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« Another Interesting Article on Homework that Advocates Ending Elementary School Homework (from a former homework fan) | Main | How Fast Can You Name All 50 States (See If You Can Beat My Time of 3:40) »

Monday, June 23, 2008


Keith Little

Homework is a powerful education tool!

As usual, the work of the Homework Task Force isn't readily discoverable on the SBISD website, so it's hard to judge their recommendations.

However, Mike, your proposed amendments to the proposed SBISD homework policy revisions don't seem to fully exploit the potential of homework, particularly the "extension" sort.

A few observations:

While your blog cites research highlighting a purported lack of correlation between homework and student achievement, how does one explain that homework has been used consistently and extensively across centuries and societies as an education tool? Did humanity just get it wrong way back when? Normally if one sees a consistent pattern of human behavior across time and cultures then that behavior can be assumed to be beneficial to the species.

Kids will be "learning" at home whether it is school-assigned homework or other alternatives. Homework competes positively with television, video games and many forms of "hanging out". There are enough hours in the day for kids to do healthy extracurricular activities and more homework than you suggest while leaving a dose of free time (good "hanging out").

Homework provides a unique opportunity for children and parents to work together. It can be difficult for many parents to motivate their children to engage in "educational" activities unless the schools support it.

Your suggested high school homework time limits will not prepare our youth for what they will experience in college, where success is highly dependent on one's ability to learn outside the classroom.

SBISD schools demand very little reading outside the classroom, particularly of literature. Students should be required by the school to read more. We parents need the support of the schools in this effort, as teachers are often viewed by our children as more authoritative on this matter. And while students should be allowed latitude on what they want to read, teachers ought to sign off on the selections to ensure quality and challenge.

SBISD teachers do not assign enough substantive homework "extension" projects in which students are obliged to dig deeper with individual initiative. Team-based projects are particularly effective in preparing our children for "the real world".

A major barrier to effective homework is the lack of time that our teachers have to effectively review homework, on top of everything else they are required to do.

Best wishes to the Homework Task Force. This is a challenging yet vital topic. SBISD needs to do better with homework.

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