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Homework: Let’s Talk About It!

How much homework do your children have?  Is it meaningful (fill-in-the-blank worksheets or projects?)  Does your child’s teacher assign a set number of minutes your child should read/or be read to each night?  How interested is your child in completing his/her homework?  How long do they spend on homework each night (K-2nd grade, 3rd-5th grade, 6th-8th grade, 9th-12th grade)?  How much is appropriate, in your opinion as a parent?  What do YOU see as the benefits of homework? What are the benefits of homework (if any) in elementary school?  Should there be a national policy on homework or guidelines?  I’d love to start a conversation so please comment!

Homework should be relevant and purposeful, according to Denise Pope, a senior lecturer in Stanford University’s School of Education and director of Challenge Success, a project with schools to counter the causes of adolescent academic stress.  The most valuable homework is that which is perceived by students to be meaningful, while simply providing “busy work” does nothing.  A research paper Pope co-authored, “Hazardous Homework?,” analyzes the effects of homework on students.  She found that “any student who is doing more than 3 1/2 hours of homework a night is actually at risk for higher stress levels and poor mental and physical health.”  In elementary schools, “homework is overrated and over-assigned.”

Want to read more about the homework debate?  Read, “Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement?: If So, How Much Is Best?” by Harris Cooper, PhD.  He is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, where he also directs the Program in Education, and he is also the author of The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents.  www.sedl.org/pubs/sedl-letter/v20n02/homework.html

You may also be interested in Alfie Kohn’s writings and findings on homework.  Alfie Kohn writes about behavior, education and parenting. His books include Feel-Bad Education, The Homework Myth, and What Does It Mean To Be Well Educated?  Kohn has been described in Time magazine as “perhaps the country’s most outspoken critic of education’s fixation on grades [and] test scores.”

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-homework-myth

Here’s one more article on homework from the National Education Association,

http://www.nea.org/tools/16938.htm

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