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on Aug 5, 2011
As a 4th grade school teacher I give plenty of homework, including 20 minutes (minimum) of reading an appropriate book every night, weekends included. If one counts project time perhaps my students get too much. What I'm really focused on is getting them to begin organizing their time, work load, etc. This is a most crucial skill when they reach Jr High / Middle School.
Some of my students go to the library at lunch and, as a result, have very little work to complete "at home." But every single evening ALL my students have something they must plan for, properly complete, and turn in first thing the next morning.
I have really appreciated teachers and schools that have weekly homework packets (rather than daily homework) -- ideally the weekly packets are given out on Friday and returned the following Friday (or Thurs). As a single parent who works full-time it helps when our family can set aside homework times that work well with our schedules and can include weekend hours, rather than a set amount of time every day. Of course every day includes reading at bedtime -- which is not homework, but a family routine.
Our experience has also included teachers who have been quite flexible with homework, particularly if a child is already meeting end-of-year academic standards. I was encouraged to have my kid skip the simple addition/subtraction facts worksheets and instead play math-based games like Monopoly at home with the kid as banker. That's much more engaging as a family and the kid has incredibly strong math skills as a result.
I think the better question is "what are kids learning from the homework they do?" I'd like to see that asked and answered.
Homework is practice for content already taught. Brain research shows that to get information from the short term memory into the long term memory, people/kids need repeated exposure. So it may not be fun or even interesting, but it is necessary.
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