View Full Version : Homework: A Guide for Parents

04-09-13, 05:09 PM
The National Association for School Psychologists has released a parents' guide to homework ( It is written by Peg Dawson, whose book Smart But Scattered I found useful. Note that there is little evidence that homework actually has an impact on the achievement of elementary-age students.

Developing Incentive Systems
Step 1. Describe the problem behaviours.
Step 2. Set a goal.
Step 3. Decide on possible rewards and penalties.
Step 4. Write a homework contract.

04-09-13, 05:57 PM
Note that there is little evidence that homework actually has an impact on the achievement of elementary-age students.

:) I believe that students who do homework achieve... homework. Just exactly that. If "homework" itself is what students are supposed to be achieving, then it works brilliantly - for the ones who do it.

If, on the other hand, "learning" is what we want students to achieve, maybe that should get a little more focus. :)

There's a misconception that homework adds to learning. In fact, it adds to homework. The exception is for things that can only be learned by constant repetition. Homework in handwriting technique is a valid use of time, if needed. Homework from social studies class - for elementary students - not really.

04-10-13, 11:04 AM
Our school board has some issues, but one positive is that is has a good homework policy. The end result of that policy, at DD's school, is that there is rarely any homework. Perhaps one project a year (she's in grade 5). Prior to this policy we were getting tons homework for the sake of homework. She does have spelling words each week and is supposed to keep a reading log (which has been lost for months now). That's it.

For some kids, maybe homework is a good thing. For my DD with ADHD I am so thankful she doesn't have homework. It puts the onus on the teachers to engage the students and teach them the curriculum during class time.

04-10-13, 11:07 AM
btw - just went to the link - that looks like a good guide for homework success. Thanks for posting it.

04-10-13, 04:08 PM
Homework in any subject could be valuable. My daughters social studies include vocabulary where they can write the def, draw a picture of it, or give an example of it. She also has to complete projects like making a website with info/pics of their own planet they made up.
I sometimes felt homework was too much and the teacher should let us focus on things that are more important (ex: can we forgo the neat cursive writing practice & practice our math facts instead)? Some teachers understand that our kids who struggle are overwhelmed so prioritizing is necessary but of course we need to have the conversation with the teacher so they understand. My daughter really benefits from homework in Math because she needs to practice more than most to make it concrete (even though she hates it). But if she never did homework for vocab she would do just fine as she remembers this without problems.

04-10-13, 04:38 PM
And sometimes it doesn't help them learn. For spelling, DS has to do different things like color the vowels, count the syllables. He focuses on the task and not the word. So we got permission to do practice spelling tests each night instead and his spelling has greatly improved.

04-10-13, 08:16 PM
Good stuff CParent!

The one thing not mentioned there but definitey recommended is reduced homework for kids with ADHD. This is an accomodation that can be requested and certainly can reduce homework caused friction.

04-10-13, 08:22 PM
homework should be banned.

a 6 hour school day is already stretching the performance limits of even a *normal* child or adolescant.

adults work 8 hours.

oftentimes more than 2 hours of homework time is needed each day.

04-10-13, 11:54 PM
I had parents ready to drop kick me at a moments notice if I didn't study/do homework as a child. It sucked -but I really needed the external motivation to get stuff done. I can appreciate that now.

There are merits and downsides to different educational systems -->but part of the reason America has fallen behind the world is due to the faltering education system (not going to even touch the recent Georgia scandal!) and letting kids 'slack'. Kids can be pushed harder. They learn faster and retain better. You're born with at least twice the number of synaptic connections as a child vs an adult. This enables kids to learn a new language/skill much easier than we do. As we age, we lose these connections -and it takes a heck of a lot more effort to get them back *use it or lose it*

Homework allows the teacher to gauge the childs progression. Better consolidate learned information, and good questions can allow for some creativity/extension of the knowledge beyond the classroom knowlege.

In regards to handwriting -sadly repetitive training didn't do work for me. I can look back in amazement tho at how neat my writing was in grade one when i had the tripled lined pages tho :) So much for muscle memory :(
I'll have chicken scratch writing forever :)

04-11-13, 12:34 AM
And sometimes it doesn't help them learn. For spelling, DS has to do different things like color the vowels, count the syllables.

Ick. Definitely a "too clever by half" method for spelling. I wonder how many kids it actually helps, and how many are (like your son, and like I would be) distracted by the silliness of the task.

04-11-13, 09:56 AM
Ick. Definitely a "too clever by half" method for spelling. I wonder how many kids it actually helps, and how many are (like your son, and like I would be) distracted by the silliness of the task.
I think it likely helps none of the kids. It's busy BS work that has no purpose whatsoever.
My son used to have to do spelling pyramids. So for the word 'intelligent' he would have to write:
etc, etc.
For a kid w/ dysgraphia, it's torture and it certainly didn't help him learn to spell the word...

04-16-13, 09:00 PM
Homework is one of my biggest issues I have with my eldest son, It causes alot of tension in our house and I really don't think it is helpful. Now he has hit secondary school I am really concerned about the extra work he will have to achieve, so far so good, his school has a class called study skills were children that need extra help complete there homework at school in school time instead of studying a language, French.

They also have available homework help for 1 hour one afternoon a week after school, this starts next week, he cracked it with me last night as I suggested he does this also. I really think it would help him.

04-18-13, 04:09 PM
I am so glad I found this. My 7 year old daughter was just diagnosed last week with AD/HD. She scored off the charts for the attention deficit part. Homework has always been a huge struggle for us. Hopefully this guide will give us some pointers. Homeworrk always ends in tears, and fights with us. Off to read!

06-30-13, 04:56 PM
I hate homework. Kids have a hard enough time and school as it is and need time to chill and relax after .
I think itīs a classic case of more not being better. Like if you have a headache you take an aspirin or whatever. If you take 5 aspirins, it doesnīt help any more than 1 or 2.

Spending so many hours a day studying means that kids get overloaded with information and it ends up in a mess in their heads. The time spent after school hours, relaxing or doing fun stuff actually means that the stuff they have learned in school all day has a chance to sink in and get filed in the correct place, ready for a fresh day tomorrow,

I know I may not be explaining it properly but the brain needs time to absorb new information and itīs actually better to study less and allow the brain to absorb it and sort it out. Things that were maybe not understood properly in the classroom can actually start to make sense when the child stops trying and relaxes.

At my kidsīold primary school (aged up to 12) the headmaster was nearing 60 and believed that the kids shouldnīt have much homework and spend the summer playing and not studying. Kids go back to school fresh and happy, contrary to what some people say, they donīt forgot what they have learned months ago but actually remember stuff they didnīt even know they knew.

I remember doing an intensive Spanish course 5 years ago. Well it was intense for me, 4 hours a day. At the end of the 2nd month I could barely remember my own name, not kidding. My head was so full up and confused. there were lessons that totally confused me and, at the time, I decided I wouldnīt bother with certain parts as I would never use them, so I didnīt do the exercises or try.

Well after the course I found that months later (and actually years later) stuff started falling into place without studying them again. Things that I hadnīt even understood made sense.

Homework should be banned.