June 26, 2012
Homework is worth discussion
Superintendent Steve Rasmussen was right to bring up the issue. Homework is so ingrained in the fabric of education that it could easily go unexamined.
The first, biggest question to answer is: What’s the point of homework?
Certainly, homework can help reinforce the day’s lessons and give struggling students more time with a concept. It can also give students a chance to delve more deeply into a topic. But some of the benefits are more than academic. Having some work to do after school can teach students about how to prioritize their time, learning to work before play. It’s in the early elementary school grades that study habits are formed for life, useful in both college and career.
Homework also helps connect parents to the classroom. While children will come home from school and say they did “nothing,” homework gives families a window into what actually did happen.
A college-bound high school student is expected to have a host of extracurricular activities on their résumé, not to mention community service hours. Many teens say they are stressed by the expectations. Are they too much?
How much homework should students have? There are long-held ideals about study time, but do they still apply?
There is also a question of how much of a teacher’s time should be spent dealing with homework. Correcting papers takes time! School assignments often seem more like busywork, but your teacher still grades them. Or maybe not, adding to the question of purpose.
The district made a good decision to pursue the homework discussion. As the conversation with parents, students and teachers unfolds next year, we hope to see some strong guidelines that reflect the value of homework while keeping in mind real-world constraints.