Center for American Progress

Homework and Higher Standards

  • Report    PDF (736 KB)

How Homework Stacks Up to the Common Core

CAP analysis found that homework is generally aligned to Common Core State Standards, but additional policy changes would make it more valuable.

kindergarten homework policy

Education, Education, K-12, Modernizing and Elevating the Teaching Profession

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In this article

A teenager helps her younger sister complete her math homework at their Denver home, January 2018. (Getty/The Denver Post/AAron Ontiveroz)

Introduction and summary

For as long as homework has been a part of school life in the United States, so too has the debate over its value. In 1900, a prominent magazine published an article on the evils of homework titled, “A National Crime at the Feet of Parents.” 1 The author, Edward Bok, believed that homework or too much school learning outside the classroom deprived children of critical time to play or participate in other activities at home. The very next year, California, influenced by those concerns, enacted a statewide prohibition on homework for students under the age of 15. 2 In 1917, the state lifted the ban, which has often been the case as districts have continually swung back and forth on the issue. 3

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More than 100 years later, homework remains a contentious issue, and the debate over its value rages on, with scholars coming down on both sides of the argument. Homework skeptic Alfie Kohn has questioned the benefit of homework, arguing that its positive effects are mythical, and in fact, it can disrupt the family dynamic. 4 He questions why teachers continue to assign homework given its mixed research base. Taking the opposite view, researchers Robert Marzano and Debra Pickering have voiced their support for purposeful homework that reinforces learning outside of school hours but still leaves time for other activities. 5

In 1989, prominent homework scholar Harris Cooper published a meta-analysis of more than 100 studies on homework in a survey that found a correlation between homework and performance on standardized tests, but only for certain grade levels. According to Cooper’s research, for students in late-elementary grades through high-school, there was a link between homework and improved standardized test performance. However, there was no evidence of the same correlation for younger students. 6 Even without a connection to academic achievement, Cooper still recommended assigning homework to younger students because it helps “develop good study habits, foster positive attitudes toward school, and communicate to students the idea that learning takes work at home as well as school.” 7

Far from academia, parents—not surprisingly—are some of homework’s most ardent supporters and, also, its most vocal critics. For better or worse, many parents help or are involved in their child’s homework in some way. As a result, homework can shape family dynamics and weeknight schedules. If a child receives too much homework, or only busywork, it can cause stress within families and resentment among parents. 8 Some parents report spending hours each night helping their children. For instance, a 2013 article in The Atlantic detailed a writer’s attempt to complete his 13-year-old daughter’s homework for a week. The headline simply read: “My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me.” 9 The father reported falling asleep trying to thoughtfully complete homework, which took around three hours per night. 10 On the other hand, some parents appreciate the glimpse into their child’s daily instruction and value homework’s ability to build positive learning habits.

It is no surprise that the debate over homework often spills onto the pages of newspapers and magazines, with calls to abolish homework regularly appearing in the headlines. In 2017, the superintendent of Marion County Public Schools in Florida joined districts in Massachusetts and Vermont in announcing a homework ban. To justify his decision, he used research from the University of Tennessee that showed that homework does not improve student achievement. 11 Most recently, in December 2018, The Wall Street Journal published a piece that argued that districts were “Down With Homework”—banning it, placing time caps or limiting it to certain days, or no longer grading it—in order to give students more time to sleep, read, and spend time with family. 12

Given the controversy long surrounding the issue of homework, in late spring 2018, the Center for American Progress conducted an online survey investigating the quality of students’ homework. The survey sought to better understand the nature of homework as well as whether the homework assigned was aligned to rigorous academic standards. Based on the best knowledge of the authors, the CAP survey and this report represent the first-ever national study of homework rigor and alignment to the Common Core State Standards—rigorous academic standards developed in a state-led process in 2010, which are currently in place in 41 states and Washington, D.C. The CAP study adds to existing research on homework by focusing on the quality of assignments rather than the overall value of homework of any type. There are previous studies that considered parental involvement and the potential stress on parents related to homework, but the authors believe that this report represents the first national study of parent attitudes toward homework. 13

For the CAP study, the authors used the Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) online survey tool to collect from parents their child’s actual homework assignments. Specifically, as part of the survey, the authors asked parents to submit a sample of their child’s most recent math or language arts homework assignment and have the child complete questions to gauge if the assignment was challenging, as well as how long it took to complete the assignment. In all, 372 parents responded to the survey, with CAP analyzing 187 homework assignments.

Admittedly, the methodological approach has limitations. For one, it’s a convenience sample, which means people were not selected randomly; and broadly speaking, the population on the MTurk site is younger and whiter than the U.S. population as a whole. However, research has shown that MTurk yields high-quality, nationally representative results, with data that are at least as reliable as those obtained via traditional methods. 14

In addition, the homework sample is not from a single classroom or school over the course of a year; rather, it is a snapshot of homework across many classrooms during the span of a few weeks in May 2018. The assumption is that looking at assignments from many classrooms over a short period of time helps to construct a composite picture of mathematics and language arts homework.

Moreover, the design of the CAP study has clear advantages. Many of the previous existing studies evaluated homework in a single district, whereas the CAP study draws from a national sample, and despite its limitations, the authors believe that the findings are robust and contribute significantly to the existing research on homework.

Three key findings from the CAP survey:

  • Homework is largely aligned to the Common Core standards. The authors found that the homework submitted is mostly aligned to Common Core standards content. The alignment index that the authors used evaluated both topic and skill. As previously noted, the analysis is a snapshot of homework and, therefore, does not allow the authors to determine if homework over the course of a year covered all the topics represented in the standards.
  • Homework is often focused on low-level skills in the Common Core standards, particularly in the earlier grades. While the authors’ analysis shows that there was significant alignment between Common Core and the topics represented in the homework studied, most of the assignments were fairly rote and often did not require students to demonstrate the full depth of knowledge required of the content standards. There was clear emphasis on procedural knowledge, and an even stronger emphasis on memorization and recall in language arts. Common Core content standards, on the other hand, require students to demonstrate deeper knowledge skills, such as the ability to analyze, conceptualize, or generate. 15
  • Homework frequently fails to challenge students. Nearly half of the parents who responded to the CAP survey reported that homework is too easy for their child. In particular, parents of primary-grade children were most likely to agree or strongly agree that the homework assignment they submitted was too easy for their child.

Based on these key findings, CAP recommends that states, districts, and schools improve the quality of homework and increase opportunities for students to practice rigorous grade-level content at home. Specifically, the authors—drawing from this survey and other existing research on homework—recommend the following actions to improve the role of homework in education:

  • Schools and districts should develop homework policies that emphasize strategic, rigorous homework. In many cases, the homework debate is limited and short-sighted. Currently, many arguments focus on whether or not students should have homework at all, and there are entire school districts that have simply banned homework. Instead of debating the merits of banning homework, reformers and practitioners should focus on improving the rigor and effectiveness of all instructional materials, including

Districts, schools, and teachers should ensure that the total amount of homework students receive does not exceed the 10-minute rule—that is to say, no more than 10 minutes of homework multiplied by the student’s grade level. 16 According to research, any more than that can be counterproductive. 17 Also, too much homework may be an unnecessary burden on families and parents. Homework should be engaging and aligned to Common Core standards, which allow students to develop deeper-level learning skills—such as analysis or conceptualization—that help them increase retention of content.

  • Districts and schools should periodically audit homework to make sure it is challenging and aligned to standards. Rather than implementing homework bans, district policymakers and school principals should regularly review examples of homework assignments to ensure that it is aligned to grade-level standards and requires students to demonstrate conceptual learning. In instances where the district or school finds that homework assignments are not aligned or take too much or too little time to complete, they should help teachers improve homework assignments by recommending instructional materials that may make it easier for them to identify appropriate, grade-level homework assignments.
  • Schools and districts should provide access to technology and other supports that can make it easier for students to complete rigorous schoolwork at home. Technology can also provide additional support or scaffolding at home, allowing more students to complete homework without help from adults or older siblings. For instance, programs such as the Khan Academy can give students rigorous homework that’s aligned to Common Core standards. 18 Unfortunately, many households across the nation still do not have adequate access to devices or internet at home. Schools and districts should consider options to ensure that all students can benefit from technology and broadband. Greater access to technology can help more students benefit from continual innovation and new tools. While most of these technologies are not yet research-based, and the use of devices may not be appropriate for younger children, incorporating new tools into homework may be a low-cost method to improve the quality of student learning.
  • Curriculum reform and instructional redesign should focus on homework. There are many states and districts that are reforming curriculum or adopting different approaches to instruction, including personalized learning. Curriculum reform and personalized learning are tied to greater academic outcomes and an increase in motivation. Homework should also be a focus of these and other efforts; states and districts should consider how textbooks or other instructional materials can provide resources or examples to help teachers assign meaningful homework that will complement regular instruction.

The findings and recommendations of this study are discussed in detail below.

Homework must be rigorous and aligned to content standards

All homework is not created equal. The CAP study sought to evaluate homework quality—specifically, if homework is aligned to rigorous content standards. The authors believe that access to grade-level content at home will increase the positive impact of adopting more rigorous content standards, and they sought to examine if homework is aligned to the topics and skill level in the content standards.

The 10-minute rule

According to Harris Cooper, homework is a valuable tool, but there is such a thing as too much. In 2006, Cooper and his colleagues argued that spending a lot of time on homework can be counterproductive. He believes that research supports the 10-minute rule—that students should be able to complete their homework in no more than 10 minutes multiplied by their grade. For example, this would amount to 20 minutes for a second-grade student, 50 minutes for a fifth-grade student, and so on. 19

The Common Core, developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, established a set of benchmarks for “what students should know and be able to do” in math and language arts by the end of the academic year in kindergarten through high school. 20 The math standards focus on fewer concepts but in more depth and ask students to develop different approaches to solve similar problems. In language arts, the standards moved students away from narrative-based assignments, instead concentrating on using evidence to build arguments and reading more nonfiction.

The Common Core is not silent in the cognitive demand needed to demonstrate mastery for each standard. 21 For example, a second grade math standard is “[s]olve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, using $ and ¢ symbols appropriately.” For this standard, a second-grader has not mastered the standard if they are only able to identifying the name and value of every.

Remember, apply, integrate: Levels of cognitive demand or depth of knowledge

There are numerous frameworks to describe levels of cognitive skills. One of the most prominent of these models, Bloom’s taxonomy, identifies six categories of cognition. The original levels and terms were knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation; however, these terms have changed slightly over time. 22 Learning does not necessarily follow a linear process, and certainly, all levels of cognitive demand are important. Yet these categories require individuals to demonstrate a different level of working knowledge of a topic. With the advent of standards-based reform, the role of cognitive skill—particularly in the area of assessment—has become a much more explicit component of curriculum materials.

