What do you think of homework?

Check out this article and tell us what you think. I’m a fan of homework as long as it’s not too much. I do think going over spelling words and grammar work and a few math problems is a good idea. Not just to hone the fine skills of them but with some things like spelling and math, I do think it’s practice makes perfect and the more you do them the better you get at them and they’ll be easier for you.

But I also feel you need to start the habit. There will be homework in high school and college and I feel if you’ve never taken the time to have this routine, it could be hard for you to start one at a later age.

But I think for younger kids, 6th grade and younger, too much homework takes away some of the fun learning they could be doing. I think playing outside is important and swimming lessons and going to museums, being in a sport, learning an instrument and grocery shopping. For kids, all these things are learning experiences and if you’re stuck sitting at the kitchen table for 2 hours every night, that’s too much.

From what I remember, I only really had a few math problems, spelling words, the books we got assigned to read and special projects. I wasn’t made to sit at the table for hours and my kids were the same way. I also find kids are different according to their personalities. Jason had a lot more homework than Toby did. Jason was more social and had to know what everyone else was doing and never finished in class so what he didn’t finish he had to do at home whereas Toby hated homework and finished it in class.

How do you feel about homework? Did you have a lot? Do your kids? Do you sit there with them?

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8 Responses to What do you think of homework?

  1. Laura says:

    Oh, I have a ton of opinion on this and education in general. First, the homework thing… I’m for it, in reasonable amounts. I’m fine with Josh coming home with homework assigned, as long as it isn’t hours worth (he turns a single worksheet into a two-hour ordeal, so please GOD, nothing more than a page!!). We do spelling words every weekend, and some of them are hard. Last week, he had “archdiocese” in the list! Another week, it was hippopotomus. So I’m fine with that, we quiz him over dinner, or I turn it into a spelling bee if he has a friend over, with the winner getting an extra cookie. They seem to enjoy that. We’ve also started math flashcards.

    I believe that homework is just like practicing a musical instrument. There’s a reason your teacher says 30 min a day. Because it takes that daily work to build muscle memory. Well, your brain is a muscle, and if you don’t drill it daily, with math flashcards or spelling words, you’re not going to learn it.

    My other complaint ties into this. On that link, and on that Other Blog, many of the complaints were that our kids NEED this, because they’re falling so far behind academically. I don’t think it’s the lack of homework that’s causing it. I really don’t. I think it’s the educational style. We are so locked into the “sit the butts in chairs and lecture them” concept of teaching that there’s no room for anything else. But only a small segment of society actually learns like that! I know, as I’ve gotten older, I am FAR more of a “do it, don’t read it” learner. Even in HS, when everyone else was reading their history books, I was taking copious notes, because I learned better by writing it down. The book just bored me to tears and I learned nothing from it. Make me do a report, where I have to find the info myself, let me re-enact a battle, put me in a situation where it’s hands-on, and I absorb like a sponge. Lecture to me, and I’m in dreamland before you get to your third word.

    I really believe kids are like that now, too, and I wish the educational system reflected it.

  2. mssc54 says:

    If teachers would do their job there shouldn’t be a need for two hours or more homework each day.

  3. skl1 says:

    When I was a kid, homework was a rite of passage. We had zero homework until 3rd grade, and then it was so exciting to get a homework assignment (at first, anyway). This was in a high-standard school. I do believe that for most kids, daily homework is not helpful until they are around 6th grade. Before that, I could see ramping up to that point, but it does not need to start in KG! I also believe that at any age, homework is more beneficial for some children than for others. I also believe that the type of homework that is helpful will vary by child. For example, some kids absolutely do NOT need drill but could benefit from a creative writing project. Other kids would be in tears at the idea of having to write creatively before their basic skills were solidified.

    While I’m not a fan of homework “for the sake of homework,” there are things parents can do to help their kids academically. I think parents should be kept informed of what their kids are studying in school, so they can come up with ideas for helping at home. But there should be leeway based on what is best for the child. For example, I highly recommend that parents read with their kids, as close to daily as possible. But there will be a wide range in every class of what is best for evening reading – in terms of book choice, who reads, how much help is given, how much time is spent, what kinds of discussions are had, etc. Also, it really rubs me the wrong way to have schools “require” parents to do ABC – regardless of what ABC may be. Parents are the boss when it comes to family time. The school has 7 hours per day to be in charge, plus an age-appropriate amount of independent homework time. That’s enough. Parents should be there for occasional troubleshooting, not tutoring, unless a child has a learning problem.

    Personally, I do not believe parents should be in charge of getting assigned homework done, or even preside over it. It should be between the teacher and the child. If it’s too hard for the children to do alone, then the assignment is flawed. Aside from the fact that teachers should not be telling parents what to do, not all parents can or want to be involved with homework. Also, if homework has to wait until parents get home from work, that’s going to cut into more important things, including sleep, putting a child at a learning disadvantage.

