Monday, November 2, 2009

What does Homework mean to you?

What does homework mean to you? Is it a form of punishment for those that are wasting time in class? Is it a means to an end - your end? Is it a way to cover material you didn't have time for in class? Is it a necessary evil? What is it?

One teacher I had the privilege of working with shared her homework philosophy with me. To her, homework was just practice, a way for the students to cement what they had learned that day into their heads. She posted the next days homework the night before online and students were not allowed to start working on their homework if they finished their seatwork early for two reasons. One, that, in a way, would punish the slower workers, and two, she believed students needed to do to work later, on their own to 'prove' that they still understood it hours later.

So, for example, in math class a new concept would be introduced during class, then the teacher would go over some examples on the board scaffolding from the teacher doing the whole problem and explaining it to them all the way to the students doing the whole problem and the teacher just recording it on the board. Then the students had some assigned seatwork on the concept to practice it more on their own, but with the teacher available to help. And, finally, the homework was just a few questions for the students to do on their own and recall what was learned in class.

Students shouldn't have hours and hours of homework each night, just 2-3 questions per concept introduced that day and some review for upcoming tests and the next step in a project that will be due next. The purpose of homework should be to remind students of what they already learned. Just a little practice.

Don't forget, if you assign 2-3 questions per concept instead of the whole worksheet, there's less marking/checking for you to do also.

Please comment or send your questions to me at

Have great day!

Valerie :)

PS: It's November already! Try to collect any and all overdue assignments starting now so it's all done before Christmas break!


Sandy said...

I agree totally with you and the teacher you worked with. Homework should be practice. . . we all need practice.
I am am elementary special ed. teacher, so not the best person to comment back. The only homework I give is their spelling and vocabulary words, and I don't really like giving that, because I don't want the students to just memorize the words for a week.

Theresa Milstein said...

I agree with that teacher's use of homework. I want them to reinforce what they've learned in class. My son is in fifth-grade right now, and he rarely has homework. This stresses me to no end because I worked in the fifth-grade in the same district for years, and I never could've had the students prepare for exams without homework.