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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Why do you assign homework?

In the article, “Are You Down With or Done With Homework?” it quotes a publication that is on the U.S. Department of Education website titled Homework Tips for Parents. This publication states, "Homework can help students develop study skills that will be of value even after they leave school.” It then gives examples like: learning happens anywhere, independence, responsibility, and time management. I disagree with this statement because this should not be the goal and reason for assigning students homework.

During my junior high and high school years of education, when I was assigned homework, I did not immediately think “Oh great, I get to practice how to be responsible and manage time!” I thought what’s the point of this stupid worksheet. In my classroom I try to make sure homework is purposeful and meaningful to the students. I try to make it an extension of the learning that takes place in the classroom. This article states what homework should be in the perfect world, “Ideally homework should be about taking something home, spending a few curious and interesting moments in which children might engage with parents, and then getting that project back to school — an organizational triumph.” This is what I try to achieve if I assign any homework, but I know this doesn't happen with every student because the organization it is referring to, the parent, student, teacher organization is fractured because of the different viewpoints on homework. 


From their own experiences parents see homework as a task that just needs to be completed and not part of the learning process. Teachers give worksheet of rote practice because they feel students need it. While students get home, have to deal whatever circumstances are there and the last thing on their mind is homework.


Now in hindsight, I believe some students will look back and see how homework might have helped develop important skills that are useful after they leave school (probably more from high school experiences than in the elementary setting). But I don’t believe in the argument of homework or no homework that "Homework can help students develop study skills that will be of value even after they leave school” is a very good or valid point for assigning homework.

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