Over the past two decades, cognitive science has shown that individuals of any age retain information longer when they demonstrate deeper learning and make their own meaning with the content—using skills such as the abilities to conjecture, generalize, prove, and more—as opposed to only committing ideas to memory or performing rote procedures, using skills such as the ability to memorize or recall.

In essence, Common Core created rigorous expectations to guide the instruction of students in all states that chose to adopt its standards. These standards aimed to increase college preparedness and make students more competitive in the workforce. Policymakers, advocates, and practitioners hoped that Common Core would create greater consistency in academic rigor across states. In addition, with the classroom and homework aligned to these standards, many anticipated that students would graduate from high school prepared for college or career. As of 2017, 41 states and the District of Columbia have adopted and are working to implement the standards, although many of these states have modified them slightly. 23

In this study, the authors evaluated homework to determine if it was aligned to Common Core standards in two ways: First, does it reflect grade-level content standards; second, does it require students to use skills similar to those required to demonstrate proficiency in a content area. This multitiered approach is critical to evaluating alignment between standards and instruction—in this case homework. Instruction must teach content and help students develop necessary levels of cognitive skill. Curricula for each grade should include instructional materials that are sequenced and rigorous, thus enabling students to develop an understanding of all content standards.

In spring 2018, the Center for American Progress used Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) to administer a survey. MTurk is a crowdsourcing marketplace managed by Amazon; it allows organizations to virtually administer surveys for a diverse sample. 24 The CAP survey asked parents to submit a sample of their child’s most recent math or language arts homework assignment and complete a few questions to gauge if the assignment was challenging, as well as how long it took for the student to complete the assignment. A total of 372 parents responded to the survey, and CAP analyzed 187 homework assignments.

Of the 372 parents who participated in the survey, 202, or about 54 percent of respondents, submitted samples of their child’s homework assignment. The researchers dropped a total of 15 homework submissions from analysis either because the subject matter was not math or language arts—but rather, science, music, or social studies—or because the authors could not examine the specific content, for example, in cases where parents only provided a copy of the cover of a textbook. Of the remaining homework samples submitted, 72 percent (134 samples) focused on mathematics content, while the remaining 28 percent (53 samples) represented language arts content.

kindergarten homework policy

Of the 372 responding parents, 234—or 63 percent—were female, and 126—or 37 percent—were male. Forty-eight percent of parents responding to the survey were under the age of 34, while almost 90 percent of respondents were under the age of 45. There was an unequal distribution of parents representing elementary and secondary grade levels. Seventy-one percent of the total sample were parents with students in primary (K-2) and elementary (3-5) grades. (See Methodology section below)

Based on the analysis, the authors’ drew the following conclusions:

Homework is largely aligned to Common Core standards, especially the topics in the standards

The authors found that the submitted homework, for the most part, was aligned to Common Core standards content or within the so-called “good” range based on content expert evaluations. As described in the Methodology, the authors used an alignment index that does not require a homework assignment to exactly mirror the content standards—both topic and skill level—for evaluators to note that it is within a good range. For context, the study’s alignment index has a range of 0.00 to 1.00, where 0.00 indicates no content in common whatsoever between the two descriptions—perfect misalignment—and 1.00 indicates complete agreement between the two descriptions—perfect alignment. Generally speaking, what one might call “good” alignment for instruction tends to range on the alignment index between 0.4 and 0.6, with a measure of 0.5 serving as a median indicator of good alignment.

The analysis is a snapshot of homework and, therefore, does not allow the authors to determine if homework over the course of a year covered all required standards. In other words, it is difficult to say how many of the standards for a given grade are covered across a full school year, simply because of the limited sample of assignments.

The alignment index evaluates both topic and skill, but there was particular alignment in topic areas. For instance, there was a strong emphasis in the topic areas of number sense and operations for primary math homework. When combined with the third-most emphasized topic, measurement, these three areas accounted for more than 90 percent of primary mathematics homework content. The actual math content standards for the primary grades also placed heavy emphasis on the topic areas of number sense, operations, and measurement—though they accounted for only about 80 percent of primary math content.

kindergarten homework policy

In general, across all age groups, math homework was more closely aligned to content standards—both topic and skill level—than language arts. The alignment results for middle school math were particularly strong, at 0.56, based on 27 homework samples. The stronger alignment among math homework samples may be in part due to the fact that there were more math assignments in the sample than language arts assignments. Larger samples offer more opportunities to show alignment. As a result, smaller samples may underestimate alignment.

The table below presents the alignment indices, which were calculated using the homework samples collected for each grade band.

Homework is often focused on low-level skills in the standards, particularly in younger grades

While the authors’ analysis shows that there was significant alignment in the topic of standards and homework assignments, most of the homework did not require students to demonstrate the full depth of knowledge required of content standards. The analysis uncovered an emphasis on procedural knowledge, with an even stronger emphasis on memorization and recall in language arts. Content standards, on the other hand, require students to demonstrate deeper-knowledge skills, such as the ability to analyze, conceptualize, or generate.

kindergarten homework policy

Of five performance expectation categories across math and language arts that the authors used to measure alignment between standards and homework, there was a disproportionate emphasis on skills that require a lower level of knowledge or understanding. In grades K-2, for instance, the content standards emphasize the performance expectations of “procedures,” or computation, and “demonstrate,” or understanding, but the homework samples submitted primarily emphasized the procedures level of performance expectation. Similarly, homework for grades three through five focused almost entirely on the performance expectation of procedures, rather than standards that emphasized both procedures and demonstrate. 25

As seen with the middle school grades, high school math standards—despite a continued emphasis on procedures—show increased emphasis on the more challenging performance expectations of “demonstrate understanding” and “conjecture, generalize, prove.” Interestingly, this shift toward more challenging performance expectations is most visible for the topic areas of geometric concepts and functions, in both the standards and the homework samples submitted by parents of high school students.

Parents report that homework frequently does not challenge students

Nearly half of parents that participated in the survey reported that homework does not challenge their child. In particular, parents of primary-grade children were most likely to agree or strongly agree that the homework assignment they submitted was too easy for their child—58 percent for language arts and 55 percent for math.

kindergarten homework policy

Parents’ opinions about homework difficulty varied between mathematics and language arts assignments. Forty-eight percent of parents who submitted a mathematics assignment and 44 percent of parents who submitted a language arts assignment reported that it was too easy for their child. There was some variance across grade spans as well. As noted above, parents of primary-grade children were most likely to find the homework assignments too easy for their child. Meanwhile, parents that submitted high school math homework were also more likely to agree or strongly agree that the assignments were too easy, with 50 percent agreeing or strongly agreeing and only 33 percent disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the statement. While there were clear trends in parent opinions, it is important to acknowledge that the sample size for each subset was small.

The comments of surveyed parents echoed this finding. One parent noted that “most homework that they are assigned seems like nothing more than busy work.” Another parent said: “The homework is not strong enough to build conceptual knowledge. It assumes that the child already has that knowledge.” Meanwhile, another parent commented: “Homework is way oversimplified and they don’t seem to spend much time on it. It’s a bit sad that English and math don’t seem to require what they used to. I remember much longer and harder worksheets to complete when I was a child.” 26

Weak homework samples

Within the sample of homework assignments, there were some that fell short of rigorous. For instance, one assignment listed 24 pairs of numbers—three and nine, 24 and 21, and so on—and asked the student to circle the smaller number in order to build numbers sense. While homework can be critical when establishing foundational knowledge, repetitive activities such as this often fail to engage students and, instead, overemphasize rote learning. Asking a student to list or name a number of a lesser value, for instance, would make this assignment more interactive.

A second example from kindergarten asked a student to create an uppercase and lowercase letter “f” by filling in dots with paint. The parent who submitted it highlighted the limited utility of the assignment, emphasizing that it does not hold students to high expectations. What’s more, the homework only gave the student two opportunities to practice writing the letter, both in a nonauthentic way. Indeed, the assignment focused more on filling in circles than it did constructing letters. While this task might help build a kindergartener’s hand-eye coordination, it does little to support language arts.

Exemplary homework samples

While many of the assignments submitted focused on procedures and, for math, computation, it is worth acknowledging some of the more exemplary types of homework included in the samples. These offer examples of how homework can challenge students, engage rigorous cognitive processes, and demonstrate that content standards at all levels—not just middle and high school—can support challenging homework that pushes students to think critically.

For example, one math homework assignment asked a student to identify which individuals possessed each of four groups of shapes based on the following description:

Ally, Bob, Carl, and Dana each have a set of shapes.

  • Bob has no triangles.
  • The number of rectangles that Dana has is the same as the number of triangles that Carl has.

This example is interesting on two counts. First, the assignment goes beyond procedure, requiring the student to analyze the various sets of shapes in order to determine which set belongs to which individual. It is also interesting insofar as it demonstrates a common real-world situation: There is usually more than one way to solve a problem, and sometimes, there is more than one correct answer.

Similarly, another example asked a student to determine actions that would help students beautify the school. The header of the assignment read, “Make a Decision: Keep Our School Beautiful!” The assignment had various boxes, each with a question above, such as, “Should we recycle?” or “Should we make art?” The assignment asked the student to “(1) think about each choice, (2) consider how each choice would affect them and others in the school community, (3) write their ideas in boxes below.” In doing so, it required primary students to analyze and generate ideas—both of which are skills that promote deeper learning.

Recommendations

Homework offers a valuable window into the curricula, assessment practices, and instructional preferences of teachers. It provides insight into classroom learning as well as the types of knowledge and skills the teacher believes will reinforce that instruction at home.

This analysis shows that the content and value of homework varies. While most homework within the sample was aligned to content standards, there is still a significant need to increase the rigor of homework and create opportunities for students to use higher-order skills.

Overall, schools and districts should pay more attention to homework as a reform lever. A growing body of research shows that homework is connected to learning outcomes, and as a result, schools and districts should ensure that policies help teachers provide meaningful assignments. 27 Based on this survey and the existing research on homework quality, the authors identified recommendations that can help increase the quality of homework:

Schools and districts should develop homework policies that emphasize strategic, rigorous homework

In many cases, the current debate over homework is short-sighted. Many arguments focus on whether or not students should have homework. There are entire school districts that have simply banned homework altogether. However, the debate should move beyond the merit of homework. Research shows that homework is linked to better performance on standardized assessments, especially in higher grades. 28 Many homework scholars also believe that a reasonable homework load can help develop important work habits. 29 Therefore, instead of eliminating homework outright, schools, districts, and advocates should focus on improving its rigor and effectiveness. As discussed throughout, homework should be an extension of instruction during the school day. Accordingly, policymakers and schools must make changes to homework that are in concert with curriculum reform.

Like all instruction, homework should be aligned to states’ rigorous content standards and should engage students in order to promote deeper learning and retention. To do this, homework should ask students to use higher-order skills, such as the ability to analyze or evaluate.

