The Trouble With Homework

No other word drives a parent more crazy than Math homework. They know it is needed, but it gives parents the opportunity to teach their children how much they hate math and how they cannot do it. I hope that with a better homework plan that will change. I don't think we will ever change parents attitude for doing math, but we will end the frustration of parent and child sitting trying to complete a math page that neither understands. There needs to be a purpose and a need for homework. If there is not, there needs to be no homework for that night. There also needs to be a way out, if needed.

I was a teacher that did not like to hand out homework. I wanted the students to a go home and read each night and spend time doing a child's work (play). I never really knew what homework oils do for the student because when I was a student I was given busy work each night. Fifty math problems a night, with the answers in the back of the book. I don't think I ever learned anything doing homework. It was just something I did before I went out to play. I have changed my thought process. Our team has come up with a plan to make it more purposeful and meaningful for the students and the parents.

So what is the purpose for homework? To review what has been learned. Students need to review what has been learned so they can cement it into their minds. The learning does not end with the lesson. There needs to be practice. The homework should be a short practice page of what was learned that day. Short.
Another purpose is for the students to show their parents what they learned. We tell them to go. Home and teach their parents what they learned and if they say they are not good at math, teach them to be good at math. Show them how to do the problems. The student becomes the teacher and learns more by teaching.
Students need a way out if they cannot do the work. There needs to be a "parent signature" clause for our homework. If the student does not understand the work and the parent does not understand how to help or what they are doing, the parent can sign the pare and write a little note saying "we tried". This will let us know the student did not understand the work and we'll go over the problems and algorithms again. It also prevents frustration for the parents and students at home. We do not want frustration with any homework. We want them to understand it and feel they can do the problems.
One last reason for homework is we want students to learn how to work. We want them to understand that they can work on something and give it their best work, even if they do not succeed at it. We want them to learn tolerance for work. They will have work that will take them time to complete and will be done in small pieces. This is important for students to learn as they grow.

The problem with homework is that when it is used as a tool to give students something to do after school or because the book said to, we teach students to hate homework. That just produces people that hate homework.

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