Homework Tips: The Do’s and Don’ts

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Homework in Primary Classroom The Do's and Don'ts
Do you assign homework in your classroom?  Do you have a system that works well for you and your parents?  Did you give homework until October and stop because it was too much of a hassle?


Homework can be a great resource for helping students continue their education at home.  It is also an awesome way to promote family involvement in your classroom, but it can also be a deterrent. Here are some homework tips that I would lie to pass on to you. Let me give you my 10 Do’s and Don’ts of homework!


Homework in the Primary Classroom


My first homework tip: You are the TEACHER!  It is your job to do the teaching, not the parents.  Any homework that you send home should be a skill you students have already developed.

Homework should be used to practice and reinforce learned skills rather than helping to teach the students a new skill.  Homework should be viewed as a way for the students to “teach” their parents what they have learned at school.  A child should be able to have the directions read to them, complete the activity, have their worked checked and go play!

Homework in the Primary Classroom


Your students have been at school all day and their parents have been at work all day.  The last thing they want to do is sit at the kitchen table completing homework until bedtime!  I get anxious just thinking about it!  Your students should be able to complete their homework every night in no longer than 10 minutes!

Homework in the Primary Classroom


Another homework tip: reduce the amount you send home. Papers get lost, thrown away in the mail, crinkled in the bottom of a backpack and who knows what else.  Plan ahead and give each student a Homework folder.  If your class has a binder they take home everyday, they can easily store a folder inside the front pocket…USE IT!  All their homework packets and resources can be stored in the folder and protected inside a binder…NO EXCUSES for crinkled, lost or trashed homework…it has a place!

Homework in the Primary Classroom


If there aren’t expectations…its not going to work successfully!  As teachers, most of us know this.  Homework needs to have a HOME in the classroom, transition and at home! Have a specified time and place where students turn in homework folders in the classroom (ex. in the homework tub every Friday morning) and a place to put it when they are taking it home and bringing it back.

Express to parents that they can decide at a family where the homework folder can stored during the week.  Some may use a command center, the refrigerator or keep it in their child’s binder.  Allow the families to make this decision based on their family needs.  However, make it an expectation that homework STAYS in the homework folder…that is its HOME…no exceptions!  Homework packets are less likely to be lost, damaged or forgotten when they stay in the homework folder.  If the folder is lost have the parents send a new folder to school to replace the original one.

Homework in the Primary Classroom


#Send homework home on the same day every week and make sure it is turned in on the same day every week!  Have the students put their folder in a specific location every time they turn it in. Whether it’s a tub or your teacher table, they should know when and where it needs to be turned in every week.  For example, when they put their binder away upon arrival, every friday they put their homework folder in the homework tub on your teacher table.

Homework in the Primary Classroom


Do I need to elaborate?!?!  Your students have been at school all week and the last thing they want to do over the weekend is homework!  And, no parent wants to be doing homework with their child when they could be spending quality family time together.  Assign homework so that it is turned in before the weekend.  Homework should be hanging out in the classroom until everyone returns to school after a restful two days OFF!

Homework in the Primary Classroom


Where’s your homework? No one wants to hear or repeat this all the time!  Families are busy…they have practice, church, dinners out and much more during the week.  Some students might complete their homework every night and some may do it all in one night.  Who cares…let them do what they have to do to make homework successful.  Homework is NOT an essential part of your students’ instruction.  It is a reinforcement of skills that are already learned and a way to get parents involved in their child’s education.  If they don’t have it one week…not a big deal!  Have them turn it in the next time.  Don’t take away recess, free choice centers or other privileges in the classroom.  However, if they miss two or three weeks, simply contact the parent by sending a message in their binder or resending the homework note informing them of homework expectations.

Homework in the Primary Classroom


Be available to your students’ parents!  As they become more involved in their child’s education some will want to help their child more and some will notice their child is still struggling with a particular skill.  This IS what you want to happen!  Make sure parents know that you are there to help them in these times.  Their child has a difficult time with rhyming…send them a website link, some workpages, a fun activity (if you trust they’ll return it).  RTI and WIN time at home?  YES, PLEASE!

Homework in the Primary Classroom


Teachers TEACH the skill, students PRACTICE the skill and parent CHECK the skill!  Done!  Everyone does their part to make homework successful!

Homework in the Primary Classroom


If you know anyone who takes a grade on homework…tell them to stop…NOW!  Homework is NOT an accurate assessment of a student’s knowledge and mastery of a skill.  Why?  Some students have help from parents, some don’t.  All/most of your students should have already mastered the skill if it’s a homework assignment.  It is not always the student’s fault if homework is not turned in and their grade should not reflect a lack of parental support at home.  However, when homework is turned in, check to make sure it is completed correctly.  I skimmed the week of work quickly, circled any work that was incorrect with my handy-dandy Mr. Sketch markers and placed a small sticker on the cover page.  It took me no more than 10 minutes to check and replace all of students’ homework packets!


Homework is a great resource when it is utilized correctly.  I hope that you found my 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Homework helpful and please feel free to share any other homework tips you have!  Next week, I will share some tips on how I made homework successful in my classroom!

Homework in Primary Classroom The Do's and Don'ts

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