Hopewell Valley Regional School District

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Curriculum and Instruction » Homework Guidelines

Homework Guidelines

In Hopewell Valley Regional School District, homework is an important part of the educational process which is designed to help students review and practice what they have learned and to extend and apply their learning; to teach children to work independently; and to encourage children to develop good habits and attitudes such as self-discipline and responsibility.

We believe it is crucial that homework be both meaningful and developmentally appropriate. Research tells us that student achievement rises significantly when teachers regularly assign homework and students conscientiously do it, particularly in middle school and beyond.

Homework should serve different purposes at different grades. It should foster positive attitudes and habits and facilitate knowledge acquisition in specific subject areas. In order to be truly educated, students must learn to work on their own. When used well, homework activities can make an important contribution to student growth at every grade level.

We considered the average student in arriving at the following guidelines for homework. These estimates are the range of time each evening a student at a particular grade level can reasonably be expected to spend on homework. It is important to understand that such factors as individual work habits or advanced level classes can affect the amount of time students spend on homework on a given evening. Therefore, the following ranges are meant as appropriate guidelines at minimum or maximum limits:

     Grades 1 - 3:     0 to 30 minutes
     Grades 4 - 5:     30 minutes to 1 hour
     Grades 6 - 8:     1 to 2 hours
     Grades 9 - 12:   1 to 3 hours

The single most important element for parents to remember is to contact their child's classroom or subject teacher when they have any questions or concerns, particularly if a child is spending an inordinate amount of time completing assignments on a regular basis.

HELPFUL HOMEWORK HINTS FOR PARENTS

  • Set a regular time for homework - one that works for you, your child, and your family. Research shows a correlation between successful students and parents who create and maintain family routines.
  • Use the monthly calendar to mark due dates for major projects and interim dates for completing various phases of the projects.
  • Choose a fairly quiet study area with lots of light and supplies nearby.
  • Provide supplies and resources such as pencils, pens, erasers, paper, dictionary, etc. Contact the teacher, the school counselor, or the principal if you need help with supplies and resources.
  • Remove distractions. Studies show that more than two or three hours of television watching on school nights is related to lower student achievement.
  • Look over the homework but don't do it. John Collins of the Center for Effective Communication talks about parents' feelings when children come home saying, "We have an essay to write tonight!" Collins suggests the following: 
    • Tell your child to write the essay and then come to you.
    • Then, have your child read the essay aloud. At this point it is appropriate to ask questions: "I am not sure what you mean there." "What does that word mean?" 
    • Have the child make the corrections. When he or she returns and asks, "Now will you edit my paper?" say "I'll read it to you now." Your child's ear will hear what his/her eyes may have missed.
  • Contact the teacher if there is any question on the homework.
  • Asking questions is better than giving answers when it comes to helping your child. Some questions you might ask:
    • What's your homework today?
    • Is the assignment clear to you?
    • When is it due?
    • Do you need special resources to do this assignment? (a trip to the library, a computer)
    • Do you need any special supplies? (graph paper, oaktag, paints)
    • Is this a long term assignment?
    • For a major project, would it help to write out the steps and make a schedule?
    • Have you started today's homework? Finished it?