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%.