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Homework in Middle School: Building a Foundation for Study Skills

In the middle school years, students begin to experience the benefits of homework, though it is difficult to determine how much good it does, particularly at a given age. And there is some debate on how much homework students need to receive that benefit.

Duke University’s Harris Cooper, one of the leading researchers on homework, says students enjoy genuine academic benefits from homework, including better comprehension and retention of subject matter. However, while the benefit is clear for high school students and beyond, the degree to which homework helps middle school students is a matter of some contention.

Homework starts to prove its value for middle school students.

  • It’s difficult to tell if homework helps high achievers do well, or if they do their homework because they are high achievers.
  • It’s challenging to determine how much homework students actually do. Most homework studies rely on self-reported data, which means students can easily misstate the quantity of time they spend on homework.
  • Many studies use test scores to measure academic success, which, as many researchers point out, is an inherently problematic form of measurement.

Teachers should assign an appropriate amount of homework

While there is still much discussion on the effectiveness of homework, research asserts that the 10-minute rule per grade level holds true for middle school students. This means that students might receive anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes of homework each evening.

In middle school, students’ higher academic achievement starts to correlate with completing homework. However, this correlation fades if homework lasts longer than that.  Indeed, giving more than 90 minutes of homework has been shown to have detrimental effects on students.

Students need time away from their studies to relax and engage in social, extracurricular and family activities. When given too much homework, students lose this time and suffer the effects of stress and sleep deprivation, which has proved to reduce academic performance.

Purposeful assignments

Teachers who give homework must consider the purpose and value of the assignments. While elementary school homework can build confidence and engage students in the subject matter, middle school homework needs a more specific purpose.

Certain subjects require practice homework, such as vocabulary, which often requires drills. Other homework requires reading or more complicated skill work. Still, there is a growing belief among researchers that even when homework serves a clear and distinct purpose, less is more.

Homework should be clearly connected to learning outcomes and shouldn’t overwhelm students so much they are unable to actively participate in their lives beyond the walls of the classroom. Teachers should carefully consider how much practice students need and design homework to effectively meet those goals within the shortest duration possible.

Ultimately, even if the benefit margin is small for middle school students, there are other advantages of completing homework. Some researchers argue that at least anecdotally, students develop important study skills that will benefit them in high school and college, and they learn the value of time management and responsibility.

Caitrin Blake has a BA in English and Sociology from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Colorado Denver. She teaches composition at Arapahoe Community College.

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Categorized as: Tips for Teachers and Classroom Resources

Tagged as: Middle School (Grades: 6-8) ,  Professional Development

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Help Middle Schoolers Manage Their Homework

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Middle school students have a lot of homework assignments to keep track of. Here’s how to help your child stay on top of that work without a fight.

by June Allan Corrigan

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In elementary school, your child only had one teacher to answer to, and she was likely to remind the class of a book report coming due while assigning that night’s math problems. Middle school, of course, is an entirely different ball game. Suddenly your student has a whole host of teachers to answer to, none of whom are necessarily aware of the others’ homework loads. And that’s when your child may drop the…er…ball.

“Neglecting to hand in homework assignments is the number one reason [that] grades of students with average or above-average intelligence drop when they reach middle school,” says Suzanne Thomas, a language arts and social studies teacher at Colonel Mitchell Paige Middle School in La Quinta, Calif. “Whether assignments lie unfinished at the bottom of a backpack, or finished but sadly left on a desk at home, the cumulative points, or rather the lack thereof, can really add up and drag a student’s grade down.”

With most schools offering access to individual students’ grades online, it can be truly depressing to log on and discover that your child, while seeming to do well on classwork and tests, has numerous zeros listed beside homework assignments. The result can be a low or failing grade despite having a fairly good grasp of the subject matter.

