Tag Archives: homework in elementary school

Sane Rules for Homework

The new school year probably brought excitement. Now it probably brings…homework. If your children are in elementary school, homework has very little place in it. Research shows (analysis of more approx. 180 peer-reviewed studies) that homework assignments for this age … Continue reading

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When Should Homework Begin?

This country is fed up with excessive homework.  I know, because every day people stumble on my blog by typing in google searches such as “why there should be no homework” and “are there teachers who disagree with homework?” Some … Continue reading

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13 Responses to When Should Homework Begin?

  1. deidra says:

    I don’t believe in homework really ever. There is simply not enough time in the day. It’s not necessary. The few worksheets sent home aren’t going to make learning happen anytime sooner. Kids spend 7 hours a day in school being told what to do by adults. For those of us who work, our kids spend another couple of hours in afterschool, again being told what to do by adults. What precious little time there is at home needs to be kids figuring out what they want to do and spend time on the things that they choose. Developing there own interests.

    Yes, sleep is the most important thing kids need to learn. Young kids under the age of 10, need between 10-11 hours of sleep a night. I plan on telling my son’s teacher every year, that sleep is a priority over any project or assignment.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      I hear you! Bravo – keep spreading the word. Your point about after school “extended day” programs is good – so many, many kids are in LOONNGGG days, starting at 6am with before school care and going to 6pm with extended day until their parents can pick them up. This is a grueling schedule for anyone, and kids need to collapse when they get home.

      And SLEEP. Our nation is a sleep-deprived nation. Love your priorities – sleep over assignments! Sleep is what gives kids good learning, memory and focus.

  2. Angie Lathrop says:

    I just read “One World Schoolhouse” by Sal Khan (of Khan Academy), and he had an interesting section about his experience at MIT: basically, he stopped going to lectures and instead simply worked on the problem sets or reading or writing or whatever it was during the “school day”–this enabled him to take twice as many classes because he wasn’t spending so much time in passive mode.

    His point was that people learn when they are engaged, and what I’m starting to see with my 8th grader is more lecture-type classes (which rarely engage him) and then the problems or writing or other assignments are supposed to be done outside of school hours. Which makes no sense, because wouldn’t it be better to be doing the actual work when the teacher is there to help?

    That’s where the concept of “flipping the classroom” is gaining a lot of attention: Assign the video lectures (not too long, though) as homework (if you must have homework), and then use school time to actually do the work. The teacher is freed to help students as they need it, instead of us poor parents struggling to remember how to calculate the slope of a line and put it into y= mx+ b format…

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Love these new ideas about schooling. I was one who always fell asleep during lectures. With the prevalence of videos these days to teach all sorts of things, this makes a lot of sense.

  3. Laurie says:

    Heather – I love your ideas about engagement. Fantastic post – thank you!

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Thanks – yes, engagement is a struggle for teachers who really want to connect with parents. I think ‘homework for parents’ actually bridges that gap better than homework for kids.

  4. April says:

    I was a preschool and then a first-grade teacher for many years. Now my own son is in preschool. His teacher very occasionally (like maybe three times a year) sends home an assignment like the one we did last week, where each child made a scrapbook page about themselves and took it to school to make a class book. I think “homework” like this helps bridge the gap between home and school, and it was a fun project my son did almost entirely himself. This is the kind of occasional homework I liked when I taught as well, and there was never a penalty if a child did not complete it. I do not like worksheets for homework, and I think the point I’d stress is that it should be occasional – not every day or even every week. I love your idea for assignments for parents. As a teacher, parents used to ask me what they could do to reinforce their first-grader’s learning at home. I’d say, “read to them. Read to them a lot.” Most parents would blink and stammer on with, “well yeah, but what else?” I totally agree that kids spend seven hours in school a day, which is too long for elementary school, in my opinion. They don’t need to be doing school at home, too.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      “Read to them a lot.” Bravo! I like your comments about occasional projects, too. When things are occasional, it can make it a fun project. Thanks for writing.

  5. Pingback: Interview with Heather Shumaker, Author of “It’s OK NOT to Share” (plus GIVEAWAY!) | Abundant Life Children

  6. Shanna says:

    I am a K-2 teacher and mom of rising 1st and 5th graders. I couldn’t agree more with your post! I think it would be better for teachers to think of discussion topics for parents and children. The next day, IN SCHOOL, a quick journaling or wikki post could summarize what they all discovered. It engages parents with their children while still allowing kids to be kids and play outside or enjoy activities they want to pursue afterschool such as art, music, dance, gymnastics, or just downtime.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Discussion topics – love it. So many healthier ways to engage parents and children with school learning than the typical homework assignments.

  7. Wendy says:

    I am a second grade teacher with a 2nd grade child myself so I can see things from both sides. I taken in all these comments from both teachers and parents. I am coming to the understanding that tasks/assignments one per school term would be the best way to go. These tasks/assignments also need to tap into all the ways children learn and not just the numeracy/literacy type work sheets that you often see.
    Home life is stressful enough without adding more battlegrounds by having more school work to do. I think activities such as those mentioned above where the parent gets to know what the children are learning about in that term are worthwhile. I used to think work sheets every week would help the children bridge the gap for what they dont know….but I have totally changed my view now.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      I love hearing from teachers who are also parents. So glad you had the perception and courage to change your view. Once a term? That sounds like a doable schedule. The kids in your class are lucky to have you.