However, schools and districts, rather than simply assigning longer, more complicated assignments to make homework seem more challenging, should make strategic shifts. Homework assignments should be thought-provoking. But there is a such thing as too much homework. Districts and schools should ensure that teachers follow the research-supported 10-minute rule. 30 Also, teachers, schools, and districts should consider resources to set all students up for success when faced with more rigorous home assignments; homework should never be a burden or source of stress for families and parents.

Districts and schools should audit homework to make sure it is challenging and aligned to standards

Rather than implementing homework bans, district policymakers and schools should regularly review homework samples to ensure that they are aligned to grade-level standards, are engaging, require students to demonstrate higher-order skills, and adhere to the 10-minute rule. The audit should review multiple homework assignments from each classroom and consider how much time children are receiving from all subject areas, when appropriate. The district or school should ask for ongoing feedback from students, parents, and guardians in order to collect a comprehensive representation of the learning experience at home.

In instances where the district or school principal finds that homework assignments are not aligned to grade-level standards or take too much or too little time to complete, they should help the school or teachers improve them by recommending instructional materials that may make it easier for teachers to identify appropriate, grade-level homework assignments. In addition, if parents or students identify challenges to complete assignments at home, the district or school should identify solutions to ensure that all students have access to the resources and support they need to complete homework.

Schools and districts should provide access to technology and other supports that make it easier for students to complete homework

Technology can go a long way to improve homework and provide additional support or scaffolding at home. For instance, programs such as the Khan Academy—which provides short lessons through YouTube videos and practice exercises—can give students rigorous homework that is aligned to the Common Core standards. Unfortunately, many households across the nation still do not have adequate access to devices or internet at home. A 2017 ACT survey found that 14 percent of students only have access to one technology device at home. 31 Moreover, federal data from 2013 found that about 40 percent of households with school-age children do not have access to broadband. 32 It is likely that the percentage has decreased with time, but internet access remains a significant problem.

Schools and districts should adopt programs to ensure that all students can benefit from technology and broadband. For instance, Salton City, California, installed a Wi-Fi router in a school bus. Every night, the bus parks near a neighborhood with low internet connectivity, serving as a hot spot for students. 33

Moreover, greater access to technology can help more students benefit from new innovative resources. While most of these technologies are not yet research-based, and the use of devices may not be appropriate for younger children, incorporating new tools into homework may be a low-cost option to improve the quality of student learning. For instance, ASSISTments is a free web-based tool that provides immediate feedback as students complete homework or classwork. It has been proven to raise student outcomes. 34 Other online resources can complement classroom learning as well. There are various organizations that offer students free lessons in the form of YouTube videos, while also providing supplementary practice exercises and materials for educators. LearnZillion, for example, provides its users with high-quality lessons that are aligned to the Common Core standards. 35

Curriculum reform and instruction design should focus on homework

There are many states and districts that are engaging in curriculum reform. Many of these recent reform efforts show promise. In an analysis of the curricula and instructional materials used by the nation’s 30 largest school districts, the Center for American Progress found that approximately one-third of materials adopted or recommended by these districts were highly rated and met expectations for alignment. 36

Homework should be a focus of curriculum reform, and states and districts should consider how textbooks or other instructional materials can provide resources or examples to help teachers assign meaningful homework that will complement regular classroom instruction.

Personalized learning—which tailors instruction and learning environments to meet each student’s individual interests and needs—is also gaining traction as a way to increase declining engagement in schools and increase student motivation. 37 These ideas are also relevant to homework quality. A 2010 study found that when students were offered a choice of homework assignment, they were more motivated to do the work, reported greater competence in the assignments, and performed better on unit tests, compared with peers that did not have choice in homework. 38 The study also suggested that offering students a choice improved the rate of completion of assignments. 39 Districts and schools should help implement more student-centered approaches to all instruction—in the classroom and at home.

When it comes to change management, experts often advise to look for low-hanging fruit—the simplest and easiest fixes. 40 In education, homework reform is low-hanging fruit. Research shows that quality homework and increasing student achievement are positively correlated; and yet, the authors’ analysis shows that some schools may not be taking advantage of a valuable opportunity to support student achievement. Instead of mirroring the cognitive demand in rigorous content standards, homework assigned to students is often weak or rote. But it does not have to be this way. More rigorous, insightful homework is out there. Policymakers and schools need to move beyond the debate of whether or not to assign work outside of school hours and do their own due diligence—or, put another way, their own homework—before assigning homework to students in this nation’s schools.

Methodology

As mentioned above, the authors used the Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) online survey tool to collect from parents their child’s actual homework assignments. Specifically, as part of the survey, the authors asked parents to submit a sample of their child’s most recent math or language arts homework assignment and have the child complete questions to gauge if the assignment was challenging, as well as how long it took to complete the assignment. In all, 372 parents responded to the survey, with CAP analyzing 187 homework assignments. The submissions of samples were analyzed by a group of analysts under the supervision of John L. Smithson, researcher emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Measuring alignment

The homework samples were reviewed by two teams of content analysts—one for mathematics and one for language arts—who were asked to describe the academic content represented by the submitted homework, as well as the performance expectation. Each team consisted of three analysts who possessed the relevant content expertise and experience in methodology used to gather the descriptive data.

The teams used a taxonomy-based methodology that was developed by education researchers Andrew Porter and John Smithson during Porter’s tenure as director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 41 Researchers both nationally and internationally have subsequently used this approach to content description for decades in order to examine issues of alignment as well as to support program evaluation and inform school improvement efforts.

The U.S. Department of Education also recognizes the validity of this approach. Specifically, the Education Department completes a peer review of states’ annual assessment program’s alignment to state academic content standards. 42 The Porter/Smithson approach is one of a handful of alignment methodologies that has been determined to meet these federal requirements. 43

The Porter/Smithson approach is unique because it defines instructional content as a two-dimensional construct consisting of topic and cognitive demand, or skill. This approach to describing cognitive skill is similar to Bloom’s, which the authors have described above. It has five categories: recall, process, analyze, integrate, and conceptual understanding. The Porter/Smithson approach is the most stringent of alignment indicators, as it looks at both topic and cognitive demand; it is also possibly the most challenging to interpret because the final alignment score considers two dimensions.

kindergarten homework policy

The alignment index has a range of 0.00 to 1.00, where 0.00 indicates no content in common whatsoever between the two descriptions—perfect misalignment—and 1.00 indicates complete agreement between the two descriptions—perfect alignment. A measure of 1.00 is exceedingly unlikely, requiring perfect agreement across every cell that makes up the content description. In practice, this is only seen when comparing a document to itself. For instance, very high alignment measures—more than 0.70—have been noted when comparing different test forms used for a particular grade-level state assessment; but those are instances where high alignment is desired. In terms of instructional alignment—in other words, how well instruction is aligned to the standards—a measure of 1.00 is not the goal. For this reason, the authors did not expect any analysis of homework alignment, no matter how well designed, to have a measure of or close to 1.00.

Generally speaking, what one might call “good” alignment for instruction tends to range between 0.4 and 0.6 on the alignment index, with a measure of 0.5 serving as a median indicator of good alignment. The description of the content standards represents the goal of instructional practice—the destination, not the journey. As such, it does not indicate the best path for achieving those goals. The 0.5 indicator measure represents a middle road where teachers are balancing the expectations of the content standards with the immediate learning needs of their students.

Limitations

The authors acknowledge that the analysis has shortcomings. The sample was relatively small and does not directly mirror the national population of parents of elementary and secondary school students. As such, the sample does not necessarily reflect the views or homework experiences of the larger U.S. population.

Limited sample size

The current study analyzes a snapshot of homework across many classrooms, rather than homework from a single classroom or school. The assumption is that looking at individual homework assignments across many classrooms will help to construct a composite picture of mathematics and language arts homework that will be somewhat reflective of the picture one would get from following many classrooms for many days. If the sample is large enough with a wide enough geographical spread, that assumption serves researchers well enough.

For the current study, however, the number of homework samples available for each grade band were, in some cases, quite small—as low as five assignments each for middle and high school language arts. The largest sample sizes were for primary and elementary math, with 47 and 41 homework assignments collected, respectively. However, even 47 is a fairly small sample size for drawing inferences about a full year of homework.

Selection bias

The respondents that participated in this study were a reasonably diverse group in terms of age, gender, and ethnicity, but there are notable differences between the makeup of the parents represented in the study and the makeup of parents of school-age children more generally. Respondents were predominantly female, with women making up almost two-thirds—63 percent—of the sample. They also tended to be parents of younger school-age children, with 71 percent of the respondents reporting on children from the bottom half of the K-12 system—grades K-5. Finally, in terms of race and ethnicity, the sample overrepresented Asian American families and underrepresented African American families. These groups comprised 14 percent and 8 percent of respondents, respectively, compared with national averages of 6 percent and 12 percent.

Because the sample does not well reflect the population of parents of elementary and secondary students, the authors considered possible selection biases that may help to explain the differences in sample and overall population and that may have affected certain members of the population more than others.

For instance, the authors administered the survey using MTurk, which may have skewed the sample. In general, the population on the site is younger and whiter than the U.S. population as a whole. However, research has shown that MTurk yields high-quality, nationally representative results, with data that are at least as reliable as those obtained via traditional methods. 44 The researchers also targeted California and Texas in order to increase the diversity of the sample.

In addition, accessibility could have led to selection bias. Despite broad internet access in 2018, there remain families in low-income locales where internet access is not readily available for parents. It is also possible that older parents are less likely to be as active on the internet as younger parents, further contributing to selection bias.

About the authors

Ulrich Boser is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. He is also the founder and CEO of The Learning Agency.

Meg Benner is a senior consultant at the Center.

John Smithson is the researcher emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Sarah Shapiro, a former research assistant at the Center for American Progress, for her support developing the survey. They also appreciate the valuable feedback of Catherine Brown, senior fellow for Education Policy at the Center for American Progress; Tom Loveless, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; Lisette Partelow, director of K-12 Special Initiatives at the Center; and Scott Sargrad, vice president of K-12 Education Policy at the Center.

Conflicts of interest

The author, Ulrich Boser, has a financial relationship with the creators of the online homework tool ASSISTments.

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The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here . American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.

Ulrich Boser

Former Senior Fellow

Senior Consultant

John Smithson

kindergarten homework policy

Kindergarten Homework: Is It Appropriate?

  • April 11, 2015

Homework has become somewhat of a hot topic lately. I’ve read articles about schools adopting no-homework policies. I’ve seen research on the ineffectiveness of homework. I’ve found infographics on the absence of homework in other successful nations.

All of this has made me question whether or not my students should have homework. I’m a reading specialist, so I don’t assign homework in my current position. But as a Kindergarten teacher, I did give out a very brief weekly homework packet. Was it a waste of my time? Did I damage my students’ learning or home lives? Should Kindergarteners have homework at all?

