– Jessica Haley
Assigning homework serves various educational needs. It serves as an intellectual discipline, establishes study habits, eases time constraints on the amount of curricular material that can be covered in class, and supplements and reinforces work done in school.
What is the Value of Homework
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Some policymakers are, in fact, beginning to listen to student voices. As a result, they are beginning to ask questions about factors such as how much free time students actually have. In California, for example, a school board member in the Cabrillo school district made national headlines when he proposed banning homework entirely.
What to do about homework remains unclear, although this research implies that overnight assignments may not be the ideal norm and that all assignments ought. to be thoughtfully designed and clearly valued by the teacher.
What is clear is that we should stop thoughtlessly assigning homework out of habit, assuming that students can and will do it, assuming that something good will come out of it, no matter what we assign. Too much harm - rebellious or indifferent students, angry parents and teachers - results when students refuse to do as they're told. Or, docile obedience breeds an expensive form of cynicism among students who do "play the game" knowing that the point is not learning, but earning the teacher's good opinion and good grades. It's time to stop dismissing students' criticisms as irrelevant excuses for laziness, to ask ourselves if we deserve their criticism, and to start thinking critically about exactly what we assign, under what conditions, and why.
Homework helps children do better in school when assignments are meaningful, are completed successfully, and are returned with constructive comments from the teacher. An assignment should have a specific purpose, come with clear instructions, be fairly well matched to a student's abilities, and designed to help develop a student's knowledge and skills.
In the early elementary grades, homework can help children develop the habits and attitudes described earlier. From fourth through sixth grades, small amounts of homework, gradually increased each year, may support improved academic achievement. In seventh grade and beyond, students who complete more homework score better on standardized tests and earn better grades, on the average, than students who do less homework. The difference in test scores and grades between students who do more homework and those who do less increases as children move up through the grades. (Easton, J. and A. Bennett)
What's the Right Amount of Homework?
According to some researchers, two ways to increase students' opportunities to learn are to increase the amount of time that students have to learn and to expand the amount of content they receive. Homework assignments may foster both these goals. Reforms in education have called for increased homework, and as a result, reports show that students are completing considerably more homework than they did a decade ago.
According to statements by the National PTA and the National Education Association (NEA), the following amounts of homework are recommended:
From kindergarten to third grade, no more than 20 minutes per day.
From fourth to sixth grade, 20 to 40 minutes per day.
From seventh to twelfth grade, the recommended amount of time varies according to the type and number of subjects a student is taking. In general, college-bound students receive lengthier and more involved homework than students preparing to enter the workforce immediately after graduation.
Children need to know that their parents and adults close to them think homework is important. If they know their parents care, children have a good reason to complete assignments and turn them in on time. There is a lot that you can do to show that you value education and homework.
Parental involvement is one of the most overlooked aspects of American education today. The fact is, many parents don't realize how important it is to get involved in their children's learning. As one dad said when he began to read to his daughter ever day and discovered that it improved her learning, "I never realized how much it would mean to her to hear me read." Other parents would like to be involved, but have trouble finding the time.
All parents and family members should try to find the time and make the effort because research shows that when families get involved, their children:
Get better grades and test scores.
Graduate from high school at higher rates.
Are more likely to go on to higher education.
Are better behaved and have more positive attitudes.
Family involvement is also _one of the best investments_ a family can make. Students who graduate from high school earn, on average, $200,000 more in their lifetimes than students who drop out. College graduate makes almost $1 million more!
Most important of all, ALL parents and families can enjoy these benefits. It doesn't matter how much money you have. It doesn't matter how much formal education you've had yourself or how well you did in school. And family involvement works for children at all grade levels. It's a lot of different types of activities. Some parents and families may have the time to get involved in many ways. Other may only have the time for one or two activities. But whatever your level of involvement, remember: -If you get involved and stay involved, you can make a world of difference.
Family involvement in education can mean: -Reading a bedtime story to your preschool child...checking homework every night...getting involved in PTA...discussing your children's progress with teachers...voting in school board elections...helping your school to set challenging academic standards...limiting TV viewing to no more than two hours on school nights...getting personally involved in governing your school...becoming an advocate for better education in your community and state...and insisting on high standards of behavior for children.