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#1 of 65 Old 10-10-2013, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not a fan of homework. I don't feel like kids learn from it - it's just repeating what they've already learned in class. And my daughter works at school all day - 8 hours - and comes home and has more work to do. I feel like free time is more valuable than homework.

Also I hate having to get after her to do homework. "Did you do your homework?" We don't fight much lately, but when we do I promise it's over homework. And I understand how frustrated she gets doing it, and it's mostly busywork, but I know she has to do it.

Anyway, one of my favorite parenting authors, Alfie Kohn, is anti-homework and I want to like to his reasons:

http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/rethinkinghomework.htm

What do you think? Are you a fan of homework or do you think it is unnecessary and we should rethink it?
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#2 of 65 Old 10-10-2013, 10:55 AM
 
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It really depends on the kid. My 6yo has most of her homework done before she gets home. She is just speedy. And if she does have homework, she gets through it quickly, without much assistance from me. The only homework she does slowly is penmanship - she has to write all the alphabet letter and she finds it so boring that she does not want to do it. However, there are others in her class where the parents feel the homework is overwhelming, and yet needed, to get them caught up in class. On the other end, my 9yo DS NEVER has math homework. I would not like him having it every day, but once a week, or even every other week, would be great, so I could see if he needs extra assistance in any areas, or if he is up to speed, or what. At this point, I have absolutely no idea. OK, I do, but that is through me finding online tests for him, to get him up to speed with what he should be learning in school and isn't.

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#3 of 65 Old 10-10-2013, 12:16 PM
 
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I am fine with homework.  I wouldn't mind if it were LIMITED, but I don't think ending it is in anyone's best interest.  They learn something at school and then it's reinforced by homework.  It lets the child, parent, and teacher know if there's a weak spot - if the child hasn't understood something properly.  It's also practice for the skill.  The school day is PACKED, there's no way they get as much practice as they need just from class time.  Also, just managing homework teaches responsibility and organization.

 

My own daughter has a LOT of homework and a lot of homework responsibilities. It would have been nice if this could've built slowly over time but I WANT her to be responsible and organized.  I WANT to know what they're doing in school and if she's thoroughly grasped the skill.   

 

At the same time, I would not fight about homework.  It's not my grade.  I don't know how old your daughter is, but I would be very tempted to say fine, your homework is on YOU - and let her feel the impact on her grades.  After one nine weeks, we could reassess. My consequence would probably be something like ok, I can't MAKE you do homework but please enjoy sitting right here for an hour every night without phone, tv, or other distractions.  You might as well do homework.

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#4 of 65 Old 10-10-2013, 12:25 PM
 
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I don't like homework. I think it's unecessary. I grew up in a Canadian school system doing almost no homework (very occasional project work from 4th to 8th grades, small amounts of homework at the high school level) and aced the SATs, did well at university. I have homeschooled my kids through the K-8 years, so I certainly see a role for home-based learning; I just don't think that if you spend all day in school you should have to come home and do more structured, academic bookwork.

 

My middle two teens are in high school right now, but it's a high school largely without homework. They have more of a seminar and tutorial approach than chalk-and-talk teaching, with large amounts of independent, self-paced learning time blocked into their school schedule, with teacher-led group learning reserved for experiential electives, cross-curricular labs and so on. In practice this means that focused kids get almost all their academic book work completed during the school's independent learning blocks, and there is little to bring home. I really like it, and it leaves them free to fill their after-school time with other types of challenge, which they do. My eldest went through some of these same courses in a more traditional format, with homework assigned due to the lesser efficiency of in-class time, and her mastery of the material was certainly no greater.

 

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#5 of 65 Old 10-10-2013, 03:11 PM
 
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My DD only has homework due to not completing work at school so I don't think it should end. She typically hates having it and once she realizes she will not get away with not doing her work she completes almost all of it at school so I have no problem with it.

