New Homework Policy

The inspiration I had for my blog topic actually came from a post that I saw on Facebook a couple months ago. It was a picture that I saw that had been sent home with a student in elementary school. This is the letter:

I found this letter extremely interesting and I really liked the idea of it. I do however understand that lots of parents work away and some children go to different homes every night, so this is not always a possibility. However, I do believe that parents or guardians can have a major impact on how their child does in school, and the habits that they practice at home are extremely important to a child’s success. The difference between home lives from this year’s practicum class and last year’s is quite drastic. I knew that several students in my class didn’t come from homes with many rules. For example, lots of them were able to stay up until late hours of night playing video games, which greatly affected how they behaved and performed at school the next day. From my own personal observations, I have found that getting a good nights sleep and a good meal is essential to a child’s performance and engagement inside the classroom.

I’m not saying that all children must do these things in order to do well in school because that is simply not the case. However, I think that what they do outside the classroom really affects how several children do in school, and also in their own physical and mental health.

In the letter, the teacher talks about:

Eating dinner as a family
Reading together
Playing outside
Getting your child into bed early.

I am going to research these 4 things to see if they really do have an affect on student success:

Growing up, I ate dinner with my family almost every night. This was a way for us to talk about our days, and spend time together. I never realized how much this affected me in the long run, but it really did. Even as an adult, eating meals with other people is something that I cherish, and truly believe can help foster social skills and improve mental health.
From a Science Daily Article focusing on young children in Quebec, “When the family meal environment quality was better at age 6…these children seemed to have more social skills, and they were less likely to self-report being physically aggressive, oppositional or delinquent at age 10.”
“The presence of parents during mealtimes likely provides young children with firsthand social interaction, discussions of social issues and day-to-day concerns and vicarious learning of prosocial interactions in a familiar and emotionally secure setting. Experiencing positive forms of communication may likely help the child engage in better communication skills with people outside of the family unit.”

By this point in our degree, we should all know how reading everyday can truly benefit children. However, reading with parents or guardians from a young age can affect many skills that a child uses in school “Benefits of shared reading include facilitating enriched language exposure, fostering the development of listening skills, spelling, reading comprehension and vocabulary, and establishing essential foundational literacy skills. They are also valued as a shared social opportunity between parents and their children to foster positive attitudes toward reading.”

Physical activity is also super important for children, and playing outside every day can promote social skills, increase attention span, reduces stress, and increases vitamin D levels. Although these may not directly correlate with school engagement and performance, it is pretty clear to me that this might impact how they do.

Finally, how does getting your child to bed early affect how they do in school? I looked at an article comparing sleep and daytime functioning in adolescents. “Sleep is a primary aspect of adolescent development. The way adolescents sleep critically influences their ability to think, behave, and feel during daytime hours.”

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The Downfalls of Homework (researched)

This post is going to be researching the negative aspects of giving out homework instead of looking at it from a first hand perspective. Here is a list of 12 cons that you may not have thought about when it comes to giving out homework.

  1. Children benefit from playing – with too much homework, a child doesn’t have enough time to play and that can impact their social development. Low levels of play are associated with lower academic achievement levels, lower safety awareness, less character development, and lower overall health.
  2. It encourages a sedentary lifestyle – long homework assignments require long periods of sitting.
  3. Not every home is a beneficial environment – some children have highly invested parents that are more than happy to help their child or get a tutor in order to help their child succeed. Some children do not come from homes like this,, and they may be offered little to no help at home.
  4. School is already a full-time job for kids – At my school, the bell rings at 8:42 and then again at 2:37. That is almost 6 hours of work that kids as young as 5 are putting into their education everyday. Add in extra-curricular actives that schools encourage, such as sports, musicals, and after-school programming and a student can easily reach an average of 8 hours of education a day. Then add homework on top of that? It is asking a lot for any child, but especially young children.
  5. There is no evidence that homework creates improvements – Survey after survey has found that the only thing that homework does is create a negative attitude toward schooling and education in general.
  6. It discourages creative endeavours – If a student is pending 1 hour each day on homework, that’s an hour they are not spending pursuing something that is important to them. Homework can take away time from learning an instrument, painting, or developing photography skills as well.
  7. Homework is difficult to enforce – Some students just don’t care about homework. They can achieve adequate grades without doing it, so they choose not to do it.
  8. Extra time in school does not equate to better grades
  9. Accurate practice may not be possible – If a child is struggling with their homework then they may ask a parent or guardian for help. This can cause more confusion because the person may attempt to explain it to the child in a different way than the teacher. The teacher will then have to re-teach the topic which may result in a prolonged learning process.
  10. It may encourage cheating on multiple levels -Some students may decide that cheating in the classroom to avoid taking homework home is a compromise they’re willing to make. With internet resources, finding the answers to homework instead of figuring out the answers on one’s own is a constant temptation as well. For families with multiple children, they may decide to copy off one another to minimize the time investment.
  11. Too much homework is often assigned to students
  12. Homework is often geared toward benchmarks


20 Pros and Cons of Homework


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The Homework Disaster Triangle

Today’s blog post is going to be about the negative aspects of giving out homework to your students from first hand experience. In my previous practicum class, my teacher explained why she didn’t give out homework with a triangle diagram that looked like this:



Parents                     Teacher

The students are at the top of the diagram, with the teacher and the parents at the bottom.

  • When you give out homework that a student may not fully understand, the student is often not happy with the teacher.
  • When they ask their parents for help, the parent could end up confusing the student more by teaching them a different way than they were taught in class. The student ends up being more confused and when they come back to class with their homework wrong or incomplete, then the teacher gets angry at the student.
  • Meanwhile, the parent is angry with the teacher because their child is not fully understanding the concepts.
  • The teacher then becomes angry at the parent for teaching their student something completely different.

Overall, homework can cause a big mess, so my teacher just stuck to silent read for 30 minutes every night. She also mentioned that even when she did give out homework, it would come back to school incomplete most of the time so it was a waste of time. The students who didn’t really need to be doing the homework would do it, but the students who really did need to be doing it, didn’t do it.

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To give or not to give

Throughout my practicum experiences and observations in numerous classrooms, I have noticed that there is quite a discrepancy amongst teachers whether or not homework has or does not have a benefit. I believe that it comes down to an abundance of components, not simply the grade level that the student is in. This is inquiry is mainly intermediate focused.

During my last practicum in a grade 4/5 classroom, my Sponsor Teacher did not believe in giving out homework, and she had a very solid argument as to why. However, I know of lots of teachers in grade 5 that do give out homework to their students, so I wanted to research it so that I can form my own opinion on the topic.

Today’s blog post is going to give an insight into the BENEFITS of giving out homework. Here is a list of 10 benefits to it:

10 Benefits of Homework

Homework teaches students about time management.
Homework teaches students how to set priorities.
Homework helps teachers determine how well the lessons and material are being understood by their students.
Homework teaches students how to problem solve.
Homework gives students another opportunity to review the class material.
Homework gives parents a chance to see what their child is learning in school.
Homework teaches students that they have to do things, even when they don’t want to.
Homework teaches students how to take responsibility for their part in the educational process.
Homework teaches students how to work independently.
Homework teaches students the importance of planning, staying organized and taking action.


10 Benefits of Homework

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Welcome to my Blog!

Hello!  My name is Kathleen Konar and welcome to my blog.  Throughout this blog I will be exploring the benefits (or non-benefits) of giving homework in elementary school!  Join me on this journey of discovery!

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