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Homework guidelines

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The Schalmont Central School District and school community believe that homework plays a critical role in teaching and learning. It also provides an excellent opportunity for parents to become aware of their child's daily academic experiences.

The purpose of homework is to strengthen academic skills and reinforce concepts taught by teachers. Its value is borne out in a variety of research studies. Appropriately assigned homework not only improves student achievement, it also develops time management skills, self discipline, independence, personal responsibility, and the ability to follow directions and prioritize.

The intent of this document is to promote sound homework practices and identify the responsibilities of teachers in their role of assigning appropriate homework, students in their role of doing homework and parents in their role of encouraging and supporting their children.

Parent's Role and Responsibilities

It is the parent's role to reinforce the importance of homework and encourage home completion in a timely manner. Parents need to monitor their child's homework. If parents set rules within their home that define where, when and under what conditions their child needs to complete their work, the task becomes more routine and less cumbersome. It is essential that parents provide guidance for their child, not answers. Parents are encouraged to find out more specifics about individual teachers' procedures and requirements when a child is absent.

Homework Tips for Parents

  • Express to your child the importance of a good education and the value of doing homework.
  • Make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit place to do homework. Make this location a permanent one.
  • Watch your child for signs of frustration. Suggest a short break and then return to the task.
  • If your child is struggling to complete an assignment, you may need to contact your child's teacher.
  • At various times during the school year, positively reinforce how well your child is doing.

Student's Role and Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the student to record their homework assignments. Students are encouraged to seek clarification about homework assignments they feel are unclear. It is their responsibility to complete homework and return at the time it is due. Students at all levels who are experiencing difficulty with their homework are encouraged to seek help from their teachers.

It is incumbent on parents in the early grades and students themselves as they mature to request homework assignments missed based on absences. Students who are ill may take it upon themselves to complete homework while staying home, depending upon the illness.

Teacher's Role and Responsibilities

Teachers are responsible for assigning meaningful homework to all students and for providing the necessary explanation and direction required, so that students can accomplish the work with reasonable success. Teachers will be mindful of students with limited resources, like internet access in the home, and will provide suggestions for how students might accomplish these assignments in school. Students receiving special education or related services will be given appropriate homework assignments on a regular basis. Homework will be checked and proper feedback given to students.

Middle School and High School teachers have built into their schedules a time period of 2:30-3:15 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, whereby students may request and receive help related to class work and/or homework.

Teachers need to be cognizant that students' illnesses may preclude them from completing and returning homework immediately following their sick days. Students may need an extended defined period of time established by the teacher to complete work that was assigned during their illness.

Amount of Homework

The following chart suggests the amount of time to be spent on homework at each grade level. There is flexibility in all of these times that are stated based on the fact that individual students complete work at different rates. A significant number of students prefer to complete a portion of their homework in school during study halls or other times that are available during school. Some children prefer to complete assigned homework in advance if they know they have other commitments beyond the school day such as sports competitions or family celebrations. Long-term projects require some homework scheduling on the part of the student, knowing that other assignments need to be completed, as well.

To promote consistency and fairness, these are guidelines for the amount of time; however, teachers may vary in their beliefs and system for assigning work. For example, some teachers choose not to assign work over the weekend or during holiday periods.

  • Kindergarten: 10 minutes per school weekday
  • First Grade: 20 minutes per school weekday
  • Second Grade: 30 minutes per school weekday
  • Third Grade: 40 minutes per school weekday
  • Fourth Grade: 50 minutes per school weekday
  • Fifth Grade: One hour per school week day
  • Sixth through Eighth Grade: 5 to 8 hours per school week
  • Ninth through Twelfth Grade: 6 to 10 hours per school week

These timeframes do not include recreational reading. Also, some teachers may assign a specific amount of additional time for reading.

Reading—An Important Activity in Conjunction with Homework

Homework often involves a reading assignment with follow up questions related to the comprehension of the material assigned. How often do teachers and parents emphasize the need to read an entire passage before answering any questions? This logical procedure is often not the process followed by the student. Both teachers and parents need to reinforce the appropriate strategy for completing homework. It is a process students need to follow not only to better their comprehension skills, but also to prepare them for standardized testing.

Most importantly, reading for pleasure in itself, is an extremely important pastime that has great impact on a student's success. Children are able to get public library cards at a very young age. The research is clear that students who read regularly are more successful in school. It is important for teachers and parents to continually encourage students to read more and often.