There is a view by many that homework is not being used properly in schools across the nation. Issues and concerns about homework have a number of root causes. Some view that the quantity of homework being required of students is too little or too much. Others feel that the quality of the assignment is lacking. Following is a list of many of the concerns that parents, students, and even teachers bring up.
1. There is too much homework being assigned.
Many parents and students complain that there is just too much homework being assigned to students each week. This is especially true when the students are enrolled in Honors or Advanced Placement courses. This problem can be compounded by a lack of communication between teachers in a high school. For example, if a student taking AP Biology
, AP United States History
, AP English Language
, and Algebra 2 they will have a huge number of expectations laid on their shoulders. If the teachers of these classes do not discuss and come to a consensus about who is giving major assignments when, then they could be faced with a number of difficult assignments and tests all due on the same day or during the same week. This results in much stress, and in reality lesser quality work, for the student.
2. There is too little homework being assigned.This is the opposite end of the spectrum from number one and is often heard by the parents of students in the average classes across the nation. The truth is that when studies are done about homework, elementary schools consistently give the most across the nation with middle schools slightly behind and high schools trailing the list. As teachers, we need to ask ourselves what is the purpose of homework and how it should fit in our lessons.
3. Homework assignments are just busy work.Many students and some parents complain about the fact that a lot of the homework being assigned is just 'busy work'. This happens because the work does not appear to be connected to the learning process. The truth is that sometimes this is true. As teachers we need to make sure that any homework we give has a true purpose in moving the student forward in the subject. This is not to say that items like glossary terms and the memorization of dates in American History doesn't have its place. It's just to say that these need to be used strategically.
4. Some assignments are too complicated.Sometimes students bring home overly complicated assignments. It can seem to parents that some assignments require an inordinate amount of involvement on their part. If the purpose of the assignment is to get the student to connect with other students or their parents, then that connection may be necessary. For example, if the student is learning about history, they might need to ask their parents to help create a genealogy tree. However, if that is not the purpose then the assignment should be able to be completed by the student.
5. The instructions for homework are unclear.There is nothing worse than being a parent who is trying to help their child with a homework assignment and is unable to understand the instructions. Remember, students will not always remember what you say in class. If they need to know something to complete an assignment, it needs to be written down by them or you. Further, if the assignment is too broad it can become confusing quite quickly and the results can be varied. For example, if a teacher assigns their students the task of building a model castle without further details and expectations, they might get very large castles, very small castles, or castles made from materials that will attract bugs into the classroom.