What does bad homework look like? You are probably very familiar with it...
The worst homework is assigned over holidays, weekends and vacations. This is absolutely criminal. Children need time off to relax and recharge. Don't you feel refreshed and ready to go after time off? Some of our children never get a break from school.
Do NOT get me started about those vacation homework packets! What would you do if you went in to your boss's office before leaving on vacation, and she handed you a packet of work to do while you were gone? You'd use your vacation to start looking for another job, that's what you'd do!
Bad homework is busy work. You hate busy work, and so do your kids. It's a waste of time and it's insulting. Oh, and even the youngest students absolutely know if their teacher is even bothering to look at and check the homework (many don't).
Why should a student put forth a lot of effort doing homework that doesn't even rate a passing glance or a grade?
Miserable homework is endless practice. Either they know it, or they don't. If they know it, it's busy work. If they don't know it, then they're just doing it wrong over and over again- and feeling badly about themselves.
Ask your child to do four or five math homework problems. Both of you will know whether or not he understands it.
Unfair homework is the same type and amount for every student. Students are not at the same reading and math levels; we put them in different groups, and call it differentiated instruction. Yet, we turn right around and give them the same homework assignments! It doesn't make sense. Imagine how bored and frustrated you would feel if you already knew, say, your multiplication facts yet had to complete the same page of problems as the guy that is still learning them. Sounds like busy work and endless practice to me.
Insulting homework assumes parents and students aren't honest. Sign this paper. Write down how many pages you read and how long it took you. First of all, if a student didn't do the reading or complete the assignment, it will eventually become apparent.
Secondly, asking students to keep track of time and pages read is a sure-fire way to TURN READING INTO A CHORE! Parents tell me all of the time that their kids used to love to read- until they had to keep track of it in reading journals.
Bad homework assumes parents won't do productive learning activities with their own kids. I actually had a teacher tell me that she assigned homework because she didn't want one of her students watching so much TV! Yes, every family in that class had hours and hours of homework because the teacher was worried about one particular boy! It's unbelievable.