Homework Packets:

homework packet, homework schedule

Do You Love Them or Hate Them?

Waaaayyyy back when I was a kid in school, teachers assigned homework each day. While this is still the case for many students, it is becoming increasingly common for students to receive their homework in the form of a homework packet: a week's worth (or more) homework assignments given at once.

Homework packets are becoming more popular, but are they beneficial for students- and their families? Do you want your child to receive an entire week's of homework (and, possibly, get a headstart on it)- or would you rather have homework assigned each day?

My second year as a teacher, I sent home homework packets. I typed (before my personal computer!) up a calendar and filled in each day with social studies, math and reading assignments, plus any additional handouts. It was not always easy knowing exactly which material I would cover in any given week, so creating homework packets was always an act of faith. ("I hope we get to Chapter 12 by Wednesday.") I often found myself pushing to teach something so that the homework packet would "make sense."

Why did I do this? Why not just assign homework every day? Parents! They told me that having homework written down in one place made their lives easier, and they liked being able to schedule homework around after school activities.

A few years later when my youngest child started kindergarten, I was on the receiving end of homework packets, although these packets were a little different than the ones I used to send home. First of all, his teacher sent home a month's worth of homework assignments- 20 assignments! Secondly, all of the assignments were due at the end of the month, not every day.

As with most things in life, there were both pros and cons to this arrangement. I appreciated having a month to help my son complete his homework, but I also felt that some of the assignments were silly, busy work- just something to fill a space on the calendar.

And, you know how I detest busywork!

I also hated having to worry about my son's homework during vacations. I am convinced that vacation and weekend homework has increased since packets have become more prevalent. It is easy for teachers to put together packets of worksheets (busywork) and send them home year after year.

I strongly believe that packets should NEVER EVER:

- be due on Monday
- be due after a holiday or vacation
- include topics that the students have yet to learn

Other Problems with Homework Packets...

  • Teacher assigns homework, but is unable to cover the material in class, so the student- and his family- is clueless and frustrated. When this happens, let the teacher know! Write a note, send an email.

  • Teacher 'pads' the packet: adds extra assignments and worksheets to make the packet look full.

  • Parents get a homework packet and get gung-ho! They make their poor children do homework every day, including weekends. This is why I caution teachers against sending home packets on Thursday or Friday. Everybody needs a break, and some parents cannot help themselves!

  • Parents want to work ahead, so they force their children to complete assignments based on material that has yet to be taught. The child is unprepared, and the parent wonders if they should try to teach the material. It's "too much too soon."

  • Older students don't get in the habit of writing down their homework.

Parents: When Your Child
Brings Home A Homework Packet

  1. Get the packet and your regular family calendar.

  2. Figure out when your child will do homework. For example, maybe this Wednesday he has a soccer game, so he'll do two days' worth of reading on Tuesday. (This is for younger students.)

  3. Teach your intermediate (4th - 5th), middle and high school students to plan their own homework and write down every assignment in their homework planners or calendars. Yes, even though it's all on the packet!

  4. Make a copy and put it on the fridge.

  5. Have students put the packet in their Homework Binder.

Teachers: Questions to Ask Yourself
About Homework Packets

Homework packets can be great when they make life easier for families and don't cause added stress. Before you wholeheartedly endorse or defend homework packets, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are students able to turn in all of the work at the end of the week? (yes!) If something is due every day, packets don't really allow families much flexibility!

  • Will students be able to understand upcoming assignments? (yes!)

  • Will parents have to teach concepts in order to "get through" the packet? (no!)

  • Is there a system in place to notify students and parents when assignments change?(yes!)

Still Searching for Homework Peace?

Homework Solutions

Kindergarten Homework

Vacation Homework

Homework Organization E-Course

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