I’ve had a lot of questions about homework lately. Hopefully I can clear up some things.
My first rule of teaching is: Parents are the student’s number 1 educator and I facilitate to serve student and parent needs. We were raised on the idea that more homework leads to higher achievement, but research shows that it’s just not true. So here’s the deal with homework:
English homework is sent home every Thursday. Students even have time to place it directly into their backpack. Homework is due the following Wednesday. Occasionally homework is place in mailboxes if “the day gets away.” This is rare. I try to do it early in the day.
English homework has been sent home consistently since October, excluding holidays.
Students were also given a laminated reading log to monitor their own progress in December. Students are asked to read for 20 minutes a day.
Please remind your child to write his or her name on his work. Credit is only given to homework that is turned in on time with a name.
Research indicates that homework has little influence on student achievement. With our 45 minutes of planning/contract time (2:30 to 3:15) I prioritize class assignments over creating and checking homework. It’s there, it can be cool, lots of students like it, but it is ver low on my priorities because, well, class time is when I’m teaching and that’s where I need to my mind and energy.
I believe homework is valuable, and it is part of the school’s mission statement, but enrichment (music, sports, art), reading, parent-child verbal interaction, and cooperative play are more important. Look to Scandinavia as evidence. Parents who talk and engage with their children seem to do the best in school, and it seems very obvious that Richmond students have lots of fun with their parents. (Remember some students really DO need additional tutoring or practice reading, and it is important that those children have that additional time since we do not have it in class nor have a reading class for students.)
After five years in second grade, this is why I’m not a stickler for homework at this age level. We have tried HEAVY loads of homework and we had the same results in achievement.
Upper grades will demand a lot with homework. You should prepare yourself for much more work in the upper grade levels. Right now, just practicing getting something in on a deadline is probably the most valuable piece of English homework. More practice never hurts, either.
English homework is supplemental to the rich life you lead, but life itself and authentic learning experiences (an instrument, building a table or computer, drama class) are more valuable. There is nothing I can provide that you (teacher and parent) that you cannot do better. Let me add that I learned more about being an educator from being a student in ballet class than I ever learned in graduate school. Last year I began talking film classes and again, that enrichment has helped me teach writing. I think playing in bands for 20 years has helped me understand how to work closely with three other teachers. None of these things had anything to do with the homework I was assigned in school, that I did out of compliance rather than scholarship.
Try to do assigned homework. Don’t stress about it. Make sure you know what your child is reading and talking about what they are reading. That’s what will really help them.
ALWAYS do your Japanese homework!
We are moving quick in class in a good way!