There is no perfect assignment that will stimulate every student because one size simply doesn’t fit all.
Does it seem to assume that children are meaning makers — or empty vessels?
Is learning regarded as a process that’s mostly active or passive? Ultimately, it’s not enough just to have less homework or even better homework.
What parents teachers need is support from administrators who are willing to challenge the conventional wisdom.
They need principals who question the slogans that pass for arguments: that homework creates a link between school and family (as if there weren’t more constructive ways to make that connection!
(As one mother told me, “It’s cheating to say this is 20 minutes of homework if only your fastest kid can complete it in that time.”) Then work on reducing the amount of homework irrespective of such guidelines and expectations so that families, not schools, decide how they will spend most of their evenings.
Research About Homework
Quantity, however, is not the only issue that needs to be addressed.[For a more detailed look at the issues discussed here — including a comprehensive list of citations to relevant research and a discussion of successful efforts to effect change– please see the book The Homework Myth.] After spending most of the day in school, children are typically given additional assignments to be completed at home.This is a rather curious fact when you stop to think about it, but not as curious as the fact that few people ever stop to think about it.Whatever decisions are made should be based on fact rather than folk wisdom. Rethink standardized “homework policies.” Requiring teachers to give a certain number of minutes of homework every day, or to make assignments on the same schedule every minutes of math on Tuesdays and Thursdays) is a frank admission that homework isn’t justified by a given lesson, much less is it a response to what specific kids need at a specific time. Many parents are understandably upset with how much time their children have to spend on homework.Such policies sacrifice thoughtful instruction in order to achieve predictability, and they manage to do a disservice not only to students but, when imposed from above, to teachers as well. At a minimum, make sure that teachers aren’t exceeding district guidelines and that they aren’t chronically underestimating how long it takes students to complete the assignments.Let’s face it: Most children dread homework, or at best see it as something to be gotten through. Educate yourself and share what you’ve learned with teachers, parents, and central office administrators.Thus, even if it did provide other benefits, they would have to be weighed against its likely effect on kids’ love of learning. Make sure you know what the research says – that there is no reason to believe that children would be at any disadvantage in terms of their academic learning or life skills if they had much less homework, or even none at all.Too many fifth graders have to color in an endless list of factor pairs on graph paper.Too many eighth graders spend their evenings inching their way through dull, overstuffed, committee-written textbooks, one chapter at a time.In preparation for a book on the topic, I’ve spent a lot of time sifting through the research. For starters, there is absolutely no evidence of any academic benefit from assigning homework in elementary or middle school.For younger students, in fact, there isn’t even a between whether children do homework (or how much they do) and any meaningful measure of achievement.