Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Today the major Sacramento newspaper had an article about a nearby school district's study regarding homework:

How much homework is too much?

The Davis Joint Unified School District has conducted a survey to see if parents think teachers are overloading kids with take-home work.

An estimated 2,000 parents responded, and the results will be out next week. Davis administrators plan to use the findings to reshape the district's homework policy.

The article provides the obligatory quotes on the anti-homework side--"my baby doesn't have enough time to play soccer"--but nothing from other side except recognition that a different opinion exists. As I've said numerous times, many kudos to the major Sacramento paper for publishing reader comments on each of its stories; I find my self in complete agreement with commenter "darren65", who comes across as astute, reasoned, and correct:

As a teacher, I cannot imagine why anyone would *want* to assign so-called busy work. That's just more work for a teacher to grade.

I assign the number of practice problems that I think will allow the student not just to "get it", but to "remember it" through repetition. That number may be as small as a few or as many as 25 in the vast majority of cases.

Contrary to the views of some, my sole mission at school is to help my students *learn* mathematics. I have no interest in assigning work for its own sake or in depriving students of their free time.

(Paraphrasing an old commercial here) I'm not just a teacher, I'm also a parent. I understand both sides of the issue.

Bright guy =)


Law and Order Teacher said...

Good comment in the paper.

Anonymous said...

Maybe (and I REALLY hope) high school is different, but the majority of my elementary school kids' homework was both busywork and never looked at by the teacher.

One year, I wrote a note on my daughter's homework for six weeks in straight asking the teacher to contact me. She never did. Her first grade teacher told me that she just tossed the homework when it came back. I volunteer in that teacher's class. I check in the homework, see if something was done and then the homework is tossed. The teacher doesn't see it. I am just a random mom who comes in to help.

I have had three kids have a total of 12 years in elementary school. They have only had one teacher who looked at the homework. When I volunteer in that class, I work with the kids who missed problems on their homework, but this is the only teacher I know in the school who actually looks at the homework after it comes back.

The kids are in heterogenous classrooms, with a HUGE spread in skills levels. By the time my oldest was in 5th grade, there was a ten year spread in reading levels. Everyone gets the same homework. It almost always contains busywork. Some years, it has all been busywork.

jennibell said...

Maybe teachers need to have a refresher class in homework. As I teacher, I used it to reinforce skills I had taught in the classroom. With only 42 minutes to teach (and many, many interruptions to the schedule in a years' time) it is ESSENTIAL that I assigned homework. And since WHEN has education become so unimportant that "everything else" comes first??? Will soccer or piano get them through life? Or will the discipline of homework and the skills obtained therein make for a successful and productive future??? As a mother the only complaint I have is the lack of physical activity my children receive in school. . .PE is a joke and recess is cut whenever a teacher feels it's too cold/wet/hot/whatever. I do try to make up for that at home but no time for homework? NO WAY. Turn off the computer, the television, and the video games. . .our past November elections are a window of what will continue to happen to our society if we do not put a greater importance in education (and I include adults in this statement).