And so most teachers continue to assign homework—even those teachers who question its value, have little time to give feedback on it (beyond a check, check plus, check minus), and recognize the stress it places on families.
On the other hand, some schools are rewriting their homework policy.
The National Parent-Teacher Association recommends 10-20 minutes of homework per day for first graders and an additional 10 minutes per grade level thereafter, but does not specify best practices for the nature of homework.
What it comes down to is that, whether by asking them to complete a worksheet on currency percentages or instructing them to take charge of calculating the tip each time their family goes out to dinner, we need to provide our students with homework that puts learning into context.
Even many teachers are in the dark: Only one of the hundreds the authors interviewed and surveyed had ever taken a course specifically on homework during training.
The truth, according to Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish, is that there is almost no evidence that homework helps elementary school students achieve academic success and little more that it helps older students.
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The school in Manhattan featured in this article is changing its approach to homework by offering students a menu of options from which to choose.
The options, such as finding the area of a household object or playing chess with a family member or friend, focus on applying book learning and interacting with others.