amount of homework 5th grade

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by Futon 5, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. Futon 5

    Futon 5 Rookie

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    Hello,

    I am a first year teacher and I am trying to figure out a reasonable amount of homework to give to my 5th graders each night. I give homework each night while my teammates assign it to be due all at the end of the week. I want to prepare them for middle school but I don't want to overwhelm them.

    How much homework do you give your students on average every night (for those of you that teach 5th grade or 4-6th)? My students read 30 minutes each night (4 nights per week) and tonight they probably have 1 hour in addition to this. I guess my worry is that they are getting too much. I know the amount they spend will vary...

    Any suggestions or feedback would be great!

    Thanks
     
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  3. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Our parish policy is 10 minutes per grade level of written homework (50 minutes for 5th). I don't usually send that much written, but almost every night they have something to study, and always have something to read.
     
  4. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    I never assign more than an hour, and that includes reading at least 20 minutes. It's usually a lot less...and with football, soccer, dance, cheerleading...I'm lucky if they get that done. They do it, but usually on the bus or when they get to school in the morning (if I don't catch them) because they are "too busy" to do it at home.
     
  5. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    Math: 6 problems(5 equations 1 word problem)

    Reading: vocabulary, spelling, F.R.E.E.(Family Reading Every Evening) time.

    Language Arts: no more than 10 questions

    Social Studies/Science(alternate nights) no more than 3-5 questions

    I normally give up to 50min(10min X grade level)
     
  6. cingy

    cingy Rookie

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    I just finished watching an interview of a woman who had written a book about homework and its affect on the lives of families. I teach third and fourth graders and have decided not to give them any homework for the first couple of months. The research clearly shows that homework does not have any bearing on achievement and it has a huge impact on the quality of kids' lives. Kids should be able to indulge in play, quiet, passions beyond what we assign them...our assignments are our own wishes, not theirs. When I do assign homework, it is called an Independent Learning Project (ILP) and I ask kids to find a topic in which they have an interest and find out about it. On Fridays I give them time to share what they have learned. I would love for kids to read every night, but no matter what system I have put in place, the kids with supportive families read, while those without the family support cheat and just fill in their logs anyway. I encourage them to read, but I am done assigning it.

    On another note, my own 12 year old hates homework and it has affected his love of learning. A naturally inquisitive kid, he now spends at least an hour a night slogging through work that really has little substance, when he could be reading.
     
  7. cingy

    cingy Rookie

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    P.S. The greatest indicator of student success and achievement is sitting down to dinner with the family. Interesting...
     
  8. SnowDaisy822

    SnowDaisy822 Companion

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    I try not to assign more than an hour of homework each night. This includes 25 minutes of reading. Sometimes it can be more, but usually it's not
     
  9. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    My students have written in Family Message Journals before.

    In addition, they may have up to 30 minutes a night. I try not to give much because they are SO TIRED when I get home (especially if I AM!). :)
     
  10. dcnuck

    dcnuck Companion

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    good quotes cingy i teach and have four children homework to me is just a pain if it is extra work just to "have homework" kids spend all day at school why should they have to come home and do 'more work' they need time to relax and be kids. the schools definitely don't want them to be kids anymore---i.e. no talking, not much recess--at least where my kids go to school. if i taught in the higher grades homework would be only the work that is not finished in class and i would give them time to do it at school. JMO
     
  11. worrywart

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    I'm with Cingy, not a big homework fan. I do think that it is important for them to read every night and usually do some math to practice those skills - but, a lot of homework is given as busywork and has very little value to the children!
     
  12. teachkids

    teachkids Rookie

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    I teach a 4/5 split this year so Igive a page of math and a page of language arts every night. they also have a reading log and spelling due each Friday. If they have unfinished classwork at the end of the day, that too, becomes homework. My parents are pretty good about letting me know how it is going at home. I also take into account long term projects factoring into the homework each night.
     
  13. Mrs LC

    Mrs LC Comrade

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    I think you really need to know why you are setting the homework. Is it because it's school policy (boo, hiss), because you feel the kids need extra practice, because it's always been done, because the work didn't get done in class? Once you know your motivation, you will rarely set too much, I think.

    For 5th grade (I teach 5/6) I like your colleagues' idea of due on an agreed time in a few days or a week. Kids of this age should be planning their time independently, but some will need guidance. I get my kids to plan their week on Monday, and remind them each day to check their plan to see if they are on track. I also reward complete tasks but rarely punish incomplete work.

