Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Commonsense Approach to Homework

Homework is an important part of your child’s education. It allows them the opportunity to review concepts and strategies learned in class, and helps them learn to plan their time outside the classroom. For the parent, it is an opportunity to see what the child is learning at school, to review and clarify ideas with the student, and to gage how well their child has understood.

In cycle three, your child will have approximately forty-five minutes of homework and studying each week-night. This will include the math pages, revising math concepts (such as multiplication), working on English homework, studying French verbs and vocabulary, and revising texts.

Most assignments and lessons are given over many days so that families can have multiple nights to complete the work. Given that many students have extra-curricular activities, parents should review the homework on Monday and plan how it will be completed during the week. Some nights the student may have to choose what to focus on: if a text is due the next day, that may take priority, and math pages need to be completed before we move on to more challenging concepts. Never is a large amount of work given and expected to return completed for the next day.

While it may seem like an obvious statement, homework is to be done at home. The same way parents supervise the completion of other chores, parents need to make sure their child completes their homework. Given that homework is not done in my presence, I rely on parents to ensure that it is completed. I do not give punishments at school for something that was or was not done when I was not present. Teachers would not be expected to give a detention to a child who did not make her bed, because that is a home responsibility. The same can be said for homework. I do not control how the student uses their time after 2:45. That is the role of the parent.

It is my experience that parents generally value schoolwork and want to help their child succeed. Therefore, to make sure homework gets done, we use the agenda and the homework blog to make sure families know what has to be done. Then if work is not completed I take the following steps:

1) the first time work is not done, I write a note in the agenda informing you the work is not done. At this point most parents make sure the work gets competed and investigate why the assignment is incomplete.

2) the second time the work it not done, the student and I call home to inform parents there is a problem and to enlist their help getting the work done.

3) the third time homework is incomplete, parents need to come to school to meet with me to discuss the situation. We discuss why the work is not done and find solutions such as modifying expectations or planning schedules. If the problem is one of the child refusing to do the work, we may seek the outside help of a psycho-educator or social worker to help families solve the problem.

If for some reason your child is unable to complete the work on a given night (unexpected company, family emergency, unforeseen circumstances) please write me a note stating that you know the homework is not done, and letting me know when it will be completed. In this way I know that the student has informed the parent they had work that needed to be done.

I thank you for your help with homework, and for taking the time to support your child in his or her learning.

Kathy Napier

No comments: