11 November 2008 10:10 AM

The Dreaded Homework (Part 1)

by Dr. Rick

Few subjects in education carry quite the emotional wallop as homework. What’s its worth? How much is too much? What’s the role of parents? Why does it have to create such havoc in the house every night? Does it serve any earthly purpose?


It’s almost a political issue. Traditionalists (think conservatives) have their reasons for valuing homework. Progressives (think liberals) have their reasons for deploring it.  People with a less partisan and more common-sense approach see it differently – recognizing the need for balance.


Kids hate homework, saying it’s not always checked and that it’s not always related to what they’re studying in class.


Teachers say, “Why bother?” because kids often ignore it anyway.


Parents ask what they can do to help even as they note that homework takes away time from other family activities.


If you’ve been reading my blog with any regularity, you know that I come down squarely on the side of balance and common sense. I stay away from “political” fights that only find students and teachers in the middle. I rally for a way to learn and to teach while the folks who rarely see kids in a classroom fight their esoteric battles.


I know teachers who tell me of parents who insist on homework – lots of it – daily.  Doesn’t matter what it is, just so long as there are plenty of worksheets and activities to complete. Other parents beg that the homework load be lessened.


There’s no way to reconcile those two opposing views except to follow some pragmatic and research-tested practices. If parents insist on even more homework, suggest some workbooks from which they can make assignments.


The truth about homework is that it’s useful when it’s done properly - when teachers assign it appropriately and then check it, when students see its relevance and results, and when parents understand their role. 

The truth about homework, further, is that those simple caveats are not always followed.  We all have horror stories of homework assignments unrelated to class (“drill-and-kill,” “busywork,” and worse). We all know of homework never collected, let alone checked, and we all know of homework ignored, with no consequences from adults.

Keeping with the homework theme, I'll be back to list a few basic guidelines to follow later this week...




11/1/2009 10:21:59 AM

I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post

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11/3/2009 10:59:11 AM

Hi webmaster, commenters and everybody else !!! The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need!b Keep 'em coming... you all do such a great job at such Concepts... can't tell you how much I, for one appreciate all you do!

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11/7/2009 6:48:25 AM

I just couldnt leave your website before saying that I really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors... Will be back often to check up on new stuff you post!

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11/30/2009 5:35:38 PM

While this subject can be very touchy for most people, my opinion is that there has to be a middle or common ground that we all can find.  I do appreciate that you've added relevant and intelligent commentary here though.  Thank you!

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