The topic of homework seems to be a hot-button issue in education lately. Do we give it to students? Do we not? If we provide it to students should it be graded? Extra practice? Family involvement? I mean the questions can go on and on.
So, I did what I do best when I don’t know the answer to something. I reached out to the amazing Teaching Trailblazers in our Facebook community. Thank you so much for all your input and feedback Fearless Kindergarten Teachers, Fearless First Grade Teachers, and Fearless Second Grade Teachers. You are our reason why!
Why Provide Homework?
Many educators assume homework is a valuable resource for teaching. Educators provide homework and expect students to complete it outside of school. Homework is extra practice and sometimes even an extension of the lesson taught. So what makes it so controversial?
I believe it comes down to the amount of “review’ that is provided as well as assigning a grade to it. Mrs. Jones Creation Station has a great blog on “Homework Tips: The Do’s and Dont’s”. I absolutely love her point in #7 where she states that homework is a reinforcement of skills that are already learned to get more parental involvement. Moreso them showing off their skills of what they learned at school. She continues on to discuss how important it is to NOT take away privileges in the classroom for students not completing or handing the homework in, which I think is SO important!
Do Our Teaching Trailblazers Assign Homework?
Yes, It Is Important
“I ask mine to read 20 to 30 minutes an evening. They can read themselves or be read to.” ~ Kay T.
“Our students have a weekly reading fluency passage that reinforces the phonics skills of the week, spelling words that are skill-based, and daily math fact fluency.” ~ Carol V.
“This year I’ve minimized it. Mostly games and quick activities. My families are as tired as I am!” ~ Angela B.
“Just reading club.” ~ Valerie S.
“Reading log only because we have to mark homework completion on report cards.” ~ Amy D.
“Phonics/Spelling sheets on Monday and Tuesday. Reading comp short story with a few questions on Wednesday. Math and one-minute math fact sheet on Thursday. Spelling sentences (5) due on Friday. Always the same format so routine is set for the year. I give out homework passes as prizes and holiday gifts which allows for skipping some nights of their choice.” ~ Jeanne V.
“I do give some because parents expect homework and they judge you if you don’t send it. A couple of years back I tried sending a math center and an ELA center with a spinner and I put it in a plastic sheet with a whiteboard marker so the child could practice multiple times. I taught students how to do it and practiced in class to make sure they knew what to do. I changed both centers every week.” ~ Cla R.
“Homework is only unfinished classwork.” ~ Tara P.
“I give math homework M-Th. Reading is expected M-F. Spelling words are sent home on Monday to study for the test on Friday. I am trying to build good habits for my students and connect with families. Some return very little. Most do a decent job.” ~ Nora P.
“Reading each night one book (most do) and if were on an extended break or if requested I give sight word cards to study.” ~ Lynn P.
“I hand out “Homework Packets” once every two weeks so that parents can decide when it works best for their children to do the work. I include a short story to read, math practice pages (usually the practice masters from the book), and a few sight word or beginning sound pages. Our first-grade students get homework every night that is due the next day so I want my students to know what homework is and get in the habit of doing some work at home.” ~ Shawn G.
Yes. It Is Important For Review – But Not Mandatory
“I do give homework. It is encouraged, but not enforced. It is important for parents to see what their children are learning from school to home.” ~ Johnson M.
“I send home a math paper each day and I tell parents it’s to stay at home. I don’t need it to come back or check it. They are 5 years old and spend 7 hours working. Home is for play!!” ~ Heather A.
“Reading is expected every night, spelling Monday to Thursday and some maths every week. I’m not a fan – it just emphasizes the inequality in the classroom.” ~ Fiona S.
“We give it but don’t take a grade. More for support on what we are learning in class. Some of us give incentives from our treasure boxes for doing it but don’t penalize those that don’t.” ~ Shelby C.
“I send home a small review packet on Mondays.. due the following Monday.. completion not required but most do it.” ~ Erin J.
“We do a choice board with 16 items. Students are asked to pick at least 1 from each for the week and we send home a reading log. They only have to send it back in the reading log. So it’s not mandatory but encouraged for extra practice on that week’s skill or previous skills.” ~ Jessica A.
“My kiddos only have a nightly reading task. They’re not penalized if they don’t do it, but rewarded if they do!” ~ Trish A.
“They can “check out” books from my library to read on an optional basis. (The power of peer pressure.). And weekly math facts fun practice.” ~ Ellen L.
“I send home optional homework since some of my kiddos’ parents like them to have it.” ~ Ashley B.
“I do a monthly reading log and math journal. They have all month to do both and turn in. It’s optional.” ~ Erin P.
No, I Do Not Assign Homework
“No homework but ask to read. There are focus word lists sent home if interested. Some parents ask for extra work.” ~ Karen P.
“Not mandatory homework but I gave out a choice board of activities in case parents wants homework.” ~ Teddi G.
“Encourage reading and allow access to our ELA and Math programs from home.” ~ Donna M.
“No homework except for reading and being read to. No tracking, though. It’s up to them.” ~ Marcie T.
“Our district just put out a new homework policy. No HW- but reading at home (no log or proof) and resources online on the district website as parents please.” ~ Hillary S.
