As a former student for most of the 70s and 80s, and mother of a recent high school graduate, I understand the argument that homework is time-consuming and often random. With that in mind, I am considerate of how much homework I assign to my first-grader class.
At the beginning of each new school year, I predetermine the purpose of each homework and consider if the home assignments are of positive impact to not only my student’s academics but also if it does not affect my student’s home connection to their parents.
To be a successful teacher, I try to empower my students with the confidence and knowledge needed to succeed in their academics and personal relationships. The school I teach at a school where 93% of our students are profiled as economically disadvantaged, while 63% are considered at-risk. Many of the students I have been privileged to work with over the last ten years live in single-parent and multiple-sibling homes. Some students have either or both parents incarcerated, homeless, or live in shelters.
Despite these challenges, our school still manages to attain recognition and commendation on the Texas State tests. Staff and students contribute hugely to this success. I continue to seek innovative ways to bring quality to my students, both inside and outside the classroom.
Connection Between Home And School
One of the goals of homework is to create an opportunity for parent-children interactions and also be able to learn what makes them and their families special.
Two of the first home activities I assigned at the beginning of the school year is the Family Page Project and the Baby Name Project.
The Family Name Project presents parents with the opportunity to work with their child, to decorate a large piece of paper with interesting facts about their family. An instruction letter is usually sent to parents, which contains ideas about what families can do to fill in the page while also encouraging them to complete it however they want. The project usually shows a sense of humor and cooperation within the family.
The students are allowed to present their family page in class, and they are quite insightful. One student once shared his uncle’s story, who had died in a gang dispute, and shared the things they used to do together.
Another project I assign is the Baby Name Project, which allows parents to share the origin of their name with their child and what happened the day they were born. The project is usually a hit and accompanied by baby photos.
Traditional Daily Assignment
Research has shown that parental involvement in a child’s education is important in their school achievement.
Homework provides an important time to share a connection and reflection on self, family, and the world beyond. What is presented to your student will determine what they would do and how far they would go to maintain their academic success. If you find yourself debating, which is more important, quality, or quantity? Remember that homework should be fun and full of discoveries, not just for your student, but for you as well.