    My kids will be in afterschool care of some sort, and I expect them to complete their homework during that time, i.e., before “family time” starts. I’ve already implemented this rule, as they have KG homework 4 days per week, and they get a consequence if they don’t get it done. I have lots of things to do with my kids in the short window of time we spend together each evening. For one thing, they need more exercise than they get in school. They need it more than academic drill. Plus we do music practice, museum visits, reading together (separate from schoolwork), and yes, occasionally have fun! Imaginitive / cooperative play is a major brain-builder for young kids. It’s hard enough to fit all of this into the evening without homework.

    I can’t really say whether kids in my area get too much homework. I don’t really know how much they get. My kids’ future 1st grade teacher said that she rarely assigns homework, other than the requirement to read “something” daily. So right now, I don’t know if homework will be an “issue” for us or not. The other thing about homework is, I often wonder if it’s really a 2-hr assignment, or if some kids stretch it out over two hours. I never had that much homework, but I recall my kid brother procrastinating to a ridiculous extent. He would only attempt to do homework in front of the TV and then oh, oh, it was soooooo hard to get it done. Maybe he would tell you that he had hours of homework every week, but it really wasn’t much at all. I don’t know if he was putting on a show to get attention or what. I do know that his “two hours” of homework would not qualify as a national education crisis. But if it was something that would take even a focused student two hours, then that’s a problem. I think a solid half hour would be OK for kids under 12, increasing to an hour (on average) for middle school, provided it can all be done independently by most children. But then again, the homework would have to be meaningful. Otherwise the kids might as well watch a movie or play outside.

    • Joy says:

      You know, as crazy as it sounds. I do remember when I was excited to get homework. I think I remember it really beginning in 3rd and 4th grade. I did hate math and science and I tended to start those things first and I’d always get flustered and always ended up doing reading and spelling and a lot of times I never did get my math done. I just sat there confused and I didn’t dare ask because then I’d get hollered at that I didn’t pay enough attention in class but I did pay attention. I had trouble retaining things like this that I didn’t understand. I’m sure I had ADD.

      • skl1 says:

        I also would not have asked for homework help as a kid. It never crossed my mind to ask my parents. Once after missing school for illness, I asked my brother to help me understand long division. He taught me short division, which got me in trouble. I still have a severe aversion to the idea of long division, LOL. MSSC, ask your wife WHY we waste time on long division???

        Anyhoo, at some point I realized that reading the textbook (even the math book) is the way to go if you’re stumped on homework. I learn a lot better from reading than listening. I just can’t imagine what my parents would have said if I’d asked them for help. I rather hope my kids never need me for homework help, either. The whole idea just seems weird to me. Kinda like holding hands across the street when you’re ten years old.

        • Laura says:

          I never had a single issue with asking my parents for help with homework. Maybe because my dad is a teacher, and he understood that sometimes, all it takes is a different perspective on the material, or a different way of explaining. I can tell you, I would NEVER have been able to get through geometry in HS, if it wasn’t for my dad. My teacher was AWFUL – related everything to football – and I just could not wrap my head around the material. He never followed the book, so that was useless. Every day, I’d bring the work home, being nearly in tears, and Dad would sit with me and go through everything with me until I understood it.

          My mom was the same in gradeschool. But then – I’ve always been a visual learner. If the book is a story, I can’t put it down. If it’s instructions, I’m bored with it in three sentences and skimming ahead to find “the point.”

  4. Nikki says:

    Bailey doesn’t have much homework. It was the one thing I was most concerned about heading into middle school. Whether he has homework or not, he studies for an hour after school. He gets home at 2:45, so there is still plenty of sunlight when h’s done. He has to do that right after school, or he loses all focus he had. And if he doesn’t bring anything home to study, he reads the whole time, and he doesn’t get his phone for the rest of the evening. I think an hour after school is plenty enough for him. Any more than an hour for a kid his age and younger is just too much! They are already in school for 7 hours. I don’t think homework makes or breaks a student, however. I do believe it is how they are taught. Bailey hated elementary school. He was in the same seat all day, with the same boring stuff. Kids needs stimulation.

    I do not sit there with him. but I do look it over. Ask him if there is anything he needs help with, but that’s about it.

  5. Joy says:

    I kind of did what Nikki does. I made them sit and do some of their stuff right away when they got home. They sat at the kitchen table and either did math or spelling. Like I said in the post, Toby never had much because he always finished in class and he got straight A’s so I couldn’t really complain but I wanted him to get in the habit because I figured that might change so he either worked on the spelling words of the week or I just made him up some math problems or he read. He read a LOT of books when he was younger.

    I think why I really did it was because they had their snack and it was a time we shared together before they went to baseball or whatever activity we had. I cherish that time and I do miss it.

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