Homework – who needs it?

We asked readers of our weekly e-newsletter, Minnesota Parent This Week, how they feel about homework. Is it an essential part of education? A waste of time? A necessary evil? Or something else? And, boy, did we hear some strong opinions. Most people said, yes, homework is an important part of education.

Waste of time!  It’s busy work, in my opinion.
— Michel Boulware, Moorhead

Essential!   Kids practice their planning and priority skills, working independently and identifying resources outside of the classroom,  and show responsibility to meet deadlines.
— Ann James, Minnetonka

A good way to develop self-discipline and practice.
— Rama Hart, Minneapolis

I think homework should start at a young age, but should be something that is within reason for the age group while still allowing children to be children.  I think it teaches children responsibility and they start to learn about planning and scheduling fun and responsibility.  I am actually surprised at how little homework my son has.
— Robert Schatt, Bloomington

Homework is a great way to integrate the two most important aspects of childhood: family and school. Parents should view it as an opportunity to really get involved with their children’s education. Homework is also a great way for young students to build strong study habits and discipline at an early age — after all, there’s no way to get a college diploma without doing lots of homework.
— Jennifer Van Buren, Minneapolis

I feel kids need more time at home to be kids.  School work should be done at school.  My daughter spends the evening doing homework after she’s been at school all day doing the same stuff.  She doesn’t get any downtime for fun stuff.  And if she has dance class or any other activities in the evening it makes it that much more challenging to get the homework done.  And she’s only in second grade.  What do we have to look forward to as she gets older?!
— Rachell Franceen, Chisago City

I believe that there is too much homework given to students, I feel like my son doesn’t get enough time to just explore and play.
— Sue, Andover

As an educator (teacher for 5 years, principal for 8 years) I feel that homework serves as a means of providing a bond of common effort between each participant — students, teacher, and parent or guardian.  In order for it to be effective, each participant must understand and be committed to carrying out his or her responsibility.  It allows parents (who are the first and foremost educators) to be involved in the daily work of their children.  I strongly believe that homework needs to be directly correlated to the curriculum to be effective and needs to be a prescribed amount (rule of thumb:  10 minutes per grade level).
— Kim Zumbusch, Maple Lake

Essential, because of the study habits and quiet time it creates as a regular part of home life.  Even if it’s review or busywork, it shows kids that you even need a little dedicated downtime at home.
— John Evans, Richfield

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