Kindergarten_Homework

I believe that Kindergarteners  can benefit from a very small, purposeful amount of simple homework. No, I don’t mean 5 meaningless worksheets a night. No, I don’t mean elaborate projects that their parents end up doing. But I do feel that a very small amount of Kindergarten homework can be valuable, particularly when the homework is reading . And here’s why:

  • Homework is an opportunity for parents to show kids that they value education.  When a parent (or other family member) sits down with a child to work on homework, that adult figure is telling the child, “Hey, this is important. This is something I value.”
  • Homework can give parents an idea of what students are working on in class.  Kindergarten was a long time ago for many parents! Kindergarten expectations have also changed greatly over the years. By assigning meaningful homework that is relevant to what is going on in class, we can give parents a window into their children’s daily lives and learning.
  • Homework can provide students with additional practice and repetition.  I don’t know about you, but my Kinders sure need a lot of repetition to master concepts! Having my students spend 5-10 minutes practicing something outside of school is an opportunity to get in some of that extra practice.
  • Homework can send kids the message that learning needn’t be restricted to school.  When you assign kids meaningful homework that encourages them to interact with their families and home environment, this sends the message that learning happens  everywhere – not just at school. Here’s an example of a simple homework task that sends this message:  “Find 4 things in your house that start with the letter g. Draw them on this paper.”

What Appropriate Kindergarten Homework Looks Like

Okay, so what kind of homework is appropriate for Kindergarten? Here are some suggestions for designing positive homework experiences:

  • Emphasize reading.  It’s so valuable for kids to spend time reading with their parents. Maybe for homework you request that parents read with their children for 10 minutes a night – and that’s it!
  • Give assignments that are SUPER brief!  Kindergarteners’ attention spans are short. So their homework should be short, too! If I send home a task, I try for something that can be completed in about 5-10 minutes. If you do send home a small weekly homework packet, make sure to educate parents about the importance of doing some each night (rather than all of it on Thursday night!). Check in periodically with students and parents to make sure that the homework isn’t taking too long. (And don’t feel like you “have to” give homework every day…many kids have a long day at school already.)
  • Provide tasks that are meaningful.  An assignment like “Find 4 things in your house that start with the letter g. Draw them on this paper” is more fun and engaging than a worksheet on the letter g! When possible, involve family members in completing the homework. Games and scavenger hunts can get everyone in the family involved!
  • Assign tasks at the right difficulty level. Why assign homework at all if it’s way too easy or way too hard? It may take a little time, but giving students slightly different homework can help maximize its effectiveness.
  • Create a “homework bag” to provide necessary materials. If you think that students may not have pencils or crayons at home, why not send a few home with the homework? Also, reading with an adult makes for a wonderful homework assignment, but make sure to send home books. Many families do not have access to books in the home.

Challenges of Assigning Kindergarten Homework

In theory, the suggestions above can be relatively easy to implement. But it’s never quite that easy, is it? Here are some of the challenges that I (and my colleagues) have encountered when assigning homework to our students:

  • Not all students have parent or family support to complete homework. I believe strongly in educating parents during Open House and other school events about the importance of devoting home time to learning. However, some parents are still not able to help students with homework for a variety of reasons (language barrier, time, education, etc.).
  • Finding or creating differentiated homework assignments is very time consuming.   I always have a huge range of abilities in my classroom, and I want to provide homework assignments at my students’ individual levels. I don’t want students to become frustrated by the homework, or completely bored by it. But differentiating homework takes a TON of time!
  • Keeping up with missing assignments can be challenging.  Kids don’t always turn in their homework. I can’t tell you how many times I inquired about a missing homework assignment, only to find out that it had been in the child’s backpack for a week! Kids also don’t always do their homework. Trying to track down missing assignments can take up a lot of time.

Conclusions

In spite of these challenges, I still believe that a small amount of homework or time spent reading with parents can be very valuable for Kindergarteners. Because I know firsthand how time-consuming it can be to find the right homework for students, I’ve created a Leveled Literacy Homework series that you can use with your Kindergarten (or 1st grade) students.

The idea behind the series is to give you materials that are engaging and meaningful (like family games), can be used to differentiate your homework assignments, and are ideal for students who either do or do not have family help with completing their homework.

All activities (except for simple worksheets) come with parent instructions in English and Spanish. They also have links to optional videos that parents can choose to watch to learn how to read with their child or play the literacy games together. To learn more about the series, click on the image below.

AE Cover.001

What do you like to use for homework in your Kindergarten classroom?

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Good information

…i love the information😘😘

Can you specify the age of the child i can apply these techniques upon??

Hi Diana, this article is mostly about 5-6 year old children.

[…] specialist (and former kindergarten teacher) Alison at Learning at the Primary Pond advocates for a small amount of meaningful homework in elementary school, even for kindergarteners, […]

Being the mum of a kindergartener, single mother infact, that works full time shift work and 2 hrs away from any family or friends, I genuinely disagree with homework at this age. I have enough to juggle let alone adding an hour into an already stretched out day, where my son has been at school and then oosh all day, to argue about him not wanting to do homework and IF he sits long enough to attempt the homework.. it strains our relationship. There is no one else around to help with homework, there is always copious amounts of homework …  Read more »

All great points you bring up – thanks for sharing!

We’ll Said. I found the reasoning above to be so thin and void of true reasons for having a 5-year old do homework. They’ll have so many more years to learn homework and the value of education. We send our kids to school for 8 hours a day, I’m sure they’ll understand someday that we as parents value education. I don’t need to do a silly exercise with them to get that point across.

kindergarten homework policy

I’m Alison, a literacy specialist. I love getting kids excited about reading and writing – and sharing teaching ideas with other teachers!

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kindergarten homework policy

Should Kids Get Homework?

Homework gives elementary students a way to practice concepts, but too much can be harmful, experts say.

Mother helping son with homework at home

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Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful.

How much homework students should get has long been a source of debate among parents and educators. In recent years, some districts have even implemented no-homework policies, as students juggle sports, music and other activities after school.

Parents of elementary school students, in particular, have argued that after-school hours should be spent with family or playing outside rather than completing assignments. And there is little research to show that homework improves academic achievement for elementary students.

But some experts say there's value in homework, even for younger students. When done well, it can help students practice core concepts and develop study habits and time management skills. The key to effective homework, they say, is keeping assignments related to classroom learning, and tailoring the amount by age: Many experts suggest no homework for kindergartners, and little to none in first and second grade.

Value of Homework

Homework provides a chance to solidify what is being taught in the classroom that day, week or unit. Practice matters, says Janine Bempechat, clinical professor at Boston University 's Wheelock College of Education & Human Development.

"There really is no other domain of human ability where anybody would say you don't need to practice," she adds. "We have children practicing piano and we have children going to sports practice several days a week after school. You name the domain of ability and practice is in there."

Homework is also the place where schools and families most frequently intersect.

"The children are bringing things from the school into the home," says Paula S. Fass, professor emerita of history at the University of California—Berkeley and the author of "The End of American Childhood." "Before the pandemic, (homework) was the only real sense that parents had to what was going on in schools."

Harris Cooper, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and author of "The Battle Over Homework," examined more than 60 research studies on homework between 1987 and 2003 and found that — when designed properly — homework can lead to greater student success. Too much, however, is harmful. And homework has a greater positive effect on students in secondary school (grades 7-12) than those in elementary.

"Every child should be doing homework, but the amount and type that they're doing should be appropriate for their developmental level," he says. "For teachers, it's a balancing act. Doing away with homework completely is not in the best interest of children and families. But overburdening families with homework is also not in the child's or a family's best interest."

Negative Homework Assignments

Not all homework for elementary students involves completing a worksheet. Assignments can be fun, says Cooper, like having students visit educational locations, keep statistics on their favorite sports teams, read for pleasure or even help their parents grocery shop. The point is to show students that activities done outside of school can relate to subjects learned in the classroom.

But assignments that are just busy work, that force students to learn new concepts at home, or that are overly time-consuming can be counterproductive, experts say.

Homework that's just busy work.

Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful, experts say. Assignments that look more like busy work – projects or worksheets that don't require teacher feedback and aren't related to topics learned in the classroom – can be frustrating for students and create burdens for families.

"The mental health piece has definitely played a role here over the last couple of years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the last thing we want to do is frustrate students with busy work or homework that makes no sense," says Dave Steckler, principal of Red Trail Elementary School in Mandan, North Dakota.

Homework on material that kids haven't learned yet.

With the pressure to cover all topics on standardized tests and limited time during the school day, some teachers assign homework that has not yet been taught in the classroom.

Not only does this create stress, but it also causes equity challenges. Some parents speak languages other than English or work several jobs, and they aren't able to help teach their children new concepts.

" It just becomes agony for both parents and the kids to get through this worksheet, and the goal becomes getting to the bottom of (the) worksheet with answers filled in without any understanding of what any of it matters for," says professor Susan R. Goldman, co-director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois—Chicago .

Homework that's overly time-consuming.

The standard homework guideline recommended by the National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association is the "10-minute rule" – 10 minutes of nightly homework per grade level. A fourth grader, for instance, would receive a total of 40 minutes of homework per night.

But this does not always happen, especially since not every student learns the same. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy found that primary school children actually received three times the recommended amount of homework — and that family stress increased along with the homework load.

Young children can only remain attentive for short periods, so large amounts of homework, especially lengthy projects, can negatively affect students' views on school. Some individual long-term projects – like having to build a replica city, for example – typically become an assignment for parents rather than students, Fass says.

"It's one thing to assign a project like that in which several kids are working on it together," she adds. "In (that) case, the kids do normally work on it. It's another to send it home to the families, where it becomes a burden and doesn't really accomplish very much."

Private vs. Public Schools

Do private schools assign more homework than public schools? There's little research on the issue, but experts say private school parents may be more accepting of homework, seeing it as a sign of academic rigor.

Of course, not all private schools are the same – some focus on college preparation and traditional academics, while others stress alternative approaches to education.

"I think in the academically oriented private schools, there's more support for homework from parents," says Gerald K. LeTendre, chair of educational administration at Pennsylvania State University—University Park . "I don't know if there's any research to show there's more homework, but it's less of a contentious issue."

How to Address Homework Overload

First, assess if the workload takes as long as it appears. Sometimes children may start working on a homework assignment, wander away and come back later, Cooper says.

"Parents don't see it, but they know that their child has started doing their homework four hours ago and still not done it," he adds. "They don't see that there are those four hours where their child was doing lots of other things. So the homework assignment itself actually is not four hours long. It's the way the child is approaching it."

But if homework is becoming stressful or workload is excessive, experts suggest parents first approach the teacher, followed by a school administrator.

"Many times, we can solve a lot of issues by having conversations," Steckler says, including by "sitting down, talking about the amount of homework, and what's appropriate and not appropriate."

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We have all had time-consuming, monotonous, meaningless homework assigned to us at some point in our life. These assignments often lead to frustration and boredom and students learn virtually nothing from them. Teachers and schools must reevaluate how and why they assign homework to their students. Any assigned homework should have a purpose.

