MSN headline: Should Kids Even Be Doing Homework?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Missy99, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I agree.

    I think homework should be extremely limited. Most homework I assign is in the form of expanding Cornell notes (15 mins, tops) and reviewing vocab (2-3 mins x 2 per day).

    Home time is family time. When I'm home I like to spend time with my hoosband. I imagine that kiddos want to spend time with their families, too.
     
  4. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    I tend to agree.

    Homework I assign is usually just a review of the week's spelling words.
     
  5. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    My personal preference is to assign incomplete work for homework.
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I totally agree. Actually, I think homework in the early elementary grades is actually harmful to student success. Children need to be children, and making them be mini-adults, in school for 6-7 hours then sending them home to do even more work is only setting them up for failure later on. There will be some kids that can handle it, but most will simply get discouraged and learn to dislike, and even hate school and homework. By the time they get old enough for homework to have any beneficial effect, their attitudes will keep them from getting any of that benefit.
     
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I agree, homework should be minimal. Sometimes my daughter, who is in the 1st grade, will spend over an hour on her homework. Part of that is due to the fact that she is a perfectionist, but I finally had to start timing her and cutting off homework after 15 minutes. They say no more than 10 minutes per grade, and I don't want her to get burned out right now.
     
  8. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    The only homework I ever usually give is to finish up work they didn't get finished in class. If I assign a project, they usually have time to get a large chunk of it done in class, but like regular homework, what they don't get done in class, gets done at home.
     
  9. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Totally agree. Children need family time more than ever and should not be spending it doing more school work.
     
  10. kacieann

    kacieann Companion

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    I agree that homework should be kept to a minimum. I want my students outside playing in the afternoon getting some energy out of their system.
     
  11. ACardAttack

    ACardAttack Companion

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    I always liked what my professors did in my calc classes. You were assigned homework, and you had to choose to do it. If any questions came up, you asked the next day at the beginning of class. Homework was never graded. Gives the student some options, it gives students a choice. I tried to always do it, but there were times where there was so much more work for me to do I had to skip over it. If you didnt do your homework it showed up on tests and quizzes.
     
  12. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I teach Social Studies and Math. In High School, homework is ABSOLUTELY necessary. I have 55 minutes a day with my kids. In my math class that is just enough time for me to go over homework,give a lesson, and do some type of very short fun activity. The practice work I would assign in class, but we do not have time, so I have to assign it at home.

    In Social Studies, I save the fun activities for class, but the textbook reading as well as just completing other readings, I do not have time to do in-class. They need to be done at home. Especially because in ALL college level History courses they will be reading on their own time.
     
  13. sciencewrestler

    sciencewrestler Rookie

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    ^ What about eliminating the fun activities so the kids can have more time at home to themselves? Plus, many h.s. kids have after-school jobs and/or are athletes and have to practice after school.
     
  14. BioTeal

    BioTeal Rookie

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    I really liked all the article's references to "paving the road" in the brain. Long term memory is reinforced through repetition. Every time a memory is accessed, the connections along the neural pathway to that memory are reinforced. A few extra repetitions can make the difference between memories that only last long enough to get an acceptable grade on a quiz, and memories that are available to support more learning in future years. Concepts that get connected to one another can frequently benefit from efficiencies of shared branches in their individual pathways, which outwardly manifests as understanding and the ability to think of appropriate metaphors for new information.

    As for my personal take on homework, I really don't think it's a black and white or zero sum question. I likely would have benefited from more of it in middle school and high school, but for my artist friend who ended up with a nice 3D modeling career, more homework in school likely wouldn't have done him a lick of good.

    One hypothetical danger of homework is if it over relies on multiple choice, and students get many repeated views of the same wrong answers, then the memory of the "answer" can get well paved, but lose its "wrong" label over time. Not all "tags" of information (eg. the year of publication and author of a quote) are stored in the same areas of the brain. The disassociation works in a similar way to the effectiveness of "repeating a lie" in propaganda, and would obviously be counterproductive. Using the "which of these choices is NOT true?" type of multiple choice questions reduces repetition of incorrect concepts while repaving multiple correct facts per question.
     