My views on homework have changed since DD has gotten older. I do hate the repetitive spelling practice nonsense she had last year, it was time consuming and pointless for her. I would have a very different view if she was forced to do more stuff like that, especially now that she is older and on swim team, in orchestra, and in choir. She needs a connection to interests to get through the teen years ahead not repetitive time consuming garbage.
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#6 of 65 Old 10-10-2013, 03:41 PM
 
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I think homework has benefits for kids in middle and high school.  There is no reason for kids in elementary school to have homework.  Projects on occasion, sure.  But nightly or weekly homework, no.  

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#7 of 65 Old 10-10-2013, 07:42 PM
 
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I used to think homework was useless but I don't think so anymore.  My son who's in third grade struggles very much with reading and grammar, the homework he does is a huge help and gives him lots of extra practice.  If he didn't have it,  I think he would be struggling more than he is.  It also helps me know where he is academically and what he's doing in school, what he's learning and how he's being taught.  All of a sudden I have found myself not minding it so much.

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#8 of 65 Old 10-10-2013, 10:32 PM
 
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I used to think homework was useless but I don't think so anymore.  My son who's in third grade struggles very much with reading and grammar, the homework he does is a huge help and gives him lots of extra practice.  If he didn't have it,  I think he would be struggling more than he is.  It also helps me know where he is academically and what he's doing in school, what he's learning and how he's being taught.  All of a sudden I have found myself not minding it so much.

 

I totally get the value of individualized reinforcement and tutoring for a child who is struggling to keep up without it. But what about for a kid who doesn't struggle? My eldest was well beyond grade level, for example could complete the final exam in science with an A without actually working through the curriculum, but still had to turn in every little homework assignment to actually "earn" her grade. She already had the work-ethic and self-directed study thing covered through music. I really didn't see the point of homework assignments ... other than that the school felt it wasn't proper to give grades for mastery of learning material alone, that there had to be some sweat involved as well. 

 

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#9 of 65 Old 10-11-2013, 03:30 AM
 
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I am o.k. with the amt of homework in the elementary grades. I take issue with the amount in high school. Most kids have a lot going on by the time they are 15/16/17, and many of them work. They already spend 90 minute classes each day taking in instruction and projects. I think for the most part, that is enough!


 
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#10 of 65 Old 10-11-2013, 05:44 AM
 
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Not all children learn the same, obviously. Some children don't need the extra re-enforcement that others do. The boys in my son's class (boys school) are given levels according to grade. Green, yellow and red. Green level boys don't always get the same homework the yellow or red zone boys do. They may not have to review extra math facts or take another spelling test. Some children need the structure others don't but I love the accountability and responsibility factors.
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#11 of 65 Old 10-11-2013, 07:18 AM
 
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I am only in favor of limited homework. No homework in elementary would be OK with me, and we had one teacher who did that. Even the teachers who give homework in elementary in our school seem to be reasonable. DD2 gets a math sheet each day that reinforces what they did in class. I think it helps her. She is also supposed to read, which she does anyway. She is done in less than an hour and has plenty of time for other activities.

 

For DD1's level - middle school - I think homework is appropriate for those things you can't get done in class, within reason - write an essay draft, drills or reading in your foreign language, science project, etc.

 

I am very concerned about the high school she will attend next year. I have heard that the homework is piled on, and they get it over breaks, too, which I totally object to. The problem is how to deal with this if you are working within this system, i.e., not planning to homeschool, and your child may/will probably attend college, so they "need the grades." We are trying to think creatively about education beyond high school - gap year, starting at community college, alternative colleges, etc.


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#12 of 65 Old 10-11-2013, 08:35 AM
 
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I teach high school and have three teens in high school. I teach English and the main thing my students have for homework is reading their novel or working on essays. It is impossible for me to read an entire novel with them in class; we simply run out of time to do things. I assign one chapter a night to be read and many of them don't do it. We are on a block schedule, so my students only have four classes a semester- the goal is for two core classes and two electives to lessen the load on them.

