So, homework (or the groundwork) is good because it can boost your grades, help you learn the material, and prepare you for tests. It’s not always beneficial, however. Sometimes homework hurts more than it helps. Too much homework can lead to copying and cheating.
The most common purpose is to have students practice material already presented in class so as to reinforce learning and facilitate mastery of specific skills. Preparation assignments introduce the material that will be presented in future lessons and is the groundwork for your schoolwork in long term.
Roberto Nevelis of Venice, Italy, is often credited with having invented this in 1095—or 1905, depending on your sources. Upon further inspection, however, he seems to be more of an internet myth than an historical personage.
“The disadvantages are clear to everyone: exhaustion, frustration, loss of time to pursue other interests and often diminution of interest in learning,” he said. “It’s is like medicine. If you take too little, it does nothing. If you take too much, it can kill you,” Cooper said.
Assigning this serves various educational needs. It serves as an intellectual discipline, establishes study habits and eases time constraints on the amount of curricular material that can be covered in class, supplements and reinforces work done in school. In addition, it fosters student initiative, independence, and responsibility and brings home and school closer together.
There are three types: practice, preparation and extension.
Practice assignments/homework reinforce newly acquired skills. For example, students who have just learned a new method of solving a mathematical problem should be given sample problems to complete on their own.
Preparation assignments/homework help students get ready for activities that will occur in the classroom. Students may, for example, be required to do background research on a topic to be discussed later in class.
Extension assignments/homework are frequently long-term continuing projects that parallel class work. Students must apply previous learning to complete these assignments, which include science fair projects and term papers.
Tips for Parents
- Make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit place. Avoid having your child do homework with the television on or in places with other distractions, such as people coming and going.
- Be positive about homework. Tell your child how important homework is. The attitude you express about homework will be the attitude your child acquires.
- Help your child with time management. Establish a set time each day for doing homework. Don’t let your child leave homework until just before bedtime. Think about using a weekend morning or afternoon for working on big projects, especially if the project involves getting together with classmates.
- When your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers. Giving answers means your child will not learn the material. Too much help teaches your child that when the going gets rough, someone will do the work for him or her.
- When the teacher asks that you play a role in homework, do it. Cooperate with the teacher. It shows your child that the school and home are a team. Follow the directions given by the teacher.
If homework is meant to be done by your child alone, stay away. Too much parent involvement can prevent homework from having some positive effects. Homework is a great way for kids to develop independent, lifelong learning skills.
Help your child figure out what is hard homework and what is easy homework. Have your child do the hard work first. This will mean he will be most alert when facing the biggest challenges. Easy material will seem to go fast when fatigue begins to set in.
- Watch your child for signs of failure and frustration. Let your child take a short break if she is having trouble keeping her mind on an assignment.
- Reward progress in homework. If your child has been successful in homework completion and is working hard, celebrate that success with a special event (e.g., pizza, a walk, a trip to the park) to reinforce the positive effort.