On the surface, the solution seems simple enough. Do the homework, hand it in. If only it were so easy! As a parent, you may be dealing with more than your child’s disorganization and poor time management skills. There’s often a battle of wills going on, too. Parents need to help middle schoolers realize that just because they don’t feel like doing something, it doesn’t mean they can’t get it done anyway, says Jeffrey Bernstein, author of 10 Days to a Less Distracted Child . “[If] a child doesn’t feel like getting his homework done after school or it doesn’t feel good, it’s vital that parents make sure the child doesn’t convert that in his head to ‘Well, I just can’t do it,’ ” he says.

Negotiate, Don’t Fight

When your child is dragging her feet and you can feel your frustration level starting to rise, it’s time to negotiate, not argue. A good plan is to suggest that she try concentrating on her assignment for five minutes, Bernstein says. You probably know from your own experience that five minutes allows you to get a good jump-start on any unpopular task—in your case, it might be paying bills. You might want to share this bit of wisdom with your student, as well.

As important as skillful negotiation is, real empathy for your child will often be your winning strategy. Think about it: Have you ever noticed how your child tunes in to stories about your own experiences but tunes out when you veer off into a lecture? The last thing you want to do is shut down your student. It’s essential that you avoid using words like “have to,” “should,” or other sorts of controlling language. Be your child’s advocate rather than his adversary, Bernstein says. This could mean sitting down with your child during those first five minutes of homework to help him organize his material and model a few problems. At some point you might work in a story about how you struggled with 7th grade math, too. Before you know it, that five minutes can turn into 10, then 15, and even the 30 minutes it takes to get the work done.

Offer Rewards

In a perfect world, mastering the subject matter and handing in assignments on time would be reward enough. And perhaps at some point in your child’s academic career that will be the case. However, during the period of adjustment to middle school’s demands, rewards can prove quite motivating. You have to change them up, though, because the same reward can become boring to kids, Bernstein says. The promise of an hour of TV or video game time once homework is completed loses its appeal after a while. In truth, rewards work best when your child comes up with an idea and you agree to it.

“One of the most neglected rewards is simple praise and encouragement,” Bernstein says. “Parents seldom realize how critical they sound always pointing out the things their kids don’t do, when they really need to point out what he or she has done.” The next time your child is feeling overwhelmed by a homework assignment, motivate her by reminding her of a past success. It might have been the time she was enduring a terrible slump in baseball, yet she stuck with it and hit a grand slam in the season’s final game.

As with most things related to raising kids, there comes a time when you have to step back and let them go it alone. Mistakes will be made and some assignments may slip below the radar, but your child’s resulting grades will clearly demonstrate what happens when he doesn’t make enough of an effort. If your child is resisting your study suggestions, you may find yourself with no other choice than to let him learn the hard way. If you’re in this situation, stay as involved as you can. “Don’t let him hang out to dry,” says Bernstein. Stay in contact with teachers and let your child know you are always there to help if he wants it.

Ultimately, you want to avoid turning discussions about homework into a confrontation. Rely on your negotiation skills and remain reasonable in all situations. Say there comes a night when he’ll only give his homework 15 minutes of attention. Negotiate for another 15 minutes in the morning to get that vocabulary page finished. If he doesn’t stick with this plan, you may have to acquiesce and allow him to deal with the consequences. Just be sure not to follow up with harsh words like “See what happens when you don’t study?” That’ll just turn him against you. The point is to keep a productive conversation going whether he decides to heed your suggestions or not. The conversation should let him know that you still care—if he thinks that you’ve given up, he just may, too. Give him a little space to figure it out on his own, but maintain an interest.

Keep in mind that your child’s difficulty adjusting to the academic demands of middle school is only temporary. “It takes time and a lot of trial and error, but most kids start to pull their act together somewhere between the second half of 6th grade and 7th grade,” says Thomas, the middle school teacher. Until then, remember that patience and understanding go a long way toward helping your child make the transition and, just as important, helping you maintain your sanity.

