7 Benefits of Homework: A Handy List to Relieve Teacher Guilt and Make You Hate Homework Less

Do you question the importance of homework? Are you one of the many teachers or parents who feel homework should be banned? If you are part of the growing number of people questioning if the reasons homework is bad outweigh the benefits to homework then you'll find this article to be helpful. Below highlight 7 Benefits of Homework that will hopefully ease the guilt some teachers feel about burdening their students and their families with tasks to complete at home and I will also share how I successfully turned homework into a purposeful activity in my own classroom.

Do you question the importance of homework? Are you one of the many teachers or parents who feel homework should be banned? If you are part of the growing number of people questioning if the reasons homework is bad outweigh the benefits to homework then you'll find this article to be helpful. It lists 7 benefits of homework and shares how an experienced teacher solved her own homework problems.

For some teachers, the word HOMEWORK brings about pangs of dread, for others it’s a necessary evil of learning, and for many it merely represents having to fulfill a district requirement. In many districts these days, homework grades are not even allowed to be included in a student’s overall grade. The debate over homework’s pros and cons has been waged for years, so what’s a teacher to do? No matter where you stand on the topic of homework, here are seven effects of homework that will make you feel better (and in some cases, even GOOD!), about assigning homework.

THE BENEFITS OF HOMEWORK:

  1. Preparation: A great way to use homework is preparation for an upcoming lesson, whether it’s doing some reading ahead of time, or looking over other assigned material, there’s no doubt that preparing for an upcoming lesson is a beneficial way to assign homework.


  1. Responsibility:  When a student has a task that they MUST do rather than WANT to do, they learn to be responsible. Homework is the “You do” in the learning model of  “I do, We do, You do.”  It gives the learner a chance to practice what was covered in class and take responsibility for their own learning.


  1. Problem-solving: If the student can’t find an answer to something in their homework, (or even where to look for information to find an answer), what steps will they take to solve this problem? Will they look in a dictionary, online, ask a friend, or go to a library? Homework gives students a chance to flex their problem-solving muscles.


  1. Review: Whether it’s a new math skill, or spelling/vocabulary words, homework that involves reviewing material covered in class will help students to remember it and is a very useful assignment.


  1. Time management: For students with an active extra-curricular life, homework teaches them how to manage their time so that they can prioritize schoolwork vs. other extracurricular activities.


  1. Persistence/grit: There have been many studies done recently that show a lack of persistence and grit in today’s students. Developing the fortitude to complete homework assignments also helps develop a student’s capacity for grit and persistence, which is necessary for success in many areas of life, not just academically.


  1. Self-esteem: When a student learns the value of a job well done and take ownership of their work, they will develop a sense of pride--which carries over into their personal development as well.

HOW I MADE HOMEWORK MEANINGFUL IN MY OWN CLASSROOM:

As a public school teacher, I was required to give out nightly homework to my third graders. I found myself spending a lot of time picking out assignments, making copies, communicating directions, answering emails and phone calls from parents who did "not understand the new math" (aka the math workbook pages), distributing, collecting and correcting what essentially was just busy work sent home to fulfill a requirement. My biggest concern with many of the assignments was that they included 10-20 of the same types of problems. If a student was struggling with subtraction with regrouping and completed 20 problems incorrectly, that misconception and error became so much harder to fix. Parents were signing reading logs, but the kids weren't actually reading and more often than not the students didn't do well with the language arts pages. 

Do you question the importance of homework? Are you one of the many teachers or parents who feel homework should be banned? If you are part of the growing number of people questioning if the reasons homework is bad outweigh the benefits to homework then you'll find this article to be helpful. It lists 7 benefits of homework and shares how an experienced teacher solved her own homework problems.
{Click to Access and Download: Math Spiral Reviews}
I was frustrated by feeling like my time, the students' time, and the parents' time was being wasted. I knew there had to be a better option and set out to fix the problem and must say I was thrilled with the results.

I began creating spiral review math pages for each month that proved to be important and meaningful work. They became so popular that I then made year long bundles of them for grades 2 through 5. The consistent format of 10 questions focused on topics we had already covered and provided important spiral review. 

This was key for several reasons:
  • It provided multiple opportunities for students to become proficient in a skill instead of just teaching it and forgetting it.
  • The repeated spiraling practice of foundational grade level skills ensured they were ready to build upon them when new skills were introduced.
  • We no longer needed to waste hours of valuable class time on standardized test prep in the spring because the spiral review throughout the year ensured the students were always ready for the exam.
  • It constantly showed me if there were skills I needed to reteach either to the whole class or to a small group of students. 
  • Because the skills and the design of the nightly math page were familiar the students completed them with ease. 
  • The variety of 10 different problems eliminated the risk of students cementing a misconception into their minds. 

Do you question the importance of homework? Are you one of the many teachers or parents who feel homework should be banned? If you are part of the growing number of people questioning if the reasons homework is bad outweigh the benefits to homework then you'll find this article to be helpful. It lists 7 benefits of homework and shares how an experienced teacher solved her own homework problems.The next morning I projected the answer sheet onto my smart board and reviewed each problem with them. This sent the message that the work they did outside of school was purposeful and they would be accountable for it. Because they no longer felt homework was a waste of their time they demonstrated increased effort.

I also created data collection sheets to use either with one specific student's page or to examine the class as a whole. The pages were so easy to use and let me see at a glance where I needed to focus future instruction. 

Do you question the importance of homework? Are you one of the many teachers or parents who feel homework should be banned? If you are part of the growing number of people questioning if the reasons homework is bad outweigh the benefits to homework then you'll find this article to be helpful. It lists 7 benefits of homework and shares how an experienced teacher solved her own homework problems.

Not only did the nightly spiral review math pages provide the students' with meaningful practice of important skills, increase their confidence as learners and make them stronger math students, they also solved many of the problems I faced as a teacher and made the parents' lives easier too.

  • I no longer needed to scramble to find homework for each night. Instead I simply printed each month's pages at the start of the new month and copied them all at once into weekly packets for the students.
  • My lesson planning became much more intentional and focused because I was able to easily identify which skills we needed to work on more.
  • My valuable time was no longer wasted correcting busy work and instead was better used by going over these as a class.
  • Parents felt better about being able to help their students and became true allies in their learning.
  • They were able to better enjoy their evenings together as a family because they knew what to consistently expect for homework each evening.
  • Distributing the week's packet all at once enabled them to support my goal of teaching time management because they could work ahead if they knew there was a busy night on their calendars.
These monthly math packets are now available as yearlong bundles for second grade, third grade, fourth grade and fifth grade. Each bundle contains over 250 printable pages with projectable answer sheets and data forms. Because there are more pages included than you'll need for nightly homework I encourage you to use the extras as assessments, morning work, or for small group instruction.


CLICK ON THE COVER OF ANY GRADE LEVEL BELOW TO SEE MORE DETAILS OF EACH:


Aside from all of the discussions about how much homework is appropriate per age, and whether or not parents should help with homework, and even whether it should be allowed to be counted as a grade, we can all feel good about the fact that there are at least a few positive effects of homework.

Have you seen the use of homework come and go during your teaching career? Is homework a requirement of your district? Does your district permit counting homework grades in its grade calculations? I’d love it if you shared your experiences in the comments below!
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By the way, if you are not already subscribed to The Clutter-Free Classroom newsletter I encourage you sign up. Subscribers receive weekly tips for organizing and managing a classroom as well as exclusive free printables. You can sign up here.


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