This question has been debated for a while now, many argue against it saying that parents are doing it, kids are not learning from it and its a waste of time.  As with all arguments there are no absolutes in this case either, some homework is great for kids and some is meaningless.  As a teacher I have a very hard time with its place as far as assessment, feedback and time spent in class.  My grade level team is currently grappling with all three of these issues.  But I have never questioned not giving it to my students and here are some of the reasons.

I teach in a school with 95% plus on free or reduced lunch, at a school that was on probation, but most importantly I teach students who are or at one time were below grade level or multiple years below grade level in core subjects.  These are the students who headstart and preschool for all programs are aimed at, these are kids who do not have access to a rich environment for learning.  They need homework.  They don’t live in a place that is safe to go outside and play, they don’t have multitudes of books in their house, they aren’t involved in after school activities like sports or arts.  They need more.  They need more time to learn, more time to grow and more time to build knowledge.  They need homework.

They need homework because before they came to school they also didn’t have all the things mentioned above and came in behind because the work wasn’t being done at home.  The work at home needs to be done now.  I don’t want parents “doing” the homework for the students, but I want parents working with their child on homework, figuring it out with their child.  I want parents to call me and ask questions because it shows they want the work to be done too.  They may be “doing” it sometimes, but I hope they are doing it side by side with their child and having a discussion too.

If you work with students in who are at-risk of dropping out during their education what message does it send when you don’t give them work to continue at home?  For me it says, education is a 8-2 job, it only happens when you are in school and its up to me, not up to you or your family.  By giving homework I think it says, its going to be hard but you can do it, I can support you and so can your family, the more you work at your education the better you will be and education takes place outside of school hours.  I am working hard for their education well over my school day hours, and I think they should too.

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