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Key Lessons: What Research Says About the Value of Homework

Whether homework helps students — and how much homework is appropriate — has been debated for many years. Homework has been in the headlines again recently and continues to be a topic of controversy, with claims that students and families are suffering under the burden of huge amounts of homework. School board members, educators, and parents may wish to turn to the research for answers to their questions about the benefits and drawbacks of homework. Unfortunately, the research has produced mixed results so far, and more research is needed. Nonetheless, there are some findings that can help to inform decisions about homework. What follows is a summary of the research to date:

There is no conclusive evidence that homework increases student achievement across the board. Some studies show positive effects of homework under certain conditions and for certain students, some show no effects, and some suggest negative effects (Kohn 2006; Trautwein and Koller 2003).

Some studies have shown that older students gain more academic benefits from homework than do younger students, perhaps because younger students have less-effective study habits and are more easily distracted (Cooper 1989; Hoover-Dempsey et al. 2001; Leone and Richards 1989; Muhlenbruck et al. 2000).

Some researchers believe that students from higher-income homes have more resources (such as computers) and receive more assistance with homework, while low-income students may have fewer resources and less assistance and are therefore less likely to complete the homework and reap any related benefits (McDermott, Goldmen and Varenne 1984; Scott-Jones 1984).

Students with learning disabilities can benefit from homework if appropriate supervision and monitoring are provided (Cooper and Nye 1994; Rosenberg 1989).

A national study of the influence of homework on student grades across five ethnic groups found that homework had a stronger impact on Asian American students than on students of other ethnicities (Keith and Benson, 1992).

Certain nonacademic benefits of homework have been shown, especially for younger students. Indeed, some primary-level teachers may assign homework for such benefits, which include learning the importance of responsibility, managing time, developing study habits, and staying with a task until it is completed (Cooper, Robinson and Patall 2006; Corno and Xu 2004; Johnson and Pontius 1989; Warton 2001).

While research on the optimum amount of time students should spend on homework is limited, there are indications that for high school students, 1½ to 2½ hours per night is optimum. Middle school students appear to benefit from smaller amounts (less than 1 hour per night). When students spend more time than this on homework, the positive relationship with student achievement diminishes (Cooper, Robinson, and Patall 2006).

Some research has shown that students who spend more time on homework score higher on measures of achievement and attitude. Studies that have delved more deeply into this topic suggest, however, that the amount of homework assigned by teachers is unrelated to student achievement, while the amount of homework actually completed by students is associated with higher achievement (Cooper 2001; Cooper, Lindsay, Nye, and Greathouse 1998).

Studies of after-school programs that provide homework assistance have found few definite links to improved student achievement. Several studies, however, noted improvements in student motivation and work habits, which may indirectly affect achievement (Cosden, Morrison, Albanese, and Macias 2001; James-Burdumy et al. 2005).

Homework assignments that require interaction between students and parents result in higher levels of parent involvement and are more likely to be turned in than noninteractive assignments. Some studies have shown, however, that parent involvement in homework has no impact on student achievement. Other studies indicate that students whose parents are more involved in their homework have lower test scores and class grades — but this may be because the students were already lower performing and needed more help from their parents than did higher-performing students. (Balli, Wedman, and Demo 1997; Cooper, Lindsay, and Nye 2000; Epstein 1988; Van Voorhis 2003).

Most teachers assign homework to reinforce what was presented in class or to prepare students for new material. Less commonly, homework is assigned to extend student learning to different contexts or to integrate learning by applying multiple skills around a project. Little research exists on the effects of these different kinds of homework on student achievement, leaving policymakers with little evidence on which to base decisions (Cooper 1989; Foyle 1985; Murphy and Decker 1989).

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Balli, S. J., Wedman, J. F., & Demo, D. H. (1997). Family involvement with middle-grades homework: Effects of differential prompting. Journal of Experimental Education, 66, 31-48.

Cooper, H. (1989). Homework. White Plains, N.Y.: Longman.

Cooper, H. (2001). Homework for all — in moderation. Educational Leadership, 58, 34-38.