    I HATE it when teachers set work that must be done "tonight". Families have lives too (don't kids only spend 13% of their lives at school until age 18?) and there's nothing worse than when my daughter gets off the bus at 4.15, about to leave for ballet at 4.30 for a 9pm return, and she has something that has to be done that night. No fair on the kids or the family - I always think it makes the teacher look disorganised. My opinion only, but I never set my kids homework that must be done overnight.

    With reading, I just tell my kids that I would like them to read daily, but the minimum should be 4 times per week. If they want to read on Friday, Saturday and Sunday instead of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, that's fine by me.
     
  14. Futon 5

    Futon 5 Rookie

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    I am sorry but I disagree with the previous post. I like the idea of homework nightly (4 nights per week). Students thrive from routine at this age and I think it helps prepare them for future years where putting off homework (projects, papers) can and does become a problem. Many older students are just as busy with sports, dancing, etc. and they have more homework! Even students at this age sometimes have trouble planning independently, not to mention older students in college.

    Only one or two students in my class do not have total completion of homework, and I have gotten no complaints. Not saying there aren't any. Likewise, other teachers at the same school who have homework turned in at the end of the week had only 1/2 turn in completed work! But at the sametime, do I understand why homework is weekly in some cases? Of course.

    Oh, and another thing, I give parents the opportunity to write in the student's planner (which goes home every night and is a great means of communication) that they were too busy to complete work on a certain night! No problem. If they are to read 20-30 minutes, they can switch it to another night. The same for other homework, and I won't make them complete it later.

    I appreciate the replies, particularly the first few after my initial post. I realize that I am confident with my procedures after seeing a variety of respones. Enthusiasm, excitement, and positive energy in the classroom has carried over to "homework" I hope. My post was made partly because the students had a heavier than average night and I want to be more consistent and not overwhelm.

    ...IF something was school policy, I wouldn't necessarily always agree with it, but I would follow it...

    HATE is a poweful word. Your credibility totally went out the window on that one. How unfortunate.

    It is not always what you do, but how you do it. I "set" homework for additional practice. I like the suggestions of students finding an interest for homework and learing about it. When I said on the initial post of trying to figure out how much homework to give, I am moving towards giving less, not MORE, or trying to justify more.
     
  15. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I assign about 45-50 minutes a night. This is for daily work. If there is an upcoming test or long term project I make sure they know about it well ahead of time. I am trying to teach time management. It is always a struggle at the beginning of the year because of what I call culture shock-5th grade cultre vs. what they are used to. I think it's great you are preparing them for middle school now.;)
     
  16. Mrs LC

    Mrs LC Comrade

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    Don't we all? You've not yet come across parents that will write a note for any reason, justified or not? Such parents tend to belong to the kids who most need the extra practice homework provides.

    Yes, it is a powerful word. According to the dictionary it means "to have a passionate or strong dislike for someone or something". I used it because it's an accurate descriptor of how I feel. I was not so concerned before I became a parent myself, and as I become more experienced as a teacher, more aware of family dynamics and variable situations families are in, I find myself trying to make kids' and parents' lives easier, whilst maintaining their learning and accountability. You don't agree - that's fine.

    I didn't mean my post to be a personal attack on you at all - I was sharing my experiences and opinions on homework, which I thought was a purpose of the forum. You are a first year teacher, so I assumed (misguidedly, I now see) you would be interested in hearing a wide range of ideas and opinions. You know you are doing right and have no intention of listening to advice or ideas? And you are a first year teacher? Now *your* credibility is totally out the window. And yes, that's unfortunate.
     
  17. Futon 5

    Futon 5 Rookie

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    Yes, I am a first year teacher.

    Yes, I post a question to gain knowledge and hear opinions, including yours! Obviously I listened to your post, I replied to it!

    Yes, I understand your concerns are in part from the point of view of a parent.

    I wish you luck as a parent and teacher
     
  18. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    To all of you who think that homework can be detrimental to instilling the love of learning in children...and how much stress it can cause for families...
    TIME MAGAZINE recently had an article about homework...and it supports what you believe about homework.
    I agree with you and with the article. I actually posted it on another thread because some of the Montessori teachers were stating that homework was not a good thing in their eyes.
    I am pleased to finally see there are other teachers posting their opinions on the subject because I have felt quite alone on the subject. In the past, I posted something on the topic and was blasted by every single teacher who replied! Where were you guys then????
    But since that's not what this thread is really about, I'll finish by saying to FUTON and all other teachers out there...how much homework to give? My answer is ... none. Get it done in class and give them their family time in the evenings.
     
  19. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    GrammyTeacher
    I agree as well. There is no need to assign "extra work." What is the point?

    Homework should be something interactive, fun, and thoughtful.
    Besides the studying for a test, that's the type of HW I will give.

    It can be only one problem as well.

    I don't remember ever learning anything from HW...
     
  20. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    Guess, my concern is how do you do that? :) At our school, there are so many extra demands on our time at the fifth grade level...DARE, Band, Band Lessons, preparation for the state mandated writing test, high expectations to meet all edicts of NCLB-this comes from the local, state, and federal levels, not to mention parental expectations. We have repeatedly been named by our state as a Distinguished School and as a Distinguished School District, based on our achievement of meeting our state standards. Very rewarding, but it does not come without great effort by all parties involved: families, school, and state.

    There are also new health and wellness issues to be addressed, and this year, they are adding Jr. Achievement which are lessons to teach children about free interprise, business, and the workforce. Jr. Achievement will help to meet our economic standards, but will use up a hugh chunk of time to do so. Then, there is the ageless problem of children who, despite our herculean efforts, refuse or are unable to use what time they have efficiently enough to complete assignments in class.

    Finally, there is the wonderful expectations from the Middle School teachers that the students we send them be flawlessly organized and completely independent, responsible learners. In other words, they expect us to teach to mastery sixth grade level standards of responsibility in a fifth grade, self-contained environment. Never mind that the students entering our door do not yet possess the degree of self-reliance that we as fifth grade teachers desire. But hey, isn't that our job... to help them grow into the degree of responsibility that is appropriate for them to succeed as fifth graders?
    Sorry, ouch, I exposed a raw nerve here!! :D

    I agree in theory that there should be a separation of family time and school time, but reality dictates that that is not always possible-or is it, which brings me full circle to my initial question: How do we do that? :)
     
  21. ozteach

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  22. Andrea L

    Andrea L Habitué

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    My district policy is 45 to 60 minutes...that includes their reading. I think that amount is fine, but anymore is too much. They are still kids and you don't want them to start hating school! They need to spend time with their families and be able to participate in other activities.
     
  23. teachingmomof4

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  24. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I agree that the family and child need time together in the evenings (although I have a huge amount of doubt as to how much time they would actually spend that's not just after school activities, but that's another thread, another thought). However, I think homework is integral to a child's success at school. To those who didn't learn anything from it as a child, I say that you probably did and didn't even know it at the time. Homework allows a child to practice a newly learned skill so that they are more familiar with it. It allows them to study information for a test (and if you don't think that helps, look at the grades of a child who doesn't study at home). Above and beyond that, though, I think homework does something even more important. It teaches the child to be responsible. I tell my kids all the time that they have a job. Their job is to be a successful 5th grader. I then go into all the things they are responsible for, to ensure that success. Homework is right up there on the list. Honestly, I also see homework as a way to "strongly encourage" parent involvement in the child's education, and a way for them to help the child place value in their education.
    When I was a child and had homework, I sat at the dinner table, while my mom cooked, and did homework. She went over the homework, read over my work, helped me study, etc. We were spending time together that we might not have without the homework. She knew what was going on in my life from our conversations. She knew what was going on at school. She knew what troubles I was having with schoolwork. She was involved. I still encourage a lot of parent involvement with homework.
    I know a lot of kids have a lot of extracurricular activities going on, but their learning has to become important. I hope parents don't take that learning for granted. Many children need extra work and extra time to learn a concept. Homework gives them that.
     
