Homework is the bane of our existence in many households. After a long day of school for the kids, outside activities, and our own work, the last thing we want to do is fight with our kids at the end of the day. And yet… there’s homework. Is it even worth it? Many studies say no, but still the homework keeps on coming. So, how can we figure out whether it’s worthwhile?
Whether you’re a parent, teacher, principal, or policy maker in your local school or district, this article aims to give you the questions to ask to help decide whether it is worthwhile. Future articles will explore what to do when it turns out it’s not.
A Checklist for Parents and Teachers
by Chip Woods
It’s the end of September and homework is beginning to come home in earnest. Teachers and schools have sent home letters about their homework policies, usually touting its value in teaching study habits and skills, and recommending that children spend a certain amount of time on homework each night (and increase that time as they move up in grade). Parents have also been given ideas for setting up a quiet place at home where children can practice those skills and review content they’re learning in class. Often, this practice involves filling out a certain number of worksheets, especially in language arts and math.
But how important is homework? The value and positive impact of homework on student achievement in the elementary grades has not been shown to be significant in most research studies on the matter. I have provided links to three of the myriad of such studies at the bottom of the page and you can, of course, do your own Internet search.