The Homework Debate Asks Many Questions. Read My Answers Here!!

The homework debate about the benefits of homework between teachers, students and parents seems like its been with us forever.

I'm sure you can find plenty of homework statistics and depending upon who you ask you'll get a variety of answers.

Some students crave it, but most students will respond with "I hate homework" and will tell you why homework is bad with comments like, "we do enough work at school", "its too hard", "it takes too long" or "homework should be banned". To them its a 2 x 4 letter dirty word!

In my opinion, students must understand why homework is important and what the homework benefits are. Homework is good because:

* It reinforces the lessons that have been taught by providing an opportunity to practice.

* It teaches responsibility and discipline.

* As a prerequisite, to prepare students for a topic or lesson that will be taught in the next day or two.

* It prepares students for the next step; whether it's high school for elementary students or university for high school students where a large amount of work is given and must be done independently as homework.

As you can see, it's important to develop homework skills and strategies early on in elementary school, even if it's reading silently for 20 minutes each night (which is always in my students' agenda every day).

I have heard many creative excuses for not doing homework: "I lost it", "My mother threw it out", "My dog ate my homework", I had a hockey game" - the list goes on and on. Whatever the homework excuse, students still have to do it! (except if there's a death in the family).

Those students that didn't do their homework stayed in during recess or completed their homework during the day before starting on the next day's work. In some cases that meant missing gym or working on the computer, things they loved to do.

Another situation that you, as teachers, will run into is when the homework you assign is not understood. This is one of the scenarios that I cover during an annual teaching workshop that I hold for student teachers at York University in Toronto.

Watch this short video that I recorded during my workshop, as we discuss how to deal with students when they don't understand homework.

The homework debate continues. A common question among teachers, "Am I giving the too much homework? Should I give less homework?"

There is a standard limit set per grade. I have expressed my views on why homework is important. Some teachers don't assign homework over week-ends and over holiday times.

You know your students, you know yourself. You know the limits. Be smart! It's all part of resolving the homework debate.

Also - if and when you do give extra homework questions, you need to mark it - so don't go overboard.

Your job is to motivate your students. You don't want them to hate homework!

Please be sure to read about some of the effective homework strategies that I used for over 30 years. Following my homework strategies and of course adding your own, will make your students well-rounded and they will thank you years later.

When parents ask you about helping their children with their homework, please use some of my suggestions that I describe on my page about parents providing homework help for kids .

I hope this page has helped you resolve the homework debate about the benefits of homework within your own mind and I'm sure that my pages on homework strategies and providing homework help for kids will provide you with some excellent tips and suggestions.

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