Creating a Homework Policy With Meaning and Purpose

homework policy
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We have all had time-consuming, monotonous, meaningless homework assigned to us at some point in our life. These assignments often lead to frustration and boredom and students learn virtually nothing from them.  Teachers and schools must reevaluate how and why they assign homework to their students. Any assigned homework should have a purpose.

Assigning homework with a purpose means that through completing the assignment, the student will be able to obtain new knowledge, a new skill, or have a new experience that they may not otherwise have.

Homework should not consist of a rudimentary task that is being assigned simply for the sake of assigning something. Homework should be meaningful. It should be viewed as an opportunity to allow students to make real life connections to the content that they are learning in the classroom.  It should be given only as an opportunity to help increase their content knowledge in an area.

Furthermore, teachers can utilize homework as an opportunity to differentiate learning for all students. Homework should rarely be given with a blanket "one size fits all" approach. Homework provides teachers with a significant opportunity to meet each student where they are and truly extend learning. A teacher can give their higher level students more challenging assignments while also filling gaps for those students who may have fallen behind. Teachers who use homework as an opportunity to differentiate we not only see increased growth in their students, but they will also find they have more time in class to dedicate to whole group instruction.

Creating authentic and differentiated homework assignments can take more time for teachers to put together. As often is the case, extra effort is rewarded.  Teachers who assign meaningful, differentiated, connected homework assignments not only see student participation increase, they also see an increase in student engagement.

These rewards are worth the extra investment in time needed to construct these types of assignments.

Schools must recognize the value in this approach. They should provide their teachers with professional development that gives them the tools to be successful in transitioning to assign homework that is differentiated with meaning and purpose.  A school's homework policy should reflect this philosophy; ultimately guiding teachers to give their students reasonable, meaningful, purposeful homework assignments.

Sample School Homework Policy

Homework is defined as the time students spend outside the classroom in assigned learning activities. Any Where Schools believes the purpose of homework should be to practice, reinforce, or apply acquired skills and knowledge. We also believe as research supports that moderate assignments completed and done well are more effective than lengthy or difficult ones done poorly.

Homework serves to develop regular study skills and the ability to complete assignments independently. Any Where Schools further believes completing homework is the responsibility of the student, and as students mature they are more able to work independently. Therefore, parents play a supportive role through monitoring completion of assignments, encouraging students’ efforts and providing a conducive environment for learning.

Homework is an opportunity for teachers to provide individualized instruction geared specifically to an individual student. Any Where Schools embraces the idea that each student is different and as such each student has their own individual needs. We see homework as an opportunity to tailor lessons specifically for an individual student meeting them where they are and bringing them to where we want them to be. 

Homework contributes toward building responsibility, self-discipline, and lifelong learning habits. It is the intention of the Any Where School staff to assign relevant, challenging, meaningful, and purposeful homework assignments that reinforce classroom learning objectives. Homework should provide students with the opportunity to apply and extend the information they have learned, complete unfinished class assignments, and develop independence.

The actual time required to complete assignments will vary with each student’s study habits, academic skills, and selected course load. If your child is spending an inordinate amount of time doing homework, you should contact your child’s teachers.