Cooper, H., Lindsay, J. J, Nye, B., & Greathouse, S. (1998). Relationships among attitudes about homework, amount of homework assigned and completed, and student achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(1), 70-83.

Cooper, H., & Nye, B. (1994). Homework for students with learning disabilities: The implications of research for policy and practice. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 27, 470-479.

Cooper, H., Nye, B.A., & Lindsay, J.J. (2000). Homework in the home: How student, family and parenting style differences relate to the homework process. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(4), 464-487.

Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research. Review of Educational Research, 76, 1-62.

Corno, L., & Xu, J. (2004). Homework as the job of childhood. Theory Into Practice, 43, 227-233.

Cosden, M., Morrison, G., Albanese, A. L., & Macias, S. (2001). When homework is not home work: After-school programs for homework assistance. Educational Psychologist, 36(3), 211-221.

Epstein, J. L. (1998). Homework practices, achievements, and behaviors of elementary school students. Baltimore: Center for Research on Elementary and Middle Schools. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED301322]

Foyle, H. C. (1985). The effects of preparation and practice homework on student achievement in tenth-grade American history (Doctoral dissertation, Kansas State University, 1985). Dissertation Abstracts International, 45, 8A.

Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., Battiato, A. C., Walker, J. M. T., Reed, R. P., DeJong, J. M. & Jones, K. P. (2001). Parental involvement in homework. Educational Psychologist, 36, 195-209.

James-Burdumy, S., Dynarski, M., Moore, M., Deke, J., Mansfield, W., Pistorino, C. & Warner, E. (2005). When Schools Stay Open Late: The National Evaluation of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program Final Report. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education/Institute of Education Sciences National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.

Johnson, J. K., & Pontius, A. (1989). Homework: A survey of teacher beliefs and practices. Research in Education, 41, 71-78.

Keith, T. Z., & Benson, M. J. (1992). Effects of manipulable influences on high school grades across five ethnic groups. Journal of Educational Research, 86, 85-93.

Kohn, A. (2006, September). Abusing research: The study of homework and other examples. Phi Delta Kappan, 8-22.

Leone, C. M., & Richards, M. H. (1989). Classwork and homework in early adolescence: The ecology of achievement. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 18, 531-548.

McDermott, R. P., Goldman, S. V., & Varenne, H. (1984). When school goes home: Some problems in the organization of homework [Abstract]. Teachers College Record, 85, 391-409.

Muhlenbruck, L., Cooper, H., Nye, B., & Lindsay, J. J. (2000). Homework and achievement: explaining the different strengths of relation at the elementary and secondary school levels. Social Psychology of Education, 3, 295-317.

Murphy, J. & Decker, K. (1989). Teachers’ use of homework in high schools. Journal of Educational Research, 82(5), 261-269.

Rosenberg, M. S. (1989). The effects of daily homework assignments on the acquisition of basic skills by students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 22, 314-323.

Scott-Jones, D. (1984). Family influences on cognitive development and school achievement. Review of Research in Education, 11, 259-304.

Trautwein, U., & Koller, O. (2003). The relationship between homework and achievement — still much of a mystery. Educational Psychology Review, 15, 115-145.

Van Voorhis, F. L. (2003). Interactive homework in middle school: Effects on family involvements and science achievement. Journal of Educational Research, 96(6), 323-338.

Warton, P. M. (2001). The forgotten voice in homework: Views of students. Educational Psychologist, 36, 155-165.

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Because differences are our greatest strength

6 steps to prepare your child for changes to routine in middle school

middle school homework

By The Understood Team

Expert reviewed by Bob Cunningham, EdM

6 steps to prepare your child for changes to routine in middle school, middle school, girl talking to friend at locker

Moving up from grade school to middle school is a big transition — in more ways than one. The work is harder . The social scene is more complex. And often, the school building is much larger and harder to navigate. Kids with and without learning and thinking differences face new challenges .