  25. mhcooley

    mhcooley Companion

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    I remember doing homework as my mother cooked. I know some parents send their children to their room and don't look over it. I can tell this when I look over what they did at home. When my nephew was in third grade, he would have homework in every subject. It would take him hours and hours to complete it and that was with help. I don't give much homework to my second graders. We read every night and study for spelling. I might give a math sheet but not all the time. I also do not give homework on Wednesday nights because some families go to church. I feel that if the parents want to study more with their child then they can look at the papers we do in class and go over that with their child. I send home a study guide with all the skills we cover for the week. Parents can use that to study with their child. I for sure don't want to grade a whole bunch of homework. I have enough of that to do.:)
     
  26. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Nicely said mhcooley. First of all, both of my kids did very well in school. When they came home from school, they were lucky I was there, ready to help as needed. However, after a long day at school, a day of studying, organizing, "preparing for the future," they were ready to let their tired little heads rest. The sun was shining outside, their favorite friends and toys were appealing. It was time to be a kid...tomorrow would be another 8 hours of studying, organizing and preparing for the next grade, the next expectation. How sad it would have been to come sit down at the table and do homework for yet another hour or two. Oh...but wait...yes, that is what they had to do...sometimes until 11:00 at night. And what a great thing it was when we had guitar lessons, religious lessons, grampa and grama stopping by, or a soccer game in a town an hour away...
    It's not your fault that many of you are so in favor of homework. That's how you are programed to think...homework as being a part of school. I think how wonderful it would be if everyone would think outside the box and see life for what it really is...I bet homework wouldn't even make the list.
     
  27. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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  28. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    Homework is not some form of punishment. I give my students homework to reinforce what was learned in class. It also allows their parents to see what we are learning. I don't understand why homework cannot be a part of "family time?" I'm also helping to prepare my students for middle school and beyond. I guess we all need to agree to disagree. As long as our students are succeeding under our teaching, I thinks that's all that matters. What works for you and your students may not necessarily work for me and mine.:D
     
  29. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Reinforcement aside (VERY important), homework also offers students a chance to learn vital life skills such as time management, organization, setting a plan to accomplish a task, etc. I don't think we should send them home with 40 pond bookbags, but homework is NOT all bad. Call it a necessary evil if you will. Out in the work force, which they can enter as young as 14 or 15 in some places, if you don't get your work done you don't get excused because your life is hectic. You get written up or fired.

    Reinforcement is important. Studies have shown that a new habit or skill must be practiced between 17-21 times before it becomes automatic. That's just a habit like taking laundry to the hamper. Multiplication, understanding forms of energy, and the like take much more than 17-21 events to master.
     
  30. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    I hope you find your niche in handing out homework. I know it's got to be a challenge.

    My DD's 5th grade teacher does not hand out homework, but they have to read (on their honor) 30 mins a night for AR and bring home study sheets for tests. Oh, yeah, and I get homework; I get to sign off on her daily planner of what she did, talk about how her day was too, and once a week listen to her read out loud for fluency.

    IF the students have homework its because they didn't finish it in class or are showing signs of not being able to understand the work. If that's the case, the child is immediately paired up with a helper.

    I understand the importance of making sure the students get in a habit of doing homework at home once they get in to the upper grades, but we also need to remember as the grades get higher the time in the class gets shortened with the lengthed expectations. If we can help the students enjoy the qualities of extra curriculuar activities and family time, I'm all for not having to hand out homework each night.

    It sounds like each teacher has to go with the environment of the classroom. Thanks for sharing all the comments; they're a great learning experience for me. :)
     
  31. Ms. K

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    I teach 5th grade in a high-poverty, high migrant school district. I try to assign the least amount of homework as I can each night. Most of my students parents can not read English - therefore they can not help their students with the homework. Also, many of my parents have a very low education level - maybe 8th grade at the highest. They also are not able to help their students with the homework. So, for the majority of my class, the students end up not doing the homework and just asking me to help. I try to just offer more work time to help the kids and only assign things for homework that I know they can do alone - vocabulary definitions, spelling, etc.
     
  32. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Ms. K, I applaud you.
     
  33. Ms. K

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    Thanks Grammy Teacher,
    I know homework is a touchy subject, I appreciate the support.
     
  34. bronaghjordan

    bronaghjordan Rookie

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    Like Ms K i work in a disadvantaged school. I teach 9-11 year olds. Homework is given monday to thursday but is always something the kids can do without help that should take (AT THE VERY LONGEST!) 1 hour. I give things like tables, spelling and reading every night. At the minute we're working on cursive handwriting so rather than waste valuable teaching time on handwriting practice they do it at home. Some kids get a lot of support others don't but any written or maths work i give them is work that will reinforce what we have done in school, work they know how to do and are just practicing. I have 4 different groups in order to meet the different ability levels. ALso at the PT meetings i told the parents that if homework ever takes too long to write a note in their journal and no more would be said about it. That was three months ago and so far i have not had one complaint. There just isn't time to do everything during the school day (unless you leave out the more enjoyable subjects) This is my first year teaching and I think homework is v important to reinforce concepts learned in school. I don't give homework for homework's sake i.e. meaningless activities that take lots of time!
     