“We don’t assign homework but recommend 20 minutes of reading a night.” ~ Bonnie C.
“No homework, some of my students get reading practice books or passages weekly.” ~ Camille K.
“No homework, fewer headaches for me, parents, and kids.” ~ Lili N.
“I encourage reading together and outside play.” ~ Jason R.
“Never. When they go home-they hug their family and play!” ~ Joanie M.
“No! How much do we hate having to do work after work hours?! School is their work- they need to relax and enjoy their family time too.” ~ Julia B.
“No!! We do enough academics! Let them play!!” ~ Carla B.
Should I Give Homework?
To answer this question I think it comes down to not only personal preference but relationships. Knowing your students. You know your students and families best. Will “homework” cause added stressors for families at home? Many families are running from extra-curricular to practices, to family events, and more.
However, I really like the extra practice side of things. I know personally, I assign homework when I see my students need some extra practice with a skill that they did not fully grasp just yet. No, this is not replacing the lesson. It is not replacing the review I am going to do tomorrow. It is just a little bit of added practice to drive that concept home!
I really liked some of the ideas provided by our Teaching Trailblazers. Especially incorporating ideas like choice boards or review packets that could be returned weekly or monthly. However, I do agree with many educators that it isn’t something that should be graded, mandatory, and definitely not take privileges away for not completing it.
Looking for some ideas for some extra practice that will pair well with your lessons? Education to the Core has some great answers for you! I am obsessed with my Premium Membership because I can find the one worksheet or activity I want to assign for practice. Print it off and send it home!
Addition Math Facts Practice Activities
Are your families looking for some flashcard math fact practice? Here is the perfect match! Allow students to practice fact fluency with addition fact sheets and number bonds.
Math Activities Packets Bundle | Math Practice
I LOVE this resource so much and have found so many review and practice opportunities inside. It is AMAZING that this resource also has printable math tools (printable rulers, clocks, number lines, and more!) for students and families to use at home!
February Monthly Packets
Education to the Core’s monthly packets is always the perfect fit to correlate to any lesson. Whether math, reading, phonics, science, or any other subject area the monthly packets have it covered! Available for 2nd Grade, 1st Grade, and Kindergarten.
Spelling, Grammar, Writing
Editable Spelling Activities for ANY List of Words
This resource works BEST for lists of TEN (10), TWELVE (12), or FIFTEEN (15) words! Simply type in your spelling words and print the activities you want to use! These were mainly created to be used as Print and Go but could be uploaded into Google Classroom as well for those digital learners.
The Daily Edit
My students love editing and I couldn’t be happier! What better way to reinforce this skill than to provide some practice for the students to show off their stuff at home? Allow your students to review capitalization, punctuation, spelling errors, quotations, and more!
Directed Drawings give the students an artistic outlet while still connecting them with reading, writing, and phonics activities. Hook your students with the drawing, extend the learning with the grammar, phonics, and writing activities! So much fun that students won’t even realize they are writing, a perfect resource for those reluctant writers!
Sound Wall with Mouth Pictures | Student Worksheets
This resource is more than just a “wall”. Yes, the sound wall itself is amazing with real faces and sounds, but you will also be obsessed with all the other amazing parts of this resource! For additional home review consider utilizing the student worksheets for each phoneme within this resource.
Phonics-Based Fluency and Comprehension Passages
Remember how I said that homework should be a review of skills taught? Remember nothing new should be sent home for students to learn. This resource is absolutely perfect for reviewing learned phonics skills through grade-level texts. The comprehension sets include fill-in-the-blank and short answer questions.
No Prep Phonics Poems
Poetry is great for building fluency and comprehension! The best part is that Education to the Core paired it with phonics! Each poem is connected to a specific phonics skill for that added review and enrichment.
No Prep Monthly Mini-Books for the Year
This is just another resource of Education to the Core’s that is just so adaptable. Whatever part of this resource you feel your students need is what you provide for additional practice. Whether it be the mini books for fluency practice, writing prompts to help with retelling, or any of the sight word activities will fit your classroom need.
Sight Word Booklets
Are you finding that your students need additional sight word practice? You are not alone! Sight Word Booklets help with the repetition of the sight words and will help with recalling and retaining. These booklets target sight words while practicing reading fluency and comprehension.
Practically 1st, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grade Reading Comprehension Passages
Monthly themed reading passages WITH corresponding comprehension questions? What more can an educator ask for!?! It is great that the comprehension questions to pair with the texts offer questions that are both text-dependent and require higher-level thinking.
Do you assign homework? Does your district have it as part of your student’s report cards? Let us know your thoughts and where you fit in with this conversation! Homework will continue to be a hot topic regarding education with educators in various groups of thought. That is okay!
If you believe that homework is important and your students need it for review and routine? That’s great you know that about your students! If you believe that homework is important, but shouldn’t be mandatory? Then, perhaps you understand your families’ needs at this time… Way to go! You don’t touch homework with a ten-foot pole? Guess what? That is okay too! Perhaps you provide review and family connections in other ways?!
Whatever group you fit into, you do you!
Written By – Christopher Olson
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