Assigning homework with a purpose means that through completing the assignment, the student will be able to obtain new knowledge, a new skill, or have a new experience that they may not otherwise have. Homework should not consist of a rudimentary task that is being assigned simply for the sake of assigning something. Homework should be meaningful. It should be viewed as an opportunity to allow students to make real-life connections to the content that they are learning in the classroom. It should be given only as an opportunity to help increase their content knowledge in an area.

Differentiate Learning for All Students

Furthermore, teachers can utilize homework as an opportunity to differentiate learning for all students. Homework should rarely be given with a blanket "one size fits all" approach. Homework provides teachers with a significant opportunity to meet each student where they are and truly extend learning. A teacher can give their higher-level students more challenging assignments while also filling gaps for those students who may have fallen behind. Teachers who use homework as an opportunity to differentiate we not only see increased growth in their students, but they will also find they have more time in class to dedicate to whole group instruction .

See Student Participation Increase

Creating authentic and differentiated homework assignments can take more time for teachers to put together. As often is the case, extra effort is rewarded. Teachers who assign meaningful, differentiated, connected homework assignments not only see student participation increase, they also see an increase in student engagement. These rewards are worth the extra investment in time needed to construct these types of assignments.

Schools must recognize the value in this approach. They should provide their teachers with professional development that gives them the tools to be successful in transitioning to assign homework that is differentiated with meaning and purpose. A school's homework policy should reflect this philosophy; ultimately guiding teachers to give their students reasonable, meaningful, purposeful homework assignments.

Sample School Homework Policy

Homework is defined as the time students spend outside the classroom in assigned learning activities. Anywhere Schools believes the purpose of homework should be to practice, reinforce, or apply acquired skills and knowledge. We also believe as research supports that moderate assignments completed and done well are more effective than lengthy or difficult ones done poorly.

Homework serves to develop regular study skills and the ability to complete assignments independently. Anywhere Schools further believes completing homework is the responsibility of the student, and as students mature they are more able to work independently. Therefore, parents play a supportive role in monitoring completion of assignments, encouraging students’ efforts and providing a conducive environment for learning.

Individualized Instruction

Homework is an opportunity for teachers to provide individualized instruction geared specifically to an individual student. Anywhere Schools embraces the idea that each student is different and as such, each student has their own individual needs. We see homework as an opportunity to tailor lessons specifically for an individual student meeting them where they are and bringing them to where we want them to be. 

Homework contributes toward building responsibility, self-discipline, and lifelong learning habits. It is the intention of the Anywhere School staff to assign relevant, challenging, meaningful, and purposeful homework assignments that reinforce classroom learning objectives. Homework should provide students with the opportunity to apply and extend the information they have learned complete unfinished class assignments, and develop independence.

The actual time required to complete assignments will vary with each student’s study habits, academic skills, and selected course load. If your child is spending an inordinate amount of time doing homework, you should contact your child’s teachers.

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Don Benito Fundamental School

Every child, every chance, every day.

Homework Policy

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  • Uniform Policy
  • Homework serves many important purposes - it reinforces academic skills, teaches research skills, and helps students learn to develop ideas and become life-long learners.
  • Homework is the responsibility of the student; students need to develop regular study habits and do most of the work independently. At times, long-term assignments may require the assistance of the parent.

Don Benito’s homework plan for has been developed after extensive research:  Home projects which allows for application of common core standards may be assiged throughout the year at all grade levels.

Don Benito School’s homework policy and practices align with the PUSD Board Homework Policy. Based on evidence-based research, the purpose of homework is:

  • To practice skills or reinforce knowledge that has been learned in the classroom in order to help students master a specific skill
  • To reflect on what was learned in the classroom
  • To be used as a way for students to prepare for future classroom activities
  • To transfer knowledge and extend skills learned in one content or subject area to another situation

A s we move into Common Core Standards aligned instruction, students will be responsible for more group projects and homework assignments may be connected to real life experiences.

 *If your child consistently requires much longer than the time indicated above to complete his/her homework, please contact your child’s teacher. It is possible that some modification to the homework load is needed for your child and/or a homework “contract” should be designed to support your child’s best efforts. To ensure that homework is an effective part of the educational process, we believe that open communication among teachers, parents, and students is critical. Below are listed ways in which teachers, parents, and students can best support this collaborative effort:

Frequency : Homework is assigned Monday through Thursday to all PUSD elementary students. Students are encouraged to participate in recreational reading, cultural and educational activities, family time, and explore new interests during breaks from school.

Duration : Because research shows that excessive amounts of homework have diminishing returns, PUSD has developed the following guideline to determine the amount of time students spend completing homework.

Differentiation due to special programs, such as English Language Learner, Gifted and Talented, advanced placement, etc., may be required.

Suggested Guidelines for Parents to Support Student Success:

  • Provide a quiet, well-lit study area with a desk or table and chai
  • Keep a supply of “study tools” available: pencils, pen, paper, ruler, and diction
  • Establish a regular time for homework during which the child can work with minimum interrupti Provide a healthy balance between homework, extra and co-curricular activities, and family commitments
  • Encourage student responsibility and independence
  • Contact the teacher if a child is not consistently able to do the homework within the time guidelines, or if challenges or questions ari

  Homework During Illness

If you wish to request homework for a child who is ill, please contact the school office by 9:00am on the day you wish homework to be ready. This will give the teacher sufficient time to prepare your child’s assignments, which may be picked up in the office after 3:10 pm on the day that you phone and every day thereafter throughout the duration of the illness.

Teachers will provide students with opportunities to make up classwork and homework in a timely manner. Students and teachers will collaborate to ensure that students have a reasonable amount of time to make up all work. Parents are notified by teachers about the status of make-up work. Students are not punished with a loss of grade points on make-up work. No student may have his/her grade reduced or lose academic credit for any excused absence when missed assignments and tests are satisfactorily completed within a reasonable amount of time.

Don Benito Fundamental School

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10+ Homework Policy Examples [ School, Office, Research ]

Homework Policy

We’re all aware of how students dread homework. They don’t like the idea of doing schoolwork at home after spending a whole day in school. We know how that feels. We’ve all been there during our elementary , high school , and college years. Although laziness is among the reasons, there are credible justifications for why students hate homework. That’s why some schools have imposed policies to regulate homework. Too much homework can be counterproductive. So as a school admin, if you see that your teachers are overworking students with homework, make your move to control it. You can start by downloading our Homework Policy Examples !

10+ Homework Policy Examples

1. homework policy template.

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2. Middle School Homework Policy

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3. Elementary School Homework Policy

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4. Sample Homework Policy

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5. High School Homework Policy

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6. Homework Policy Example

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7. Basic Homework Policy

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8. School Homework Policy Template

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9. Homework Policy in PDF

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10. High School Homework Policy Example

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11. Kindergarten Homework Policy

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What Is a Homework Policy?

A school homework policy is a set of guidelines on how often teachers should give homework or what type of homework they should give. Its main function is to protect students from being overworked and ensure that their homework is beneficial to their learning .

Homework policies are an important aspect of classroom management . It’s crucial not to drown students with school work. They need time to breathe from doing study activities . Other than that, some teachers might be giving homework that contributes nothing to their studies. Homeworks that are irrelevant only serves to waste the students’ time and energy. But with a homework policy elementary school, high school, or college, that won’t happen.

The Purpose of Homework in Schools

At the start of this blog, we’ve been shedding a bad light on homework inadvertently. Giving a home assignment to a student has some benefits. After all, homework wouldn’t exist in the first place if it doesn’t have a real purpose.

One purpose of homework is to push students to immerse themselves more with their studies. That helps them to absorb what they’ve learned during classes more effectively. It keeps their learning process consistent outside of the classroom . And also, homework teaches students to be responsible and professional, especially when it comes to meeting deadlines.

Another function of homework is that it can be a way for parents to be more involved in their children’s education. They can monitor what lessons their kids are studying by seeing what sort of schoolwork they’re doing at home.

How to Create a Homework Policy

Among the first steps you must take to protect students from too much and irrelevant homework is creating a homework policy. To get you started, we’ll show you our short 4-step guide below.

Step 1: Conduct a Survey

In general, conducting a survey is the first step in formulating policies. In this case, you need to survey the students regarding their homework duties. Your survey form must ask the right questions, such as how homework affects them mentally and how useful it is in the lesson plan . Find out how functional the students’ homework is to see its pros and cons.

Step 2: Communicate with Faculty

Imposing a homework policy is a drastic change in your school’s teaching process. That said, you should communicate about it with your faculty staff . Based on the findings of your survey, let your teachers know what specific regulations you’ll impose in terms of giving homework. You may also ask if they have suggestions or objections about your proposed policy . If there are, you can make some adjustments if you see them fit.

Step 3: Write Down the Regulations

After you make adjustments and finalize everything, write the homework regulations in a document or memo . Make sure to explain each of them in detail. Justify how each regulation is helpful for the students’ learning and well being. For instance, if one regulation is a No Homework on Fridays, you can justify it by saying students need the weekends to spend more time with friends and family. And that it gives them a chance to refresh their minds from school pressure.

Step 4: Add the Homework Policy to the Student and Teacher Handbook

To make the homework policy an official school policy, integrate it into the teacher and student handbook. In doing so, both faculty and students will be more aware of it. That way, the homework policy will slowly but surely become a norm in your school. The teachers, especially, will follow it strictly.

What is the 10-minute rule in homework?

The 10-minute homework rule, as its name implies, suggests that teachers should only give homework that students can finish in under 10 minutes. However, this rule mostly only applies to first graders.

What type of homework is considered meaningful?

The type of homework that’s meaningful are those that are in-line with the curriculum and beneficial to the learning process. Meaningful homework complements the lesson plan significantly. And they’re doable depending on the students’ current level of capability. A homework that adds nothing to the students’ progress is merely a to-do task .

Is it too much to give two hours of homework?

According to the Stanford Graduate School of Education , beyond two hours of homework is too much. Having more than two hours of homework to do has three negative effects on students. These are:

  • Increase in stress levels, affecting productivity
  • Health risks, such as sleep deprivation, severe weight loss, and exhaustion
  • Less time with friends and family, which can lead to depression and neglect of schoolwork

Homework is an integral part of your school’s teaching methods. It is an extension of your school’s guidance for the students outside the classroom. But there have to be limitations. So start making a homework policy now. And don’t forget to download our Homework Policy Template.

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Studies Show Homework Isn't Beneficial in Elementary School, so Why Does It Exist?

It's time for parents to help change homework policies for young kids.

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As a rule-follower and the kind of person who enjoys task completion so much that folding laundry can feel therapeutic, I didn’t anticipate having a problem with homework. That also had something to do with my kid, who regularly requested “homewurt” starting at age 3. An accomplished mimic, she’d pull a chair up alongside a table of middle-schoolers at the public library, set out a sheet of paper, and begin chewing the end of a pencil, proudly declaring, “I do my homewurt!”

