Homework… it can be such a tricky topic! There is little research that shows homework being effective for children in elementary-aged classrooms. Upon a quick Google search, “Is homework effective for elementary-aged students?” There are pages of results full of articles denying that homework is academically effective.
So as a teacher or a parent with higher-ups enforcing homework in the classroom, what can you do?
Change the role of homework, stop seeing it as academic advancement, and start seeing it as an opportunity for students to build their self-awareness, self-fulfillment, and responsibility. And we do this by putting the homework in the child’s hands.
This means as teachers we are encouraging parents to remind, but not nag, about the homework.
It means, if possible, grading based on completion and participation instead of correctness.
It means giving the responsibility of the homework, completion, and bringing it back and forth from home to school, to the child and not the teachers or the parents.
It’s doing our best to teach them the intrinsic motivation of learning and practicing by watching them accomplish more and do better with the work they have put into their studies.
It can also mean starting the conversation with your principal and superintendent about the research on homework in younger grades and seeing if you can help change school policies.
In the end, putting the homework in the child’s hands and letting them take control of their learning can bring them more benefits later than actually doing the homework will.