What’s Homework Got To Do With It?

By Anna Heintz, Mrs. Kim’s PreK TA

To give homework or not to give homework? That is the question. Many school districts across the country are asking this very question, and they are finding that the answer is not that easy! There are many educators who believe that homework fosters responsibility and creates space outside of school for students to extend their learning by being challenged to dive deeper in content areas. While this sounds good, there are many educators who believe that homework only extends the work day for students and creates more problems than it’s worth. 

According to an article dated September 27, 2017, entitled 6 of the Most Engaging Homework Alternatives You’ll Find, (https://www.wabisabilearning.com/blog/6-engaging-homework-alternatives), educators argue that homework is not an either-or problem, but rather there is in fact a third option. In her book Fires in the Mind, Kathleen Cushman Book coverprovides the reader with six characteristics that all homework assignments should contain. Her work is research-based and includes her firsthand interactions with school-aged children.  These characteristics are as follows:


  • Purpose—It should have a goal, and not just be busywork.
  • Differentiation—Everyone is at a different level and assigning the same thing to everyone is not helpful.
  • Attention and focus—Doing assignments at home when kids are tired, perhaps from after-school sports or music, is not the best time.
  • Repetition and rehearsal—These are mainstays of sports and music regimens and should be with other subjects.
  • Careful timing/proper scaffolding/sequence—Do not give homework at the very end of a semester “just to get grades in.
  • Deliberate practice—This should be intended to lead to new skills. Don’t grade homework.