To Homework or Not To Homework

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

February 19, 2010


Categories: The Balancing Act

A few days ago, a teacher friend of mine on facebook rallied how she hates homework.  What ensued was a day conversation between about 4 where the merits of homework were discussed.

“Amy” hates homework…I hate doing my own, helping the girls with theirs, and grading my students’. Can’t we leave school at school and enjoy being home at night? bah.

That’s what my husband would say.

But, don’t administrators take a view like it makes us stronger or prepares us for the workforce (where you do your job and come home and often the job stays at the job and home stays at home).

well i dont really know what their rationale is for it, but i have parents actually complain when i dont assign homework…on a short week for example. its busy work, pure and simple. the kids are not engaged and i am sure would do just as well without it. i would rather have them home reading a good book than writing spelling words 5 times each. anywho…

If you were my child’s teacher I’d never complain! Homework wouldn’t be a bad idea if each child was given assignments in areas they needed the extra practice in. We spend countless hours a week reviewing spelling words that she knows how to spell the second assigned. That in turn means I spend countless hours forcing her to rewrite words 10 x each when we could be reading, playing or just spending time together. Homework n the high school level?? I never see my kid during the week..It stinks!

I understand exactly what you mean! If it were up to me, I would have every student going home with a different assignment, just ONE. I am glad I brought this up, because I am definitely rethinking how I do things for next year. Now, that doesn’t help me much with my own kids.

“For starters, there are no data whatsoever to show that elementary school students benefit from doing homework. None. And even in high school there… See More’s only a modest correlation between time spent on homework and achievement – with little reason to think that the achievement was caused by doing more homework. Then there’s other evidence, including a brand-new study of TIMSS data from 50 countries, and it shows no positive effects from homework, even for older students. I wasn’t able to find any reason to believe that students would be at any sort of intellectual disadvantage if they had no homework at all.” as quoted by Alfie Kohn in The Homework Myth. Interesting… 🙂

The Homework Myth *thinks she’s found the perfect gift for Ren’s teachers this year”. There’s so little time for them to “just be kids” as it is. Out the door by 7:30.. home by 3:30…then add dinner, after school activities (band, sports), homework, and a shower..Then it’s back to bed. It’s little wonder that many parents do not know their teens. What I know is what’s been learned in the car or at the dinner table. She has no additional time for herself let alone her mother!

Amen sister 😛

I say you should give one assignment in each subject area and give it to them on Wednesday to turn in on the following Wednesday. You can grade Wednesday afternoon because it is short day and not take it home. Your students will probably be handing in better work and you are still teaching responsibility.

Ohhh Juliet- I like the Wednesday idea. As of now, I send the homework folder home on Monday and its due back Thursday (Friday for short weeks or students who were absent). As I understand it, we have to assign one Reading, Math, and Language Arts per night. I am considered a rebel by some just because I don’t give homework on Thursdays or weekends. I guess as my kids get older, I start to see the other side of it…and the other side is a pain! lol

I know parents who have complained and I plan on being that parent when Wyatt goes to school. If the teacher insists on homework then I am going to insist that I get a weekly folder of his work so that we can have week nights and the weekend to work on it according to our family schedule. Face it some nights you don’t have time to breath. … See More Academics are important but so are sports, arts, or whatever your family enjoys. I want a well rounded kid not one whos only goal in life is to pass the FACAT!

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  1. northernlibertyalliance

    The problem is that we are falling behind the world in educating our students. Why? because in most leading nations, the school days are longer, and their school year is as well. I was just reading about Japan (yes, they kick our butts) and they have a very short “summer break”, their school days are relatively long, and they have many other school activities to break up the days. Their parents are also more active in their child’s education: they work with their kids, and they even have their children take their work to the dinner table. In this way, they make their children understand the importance of education.

    We are simply teaching our children to be lazy. We have teachers who do not want tests that they have to have their children pass to acheive a certain level, such as “no child left behind”. Why? Because it is hard to get children to achieve. Also, bad teachers feel entitled. For the good ones, it is really no problem.

    3 months off, short days (and some want them shorter), what does that get? Lazy people who think that everything is due them without effort. Or, perhaps that is the reason?

  2. tutoringmatch

    Homework is a reinforcement of what was learned during the day.
    However, many teachers take the opportunity to “pile it on”, often overloading and overwhelming their students.

    Although our teachers say they only give 20 minutes of homework, it all depends on how well the student understands the work. For some 20 minutes can turn into 2 hours.

    When my daughter brings home “20 minutes” in EACH subject- homework starts at 4 and ends at 10.

    No time for down time or relaxation, and reading becomes a chore.

    I appreciate your idea of the Wednesday to Wednesday and rally behind those who want to keep homework in perspective.


    Susan from Tutoring Match

  3. Michelle

    northernlibertyallliance – your speculation is in direct contrast to the Alfie Kohn quote from “The Homework Myth” as stated above. Do you have any data to back up your claim? Like perhaps the ‘reading’ you did?


  4. Angela

    I would consider myself a “good” teacher based my students’ performance, annual evaluations, and advanced degrees. However, I still “do not want tests that they have to have their children pass to achieve a certain level” because one test on one day does not equal all that my students know. Comparing the U.S. educational system to Japan is not fair, as they have us beaten in sheer numbers. Their population is so great that their most gifted students out number our total students nationwide. They also put more focus on those high-achieving students, while we funnel our educational dollars into helping those “lazy” students with learning disabilities, single parents, low incomes, and a first language other than English.

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