Homework. It has become a word that is fraught with anxiety, concern, and debate. Should we give homework? Should the students take time to complete it? And is it even necessary? The answer to these questions is, yes. Homework plays an important role not only in the academic life of the student, but also in their personal lives. A homework system that is structured and supportive will give your children the skills of organization, time management, self-discipline, and self-confidence that will serve your students well throughout their lives.
Homework can be assigned for a variety of reasons. At times homework is given to reinforce concepts introduced in class, to ensure understanding on the part of the student, and as a tool for the teacher to determine the level of understanding in his or her classroom. Homework assignments may be given to introduce students to concepts or materials that will be presented in class the following day, “front loading” as it is sometimes referred to. Then there is the homework assignment that extends and incorporates multiple concepts that have been taught in the classroom over a longer period of time and brings them together in a cohesive package, such as a research report or oral presentations.
Homework should be used as a tool designed to: provide practice of skills and concepts introduced in class, to strengthen basic skills, to stimulate and further personal interests, to develop independent study skills, to develop initiative and responsibility, and to keep parents aware of their child’s curriculum and academic progress. We value homework as a gauge for student understanding of material, view it as an opportunity for all students to prove their knowledge of concepts taught, but most importantly we feel that by completing the assigned work students are taking initiative to engage in their learning, developing organization skills, and becoming independent learners.
Regardless of the type of homework assigned, all students need a structured homework plan. Firstly, designate a quiet study location for your child to complete all their homework. Make sure this homework area has materials your student may need: paper, pencils, pens, calculators, rulers, notebooks, and scissors, access to a computer or other research materials, but most importantly make sure it is located in a quiet and distraction free area of your home. Secondly, determine a homework time that works with your families schedule and stick to this routine. Once your family has agreed upon a designated homework time, enforce it. Lastly, be engaged in your child’s homework – and this does not mean doing homework for your child. Encourage your child to find the answers on their own while employing their own problem solving skills.
While we do not expect students to be begging for more homework from their teachers anytime soon, we do feel that a regular schedule of curriculum-relevant homework enhances the learning process and leads to academic success.
By Gabrielle Denton, Lower School Director at the Quarry Lane School, Pleasanton. The Quarry Lane School educates children from preschool through High School at three campuses located in Dublin and Pleasanton. Please call 925-829-8000 ext. 502 for more information and visit QuarryLane.org today.