But the real thing quickly disappointed us both. She found first grade’s nightly math worksheets excruciating, both uninteresting and difficult. I found pulling her away from pretend games for something that left her in tears excruciating, both undermining and cruel.

Our story is complex but not uncommon. Cathy Vatterott, a professor of education at the University of Missouri, St. Louis who’s better known as the “ Homework Lady ” says, “Parent activism about homework has really increased over the last 5 to 7 years.” Acton, Massachusetts librarian Amy Reimann says her daughter's district recently overhauled its policy. Now, no school issues homework before third grade , and it's not expected nightly until seventh. In 2017, Marion County, Florida eliminated all elementary homework aside from 20 minutes of reading (or being read to) at night. The result? After moving to a school with a no-homework policy in Berkeley, California, parent Allison Busch Zulawski said: “Our kids are happier, I’m happier, and there are no academic downsides.” If you're looking to make a similar change at your school, check out the stats you'll need to bolster your argument below, followed by some strategies you can use with your school's administration.

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Is homework even beneficial to students? Arm yourself with the stats before you storm the school.

If you want to go in with the most effective arguments for changing your school's homework policy, you'll have to, um, do your homework (or use this cheat sheet).

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Giving up homework in the younger grades has no academic impact.

There's a bit of disagreement among scholars over the academic value of homework. Duke professor Harris Cooper, Ph.D., who has studied the issue, says that the best studies show "consistent small positive effects." But others have questioned whether any impact of doing homework on tests scores and/or grades has been proven. And most academics seem to agree that what little bump homework gives doesn't start until middle school or later. What does all this mean? In his book The Homework Myth , writer and researcher Alfie Kohn concludes, “There is no evidence of any academic benefit from homework in elementary school."

There is clear evidence on a related point though: Reading self-selected material boosts literacy. That’s why many elementary schools are moving toward homework policies that require reading, or being read to, rather than problems or exercises. (Once kids get to middle and high school, the homework debate generally shifts to “how much” and “what kind” rather than “whether.”)

Many agree with educators like Linda Long, a fourth-grade teacher at a different San Francisco school, who sees the value in “just the act of taking a piece of paper home and bringing it back” for building organizational skills and responsibility. But Good Housekeeping was able to find no research demonstrating that this is the case at the elementary level prior to grade five. And research showing that doing homework increases conscientiousness in grades 5 through 8 appears to be thin. What’s more, the many children who don’t complete homework fastidiously have the opposite lesson reinforced: that duties can be ignored or completed hastily.

Homework is more harmful than helpful to families.

Long sees another upside of elementary homework, saying, “It helps families be aware of what their children are learning in the classroom.” Professor Cooper adds, "Homework can give parents an opportunity to express positive attitudes toward achievement."

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But there are lots of ways for parents to do these things, from quarterly teacher updates like the ones Fairmount Elementary School instituted when eliminating homework, to parents sifting through the completed classwork that comes home in backpacks. And asking parents to police homework can damage family relationships by creating power struggles and resentment. In a September 2019 poll of approximately 800 parents conducted by the tech company Narbis, 65% reported that the stress of homework had negatively affected their family dynamic. Academic studies show that this family stress increases as homework load increases.

Homework can also have a negative impact on children’s attitudes toward school. Take the story of Sarah Bloomquist Greathouse of Felton, California. “My fourth-grader has always had such a hard time with liking school,” she says. “This year is the first year we have no worksheets or other busywork. This is the first year my son has actually enjoyed going to school.” As Vicki Abeles puts it in Beyond Measure , “Homework overload steals from young minds the desire to learn.”

Homework eats up time that could be spent doing something more beneficial.

For some students, time spent doing homework displaces after-school activities — like imaginative play, outdoor time, sibling bonding, physical activity, socializing, and reading purely for pleasure — that are shown to be neurologically and developmentally beneficial.

For others, homework provides important scaffolding for free time. (Long says, “I’m more inclined to give homework to my kids who I know just go home and are playing Fortnite for five hours.”) Some argue a no-homework policy leaves a void that only wealthier families can afford to fill with enrichment. That’s why a lot of parents are throwing their weight behind optional policies that provide homework but let families determine whether doing it will improve their child’s life.

Another important displacement concern is sleep. “If parents and teachers are worried about academics and behavior in school then they don’t need homework, they need sleep,” says Heather Shumaker of Traverse City, Michigan, author of It’s OK to Go Up The Slide: Renegade Rules for Raising Confident and Creative Kids , which covers banning homework in elementary school. "The more sleep kids get, the better their memory, the better their learning, the better their focus, the better they’ll do on all the tests, being able to control their impulses, and so on.”

What do you do if you don't agree with the amount of homework your kids get at school?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be as annoying as me to change your situation. There are multiple ways to push back against homework, each suited to a different personality type. That said, we can all learn a little something from every take.

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Introvert Parent

You'd like your child to have less homework, but you don't want to make a huge thing of it.

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Rallier Parent

You've read the research, and you're ready to gather others and take the whole system down.

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Conflict-Avoidant Parent

You're bad at confrontation, but you want your student's homework stress to be known.

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Hands-off Parent

You don't think it's good for anyone when your kids' assignments become your homework.

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Some parents focus on winning an exception to the rule rather than challenging it. Teresa Douglas’s daughter read voraciously — until, that is, she was required to log her minutes in a daily time log. The Vancouver, British Columbia mom wrote the teacher a note explaining the situation, declaring her intent to excuse her daughter from doing homework, and offering to provide relevant research. “I received zero pushback,” she says. Pretty much the same thing happened for a Sacramento, California parent (who didn’t wish to be named due to her role in that state’s government). She told her sons’ teachers they would not be doing any homework, aside from reading, unless the teacher could provide research proving it beneficial. That was the end of that.

Straight-up refusal to comply is the same approach I’ve taken when asked to sign off on my kids’ work while my advocacy efforts were ongoing. I thought my signature would imply my child couldn’t be trusted, and I knew it would put us on course for the type of shared academic responsibility, and ultimately dependence, decried in How to Raise an Adult , a book by former Stanford University Dean of Freshmen Julie Lythcott-Haims. So every year, I emailed my kids’ teachers, explaining my reasoning and offering alternatives, like having my children put their own initials in that spot. Some teachers weren't pleased, and I have to admit my kids initially felt mortified, but I held firm and everyone wound up happy with the arrangement.

Critical, independent thinking is also what Kang Su Gatlin, a Seattle, Washington dad, is after. He gives his son the option to do school-assigned homework or exercises chosen by his parents. When the fifth-grader picks the school’s problems, he’s allowed to skip the ones drilling concepts he’s already mastered. “At least in the jobs I’ve had,” says Gatlin, who currently works for Microsoft, “it’s not just how you do your job, but also knowing what work isn't worth doing.”

Some worry that going this route will upset their child's teacher, and it's possible. But when Long was asked what she’d do if a parent presented her with research-backed arguments that disagree with her homework philosophy, she replied, “I would read it, and it would probably change my opinion. And I would also be flexible with the individual family.”

For the Rallier Parent: Gather Reinforcements and Tell Your PTA Why Students Should Have No Homework

Many parents don’t stop with their own child. When the first edition of Vatterott’s book Rethinking Homework was published in 2009, she says, it was a relatively fringe thing, but now, “We’re talking about a real movement.”

Shumaker, the Michigan author and one of the most prominent figures in the movement, knows initiating this kind of conversation with a teacher can be terrifying, so she recommends having company: “Maybe you want to bring in another parent in the class who feels similarly or who is even just willing to sit next to you,” she says. Or broach the subject in a group setting. Shumaker tells a story that reminds me of every back-to-school night I’ve ever attended: “One of the parents raised a hand and said, ‘My child is having such a hard time with math. She spends hours on it every night, and she can’t get through all the problems.’ There was this huge sigh of relief from all the other parents in the room, because they’d had the same problem.”

So, talk to other parents. Bring the issue to the PTA. For petitions, surveys, and templates you can use when writing to a teacher, reaching out to other parents, and commenting at PTA and school board meetings, see The Case Against Homework by Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish. It’s packed with step-by-step advocacy advice, including ideas for a variety of non-traditional homework policies (e.g., “No-Homework Wednesdays”).

For the Conflict-Avoidant Parent: Sometimes It Just Takes One Homework Question

If all this sounds like a bit much, Vatterott recommends an approach based on inquiry and information-sharing.

Begin by asking whether there's a fixed policy, either in the classroom or at the school. “You can’t believe how many schools have a policy that the teachers don't follow,” Vatterott notes. Often it’s one based on guidelines endorsed by the National Education Association: about 10 minutes per night in the first grade, and 10 more minutes added on for each successive grade (e.g., 20 minutes for second grade, 50 for fifth). “Sometimes all that’s needed is to say, ‘Can we make the homework requirement weekly rather than daily?’” she says.

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Experts also recommend starting with what psychologists call “I statements,” because teachers aren’t mind-readers. Put a note on each assignment saying, “My child spent 40 minutes on this.” Since research shows teachers often underestimate the amount of time homework takes by about 50% , Vatterott reports, passing along this info can be enough to make assignments less onerous. Other simple statements of fact include:

  • “Luna isn’t getting enough downtime in the afternoon."
  • “Cynthia told me today, ‘I hate homework and I hate school.’”
  • “Dante is losing sleep to finish his work.”

Try to find some way, Vatterott says, to not feel embarrassed or guilty about telling the teacher, even in a roundabout way, “This is too much.”

For the Hands-off Parent: Just Take Yourself Out of the Equation

Not everyone agrees on the level of parental involvement required in homework assignments. Reading all that research also taught me that intrinsic motivation is the more effective , longer-lasting kind. So during the years when I tried to get the school-wide policy changed, I also told my kids that homework is between them and their teacher. If they decided to do it, great; if they chose not to, the consequences were up to them to negotiate.

Third-grade mom Anna Gracia did the same thing, and her oldest, a third-grader, opted to take a pass on homework. When the teacher explained that the class had a star chart for homework with Gracia’s kid listed in last place, she asked whether her daughter seemed to mind. Her daughter didn't. Gracia asked if her daughter was behind in a particular subject or needed to practice certain skills. "No, but homework helps kids learn responsibility," the teacher replied. “How does it teach my kid that, if I’m the one who has to remind her to do it?” she asked. In the end, Gracia stayed out of it: “I said the teacher could take it up directly with my daughter, but I would not be having any conversations about homework at home unless she could point to a demonstrable need for her to do it.”

I’m happy to report my now fifth-grader takes complete ownership over her nightly "homewurt." And after the most recent round of parent-teacher conferences, neither her teacher nor Gracia’s daughter’s had any complaints.

