I'm fairly confident that if I took a poll, your opinions on the topic would run the gamut from "Stop the madness!" to "Give my child more-we want her to get into Harvard!"
No matter where you stand on the issue, I think we can all agree that homework should be meaningful. Your child's time is too valuable to be spent filling in endless packets of worksheets.
As a parent I have had my share of difficult homework sessions. It's heartbreaking to watch your child reduced to tears because they don't understand or bored to tears because the homework is repetitive and mundane.
The challenge for a teacher is of course making sure homework is appropriate and meaningful for all students. Just as class work has to be differentiated to meet a variety of needs and learning styles, homework must be meaningful and accessible to all as well. This is no easy task, and I am the first to admit I don't always get it right.
I believe that reading is the most valuable "homework" I can give. There's simply no better way to become a better reader, improve spelling and writing skills, expand vocabulary, and increase background knowledge. Children should be able to select their own books. They need to read a wide variety of genres and read often. They need to be read to by caring adults who share a love of reading, and they need to share and discuss their reading with peers. I decided to stop assigning a required number of reading minutes for homework after reading an article that said this practice completely takes the joy out of reading (even for those who otherwise love to read). I hope to generate enough excitement about books in class this year to carry over into at home reading.
Spelling and Math Facts
Both the spelling and math fact homework have been differentiated to meet individual student needs and to provide academic choice. A big thanks goes to Mrs. Kurtzman for designing the "Spelling Cafe" homework. It's not easy to make spelling and math fact practice fun or exciting, but we gave it a good try!
I am planning to use this website to post homework assignments. I hope students enjoy watching educational videos, exploring related websites, and posting their thinking.
Keep Me Posted
Please let me know if you are consistently experiencing difficulty with homework at home. I am happy to help in any way I can.
Learning should be a positive experience!