Homework Cure: Change the System

The Real Value of Homework

There is a debate about the value of homework. The debate rages in school districts, states, faculty meetings and homes. There are parents who insist on homework and there are parents who feel homework is an unnecessary intrusion in their child’s life. There is no one solution. I recommend flexibility in the classroom and curriculum. What do we do if we are unsure of the value of homework? The following are some (not all) ideas to guide your thinking. If you want to change the system examine your cherished beliefs and promote flexibility in the classroom.

Question cherished beliefs like ‘School should be fun’.

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Homework Help for Parents

When you can’t change the system:

When you can’t change the system and your child has homework you have to examine how you feel about it and then find a way to cope with it. I’ll be dealing with homework from the teacher/school perspective in a later post. If your child is already a straight ‘A’ student you probably aren’t worried about homework other than the fact that the load might cause burn out. That’s a subject for a later post. Also I’m not going to be directly dealing with those families where the parents don’t speak English. That too is for another time.

Right now we are dealing with,
“My kid has homework. She needs help. What do I do?”

I know you’re busy. I know your time is valuable. So what do you do if you believe that at least some homework (practice, reenforcement, continued engagement) can have value. Don’t give up. Don’t despair. I’ll help you.

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Homework: To Do or Not To Do

Homework was the issue.

I was called to meet with a parent, in the office, during my conference period. It was about homework.

I entered the school conference room to find the Assistant Principal, Billy Bones (my student), Billy’s mom and her lawyer! Hmm… ‘Looks like Billy isn’t the only one on the hot seat.’

The lawyer started in on me, “Ms. Bones is concerned about Billy’s grade in math. He received a Fail on his last progress report.”

“That’s correct,” I answered. “He did no work in class so it was the only grade I could have given him. I have repeatedly asked him to get to work and I have offered to help him both in his regularly assigned class time and during lunch or after school but, so far, he has refused.”

The lawyer continued, “What about homework?” At the risk of seeming rude I said, “What about it?” She said, “We asked him about his homework and he said you never gave him any. Is that true?”

I tried to take the high road.

What I wanted to say was, not appropriate for this discussion. But… I tried to take the high road and what I did say was,

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