But the greatest adjustment may be to the changes in routine. For most kids, middle school is the first time they have to switch classrooms and work with different teachers. It may also be their first time using a locker and swapping out books and materials between classes.

Kids respond to these challenges in different ways. And certain learning and thinking differences, like ADHD , can make the adjustment more difficult . Follow these steps to help prepare your child for the new routines that come with starting middle school.

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Talk about the upcoming changes..

Your child may have heard it before — at middle school orientation or from a grade school teacher. But kids talk, too. And the information they share may not always be correct.

Separate fact from fiction and talk to your child about the changes in routine you know will occur. Along with switching classes, maybe your child will have block periods in middle school. So classes may be much longer than your child is used to. Or maybe there will be a homeroom period for the first time. Let your child know what to expect as much as possible.

Get the class schedule early and review it together.

Some schools don’t like to give out class schedules well before the start of the school year. If that’s the case with your middle school, explain that your child needs extra time to work out where to be at what time.

Look over the schedule to make sure there are no mistakes. Then help your child create a version that that’s easy to use. Schedules can be put into the calendar on a phone, or written it in a notebook or in a notes app on a phone, for instance.

Tour the building with the schedule in hand.

One of the biggest challenges for new middle-schoolers is getting from class to class on time, and with all the materials they need. It can help to check out the building before the start of school, using your child’s schedule to plot your route. Practice getting from one class to the next in the allotted amount of time.

Take time to walk around. Find the cafeteria, gym, library, bathrooms, and the nurse’s and administrators’ offices. Also, locate your child’s locker. Kids like to know where their locker is in relation to different classrooms.

Set a new daily routine at home.

Your child’s middle school may have different start and end times than grade school did. If it starts earlier, start your morning earlier, too. This can help to avoid a stressful race out the door . Try to adjust bedtime too — although that can be tougher with a tween than with a grade-schooler.

If school ends earlier, you may have to adjust your child’s afterschool routine, as well. How will your child spend that extra hour or so in the afternoon? Doing homework? Having an earlier music lesson or tutoring session? You can ask your child for input, but make sure the routine you end up with is clear.

Organize materials according to the class schedule.

Keeping class materials organized can be a challenge when your child doesn’t have much time between classes. You may want to work together to color-code by subject . For example, use a blue notebook and a blue book cover for science, a green notebook and book cover for social studies, etc.

You can also come up with a plan to organize your child's backpack and locker according to the class schedule. That way your child can easily grab whatever is needed for each class without spending time looking for it.

Offer reassurance.

Adjusting to new routines is a process. Tell your child that everyone will understand if it takes a little while to figure out how to manage it all. That includes teachers, school administrators, and you.

Also, remind kids that they’re not alone. Middle school is an adjustment for all kids. Let your child know it’s normal to feel a little nervous . And reassure your child that you’re there to offer support and help .

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The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.

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Should Students Have Homework?

middle school homework

by Suzanne Capek Tingley, Veteran Educator, M.A. Degree

A student stares down a huge stack of homework.

Look before you leap at giving to much or to little homework.

It used to be that students were the only ones complaining about the practice of assigning homework. For years, teachers and parents thought that homework was a necessary tool when educating children. But studies about the effectiveness of homework have been conflicting and inconclusive, leading some adults to argue that homework should become a thing of the past.

What Research Says about Homework

According to Duke professor Harris Cooper, it's important that students have homework. His meta-analysis of homework studies showed a correlation between completing homework and academic success, at least in older grades. He recommends following a "10 minute rule" : students should receive 10 minutes of homework per day in first grade, and 10 additional minutes each subsequent year, so that by twelfth grade they are completing 120 minutes of homework daily.

middle school homework

But his analysis didn't prove that students did better because they did homework; it simply showed a correlation . This could simply mean that kids who do homework are more committed to doing well in school. Cooper also found that some research showed that homework caused physical and emotional stress, and created negative attitudes about learning. He suggested that more research needed to be done on homework's effect on kids.