 

My own kids have much more homework and always have. In grammar school (K-7), they had homework every night in every subject (sometimes just to study); they  finished it pretty quickly. In high school, they have no trouble finishing and it is part of their routine; both my girls play basketball and my son is it ROTC and has a part time job. I see what they are doing every night and I don't think it's wasteful or busy work. With the amount of work in curriculums these days, it is hard to cover everything in class. Doing some work at home is a necessity.

 

That being said, if a teacher is giving homework just to seem like a tough teacher and there is no value in the work, then that is a teacher issue, not a homework issue.

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#13 of 65 Old 10-11-2013, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Reading novels does seem reasonable to expect to be done outside of class time and is not the kind of stuff I was thinking off. I'm thinking of tons and tons of math worksheets after she's already proven she knows how to do it. Its just busywork at that point. Maybe let the parents decide if the kid needs the extra practice? But my daughter is in middle school now and has a number of teachers and they all seem to think they have to send something home. It ends up being a lot of stuff that is just a repeat of what was learned in class. I don't doubt some kids need extra practice but I don't see why it's something all kids have to do. It turns into a ton of time spent doing something that seems to not meet any goal.

In fact, the thing my daughter does much less of during the school year due to worksheets is reading. She reads a lot during summer vacation but very little during the school year because she doesn't have the time. I'd love for her to take an hour of homework time each day and spend that time reading a book instead.
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#14 of 65 Old 10-11-2013, 11:42 AM
 
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Have you tried talking to your daughter's teacher(s)?  Maybe she can give your daughter extra credit homework to do, something more challenging?  While I do think that others in your daughter's class will benefit in some ways from home work assignments, I agree that it serves nothing for her to be doing work that she already knows and is excelling at.  I would bet there is something that can be worked out for her.


 

 

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#15 of 65 Old 10-11-2013, 12:28 PM
 
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This is one thing that bugs me about the educational system. If homework benefits one child, who needs extra practice, but not another child who got a good handle on the concepts with the amount of practice they had in class, it doesn't make logical sense to treat both the same. But if only certain kids are assigned homework, it will be viewed as a penalty. And if it's a "look the other way" situation on kids who don't do it, that will be viewed as favoritism. As for relying on parents to determine if the work is appropriate for their child or not, that only works with parents who are somewhat engaged, and not all parents are. 

 

It seems the solution would have to involve having homework not being viewed as a negative thing, and I still think most people view it that way. 

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#16 of 65 Old 10-11-2013, 12:43 PM
 
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This is slightly OT, but one thing that is driving teachers crazy with Common Core is the whole idea that every teacher should be teaching the same thing at the same time- but we are also supposed to differentiate for students' needs. The very idea behind Common Core is the "common"- that everyone is doing the same thing; the problem is not everyone CAN do the same thing, nor should they be. It relates to homework for the same reason. What some of my students can do at home without direction from me, others need my assistance with. Much of the material I am using with CC relies heavily on students being able to work independently and to also be curious about certain topics. Not every student has that inner drive to learn. Not every student has parents who can help with homework, or even want to. It's a really complicated subject without a one size fits all answer, but the education system is becoming more one size fits all than it ever was before.

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#17 of 65 Old 10-11-2013, 12:56 PM
 
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I think my 4th grader has too much homework. I do think he needs to run through math facts and keyboarding to reinforce those skills (and I have him do those things whether they're officially part of his homework or not).

But completing 2 tedious math pages (along with spelling, social studies, etc.), with problem after problem of making him demonstrate a concept he clearly understands, drives me crazy, and I hate having to be the one to crack the whip about getting it done when I'm not really on board with it in the first place.

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#18 of 65 Old 10-11-2013, 01:15 PM
 
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I totally get the value of individualized reinforcement and tutoring for a child who is struggling to keep up without it. But what about for a kid who doesn't struggle? My eldest was well beyond grade level, for example could complete the final exam in science with an A without actually working through the curriculum, but still had to turn in every little homework assignment to actually "earn" her grade. She already had the work-ethic and self-directed study thing covered through music. I really didn't see the point of homework assignments ... other than that the school felt it wasn't proper to give grades for mastery of learning material alone, that there had to be some sweat involved as well.