Do the Research

Rethinking Homework

ASCD Rethinking Homework

The Case Against Homework

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The Homework Myth

Da Capo Press The Homework Myth

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Is Homework Good for Kids? Here’s What the Research Says

A s kids return to school, debate is heating up once again over how they should spend their time after they leave the classroom for the day.

The no-homework policy of a second-grade teacher in Texas went viral last week , earning praise from parents across the country who lament the heavy workload often assigned to young students. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early.

But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage. Here’s what you need to know:

For decades, the homework standard has been a “10-minute rule,” which recommends a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night. High school seniors should complete about two hours of homework each night. The National PTA and the National Education Association both support that guideline.

But some schools have begun to give their youngest students a break. A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction. “We really want kids to go home at 4 o’clock, tired. We want their brain to be tired,” Kelly Elementary School Principal Jackie Glasheen said in an interview with a local TV station . “We want them to enjoy their families. We want them to go to soccer practice or football practice, and we want them to go to bed. And that’s it.”

A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders.

New solutions and approaches to homework differ by community, and these local debates are complicated by the fact that even education experts disagree about what’s best for kids.

The research

The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school. The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.

Cooper’s analysis focused on how homework impacts academic achievement—test scores, for example. His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills. On the other hand, some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children. At the end of his analysis, Cooper recommended further study of such potential effects of homework.

Despite the weak correlation between homework and performance for young children, Cooper argues that a small amount of homework is useful for all students. Second-graders should not be doing two hours of homework each night, he said, but they also shouldn’t be doing no homework.

Not all education experts agree entirely with Cooper’s assessment.

Cathy Vatterott, an education professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, supports the “10-minute rule” as a maximum, but she thinks there is not sufficient proof that homework is helpful for students in elementary school.

“Correlation is not causation,” she said. “Does homework cause achievement, or do high achievers do more homework?”

Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs , thinks there should be more emphasis on improving the quality of homework tasks, and she supports efforts to eliminate homework for younger kids.

“I have no concerns about students not starting homework until fourth grade or fifth grade,” she said, noting that while the debate over homework will undoubtedly continue, she has noticed a trend toward limiting, if not eliminating, homework in elementary school.

The issue has been debated for decades. A TIME cover in 1999 read: “Too much homework! How it’s hurting our kids, and what parents should do about it.” The accompanying story noted that the launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to a push for better math and science education in the U.S. The ensuing pressure to be competitive on a global scale, plus the increasingly demanding college admissions process, fueled the practice of assigning homework.

“The complaints are cyclical, and we’re in the part of the cycle now where the concern is for too much,” Cooper said. “You can go back to the 1970s, when you’ll find there were concerns that there was too little, when we were concerned about our global competitiveness.”

Cooper acknowledged that some students really are bringing home too much homework, and their parents are right to be concerned.

“A good way to think about homework is the way you think about medications or dietary supplements,” he said. “If you take too little, they’ll have no effect. If you take too much, they can kill you. If you take the right amount, you’ll get better.”

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It’s Only Kindergarten. Do We *Really* Need Homework?

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It was pretty darn adorable the first time my Kindergartner showed me her homework. She was happy to sit down like a big kid to complete the ten-minute assignment in her designated black-and-white composition book. And I was thrilled to see her excited about school.

Not so fast.

Since that blissful start, it has taken anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes of refocusing, nagging and pleading to complete homework assignments. If she just sat down and did the darn thing, it would be over in two seconds flat. But it takes time to find the right pencil, sharpen it to precisely the right length, steal an LOL doll from her sister, find a pair of socks that are “less itchy,” use the potty, set up her stuffies so they can do their own homework, beg to play Uno, go to the potty again, ask Alexa to play the “strong girl” song from Encanto , find a safe hiding spot for the stolen LOL doll, lose the pencil in the process and find a new pencil that is sharpened to precisely the right length.

By this point, I am slouched over the kitchen table with my head in my hands wondering how on earth I can get her to finish this one measly assignment without vomiting mom rage all over the place.

You see…I was a model student. I loved school. I loved homework. I loved making my parents and teachers proud. I loved getting As and stars and check-pluses. But I also remember receiving my first homework assignment–in third grade . Yep, my daughter is now getting homework literal years before our generation did.

Back in the early 1900s , homework prioritized memorization and facts . Toward the middle of the century, progressive educators began to value learning experiences, eliminating homework at the elementary level. The pendulum began to swing back to homework drills in the mid-1980s though, as schools started implementing high-stakes testing and Common Core standards.

Today, the general rule is 10 minutes of homework per grade level. So first graders would have 10 minutes of homework, second graders would have 20 minutes, and so on. But kindergarten is often left out of the discussion altogether, with some educators advocating for full-on reading drills and others maintaining it’s simply too early to demand that of children. So, do I need to force my daughter to do work that seems so hard for her (and for me)? 

“A lot of kids don't do parts of their homework because it feels hard for them and they don't know how to express that. They want to look smart in front of their parents, to show off a little and be the experts in something,” said Talia Kovacs , a literacy specialist, former classroom teacher and founder of the Resilient Reader program. Additionally, Kovacs maintains that many parents are stressed about their kids doing their best and kids are stressed about impressing their parents, “and this cycle loops and loops until just picking up your kid from school can leave you with a sense of dread for what's coming.” 

In other words, why am I torturing myself? And perhaps more to the point, is kindergarten homework even necessary?

Monica Burns , an educational technology and curriculum consultant, said instead of answering yes or no to that question, we should instead ask why homework might be assigned. Has the school run out of time to cover the curriculum? Do students need more time to practice a new skill? Are teachers trying to find out if students have mastered a concept?

Compounding the problem is the fact that the choice of whether to assign homework is rarely given to teachers. It is often a district-wide mandate. Because teachers are already overworked and stressed—especially these days—each and every night of homework might not have been thoughtfully assigned. Kovacs said that as a teacher, she would sometimes assign extremely purposeful homework…but if she was pressed for time, she might make a copy of whatever came next in her planning book. “The trouble with this,” Kovacs said, “is that parents aren’t always told which parts of the homework are super important for their kids’ growth and which are just to fill a need.” In short, homework at the younger elementary level is helpful in some cases but tedious in others. 

Her advice? If you’re not sure which assignments are the important ones…ask!

Burns urges teachers to be transparent with parents about the “why” behind homework assignments. And Kovacs said that it might be a good idea to chat with the teacher about which elements of homework are the most impactful so you can focus on those first. For instance, maybe your child really needs to spend more time on writing, but doesn’t need to do every damn math game that’s send home. That’s good intel.

There are a number of strategies for making homework time less onerous, as well. Burns suggested having a dedicated space for homework with pencils, paper and homework supplies within easy reach, or using an app like Brain.fm to play music to signal homework time and improve focus. Susan G. Groner, founder of The Parenting Mentor and author of Parenting with Sanity & Joy , advises parents not to hover while their kids are doing homework. “It’s ‘best practice’ to get your kids into the routine of doing their own work. Your presence communicates that the work has to be done ‘right,’ which isn’t the point of homework,” she said. “The bonus is that while your kids are working, it’s a little break for you.”

Groener and Kovacs even stress that homework at this age *gasp* doesn’t have to be perfect and *double gasp* doesn’t even have to be complete. Groener said that homework often “helps the teacher discern what they need to work on for each individual student, or for the whole class.” If the assignment turns into an endless slog, Kovacs recommends ending the homework session with something your child does well and then letting the teacher know that the rest of the assignment was too hard. 

The experts also reminded me that play has just as many educational opportunities—if not more—than homework. Sometimes just playing in the park may be more valuable than writing each sight word three times in a row. In other words, at this age, it’s probably OK to make your own decisions about which afterschool activities are best for your family, and simply communicate them to your teacher.

Bottom line: You know your kid best. As Kovacs maintains, “Learning to learn takes many forms. And to build resilience, your child needs to feel a sense of love, trust and optimism at home. If homework isn't helping you build that, it isn't helping your child.”

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The ‘Homework Gap’ Is About to Get Worse. What Should Schools Do?

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A program that provides discounted broadband internet service to low-income households is expected to run out of funding by the end of April, a concerning development for school districts with families that relied on the subsidy.

With the Affordable Connectivity Program , eligible families can receive a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service. For those on qualifying tribal lands, the discount is up to $75 per month. The program also provides a one-time discount to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers.

Nearly 23 million households have enrolled in the program since it launched in 2021, according to the Federal Communications Commission, which runs the program. However, the agency stopped accepting new enrollments as of Feb. 8 and said it will disenroll all households from the program at the end of April, unless Congress provides additional funding.

Schools are increasingly relying on technology for teaching and learning, from learning management systems to multimedia curriculum to internet research. In some cases, schools are turning inclement weather days into remote learning days . So it’s even more imperative that students have sufficient internet connectivity and devices to access learning materials while at home.

‘It’s a huge equity problem’

Educators and advocates say the possible sunsetting of the Affordable Connectivity Program could worsen the so-called “ homework gap ”—a phrase used to describe the inequities between students who have digital devices and reliable internet connectivity at home, and those who don’t and struggle to complete online assignments as a result.

“My fear is that, with this funding running out, we’re going to have either more families not having access to those services, or more families having to go someplace with open Wi-Fi that maybe isn’t as secure as it should be,” said Chantell Manahan, the director of technology for Steuben County schools, a 2,600-student district in rural northeast Indiana. The program’s expiration could also mean more “families away from home, sitting in parking lots like they were during the pandemic, and that’s not a good place for our students and families to be.”

In 2024, [internet access is] not a luxury anymore. This is a necessity to participate in modern society.

The expiration of the Affordable Connectivity Program doesn’t just affect students, but parents, too.

“Many schools rely on online communications platforms to communicate with parents and guardians about their student’s progress, school activities, and other important information. If families lose affordable internet access, this [communication] channel may be compromised,” said Julia Fallon, the executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association.

Sometimes, a school-issued device is the only one available to use at home, so parents also use it to look for jobs, do online coursework, or attend telehealth appointments, Manahan said.

“It’s not just a K-12 education problem. It’s a community problem. It’s a huge equity problem,” she added.

Will Congress provide more funding for ACP?

The Affordable Connectivity Program first launched as the Emergency Broadband Benefit, which was part of a pandemic relief package signed by former President Donald Trump in 2020. The next year, the program was codified as part of the bipartisan infrastructure law signed by President Joe Biden.

But the program has run through much of the initial $17.4 billion allocated by Congress, including $14.2 billion from the infrastructure law and $3.2 billion from its emergency predecessor.

Photo of African-American boy working on laptop computer at home.

In January, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill in the Senate and the House of Representatives that would provide $7 billion to keep the Affordable Connectivity Program operational.

It’s unclear how much traction the bill will receive, but several FCC commissioners and advocacy groups have applauded the bill and urged Congress to pass the measure.

Districts look for other solutions

In the meantime, district leaders are having tough conversations about how to provide adequate internet access to students and families who relied on the program.

