The Value of Homework

Contributed by Andrew D. Pass

Do you think that your children should get homework? How many hours of homework should they get a day? Should every class assign homework? There’s lots of debate on the subject, but one thing is clear, homework is an important part of every student’s education. In fact, 77% of students and 81% of parents say that homework is important or even very important (according to the 2008 edition of the Survey of the American Teacher, entitled “The Homework Experience” recently published by MetLife).

Have you ever chatted with your children’s teachers about homework? “…Homework occupies an intersection between school, home and the community, and, as such, can serve as a channel of communication between the school and parent, as well as the parent and child,” according to the report.

You’ve probably heard parents discussing the quality and quantity of homework that children get. Did you know that, “more than eight in ten parents believe that their child’s teachers assign the right amount of—or even too little—homework, and three-quarters of students report that they have enough time to do their assignments?”

What do you think? Use these questions to spark discussion about homework in your household.

For Middle and High School Students:
  • Do your children think it makes sense for teachers to assign homework? Why or why not? What kinds of work should be assigned as homework? Do you agree with your children? Why or why not?
  • How does homework help or hurt the learning process?

According to “The Homework Experience” report, 60% of teachers either strongly or somewhat agreed that homework makes learning fun.

  • How do your children think that homework could make learning more fun? Has homework ever made learning more fun for them?

Half of the parents surveyed believe that students should do their homework without help from their parents.

  • Do you and your children agree? Where do your children turn for help when they are stuck on homework assignments? Do your children think they get enough help from these sources?

“The Homework Experience” report compiled from surveys of 1,000 teachers, 501 parents and 2,101 students.

  • Do your children think that there is a specific number of people that should be asked a survey question before useful information can be obtained from the question? What might that number be? Why?
For Elementary School Students:
  • Ask your children to describe something that they recently learned. What do they think it means to learn? How does it make them feel to learn something new? Why does it make them feel this way?
  • Do your children think homework is important? Why or why not? Can they think of anything that people have to practice over and over in order to do it well? What?
  • Have your children ever tried to learn something new that was hard for them? What were they trying to learn? What made it difficult? Were they ultimately able to learn it? Why or why not?
  • Is it OK to ask somebody for help when you are learning something new? What things do your children think they could help somebody else learn?

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