 

Miranda

Yes on the above. This. My son's school has very limited and lax policies towards homework, at least for K-2 (a 2 page math homework on Friday that's due the next Friday). He does it in under a couple of minutes. For him, I don't see how homework is helpful to him. It's helpful to me because I get an idea of what they do at school.

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#19 of 65 Old 10-11-2013, 03:14 PM
 
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I can see some value in homework but too much is too much. My 4th grader has one math worksheet of about 10-15 problems and that's it. She finishes it usually in about 15 minutes or less.

My 7th grader is a slow worker and it takes her many hours every week. This week she had her English packet (about 4 fairly easy vocabulary assignments), a 10 minute power point presentation on a Middle East/southwest Asian leader, a 3D model of a cell, a thesis statement and outline, math (usu about 20 problems). We've had a really rough week outside of school and she was up until 11:30 last night working continuously after her dance class & supper (dance from 4:30-5:30). It's just a lot. All the assignments on their own are fine but they just can be overwhelming altogether.

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#20 of 65 Old 10-12-2013, 01:08 PM
 
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I like seeing the work he's doing at school. He had no homework in kindergarten, 10minutes in 1st grade, not much more in 2nd, and now in 3rd grade, 30minutes.

To be honest, i dont think homework is necessary, but i would miss it if it werent there. I just want to know what he is doing! (selfish reasons, ill be honest)

 

Many public schools have WAY too much homework. I think my sons private school has a good system in that not much homework is required.

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#21 of 65 Old 10-12-2013, 01:27 PM
 
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In my area, it is just the opposite; public schools give almost no homework, the private schools give lots.

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#22 of 65 Old 10-12-2013, 05:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

I am not a fan of homework. I don't feel like kids learn from it - it's just repeating what they've already learned in class. And my daughter works at school all day - 8 hours - and comes home and has more work to do. I feel like free time is more valuable than homework.

Also I hate having to get after her to do homework. "Did you do your homework?" We don't fight much lately, but when we do I promise it's over homework. And I understand how frustrated she gets doing it, and it's mostly busywork, but I know she has to do it.

Anyway, one of my favorite parenting authors, Alfie Kohn, is anti-homework and I want to like to his reasons:

http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/rethinkinghomework.htm

What do you think? Are you a fan of homework or do you think it is unnecessary and we should rethink it?

Jumping in late to say that I also love AK but disagree with him on HW. 

 

I really support purpose driven, meaningful homework. For several reasons: 

 

* It helps connect the family with what the child(ren) are doing in class 

* Parents know their kids best and can often give new insight into the work they are trying to learn at school 

* Parents also can see through places where kids are struggling where teachers may not see 

* And, this is old-school but I do feel like a bit of HW helps prepare for advanced learning  

 

Off to read what others have to say...

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#23 of 65 Old 10-12-2013, 06:07 PM
 
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I don't object to meaningful homework. I am against repetitive busywork, worksheets and drills that don't advance true learning. If a student has demonstrated mastery then there should be some allowance for them with respect to homework expectations. In terms of meaningful, interesting work, I don't object to projects, essays and other lengthier assignments. My kids have been in a lot of project-based learning environments where they work on their assignments outside of class time. They were usually engaged and enthusiastic (admittedly not always) about working on these projects.  

 

 

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#24 of 65 Old 10-12-2013, 06:15 PM
 
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In my area, it is just the opposite; public schools give almost no homework, the private schools give lots.

 

Same here. The private schools congratulate themselves on the amount of homework that they expect from students. It's a point of pride  for them. I believe the parents and schools see it as a visible marker of "value for money". The thinking is that if you're paying tens of thousands of dollars per term, then there should be some conspicuous product generated for that amount of money. 

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#25 of 65 Old 10-12-2013, 08:37 PM
 
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Last, year, my son had busy work. This year, his homework consists of a monthly reading log, a book to read aloud & answer questions (one per week)
review for two tests, spelling & vocab
flashcards, 10 mins a night.
And anything not completed at school.

