Homework: My POV

Can we talk? You might not agree, but let’s disagree in a way we would want our students to have a civil discourse from different points of view. POV how I like to write that. We come from different perspectives, from our different experiences and the life we’ve lead. Who would have thought that HOMEWORK could become such a contentious topic, but it has and is. So many have weighed in with the pros and cons on homework. Here is one that I read from  @naeyc and to be transparent here is one that @jwalkup shared with me on Twitter after I posted the previous one. This is his  POV In keeping an open mind, I realize that age and grade certainly influences the homework debate. And then @jesslahey wrote about  Failure and the connection to homework resonated with me.

Now my perspective with no research but years of experience as a parent, teacher and grandparent. First let’s go to the parent role; those years of anguish, tears of frustration still stay with me as I think back at the homework trauma experienced in my household. Not everyday and not with everytopic/subject. But the homework first rule left little time for “family time.” And none of what I share are absolutes and the approach to homework was different for each child. Fast forward to my grandkids, once again we have homework “arguments” and similar issues, the youngest loves it; it makes him feel “grown up” like his sisters,  but for them, it depends. Family time takes a back seat when the drama peaks! I have to say that I wish I had some of the research at my fingertips when my kids were in elementary/middle school so that I could have advocated for them against some of the banality of homework. How much of it was busy work? If our kids didn’t get it at school, what kind of reinforcement was homework providing? And then whose homework was it anyway? How many times did we as parents sit in close proximity with our kids; the fine line between helping and doing, overlapping.

Teaching young children for many years, I too have seen a difference in homework policy change. When I taught toddlers, 3s and 4s, homework was never proposed or seen as a viable option. In many schools that holds true today, but I feel that may not be so across the board! How much NCLB or RTTT has changed teaching, learning and homework for young children, including kindergarten, varies in schools throughout the country. In my years as a kindergarten teacher, homework once given as an automatic, once a week, has also changed. Homework that asked for exploring the kinders’ neighborhood, collecting “nature” artifacts or helping the environment sits well with me, our parents and administration. Responsibility built in to our core values became part of our homework policy. Our curriculum focused not only on the 3Rs but provided exposure to “wonders” and student choice in our “geniushour” forum and learning through play. I left my kinders this year confident in knowing that homework was not an outcome or goal for these young learners.

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I would love to hear your ideas about homework for the grades you teach.

 

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2 Responses to Homework: My POV

  1. I agree completely! As a kindergarten teacher for 28 years I have seen the expectations change over the years. Most recently, I assigned a few “review” pages once a week. I taught in an affluent, highly motivated area with parents who were very involved. Some of this homework was practice that the half day kindergarten program did not have time to devote to (ie: handwriting practice). As a half day program we could justify sending home weekly homework. However, this year my district begins implementing Full Day Kindergarten!! My teammates and I are thrilled to finally have enough time to teach the CCSS at a developmentally appropriate pace. More importantly, we can include time for social play and development. This change has re-kindled our discussion of homework for the kinders. I feel that working them from 8:40-3:25 is plenty. I still believe in and will encourage parents to read to their child nightly. In addition, when the child begins to “read”, I encourage them to read one beginning reader to their family. Some teachers want to continue sending home handwriting, phonemic awareness, and math homework. I just don’t think it’s right. We may have to agree to disagree:)

    • faige says:

      Sometimes agreeing to disagree and doing what we think is best for our kinders is the best option we have. Mine was a FDK and that was a long day!

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