Homework or No Homework? A great question for K-12 teachers! (537)

As I plan the syllabi for my classes for the 2017-2018 school year I find myself wrestling with the homework beast – at home and in my classroom. What is the purpose of HW? What is the value? Is it meaningful or a box to check off? How much time do I spend dealing with HW?  I am going to take it to the world-wide web…

Here is a list of links to explore…

  • A Time magazine article from 2016 discusses how parents feel about homework. Many find it a hassle and a burden.  This article discusses the idea of the right amount of homework.

Is Homework good for the kids? Here is what the research says

  • The Conversation based in Cambridge, MA, compiled a list of scholarly articles on the HW debate from across the world. The focus is on parents and the issues of helping your children and stress.

The Conversation on HW!

  • Great Schools includes an article about parents and teachers views on HW in elementary schools. It seems that parents are in favor of purposeful HW.  Should I be giving that?

The Great HW debate

  • Debate.org jumps into the debate with a good list of Yes’ and No’s

Debate.org – The HW Edition

So…now I am REALLY scratching my head – maybe even pacing.  Here’s a few more…

  • Edutopia from 2015 – thinks it’s not a yes or no question. This post is mainly geared toward the parent – teacher relationship in elementary school.

The right question…

I saved the best for last – I love Matt Miller of Ditch that Textbook and Alice Keeler Alice Keeler.com. I fell in love with their ideas on Twitter and have tweeted for advice from both of them for advice on ed tech and homework. Alice blogged about this back in 2015 here’s the link. Alice tweets about her children’s useless HW and the busy work teachers assign. She is also quick to point on that a digital worksheet is STILL a worksheet. Keeler and Miller are collaborating on a book called – you guessed it – Ditch that Homework.  Here is a link to keep updated on it…

So here’s my plan (or should I say today’s plan). I am not going to assign homework every night, I am not going to assign it just to assign it or because I need the grade in my rank book. I am going to assign meaningful, reasonable, reflective, and relevant homework. I am not going to waste my time chasing pointless work not waste my student’s time completing it. I think that aligns with the research and treats my students the way I want my own children treated.

Thanks for listening!





6 thoughts on “Homework or No Homework? A great question for K-12 teachers! (537)

  1. Homework… this issue comes up every year. But this year my district is moving to the No-Zero-Grading Policy and no homework.There has been a lot of controversy about it. Are we making it easier to pass a class? Or is the idea of not giving 0’s so students learn to retake or redo something until they improve? Can they get extra practice time so they can learn that skill for life?
    What I do have clear is that the purpose of homework if your students to practice something they have been learning about in class and not something new. Never assign a project to fully complete at home. If not, the parents will end up doing most of it. Finally, reconsider your point system. What are you valuing the most, creativity, effort, demonstration of understanding or simply the completion of busy work?


  2. Ahhh the Great Homework Debate…. as a parent and a teacher I am not a big fan of homework, however, I do see the importance of it at certain times. I teach business/marketing and ELA. In my business/marketing courses, I can keep most practice work to classroom time. In my ELA classes, it depends on what we are working on and if more practice would be beneficial. Generally, I try to have assignments completed in class, but if they student needs more time I will allow for it to go home. Instead of doing homework, I like to use project-base learning. This allows for my students to work in class and outside of class.


    • Jaci,
      I am with you – when it is needed assign it. I don’t think it should be assigned to check a box or to inflate/deflate grades. One of my sons is a great speller and usually does well on the pre-tests yet he still has to do the review/practice HW during the week. This is pointless! Ahhh – not an easy dilemma.


  3. Christine, while this could be classified as a links entry, it could also be classified as a commentary entry (which we’ll deal with next week). While a links entry can look like the one you have drafted, typically they are more self-contained (i.e., without as much discussion of the topic or issue).


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