interesting, and educational than say, the daily homework practice.


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