blue spacer


Homework - a time when parents shouldn't be too involved -
By Dr. Rick Reedy, FISD Superintendent

Homework - a time when parents shouldn't be too involved -The issue of homework is frequently discussed in the context of how much is too much and how involved parents should be in the process.

The purpose of homework is to reinforce concepts taught in the classroom, build skills and confidence in the material, teach responsibility and organization, and to help develop important study habits. It also gives parents an opportunity to see what students are learning and to help reinforce the importance of this learning at home. Homework and projects are not intended to gauge a parent's knowledge and skills. Checking homework, asking probing questions, helping students to break down the information into manageable chunks is one thing - reading a book and doing a report, taking over the science experiment or working out the math problems is another story.

Additionally, homework sometimes gets blamed for adding stress to an already hectic schedule. Because young people today have so much going on outside of school, homework can contribute to an already frenzied pace. Although I am a proponent of students being involved in extra-curricular activities at school and to also be involved in church and other areas of interest, I also like to point out that academics have to be a priority. If a student is involved in band, choir, sports, etc., at school and is also involved in club sports, private piano and dance lessons after school, when I started to look for ways to create more balance and ease stress, homework would not be my starting point.

Oftentimes what students call homework is actually classwork they did not complete. This would probably be a good question to ask if a student's homework load seems excessive. Most educators agree with the rule of thumb of 10 minutes per night per grade level, but this also is influenced by the advanced nature of the courses being taken and other factors.

Below are some guidelines for parents taken off of the Department of Education website. All students and families are different, but these points at least provide some helpful thoughts and a basis for discussion. (One more thought - it is tempting to rescue students when they forget their homework or leave a book at home and doing this a time or two is fine - but sometimes, the best lesson we can teach our students is that "every action has an equal and opposite reaction." Coping with consequences, disappointment, and "failure" are very real life skills. )