Further reading: Get Homework Done and Turned In

Some researchers say that the question isn't whether kids should have homework. It's more about what kind of homework students have and how much. To be effective, homework has to meet students' needs. For example, some middle school teachers have found success with online math homework that's adapted to each student's level of understanding. But when middle school students were assigned more than an hour and a half of homework, their math and science test scores went down .

Researchers at Indiana University discovered that math and science homework may improve standardized test grades, but they found no difference in course grades between students who did homework and those who didn't. These researchers theorize that homework doesn't result in more content mastery, but in greater familiarity with the kinds of questions that appear on standardized tests. According to Professor Adam Maltese, one of the study's authors, "Our results hint that maybe homework is not being used as well as it could be."

So while many teachers and parents support daily homework, it's hard to find strong evidence that the long-held practice produces positive results.

Problems with Homework

In an article in Education Week Teacher , teacher Samantha Hulsman said she's frequently heard parents complain that a 30-minute homework assignment turns into a three-hour battle with their kids. Now, she's facing the same problem with her own kids, which has her rethinking her former beliefs about homework. "I think parents expect their children to have homework nightly, and teachers assign daily homework because it's what we've always done," she explained. Today, Hulsman said, it's more important to know how to collaborate and solve problems than it is to know specific facts.

Child psychologist Kenneth Barish wrote in Psychology Today that battles over homework rarely result in a child's improvement in school . Children who don't do their homework are not lazy, he said, but they may be frustrated, discouraged, or anxious. And for kids with learning disabilities, homework is like "running with a sprained ankle. It's doable, but painful."

Barish suggests that parents and kids have a "homework plan" that limits the time spent on homework. The plan should include turning off all devices—not just the student's, but those belonging to all family members.

One of the best-known critics of homework, Alfie Kohn , says that some people wrongly believe "kids are like vending machines—put in an assignment, get out learning." Kohn points to the lack of evidence that homework is an effective learning tool; in fact, he calls it "the greatest single extinguisher of children's curiosity that we have yet invented."

Homework Bans

Last year, the public schools in Marion County, Florida, decided on a no-homework policy for all of their elementary students . Instead, kids read nightly for 20 minutes. Superintendent Heidi Maier said the decision was based on Cooper's research showing that elementary students gain little from homework, but a lot from reading.

Orchard Elementary School in South Burlington, Vermont, followed the same path, substituting reading for homework. The homework policy has four parts : read nightly, go outside and play, have dinner with your family, and get a good night's sleep. Principal Mark Trifilio says that his staff and parents support the idea.

But while many elementary schools are considering no-homework policies, middle schools and high schools have been reluctant to abandon homework. Schools say parents support homework and teachers know it can be helpful when it is specific and follows certain guidelines. For example, practicing solving word problems can be helpful, but there's no reason to assign 50 problems when 10 will do. Recognizing that not all kids have the time, space, and home support to do homework is important, so it shouldn't be counted as part of a student's grade.

Further reading: Balancing Extracurriculars with Homework in High School

So Should Students Have Homework?

Should you ban homework in your classroom? If you teach lower grades, it's possible. If you teach middle or high school, probably not. But all teachers should think carefully about their homework policies. By limiting the amount of homework and improving the quality of assignments, you can improve learning outcomes for your students.

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Suzanne Capek Tingley

Suzanne Capek Tingley started as a high school English/Spanish teacher, transitioned to middle school, and eventually became a principal, superintendent, and adjunct professor in education administration at the State University of New York. She is the author of the funny, but practical book for teachers, How to Handle Difficult Parents (Prufrock Press). Her work has appeared in many publications including Education Week, and her blog, Practical Leadership, was featured on the Scholastic website. She has been a presenter and consultant, and with Magna Publications she developed videos on demand highlighting successful strategies for classroom teachers. Among her honors is a Woman of Distinction Award from the New York State Senate. She is a strong believer that all kids can learn and that teaching requires art, skill, and a good sense of humor.

