Suzanne Capek Tingley started as a high school English/Spanish teacher, transitioned to middle school, and eventually became a principal, superintendent, and adjunct professor in education administration at the State University of New York.
In recent years, amid concerns of some parents and teachers that children are being stressed out by too much homework, things have only gotten more fraught.
“Homework is complicated,” says developmental psychologist Janine Bempechat, a Wheelock College of Education & Human Development clinical professor.
That’s what I think is the greatest value of homework—in cultivating beliefs about learning and skills associated with academic success.
If we greatly reduce or eliminate homework in elementary school, we deprive kids and parents of opportunities to instill these important learning habits and skills.
In some subjects, like math, worksheets can be very helpful.
It has to do with the value of practicing over and over.” Photo by i Stock/Glenn Cook Photography Do your homework. Educators have debated the merits of homework since the late 19th century.We do know that beginning in late middle school, and continuing through high school, there is a strong and positive correlation between homework completion and academic success.Any parent who has battled with a child over homework night after night has to wonder: Do those math worksheets and book reports really make a difference to a student’s long-term success?In short, homework is a key vehicle through which we can help shape children into mature learners.The Homework-Achievement Connection A narrow focus on whether or not homework boosts grades and test scores in the short run thus ignores a broader purpose in education, the development of lifelong, confident learners.Or is homework just a headache—another distraction from family time and downtime, already diminished by the likes of music and dance lessons, sports practices, and part-time jobs?Allison, a mother of two middle-school girls from an affluent Boston suburb, describes a frenetic afterschool scenario: “My girls do gymnastics a few days a week, so homework happens for my 6th grader after gymnastics, at p.m. My 8th grader does her homework immediately after school, up until gymnastics.“Quality homework is engaging and relevant to kids’ lives,” says Wheelock’s Janine Bempechat.“It gives them autonomy and engages them in the community and with their families.She eats dinner at and then goes to bed, unless there is more homework to do, in which case she’ll get to bed around 10.” The girls miss out on sleep, and weeknight family dinners are tough to swing.Parental concerns about their children’s homework loads are nothing new.