This looks like a blog post, but really it’s just an extended tweet.  This morning, @critchie17 posted this on Twitter:  @timgels I am wondering how you and other teachers feel about homework in general? or am I opening a can of worms?

 I imagine that it was prompted by a tweet that I posted in which I linked to a NYTimes blogpost entitled “The Crush of Summer Homework.” 

Are you following all of this?  Anyway, here are my thoughts on homework.  Remember, I teach third grade.  If I taught kindergarten or high school I’d have a different opinion, I’m sure.

I believe that homework is, for the most part, assigned at the elementary school level because, well, homework is supposed to be assigned at the elementary school level.  That whole “ten minutes per grade level” business.  I don’t buy it, to tell you the truth.  I could go on for quite a while, but since my wife’s out cutting the grass and I’m not, I’ll keep it short and simply make a few points in defense of my position.

  • The kid who needs it probably isn’t going to do it, and the kid who doesn’t really need the additional “independent practice” (because, after all, that’s what homework is, isn’t it?) is going to skip something worthwhile to do it if it kills him.
  • We worked with (pick a subject) for an hour in class.  Orientation to the lesson, instruction, guided practice, independent practice, the whole nine yards: does a third-grader need more than an hour of a given subject in a 24 hour period?
  • The student goes home, makes a good faith effort, and does almost every problem wrong.  Did I really want her to reinforce her mistake for that long?
  • Honestly, I’m not going to collect it, grade it, and return it for the instant feedback that is ideal.  That’s a problem on my end.
  • Kids have enough in the evenings, and parents have even more. That’s an entirely different blog post (or book), but it’s reality.  I don’t need to exacerbate a bad situation that leaves a pre-adolescent bleary eyed at 7:30 A.M.

That’s it for now.  Thoughts, anyone?

PS: In case you’re curious, I think homework below the third grade is, well, um, not good.

PPS: Hey, it’s a public forum we’re running here…