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Tips for Parents: Homework | PDF

Español/Spanish: Consejos para padres - La tarea

Purposes of Homework

Practice. Assignments are made to increase speed, obtain mastery, or maintain skills. Examples include reviewing multiplication tables, studying spelling words, or practicing a foreign language.

Preparation. Assignments are made to prepare students for future classroom activities. Students, for example, might be asked to read two chapters on a social studies topic and be prepared to participate in a class debate.

Extension. Assignments are made to extend and enrich a student’s classroom learning. Students would be asked to apply knowledge and skills learned during class to related project-like activities.

Tips for Parents: The Homework Test

Is your child’s homework being checked for accuracy or quality on a daily basis? If students don’t get regular feedback, the message is that homework isn’t all that important. If students view homework as just “busy work,” there really is no incentive to do it well.

Does your child’s homework assignments reflect what students know and is it directly related to in-class learning? If a teacher just sends home miscellaneous worksheets for the sake of giving homework, a child would be better off reading a book, participating in extra curricular activities, or just being with their family.

How much of your child’s homework are you actually doing? If your child is having a problem with an assignment, work through an example, but don’t do the assignment. This really is a form of cheating. It may stop the complaining momentarily, but won’t help in the long run. You’re also sending a subtle message that you think your child isn’t smart enough to do the homework alone.

The big question: “Should children be given homework assignments every night?” Homework, for teachers, has become a “darned if you do” and “darned if you don’t” dilemma. Parents worry when their children come home and say they don’t have any homework. But, there are also times when parents resent homework because it may intrude on their family’s quality time. Ironically, it is often public pressure that causes teachers to send home a ton of homework.

Frankly, this homework controversy has become an almost vicious cycle. It’s hard to tell which comes first—the homework or the demand for it. Children probably shouldn’t be given homework every night, but…

Homework assignments should reflect what students know--and be directly related to in class learning. Homework is supposed to help children learn. Busy work—repetitive work such as copying spelling words ten times each, or doing 75 multiplication problems every night—doesn’t really contribute toward learning. In fact, it can turn kids off to learning.

The emphasis for homework should be on quality rather than quantity. Homework doesn’t have to be given every night. When homework is assigned, it should be directly related to in-class learning, and be checked for accuracy and quality on a daily basis. If students don’t get regular feedback, the message is clear: homework isn’t all that important.

More Parenting Tips on Homework


US Department of Education Helping your Child with Homework
The Learning Community’s video A Parent’s Guide to Homework

Videos from IOX Assessment Associaties:
“Homework: Tips for Teachers”
“The Homework Problem: A Neighborhood Solution”
“The How-To of Homework: Just for Parents”
To order:
IOX Assessment Associates
28170 SW Boberg Rd., Suite 1
Wilsonville, OR 97070-9205

Cómo ayudar a su hijo con la tarea escolar -- La serie de Ayudando a su niño del US Department of Education

La serie de Ayudando a su niño del US Department of Education

You may also find these Tips for Parents helpful:

Tips for Parents: Parent Involvement

Tips for Parents: Back to School

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