Should Kids Get Homework?

Homework gives elementary students a way to practice concepts, but too much can be harmful, experts say.

Mother helping son with homework at home

Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful. (Getty Images)

How much homework students should get has long been a source of debate among parents and educators. In recent years, some districts have even implemented no-homework policies, as students juggle sports, music and other activities after school.

Parents of elementary school students, in particular, have argued that after-school hours should be spent with family or playing outside rather than completing assignments. And there is little research to show that homework improves academic achievement for elementary students.

But some experts say there's value in homework, even for younger students. When done well, it can help students practice core concepts and develop study habits and time management skills. The key to effective homework, they say, is keeping assignments related to classroom learning, and tailoring the amount by age: Many experts suggest no homework for kindergartners, and little to none in first and second grade.

Value of Homework

Homework provides a chance to solidify what is being taught in the classroom that day, week or unit. Practice matters, says Janine Bempechat, clinical professor at Boston University 's Wheelock College of Education & Human Development.

"There really is no other domain of human ability where anybody would say you don't need to practice," she adds. "We have children practicing piano and we have children going to sports practice several days a week after school. You name the domain of ability and practice is in there."

Homework is also the place where schools and families most frequently intersect.

"The children are bringing things from the school into the home," says Paula S. Fass, professor emerita of history at the University of California—Berkeley and the author of "The End of American Childhood." "Before the pandemic, (homework) was the only real sense that parents had to what was going on in schools."

Harris Cooper, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and author of "The Battle Over Homework," examined more than 60 research studies on homework between 1987 and 2003 and found that — when designed properly — homework can lead to greater student success. Too much, however, is harmful. And homework has a greater positive effect on students in secondary school (grades 7-12) than those in elementary.

"Every child should be doing homework, but the amount and type that they're doing should be appropriate for their developmental level," he says. "For teachers, it's a balancing act. Doing away with homework completely is not in the best interest of children and families. But overburdening families with homework is also not in the child's or a family's best interest."

Negative Homework Assignments

Not all homework for elementary students involves completing a worksheet. Assignments can be fun, says Cooper, like having students visit educational locations, keep statistics on their favorite sports teams, read for pleasure or even help their parents grocery shop. The point is to show students that activities done outside of school can relate to subjects learned in the classroom.

But assignments that are just busy work, that force students to learn new concepts at home, or that are overly time-consuming can be counterproductive, experts say.

Homework that's just busy work.

Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful, experts say. Assignments that look more like busy work – projects or worksheets that don't require teacher feedback and aren't related to topics learned in the classroom – can be frustrating for students and create burdens for families.

"The mental health piece has definitely played a role here over the last couple of years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the last thing we want to do is frustrate students with busy work or homework that makes no sense," says Dave Steckler, principal of Red Trail Elementary School in Mandan, North Dakota.

Homework on material that kids haven't learned yet.

With the pressure to cover all topics on standardized tests and limited time during the school day, some teachers assign homework that has not yet been taught in the classroom.

Not only does this create stress, but it also causes equity challenges. Some parents speak languages other than English or work several jobs, and they aren't able to help teach their children new concepts.

" It just becomes agony for both parents and the kids to get through this worksheet, and the goal becomes getting to the bottom of (the) worksheet with answers filled in without any understanding of what any of it matters for," says professor Susan R. Goldman, co-director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois—Chicago .

Homework that's overly time-consuming.

The standard homework guideline recommended by the National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association is the "10-minute rule" – 10 minutes of nightly homework per grade level. A fourth grader, for instance, would receive a total of 40 minutes of homework per night.

But this does not always happen, especially since not every student learns the same. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy found that primary school children actually received three times the recommended amount of homework — and that family stress increased along with the homework load.