In Steuben County, Manahan said the district might go back to solutions it used before the Affordable Connectivity Program, such as partnerships with local businesses and organizations that would let families come in and use their Wi-Fi for virtual learning.

The district has Wi-Fi hotspot devices it can lend to students, too, though Manahan is unsure how many of those devices the district can keep after funding runs out. The devices were originally funded through ESSER and the Emergency Connectivity Fund , both of which are also expiring this year.

High angle shot of a man assisting his students at computers

Fortunately, Manahan said, the FCC’s E-rate funding will now cover putting Wi-Fi on school buses .

“It’ll be much more cost-effective for the district to be able to outfit all the buses,” she said. “We know there are some places where we might be able to park those buses and have internet access available.”

Along with school bus Wi-Fi, the district could also extend the reach of the Wi-Fi on school buildings so students, families, and staff can use it in the parking lot, she said.

“I can only hope that if we do see both ACP and ECF sunsetting that they’re going to divert those funds to other programs [that would provide] internet access into all our homes,” Manahan said. “In 2024, it’s not a luxury anymore. This is a necessity to participate in modern society.”

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kindergarten homework policy

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FREE KINDERGARTEN HOMEWORK

As teachers we want homework to be meaningful.  We want homework to enrich what you do in the classroom.  And let’s be truthful, we want homework to not be a burden to the teacher.  And so here is two weeks of Free Kindergarten Homework that I am sure will take all your homework woes away.

Kindergarten Homework with weekly family games and academic review! Try a week free at Simply Kinder! Free Kindergarten Homework your students, your families, and you will love!

Each week includes all of the elements you will need to keep your students extending what you teach, get your families involved in a fun way, and to practice essential skills you may not cover in class that are so important!

Each week has a cover page (check it out above).  The cover page is loaded with practice:

  •  Students will write their name neatly on the lines.
  • A reading log that asks families to read together.  The parents will initial in the boxes that they read and each week the student is asked to write or draw about a different story element from one of the books they read.
  • The practice of an essential skill.  Throughout the year the students will be asked to write their last names, initials, phone numbers, school name, city, state, and much more.

The upper left hand corner of the page has a fun graphic each week and is numbered on the right.  This will help you to organize them and help the students take some ownership in that process.

Kindergarten Homework with weekly family games and academic review! Try a week free at Simply Kinder!

Each week also includes two pages of content review.  The concepts are scaffolded throughout the year so they match the diverse range of skills we teach in kindergarten.  These skills are meant to be done mostly independently (of course depending on the child).  Each night the students will do the review and move onto the next fun activity.

Kindergarten Homework with weekly family games and academic review! Try a week free at Simply Kinder!

Each week also includes a family game.  These are print and play style games that the families can store in baggies to save to review all year long.  The families will color, cut, and play the game during the week.   Most of these games are two pages so they won’t put too much of a dent in your copying.

Most weeks are 5 pages in total (a few are 6 pages).  Print them off, put them in the copy machine, and hand them out.

It’s so easy, we want you to give it a try.  Click the quarter you are in below and we will show you exactly what is covered in it AND send you a free week:

First Quarter

Second Quarter

Third Quarter

Fourth Quarter

And if you are already in love and want to go full force with our Kindergarten Homework , you can save big when you buy the bundle!  And the best part is, the full file is editable so you can truly customize it to your needs.  If you are teaching the letter J one week, you can make the handwriting review be that letter.  Or maybe you need it in another language, no problem!   Click here to check out the full years set on Teachers Pay Teachers.

FREE KINDERGARTEN HOMEWORK

Have you tried our Kindergarten Homework?  Let us know what you think in the comments below.  

“I love love love the games that are included in this packet. The parents in my class love them too! I print them off for them, and keep a set of games to play in class for small group interventions! It is the perfect homework packet!”

“I hate giving homework, but these are so pretty that it makes it okay!”

“I’m a huge Simply Kinder fan!!! I don’t often buy anything off of TPT…but when I do, it’s from Simply Kinder. All of her products are so developmentally appropriate and well thought out…this homework bundle is no exception. Not to mention, it saves this very busy teacher a whole lot of planning time!! Thank you so much!!”

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  1. Homework Policy- Kindergarten and 1st Grade by Imperfect Super Teacher

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  2. Kindergarten News at LBJ: Kindergarten Homework Policy

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  3. Homework Policy and Guidelines

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  4. Little Weighton Rowley C of E Primary School

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  5. 10+ Homework Policy Templates in PDF

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COMMENTS

  1. Outlining Simple Homework Guidelines for K-8 Teachers

    1. Homework should be clearly defined. Homework is not unfinished classwork that the student is required to take home and complete. Homework is "extra practice" given to take home to reinforce concepts that they have been learning in class.

  2. PDF Kindergarten Homework Policy

    Kindergarten Homework Policy Recent evidence has shown that children who are most successful in school come from homes where education is a priority in the home. The following is a list of suggestions to help your child realize that education is important in your family. Please use good sense with the list. Two or three activities a week is enough.

  3. Homework and Higher Standards

    Feb 13, 2019 Homework and Higher Standards How Homework Stacks Up to the Common Core CAP analysis found that homework is generally aligned to Common Core State Standards, but additional...

  4. Kindergarten Homework: Is It Appropriate?

    Twitter Homework has become somewhat of a hot topic lately. I've read articles about schools adopting no-homework policies. I've seen research on the ineffectiveness of homework. I've found infographics on the absence of homework in other successful nations. All of this has made me question whether or not my students should have homework.

  5. Kindergarten Homework: Too Much Too Early?

    Kindergartners there are expected to do 30 minutes of homework a night, Monday through Thursday. Every student at the school is expected to spend 15 minutes reading a night. For kindergartners...

  6. Homework Policy

    To ensure consistency across schools, school-based homework policies will be reviewed each fall as part of the school's Continuous School Improvement Plan (CSIP). Kindergarten. Kindergarten: 15 minutes of reading, 5 nights per week; Our goal is for Kindergarteners to learn the routine of using a folder to carry communication between home and ...

  7. PDF Homework: A Guide for Parents

    the teacher's homework policies and practices but also as ways to communicate to their children that they consider homework an important part of their education. Work with school personnel to establish necessary supports within the school. Parents alone cannot solve all homework problems. When students do not under-

  8. Should Kids Get Homework?

    The key to effective homework, they say, is keeping assignments related to classroom learning, and tailoring the amount by age: Many experts suggest no homework for kindergartners, and little...

  9. PDF Mrs. Smith Kindergarten Homework Policy

    Kindergarten Homework Policy In accordance with Fremont Unified Board Policy 6154, my homework plan is as follows: Objectives Through homework, students will learn how to develop effective study habits. It is also an opportunity to learn how to prioritize, organize and take responsibility

  10. Creating a Homework Policy With Meaning and Purpose

    A school's homework policy should reflect this philosophy; ultimately guiding teachers to give their students reasonable, meaningful, purposeful homework assignments. Sample School Homework Policy Homework is defined as the time students spend outside the classroom in assigned learning activities.

  11. School Policies / Homework Policy

    Homework Policy. (AR 6154) Don Benito Homework Policy. Homework serves many important purposes - it reinforces academic skills, teaches research skills, and helps students learn to develop ideas and become life-long learners. Homework is the responsibility of the student; students need to develop regular study habits and do most of the work ...

  12. Homework Policy

    1. Homework Policy Template 2. Middle School Homework Policy 10+ Homework Policy Examples 1. Homework Policy Template nompengacademy.us Details File Format PDF Size: 93 KB Download 2. Middle School Homework Policy nelson.kyschools.us Details File Format PDF Size: 81 KB Download

  13. Studies Show Homework Doesn't Benefit Elementary Students

    Should Kindergartners and Young Kids Have Homework in Elementary School? Life Parenting Tips & Advice Studies Show Homework Isn't Beneficial in Elementary School, so Why Does It Exist? It's...

  14. No Homework Policy

    At The Country School, children have no homework until the second trimester of 5th grade. There is no evidence of a clear connection between homework, improved test scores and academic achievement in the lower grades. Traditional homework also limits valuable family time, and may even be detrimental to students' mental health. Once homework ...

  15. Teacher Kindergarten Homework Policy

    Kindergarten Homework Policy Discipline Policy Homework Policy Homework Policy Homework is a vital part of the educational process. It is a formative assessment, which allows for teachers to determine the level of proficiency each student has in a particular concept. Please complete homework daily as it is given.

  16. Homework Policy

    Meet the Kindergarten Team » Homework Policy Homework Policy. Kindergarten does not require homework. You are your child's role model and advocate! We strongly encourage you to read with your children everyday. ... Homework Policy; Parent Resources; Links; 2040 Miller Dr., Longmont, CO 80501 Phone: (303) 651-7900 Fax: (303) 651-7922 . M-F 7 ...

  17. PDF Homework Policy and Procedures

    The table below is from Dufferin-Peel's homework policy and procedures. It outlines the specific expectations for each division with respect to the type and quantity of homework. Kindergarten: Research indicates a strong connection between family involvement and student achievement.

  18. Is Homework Good for Kids? Here's What the Research Says

    For decades, the homework standard has been a "10-minute rule," which recommends a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. Second graders, for example, should do about 20 ...

  19. PDF TMA Parent/Student Handbook 2019-2020

    KINDERGARTEN HOMEWORK In accordance with Tustin Memorial Academy's homework policy, kindergarten students will be required to do a range of skill practice Monday through Thursday. Please be sure that homework is completed and placed in the homework folder and returned as assigned. Homework assignments will address the academic areas

  20. It's Only Kindergarten. Do We *Really* Need Homework?

    Today, the general rule is 10 minutes of homework per grade level. So first graders would have 10 minutes of homework, second graders would have 20 minutes, and so on. But kindergarten is often left out of the discussion altogether, with some educators advocating for full-on reading drills and others maintaining it's simply too early to ...

  21. How much homework is too much?

    Many districts follow the guideline of 10 minutes per grade level. This is a good rule of thumb and can be modified for specific students or subjects that need more or less time for assignments. This can also be helpful to gauge if you are providing too much (or too little) homework. Consider surveying your students on how much time is needed ...

  22. The 'Homework Gap' Is About to Get Worse. What Should Schools Do?

    Educators and advocates say the possible sunsetting of the Affordable Connectivity Program could worsen the so-called " homework gap "—a phrase used to describe the inequities between ...

  23. PDF Family Handbook

    country — from infant to kindergarten and beyond. We believe a whole child is a happy child. We're honored you've chosen us for your child's education and care. Now, let the stories begin. These guidelines are designed to make sure your child — along with all the children in our care — receives the best education and experience ...

  24. Free Kindergarten Homework

    Second Quarter Third Quarter Fourth Quarter And if you are already in love and want to go full force with our Kindergarten Homework, you can save big when you buy the bundle! And the best part is, the full file is editable so you can truly customize it to your needs.