  15. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    There have been similar studies in the UK that have come to the same conclusion. However most Headteachers are reluctant to stop homework because of the backlash from parents who complain if their kids don't get it! I normally get the kids to complete the class task or turn their experimental data in to a graph or revise for a test.

    Our studies also said that HW increases the gap between the bright and not so bright as it is the clever kids who can work alone whereas the not so bright struggle.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  16. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    I teach math and I give some form of homework every night. I think it reinforces what I've been teaching that day. I don't load it on - usually 12-28 problems, depending on what we're learning.

    But, I think homework is very important, at least for math. I teach one literature class and rarely give homework in that class. Most of the stuff we do is done and finished during class.
     
  17. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I teach seven grade levels in one class each day. We have 15 children and one assistant so there is not enough time to adequately give my children the one on one attention they need. So I choose activities that specifically relate to each individual IEP to send home for practice. For example, one child is learning to hold a pencil and cut so he receives fun activities to practice cutting, pasting , and coloring. Another student, a gifted 5th grader, gets to choose topics that he would like to study in depth. He does his research at home for homework and then presents his findings to the class as a report. And I find that I am in the minority for ESE teachers in my area. Most of them don't send homework at all.
     
  18. eman_ekaf

    eman_ekaf Rookie

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    Homework for me (a high school sophomore) usually includes:

    Algebra- about an hour (depending on type of problems)
    Latin- about 10-15 minutes.
    English- varies. 30 minutes (avg).
    Chemistry- up to two hours when given.
    Other classes: up to 30-40 minutes.

    It isn't too bad, but with other activites after school it can be a struggle. I am not totally against homework; but there should be a line drawn somewhere.
     
  19. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Respectfully, I am never going to do that. For one, it makes my class suck, my class turns into reading all the time. 2) The kids need to get into the habit of reading at home for school, these are honors kids who will be doing this in college.
     
  20. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    That's one of the reasons I really like block scheduling (especially for Alg II where the problems are often a bit complex). I have 90 minutes with my students and only assign homework on certain sections of the book or in honors classes.

    I prefer to have them doing 2 or 3 classwork problems at a time. I seat them alternating struggling students with getting it students. The ones who are getting it finish quickly and then help the struggling ones.

    Once they've finished those few problems, I'll work them in front of the class or hand my slate board to a student for them to work.

    When I assign homework its typically for more simple types of problem that they can do correct and will greatly benefit from drilling on them. One or two step equations, matrix operations, percentages, etc. This allows me to move through those sections pretty quickly and get enough drill so that it sinks in.

    When I do my essay assignments (yes...I do writing assignments in math class), those are homework early on as test prep and later embedded into the tests.
     
  21. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    We used to have the block. My kids had so much less homework, I want it back.
     
  22. Arky

    Arky Comrade

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    Grammy Teacher, I love your quote about animals. I agree completely.

    I would love to stop giving homework (3rd grade). It is so hard to get it back. The responsible kids do it. The ones that need it don't. I made a homework schedule this year and last that listed the homework for the whole week. This allowed children to complete an assignment on a different night if they had activities to go to. I also wanted to parents to sigh it showing they had helped their children. That is not working either. Once again, the kids that do not need the help from their parents are the ones bringing back the schedule, the others are not. It has become an enormous pain. :eek:
     
  23. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I've always thought that homework had no real value whatsoever.
     
  24. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Once again, we can't paint "homework" with a broad brush. The article refered specifically to homework in the primary grades. No one ever debated the benefit of homwork in the secondary grades, and actually said that homework in those grades are useful (in the article).
     
  25. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I like the way that my cooperating teacher explained homework to me (at the second grade level). For her it was not supposed to take very long, and it was so that students could benefit from "family time" and also so that parents can be aware of what is going on in the classroom.
     
  26. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    The only homework I give on a regular basis is to study their Spelling words and a simple Math review sheet that reinforces the lesson. Other than that I only assign work they don't complete in class because they are playing around. Of course the ones that really need the practice usually don't do it so it doesn't really matter that it's assigned.
     
