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Moms Talk: Do Your Kids Get Too Much Homework?

They are debating at a local and national level whether kids have too much homework, what do you think?

Back when I was in public elementary school, it was standard that the teachers gave us a minimum of an hour's work of homework to do every day and sometimes on weekends. We'd run home, do some homework, watch Dark Shadows, then an hour at the piano, then go out and play and then get called in for dinner.

There is a big debate now about homework, particularly in Los Angeles. Are your kids getting too much?

I know a teacher who gives lots of homework to her kids but then has complained about her child getting too much homework from other teachers. What she's upset about is repetitive and rote homework that makes the kids bored.

Another mom I've talked to was furious about a teacher who never ever looked at homework, and never corrected any. She thought that was a waste of time for her child to do the work, and then the kid got counted off when nothing was turned in.

Both the high schooler and elementary schooler around our house said they have too much homework. The high schooler said his teachers obviously don't coordinate big projects or heavy homework days, and the elementary schooler said he doesn't like writing a word five times and boring stuff like that.

Here are a few stories that you may want to read, for your, uh, homework:

* L.A. Unified's Faulty Approach to Homework — It starts off with that 4th grade mission project (we've got that coming up next year!)

* Less Stress if the Dog Eats It—Homework Can Only Count for 10 Percent of Your Grade

* Some hysterical Letters to the Editor (one of them excerpted below)


As an L.A. Unified teacher, I would like to send a big thank you to Chief Academic Officer Judy Elliott for this new homework policy.

Thank you for no more calls to parents requesting they turn off the television so their child can concentrate on homework. Blare away. Parents are not to be held responsible for their children's academic achievement.

Thank you for pointing out to our children that effort does not count.

Thank you for no more pesky research papers, science experiments, pyramid complexes or five-paragraph essays.

Thank you for allowing low expectations to set the agenda. The tail should always wag the dog.

But most of all, thank you for the evening and weekend hours I will not be spending devising and correcting student work. That will be cut to 10%.

Patricia Baker

Heidi Birker July 06, 2011 at 11:07 PM
There is good homework, and there is bad homework. Good homework reinforces the lessons learned during the school day, and bad homework is busy work that counts for nothing. The problem I see in the new LAUSD policy is that homework will only count for 10% of the grade, which means the final grades will rely on testing. Some children know the material, but don't test well. Once again LAUSD is not looking at children's different learning styles and applying a "one size fits all" approach.
Michele July 06, 2011 at 11:38 PM
Ok, I am a middle school math teacher. If the student uses the time I give them in class to start their homework, then they will have maybe 8 problems to do at home. In my Algebra class when we are on problems where there is a lot of work to show, they might have 5 to do at home. That is not a lot of work, yet kids still complain. You could not give some kids home work and they will then complain they are bored. Working in the hUmanities academy at Reed, we teachers plan our projects so that they are spread out, yet students complain because they wait to do all the projects on one day, so it seems like a lot, but the parents didn't realize that they were given the work 3 weeks ago and should have started things early so it is not so overwhelming. Kids need to practice the math nightly in order to get good at it. Homework should also count more then 10 % of the grade or kids wont do it. We are creating kids who will only do minimal work because they know they don't have to, so we create adults who do only what is minimally necessary at work, We are not creating kids who work to earn their grade, but demand that we "give" them a grade because they show up to school. It is the same with the teams where we don't keep score, so everyone is a winner. That is fine for kindergarten, but when will kids learn that they need to work to get good? Strive to be your best? put some effort forth and not just show up? A certain amount of homework is necessary
Michele July 06, 2011 at 11:42 PM
Parents should also ask daily what is assigned and know that projects are not given the night before, and for the most part there is not a lot of homework, just bad time management. Some parents complain about the amount of homework their kids get, yet when I ask my students, many of them are on Facebook 2 or 3 hours DAILY, and 2 to 5 hours playing video games DAILY!!!!! My kids are not allowed to do that on school nights at all. If they don't have homework then they read or catch up on studying. Lets not blame the school and teachers again, lets look at all aspects of what a child does each day. that means the parents, students, teachers, administrators. It takes a village, but also, here is the question? who is the person legally responsible for the child?
Mike Szymanski July 07, 2011 at 01:12 PM
I've heard there are some parents who would blame their child's teachers for not doing homework! As if the teachers have to come home with each kid to do the job of the parents!


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