  35. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    When both of my children were in 5th grade, their teachers spent the whole year telling them how hard middle school would be and how they had to prepare in 5th grade for this difficult transition. They both got to 6th grade and said it was an easier work load than 5th! Now, 3 years later, I am teaching 6th grade and I find that we are very conscious of how kids are making it through the transition. We had at least 5 parents at conferences tell us that the 5th grade work was harder. In the schools I've worked at, 6th grade is the transition year into the harder 7th and 8th grades. Bottom line - give your students an appropriate amount of homework. What is needed for your class but not what you anticipate they will need to prepare for in the middle school.
     
  36. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    In response to the above,
    Many of my students' parents are sure to tell me how much harder 5th grade is than 4th. My response is that yes, expectations do increase and the level of work does get harder. 5th grade seems to be the transition year from little kid to big kid type expectations. Having taught both, I know exactly where the parents are coming from. I have also had former students tell me they thought 6th was easier than 5th in many respects. Could this be because they had more of an adjustment in 5th but were more prepared for what was coming in 6th where expectations are concerned?
     
  37. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I teach 5th and am very conscious of my role in helping them to make the leap to middle school. I do think I am quite demanding, yet reasonable. Our school goes through 8th, so I see my former students every day (small place). They all recognize how different the expectations are in middle school. None ever say that it is easier. Most say they miss 5th grade - one main classroom and teacher, still making crafts, playing learning games, etc.
     
  38. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I absolutely agree that the reason that some 6th graders find it so easy is that the 5th grade teachers prepared them well! My point (however poorly made) was that a 5th grade teacher shouldn't feel obligated to assign more homework than they really feel is necessary or appropriate just to prepare their students for 6th grade.
     
  39. Futon 5

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    It is interesting to see all the replies. Many are very passionate about this topic. I guess I feel fortunate to not have a definite opinion because it allows me to keep an open mind about HW.

    Interestingly, I have had two concerns/complaints about HW, and they are that I don't give enough. Now, I am aware that there may be certain parents who are more likely to voice their opinion on this topic and both parents that brought up HW came from another country or another state altogether. They were both accustomed to getting more, and they felt it was necessary to get more...

    I am the first to understand that quantity does not equal quality, especially with HW. I would say I am giving about 1 hour each night, 30 minutes of which is reading. The idea is for it to be additional practice and stimulating, NOT AN OBLIGATION!

    Ironically, the morning after I posted the original message back in Sept. I had a written concern that there was not enought HW. I was concerned at the time about the opposite....

    A majority of the research, including the aforementioned TIME article, suggests that too much homework is detrimental. It does say that there is an optimal level of HW, ABOUT 10 MINUTES per grade level. Only the most radical approach says none!

    Thanks for your replies, I'll take the "middle road", 10 minutes per grade level.
     
  40. danic

    danic Rookie

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    Jan 24, 2007

    Phew, touchy subject. I agree with whomever said you need to question your own reasoning.

    I'm a first year teacher as well (4th grade), at early in the year I was scrambling for homework "every night" because I thought it was what they SHOULD be doing. I've stopped sending home writing assignments or worksheets for the most part, and have started requiring them to fill in a reading log. They also have to study our weekly skills, which go home in the weekly letter. (Math skills, math vocabulary, spelling words). When we have tests coming up in Social Studies or Science, we create study guides together and the kids study these at home.

    I think this makes homework wayyyy more meaningful. I tell my kids, yeah, I can't prove that you studied or not and you might think, "SWEET, I don't have to turn anything in!" But I'll know from your grades if you've studied or not. If you earn a poor grade it certainly doesn't change my life, but it might have an affect on yours.

    Parents have responded well to the new "study-based" homework, and kids have higher grades than they've ever had before. Plus, in the higher grades, they will be expected to study on their own. I want to get them ready for that, not for filling in worksheets.

    Very seldomly, I will send home a worksheet to reinforce a new math or language arts skill, too.
     

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