What Parents & Students Need To Know About Homework
Homework has changed dramatically over the years. Lately, research has suggested that there is very little benefit to it and many teachers in North America have scaled back on it, myself included. Let’s face it, when the day is done, few of us want to bring our work home with us. While homework may be useful to some, it isn’t necessary for all.
In my classroom, I rarely assign homework for homework’s sake. Most of the time, any homework your child brings home is work that was unfinished in class at the sound of the bell. For those who work efficiently, homework is rare or even non-existent. Keep in mind, however, long-term assignments or preparing for tests should be tackled in small doses over time rather than rushed the night before. Nights with little to no homework are optimal for working on these larger assignments in advance. This may include studying, reviewing new material or researching.
Occasionally, I may add an extra task or worksheet that is optional and for extended practise. These will be found in the Homework posts and visible on the main page on the night it is posted. If you’re the type of parent who likes his/her child to have extended practise, I encourage you to do any of the following on a nightly basis (if time permits):
- Read – read with your child and ask questions about his/her reading. Try to get a feel for their level of understanding. Remember, strong fluency doesn’t mean strong comprehension. The reading material can be of any kind: fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, comic books or magazines.
- Practise math drills – students need a solid foundation in basic mental math. Citing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts from memory clears the way for more advanced math concepts. And unlike days of old, it’s less about how quickly the student can do it, and more about having the skill to draw upon.
- Write – brainstorm a story together and write it, share poetry or write letters.
- Problem-solving – give him/her scenarios where a solution is needed, something that requires critical thinking and problem solving.
- Develop opinions – after reading a book, watching a movie or show, or reading an article, discuss points of view and encourage your child to draw his/her own conclusions about it. These are excellent exercises in judgment and critical thinking – necessary skills in today’s world.
It is important that students be organized in the event they have homework. Before the end of each day, students will write down their homework in their agendas. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure his/her agenda is complete, proper materials taken home, and work completed by the due date. Homework is also updated on the blog daily (barring any technical problems) so knowing what is due is readily accessible at all times.
Incomplete homework is tracked regularly and noted in the Class Dojo app (see the Parents’ Corner page for more info about Class Dojo). The following points are essential rules that every student should know and follow:
- You (the student) are responsible for your homework, no one else!
- In order for homework to be complete, it must be at the school when it is due.
- “Complete” homework means all of it. (This includes special instructions such as copying the questions, showing work, drawing diagrams etc.)
- Incomplete homework still needs to be finished (out in the hallway or at recess).
- If you’re ever confused or need assistance, ask your parents or siblings, call a friend or come to school early the next day. If all else fails, at least TRY something in your notebook. Do not use the excuse, “I didn’t get it”.
If these simple rules can be followed, students will meet continued success throughout the school year. Parents, if there are extenuating circumstances in which your child could not complete homework, please call the school or send a note with your child. If at any point you have questions or concerns about your child’s homework, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Reminder Binder Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Reminder Binder?
The Reminder Binder is an essential tool for our learning experience. It will teach your child responsibility and organization.
How will the Reminder Binder help?
No more wrinkled papers in the bottom of backpacks! No more lost school notes, lost homework, lost classroom notes. No more missing lunch/book money! No more looking all over the house to find paper to write the teacher a note! Everything a student and parent needs is in one place!
How can I find out what’s in a Reminder Binder?
Here is a list of what you can find in a Reminder Binder:
- Essex PS Agenda– we will use this for writing down our daily and long-term homework assignments. A few important points about the agenda to note:
- Please sign/initial the agenda every evening. Feel free to check what your child has written with the homework listed on the class website/blog.
- Look for notes from me in the agenda when you initial. Likewise, you may write to me by the same means. However, please have your child tell me if you have a note for me to read in this section and I will reply to your comments/questions. If your child does not tell me, I may not know that you have something for me to read.
- Be on the lookout for any correspondence from the classroom and/or school regarding field trips, newsletters, photo days, special lunches, messages from the office, etc.
- Tests – tests and quizzes that are returned to your child will go here. You can check your child’s performance by going over these papers. They should be corrected, as we usually go over the correct answers when they are returned. The test grade is also recorded by the student in his/her agenda on the day it was returned.
- Projects – any on-going and/or long-term project assignments will go here. Each student will be provided with his/her own copy with assigned due dates, usually with the rubric attached (which will need to be handed back upon the due date). If your child has lost one, copies can be downloaded and printed from the class website/blog. Please note that any student work that is to be graded, will have to be completed in class, not at home. Students can do research ahead of work dates for projects but gone are the days of bringing projects home to be completed. The projects section of the Reminder Binder is to keep you informed of what is going on in the classroom and to offer any guidance as your child works away at the task.
- Daily Homework – any tasks due within the week will be stored in this section.
- Overflow – this is where notes, assignments (etc.) will go at the conclusion of a unit or are no long needed in the classroom. Once home, students are free to do with these pages as they please. Ensure it is emptied from time to time to keep the Reminder Binder light.
While we will be discussing the components of this binder in class, please also discuss it with your child, reinforcing the importance of staying organized to prevent any problems in the future.
What are the student rules for the Reminder Binder?
- Take your Reminder Binder home every night and bring it back to school each morning. DO NOT leave it at home, daycare, on the bus/car or anywhere else.
- Take good care of your Reminder Binder, you’ll need it all year long. If it begins to show signs of wear, be prepared to replace it.
- After your homework is completed put your homework in your Reminder Binder and your binder in your backpack so you do not forget it.
- Understand the point of having a Reminder Binder: the reason is to keep you organized, so keep IT organized! Every paper has a home so listen to instructions on where to file things. Only on rare occasions should there be loose papers in your desk.
- Share your Reminder Binder with your parents everyday. They will be proud you are being responsible and pleased to see all your accomplishments.