On the subject of homework, like all the rest, I am still learning. What I have read suggests that homework loads and educational outcomes are uncorrelated. Unfortunately, I have also read that homework performance is the single largest factor explaining why “boys receive 70 percent of the D’s and F’s on report cards” (Kauchak & Eggen, 2005, p. 97). On the other hand, I can see why homework is valuable for reinforcing concepts taught in the classroom and broadening those concepts. Homework is also the only viable opportunity for reading.
My theory is that I will use homework for these later purposes. There’s no doubt that learned concepts must be practiced to be retained and that reading is an essential part of education. However, the distinction I intend to hold inviolable is that any homework must be for a clear and important purpose and that purpose must be made known to all concerned. It is also my intention to keep the burden of homework within acceptable levels. There is much more to being a child than homework and that understanding is part of the environment of mutual respect I intend to maintain.
Kauchak, P., & Eggen, P. (2005). Introduction to teaching: Becoming a professional (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
I think homework, as it is administered now, kills several things, most notably a child’s utter joy in getting out of school for the day and having the afternoon stretch before him/her to play with a friend, read a book for pleasure, develop a hobby, or do absolutely nothing. The kind of nothing where you go scratch around in the dirt with a stick until something interests you. Homework is a joy-sucker. It also makes parents (usually mom, but whatever parent is home) into a taskmaster. As administered today, the homework load in middle school kills family life in the afternoon/evening. Just sayin’
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