  27. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    My kids do have homework pretty much every night. If they sit down and get busy, though, they should be through in 20 minutes tops. There is very little written homework, mostly it's reviewing for a test or right now practicing math facts. My beginning of the year letter explains that studies have shown no more than 10 minutes per grade level for homework, so my kids should never go over 40 minutes (and would rarely reach 40 minutes). If the homework ever goes over that, I've told them to stop, write a quick note in their planner so I know what is going on, and I will work on whatever is causing the child so much trouble with that assignment. I personally think it's unreasonable to expect zero homework. Kids have to study for tests, there is no way for them to absorb enough in class to be able to pass, or rather for some kids. Just my:2cents:
     
  28. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Christy, I don't consider practicing math facts or studying for a test "homework". Also, 4th grade is upper elementary, so it's a little different. I'm talking about worksheets that get sent home in kindergarten and 1st and 2nd grade which are just a rehashing of the day's work. Oh, and daily reading isn't homework either, though in the younger grades that should be the parents reading to the child. How's a child supposed to learn to love reading if his only experience with books is the struggle to learn. Children should experience getting caught up in a book long before they can actually read them themselves.
     
  29. mom2sands

    mom2sands Comrade

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    I am a kindergarten teacher. I assign nightly homework, Mon-Thur. The parents expect it. I have about a 75% daily return. I think that it gives the parents a view of what the students are capable of doing and it gives the students a lesson in responsibility. The homework that I give takes 10-15 minutes. I usually assign writing or language arts and math. Some teachers send home a weekly packet, most of which are not returned. I have seen that the weekly packets are either done the night before they are due or not at all. On the flip side, there are some students who do it all on the first day and they have nothing for the rest of the week. My students take pride in completing their homework.:love:
     
  30. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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    homework

    In early elementary, I believe in giving "Family homework," read Paula Rogovin's "Research Workshop," which describes it in more detail.

    It's basically homework that parents are supposed to do WITH their child. It's given out at the beginning of the week, and is also a newsletter of sorts. Here's an excerpt straight from the book:

    "People who Make or Drive Vehicles:...
    Your help is needed with this research. We will need all kinds of resources, such as books, news clippings, pictures, work uniforms, videos, computer programs, names of people we can interivew about these topics, and places we can visit. [...]
    "During reading, we talked about the word latex (from Karen's research group). We noticed the x sounds like /ks/. [...]
    --For homework, please do the x worksheet. Have fun.
    "Math: We noticed some lovely patterns on the tiles in the subway. We will be looking at and making patterns in math. We will even add our homework patterns to our mural about the subway.
    --For homework, please do the math (patterns) worksheet."

    In addition to this, I think it's important to get parents to read to their children (or for the children to read) every night.

    The biggest problem with homework, especially math homework, is that they don't have any guidance if their parents aren't helping (or don't know how to do the problems themselves). What happens if on a math practice worksheet, they do 30 problems WRONG!? Now they're in the habit of doing it wrong, and it will be hard to correct. And yes, that family time, and time to just be kids is important.
     
  31. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I think homework of any kind in kindergarten is damaging to children's development. My thoughts are backed by numerous studies, including the ones cited the the article in the OP. Depriving children of normal developmental opportunities by enslaving them to academics before their brains are ready to handle it is NOT the way to produce smarter kids.

    You know, it's funny to me, that we keep sliding farther and farther behind, yet keep doing the same things over and over again. If homework doesn't work, we'll give more of it and start earlier. Then we see that doesn't work and give more and even earlier work yet again. Isn't the definition of insanity "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results"? Let kids be kids and we just might see a true academic revolution.
     
  32. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Very well said mmswm!
     
  33. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    ....sarcasm on...

    I prefer a different approach. If a student doesn't get it, I say the exact same thing in a louder voice and point.

    If that doesn't work, I point harder and say THINK.

    The student always shuts up about it, so I'm sure they're getting it.

    ...sarcasm off...
     

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