There’s been a lot of buzz and discussion on some blogs that I follow about homework and its place (if it has one) in the educational world. As a teacher, the homework that I assigned was limited to the following:
* if I assigned a challenge based on a concept that we were covering in class. For example, after a science unit on Heat, I challenged the kids to build an ice-cube insulator. They had to apply what they knew, build an insulator and bring it to school. We put ice cubes into each one and had a contest to see whose insulator worked the best/had the ice cube the longest and then we dissected the winning insulator to find out why it worked so well.
* if we worked on an assignment in class and a student (or students) weren’t using their time wisely and were definitely in the minority for not getting it done. If I have provided ample time and there aren’t extenuating circumstances, I would expect the work to be finished at home if we couldn’t find time in the day for them to get it done.
* studying for upcoming tests. I believe in doing reviews and practice for exams in class but studying, in my opinion, is a learned and practiceable skill and I expected it to be followed up and continued at home.
* if a child has been away and can do some work at home to catch up. Of course, I would try to have that child do as much as possible at school upon his or her return but sometimes the missed work could be accomplished as well at home.
So, when my kid brings home homework and I am told, “We have to do this for homework because the teacher said she ran out of time for us to do this” or “It’s just for practice but we have to do it” I tend to get a bit twitchy.
Homework for homework’s sake? Not cool. Kids work at school all day. That’s their job. If they’ve done their job at school, why would we send them more work for home? Sending work for “practice” when they’ve completed their assignment and proven their ability at school? How do you even assess “practice?” And who’s to say they’ve done the work themselves, anyway? Do we bother assessing “practice” or “homework” if we have no idea if the work was even done by the child himself?
And if the teacher’s plans run overtime and there is no time for the assignment, in my opinion that’s the teacher’s fault, not the kids’. We need to not penalize them for our misjudgments of time by assigning that work as homework.
Homework can be a hot topic. I would hope that educators can assess their reasons WHY they give homework and determine if they are good and fair reasons.
Of course, this is MY blog with MY opinions. And I have a lot of them.