I *like* this year's homework. I feel if there is going to be homework in ELEM, it should be reading aloud &/or alone. Learning math facts will make math easier & faster for him.

And homework is an excellent consequence v of not completing work in class. Hy son had made the connection & is down to 1 to 2 days now each week.

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#26 of 65 Old 10-13-2013, 01:03 AM
 
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I think homework should be an individualized thing. Some children really need that extra practice on the basics while others are breezing by and could probably do something more productive than 'busy work' like be assigned a book to read or something of the like.

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#27 of 65 Old 10-13-2013, 07:57 PM
 
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 I can't stand it.It takes away from letting kids be kids. There has been reports that it does nothing to improve test scores at all. Homework is ment to be done without much help form parents.. My 5th grader needs help every step of the way with complementing her reading homework( which is to read aloud for 30mins and then write a 3 sentence paragraph). If i was to just tell her go do your homework she might lie say its done and then get to be able to go outside to play. 


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#28 of 65 Old 10-14-2013, 05:29 AM
 
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I just wanted to chime in and say that as a teacher - high schoolers in my low socio economic failing school we're let off the hook from homework . We were not allowed to fail too many students . They 95% of them, didn't care how much you made it their grade . Once there were too many f's , it became the teacher's fault . We tried issuing detention , we flooded it and were told within a month we were not allowed to issue detention for no homework . Many of us just quit issuing it to avoid the daily fight and defeat with one or 2 students being "with it " and the rest even more not focused on the lesson.
Now as a parent of a second grader and kindergarten, I get irritated that they each have so much. They come home so tired, and they aren't even in after school activities ( we like our down time ).
I am keenly aware that they do their homework and do it well only because I am right there encouraging , motivating, etc. I'm sure this is not going on in many of the low/ no education households in my child's school. So how is that fair to that child ? These grades are reflected on the child's report cards and directly reflect in retention/ promotion rates . It's not the child's fault that their home environment is not a place for homework . It piles more defeat, insecurity and bends the playing field out of their league even further.
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#29 of 65 Old 10-14-2013, 09:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SunnieP View Post


I am keenly aware that they do their homework and do it well only because I am right there encouraging , motivating, etc. I'm sure this is not going on in many of the low/ no education households in my child's school. So how is that fair to that child ? These grades are reflected on the child's report cards and directly reflect in retention/ promotion rates . It's not the child's fault that their home environment is not a place for homework . It piles more defeat, insecurity and bends the playing field out of their league even further.

 

I completely agree. I have a high schooler who attends an excellent school and spends a good deal of time doing homework and studying. I work in Title I school where many of our kids have parents who don't speak English, are living below the poverty line, have a parent in prison or has a substance abuse problem, etc. I think that homework deepens the divide between the haves and the have nots.

 

I'm happy for the education that my DD is getting, and meaningful homework is part of that. Hard work pays of when it comes to learning.

 

However, I find it absurd when people compare test scores from the school she attends (where most kids have parents who are college educated, speak English, have home computers with internet, etc) with the test scores and achievement of the high school that my elementary feeds into, and think it means something about the teachers or kids. Those students are in such difficult situations, and the teachers are dealing with such complex problems.

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but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#30 of 65 Old 10-14-2013, 11:37 AM
 
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I think what everyone is really saying is the need for the system to have small enough class sizes and enough individualization in order to meet the needs of the class. I have the same problem as some of the posters my daughter is already reading and writing. As in can read chapter books and cant write spelling words and use correct form. I understand that many kids in her Kindergarten have never been in school before so they may need the homework to help with skill building. However the homework is really annoying to my daughter who has to stop doing another activity to run through the monotony. I think really it should fall to parents to communicate effectively with a teacher about if their child is having a problem that needs to be addressed and the teacher can recommend supplemental information or they can seek out additional tutoring. I think having repetitive homework to reinforce skills that many of the class has mastered seems punishing. I know I struggled doing repetitive assignments and it made me resentful. 

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