stackobooks.jpg What is the purpose of homework? It does have a purpose doesn’t it. After all isn’t it just some torture device thought up by vengeful teachers who wish to infringe upon the free time of their students. Yes, homework has a purpose. Homework is designed to reinforce what is learned in classroom.

As a teacher I rarely assign homework but when I do I expect it to be done in a timely manner. Unfortunately many students and parents see homework as either optional or an interference in their lives. I wish I had a dollar for every time I had a student tell me I don’t have time to waste on homework because I have a life. Gee, I have a life too. I don’t have time to waste grading meaningless assignments. So, homework assignments in my classes are either the few I deem important enough to grade, term projects or more commonly work a student failed to do in class.

The most common homework assignment that I give is reading. I do not have time to read everything with my students. Reading assignments are designed to help students be prepared for class discussions and become independent learners. However many students equate reading assignments with no homework.

Students with good time management and planning skills learn quickly that homework assignments in my classes need not be overwhelming. Why? I use assignment sheets for my classes. Students know most if not all assignments 2-3 weeks in advance. When teaching middle school I require a signed receipt from their parents confirming receipt of the assignments. I also use weekly emails to remind students and parents of assignments. Unfortunately this does not eliminate or reduce the number of students who claim they did not know what to do or when it was due. Over the years it has been amazing the number of parents who insist they were not aware of assignments and that I must have changed something even though they have a signed note claiming they have read the assignment sheet.

Homework is a valuable learning tool. It should never be used as a replacement for class instruction but rather reinforcement for class. Parents, help your child learn to wisely manage their time and plan for tests, projects another assignments.

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