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Homework Woes?

Homework is a crucial element in any educational setting. Recent media has portrayed the "idea' of homework as needless busy work, assigned because it has always been this way. Like any popular belief, there is some truth to this misconception. Nightly practice and review can at times be boring, redundant, and unnecessary, if, and I stress if, the purpose of the assignment is not rooted in strong curricular design. In the most recent Connecting for High Potential, Robin Schader and I offered suggestions for communication and understanding as it relates to homework.

Educators know that over the course of a grading period many students will "miss" and assignment or two, and it is a good idea to institute a "Homework Club." Teachers can begin by issuing a "yellow slip" that allows for the student to offer reasons why the assignment was not turned in. It also has a space for the teacher name and assignment type. A record book can be used to keep track of these "missed" assignments. Students are allowed to miss a certain number of assignments (say 4-5 total from all teachers) before a variety of interventions are instituted. Parents, of course, are notified of the homework policy and are kept informed as to how many assignments the student is missing.

The goal of this documentation is to get to the root of the problem. Lack of organizational skills, long-term planning issues, forgetfulness, underachievement, perfectionism, poor copying of assignment directions and due dates, and overall lack of dedication are all reasons for missed homework.

Interventions include:

  • Monitoring a student during a mandatory after-school sessions.
  •   Homework diaries, where students keep track of all assignments and the time they spend on them.
  • A school-issued planner that is signed by each teacher at the end of class, ensuring a correctly written due date. This can be checked by an assigned teacher. As well as space for parents to write notes for teacher.
  •  Time limits for each assignment given by the teacher. Students not spending enough time will know how much they should be spending, and those spending too much time, can limit themselves.

Below are some great resources for educators to explore.

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