WHAT REALLY WORKS? A CURE FOR THE HOMEWORK BLUES
The type of homework that really works is that which leads to proficiency, mastery, achievement and success:
- Effective homework, by definition, is comprised of short drills that last one to fifteen minutes each.
- Each drill emphasizes one to three of the most important skills and facts leaned in class that day. These skills and facts are drilled to proficiency in the classroom and can be quickly reviewed and drilled to fluency at home.
- Homework should not introduce new material to which neither student or parent has been exposed. The material must be that with which the student is already proficient. The student must be able to succeed at homework without having to turn to mom or dad. Simply enough, mom and dad probably aren't home from work yet. When they do walk in the door, they probably aren't prepared to deal with homework either.
- Homework should have a very definite time limit and be coordinated among teachers so that all teachers don't make homework assignments on the same night. Up through grade eight, a total limit of 15 to 45 minutes of well-designed homework, four or five nights a week, may be appropriate. High-school homework may extend to one hour. Since classes commonly meet only two or three times a week, college homework may extend to two hours. Through high school, homework should be limited to four nights a week and one hour on the weekend. Thirty minutes of family reading is an ideal part of most evenings, but this is not realistic in the face of today's enormous homework burden. See the Brainsarefun Reading solution for details.
- There would be no need for as much homework if so much time weren't wasted during the typical school day, mostly through a lack of correct student and classroom management and lack of positive discipline. Students have already put in a full day by the time they arrive home. How many adults do you know who bring home one or more hours of work every evening?
The apologists for homework are legion. However, all the facts are on our side.