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Should Students Receive Less Homework?

By June 13, 2011

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For years, I've heard parental rumblings to the effect of "Kids have far too much homework each night.  It's a headache and a hassle in our homes."  It certainly does seem that children have more homework nowadays than I did as a child.  But does that mean it's too much?

Now some schools are moving to officially limit homework to ten minutes for each year of school.  So that means a second grader would have 20 minutes per night, and so on.  They're also proposing to ban homework on weekends and holidays.

Would you support such a proposal at your school?  Do you think students get too much homework?


June 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm
(1) Cathy Brzyski says:

I absolutely believe that less homework is the way to go. I taught fourth grade for two years and the recommended amount of homework was one hour. I never gave that. If you do your job during the day, no nine year old should have 60 minutes of homework a night. If they know how to do the first ten math problems, why do they have to do thirty more?

June 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm
(2) Ernie Bridge says:

I’m an older guy who never had homework in gradeschool and, mostly avoided it in highschool and none the less managed to get my BA and MA and a successful professional career. Now we load kids up with homework that almost never gets done unless a parent walks the kid through it. What’s needed is no homework and more classroom time. Consider eight one-hour periods per day where every other hour is devoted to instruction and the off hours are spent on practising what has just been taught.

June 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm
(3) Jessica says:

I agree with Cathy. I was an honors and AP student in high school, and I remember having hours of homework. If you are a student struggling with a subject, 10 questions is probably enough to help you get a grasp of what you are learning without being intimidating. If you are a student that has a firm understanding of a subject, more than 10 questions is just tedious monotony. I remember doing two full pages of compound abbreviations for chemistry, hundreds of them in one night. After the first few, you know what you are doing, or if you don’t, it just becomes all the more frustrating. The repetitive nature of homework assignments made me more prone to not doing them and relying on my high test scores and class assignments to pass my classes.

June 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm
(4) Michael Paul Goldenberg says:

Another older guy here who does NOT recall getting homework in K-6 (and most definitely not in K-4). Not a fan of homework in general, but as a mathematics educator, I’m all for posing problems in class that carry over after school if students are sufficiently intrigued to pursue them. Good problems in math tend to stick in the heads/craws of kids who haven’t been beaten over the head with badly-taught mathematics. No amount of drill problems will appeal to any thinking student, however, past perhaps a couple of exercises for reinforcement.

If this were posted to a general audience, you might be shocked at how many people believe we’re not giving kids ENOUGH homework, and the reasoning would be a combination of ingredients: global competition, character-building, work-ethic, and the like. If you read between the lines, however, you’ll detect a common theme: people who hate children and resent the notions of play and fun.

June 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm
(5) dbrusiee says:

It seems that most people forget that most of a child’s education is provided at home by the parents. This of course includs reading, writing and artithmetic and that the schools only suppliment these instructions. Homework is merely practicing what has been learned and can’t have a defined time limit. I do agree that school based assignments should be done in school where a teacher is available to help. The school day should be lengthened to accomodate this part of the learning process. Bottom line is that our schools and parents are failing today’s students and when I hire new workers I select American educated employees as a last resort. Sorry if the truth offends anyone but we need to turn our education ship around before it is too late….

June 21, 2011 at 9:37 pm
(6) Julie says:

Homework depends on the child. I did extra work on my own at home. I liked to study. However, I don’t think it should be assigned. The student needs a break from school just as the parents need a break from their work in the evening. Only good thing is if parents and child can share what is going on in the school day. Good review for parents.

June 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm
(7) Bonnie says:

I teach 5th grade Language Arts & reading. After doing a lesson in class I may give homework. But, I also give them 15-20 minutes of class time to work on it. That way I’m right there to assist and answer any questions they might have. I also allow them to turn it in if they finish before the bell rings. This is a great benefit to some students who are always misplacing their work.
I definitely do not believe that the schools and teachers are failing today’s students. (as dbrusiee says) We have a lot of educating to do (that is not academic) because it doesn’t get done at home and that includes manners, respect, common courtesy, etc.

June 26, 2011 at 1:13 pm
(8) liill says:

thanks i really liked thiss it had nice writing

June 26, 2011 at 3:49 pm
(9) Dolphin Rich says:

I agree with many of the others who posted here. My philosophy as a fourth grade teacher for the past several years has been to give students approximately 60 minutes of homework (or less) each night. This included 20 minutes of independent reading time. The rest of the homework was an extension of what we are doing in class. I also gave students time to practice similar examples in class to what they were going to be doing at home. I also agree with the statement that education begins in the home and is supplemented by what we do at school. As a Title One teacher, this contrast is driven home for me quite clearly.
The comment about American educated workers obviously is ridiculous on its face value, and only intended to insight negative comments. That aside, I believe that I am more optimistic about our education system than most.

July 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm
(10) nana63 says:

too much homework interferes with family life, or work life, or just plain play life. all kids need time to chill just like parents who work all day. as said b4, homework should be an extension of the class lesson for that day and no more than 10 mins for elementary, 20 minutes for middle and 30 minutes for high school(unless it’s research for a paper). relevant homework takes time to plan and should be read, graded and returned. homework is a useful for measuring progress.

July 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm
(11) Mark says:

The issue of homework speaks to a much large one, and that is they are learning activities that afford learners the opportunity to process knowledge into longer-term memory and hopefully, transferable skills.

I cannot agree with the notions of no homework. Teachers cannot do all of the teaching “in” school, no matter how talented or dedicated they are. There must be supportive activities at home, where life’s true learning should take place anyway.

My two children in k12 education probably are following the 10 minute rule although it is not an official policy in Wyoming. But it seems reasonable and it is, if adults at home are dedicated to the education of their children, and perhaps a little less in their owns interests (sorry, that was critical).

The primary constraint in k12 education is not methods, teacher training, budgets, and so forth, it is what is happening in homes before and after shool. A home with a chosen culture of education will produce excellent learners at any school and with any teacher. It is a place that partners with teachers by ensuring that children are engaged in education at home and follow the teacher’s instructions and schedules for children. Homework supports instructions in school. It is an affordance that allows teachers to do more while children are “at” school.

By the way, I teach university seniors not k12. But I advocate for teachers where I can since I understand education is a partnership and holistic societal responsibility and blessing, not an isolated institution. We need to work with teachers, not fight them by asking for no homework.

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