The Great Homework Debate

School has been in session for a couple of weeks now and it seems like the hot topic this year is homework.  Our district has decided not to give homework to kindergarteners in an attempt to save money.  I don’t understand how this is saving them much money, but I am fine with it.  My five year old doesn’t need to come home with homework.  So far my fourth grader has had a reasonable amount of homework.  She is required to read for twenty minutes, complete one spelling page and one math page.  It doesn’t take her too long to finish her work unless she is in a bad mood, so I have no complaints with our school.

However, I have heard from other parents that their kids are coming home with large amounts of homework that keep them up late and prevent them from enjoying other after school activities.  They are a bit older than my kids, but not too much older.  Is there an age when it becomes appropriate to send home that much homework?  I don’t think so.  Our kids spend at least six hours in school and then come home with a minimum of an hour of homework each night.  Is it possible to be a good student and participate in sports and other after school activities?  Are kids being forced to choose between grades and sports?  How does this work in your family?

Bonus question: Why is homework so important anyway?  I was able to teach my daughter at home in far less than six hours each day and she learned what she needed to learn.  We just received her first standardized test results from the district and she scored in the advanced category across the board.

Cast your vote.  Voice your opinion.  Inquiring minds want to know!  Well, I want to know. 🙂


About Tanya

I am a stay at home mom of two little girls. I love to bake and create fancy cakes. Read more about my life at and see our latest family blog

Posted on September 2, 2011, in education and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Homework serves a purpose. It will reinforce what the child learned during the day and hopefully the parents will look at it and know what their child is learning. But, excessive homework is not OK. I remember you coming home from Jr. High and starting in on your homework and not finishing until 10 PM. That is not OK. About an hour a night sounds good to me:)

  2. I’m certain a child can learn faster when home-schooled, because she can go at her own pace. Homework does reinforce what a child learns, but I don’t think there should be more than an hour. The girls I take care of are in 4th grade so I’m paralleled with you. Why did you stop homeschooling?

    • Homeschooling definitely offers the advantage that you mentioned. I am just surprised by how much it differs as far as time spent on school/home work. I stopped homeschooling because Emma was interested in trying school again. I think she missed the social interaction. I think we made the right choice. Homeschooling for two years gave her confidence and time to mature as well as deal with her health issues. I am glad we took her out when we did and I am glad we put her back! We’ll see if I still feel that way when she hits middle school. 🙂

  3. I can remember many back to school nights when I told the teachers they were giving too much homework. The response was usually very defensive and they blamed it all on school policy. Each teacher said they were required to give an hours worth of homework, which is fine in elementary school, but not in high school with half a dozen teachers.

  4. If homework is so important (and I am not saying it isn’t), one has to wonder about all the low income, ESL schools that have done away with homework. I realize that they stopped giving homework because the kids weren’t getting the support they needed at home in order to complete the assignments, but it seems like those kids are lacking in time needed to practice. As a math teacher, I definitely feel that homework is important. Our periods were only 45 mins. so I would often only have time to give the lesson, with no time left for the students to start their individual practice time (homework). I also felt in the middle school and continuation high school that there was a pull to combine some subjects for the big projects (i.e. a big project would have both English and history requirements for the student to fulfill). I think that if educators are willing to put forth the collaboration time, this could be a way to cut down on the homework.

  5. Is it possible that homework (in reasonable amounts at a reasonable age–and I wonder if K-garten is too young) is also beneficial purely as a discipline (as in, learning that learning happens outside of school, too)?
    Is it a way to get kids to be more self-disciplined, then?

    As a college writing teacher, I find homework invaluable for generating things to work on in class (as in first drafts to be reviewed and edited in class, or readings to be discussed in class the next session).

  6. Sounds like you had a great reason to start and a great reason to stop!

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