Young children can only remain attentive for short periods, so large amounts of homework, especially lengthy projects, can negatively affect students' views on school. Some individual long-term projects – like having to build a replica city, for example – typically become an assignment for parents rather than students, Fass says.

"It's one thing to assign a project like that in which several kids are working on it together," she adds. "In (that) case, the kids do normally work on it. It's another to send it home to the families, where it becomes a burden and doesn't really accomplish very much."

Private vs. Public Schools

Do private schools assign more homework than public schools? There's little research on the issue, but experts say private school parents may be more accepting of homework, seeing it as a sign of academic rigor.

Of course, not all private schools are the same – some focus on college preparation and traditional academics, while others stress alternative approaches to education.

"I think in the academically oriented private schools, there's more support for homework from parents," says Gerald K. LeTendre, chair of educational administration at Pennsylvania State University—University Park . "I don't know if there's any research to show there's more homework, but it's less of a contentious issue."

How to Address Homework Overload

First, assess if the workload takes as long as it appears. Sometimes children may start working on a homework assignment, wander away and come back later, Cooper says.

"Parents don't see it, but they know that their child has started doing their homework four hours ago and still not done it," he adds. "They don't see that there are those four hours where their child was doing lots of other things. So the homework assignment itself actually is not four hours long. It's the way the child is approaching it."

But if homework is becoming stressful or workload is excessive, experts suggest parents first approach the teacher, followed by a school administrator.

"Many times, we can solve a lot of issues by having conversations," Steckler says, including by "sitting down, talking about the amount of homework, and what's appropriate and not appropriate."

Study Tips for High School Students

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2023-2024 Best High Schools

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In middle school, students face new personal and academic challenges. Students must deal with multiple classes and teachers, juggling due dates and preparing for standardized tests. Plus, they must manage all this while learning to develop homework strategies, take responsibility for their grades and cultivate passions — that’s a lot to keep track of at once.

At Success by Design, our middle school student planner meets the unique personal and developmental needs of students in grades six through eight. Choose from our selection of discount middle school planners for a limited time only.

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About our middle school assignment planners.

Junior high school is a time of personal and academic challenges for many students. Unlike elementary school, students in middle school must juggle multiple classes, manage various due dates and prepare for standardized tests. In addition to in-school responsibilities, students are starting to develop homework strategies, learning how to take responsibility for their grades and discovering their passions through extracurricular activities.

One of the best ways for learners of any age to stay organized is with a homework planner. At Success by Design, we understand the unique needs of middle school students and offer comprehensive planner options to help students stay on top of their personal and academic responsibilities. 

Features of Our School Planners for Middle School

Each spiral-bound student planner features a durable cover and includes a quick reference guide. We tailor our planners to student's cognitive stage and offer two themes for students aged 10 to 14:

  • Prepare. Excel. Succeed.: With weekly vocabulary words, test questions and an area to plan after-school activities, the simple layout of our Prepare. Excel. Succeed. planner allows learners to manage their time effectively . Your students can use our printed planner to develop the necessary skills for content mastery.
  • Plan Better, Live Boldly.: Our Plan Better, Live Boldly. planner helps students develop good character through pages dedicated to valuable character traits and the importance of developing good behavior. When students get an in-depth look at these character traits, they gain the confidence to apply these skills in their daily life.

Middle school is a time for students to become more independent and start planning for the future. All of our middle school student planners also include the following features to help your learners develop critical thinking and time management skills:

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Get your students excited about using their planners by customizing your order to match your school's culture. Choose from school , STEM and religious imprint covers or have your cover showcase school spirit by displaying your school colors, motto or mascot. You can also further customize your middle school agenda books by adding the following features:

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When you add these inserts, your students can easily access essential information and recourses to achieve academic success.

Stay Organized With The Best Planners for Middle School Students From Success by Design

As an administrator, you must help your students stay on track to achieve academic success. At Success by Design, we understand the challenges middle school students face and use this knowledge to create planners that give students the ability to focus, learn and grow.

Our student planners have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you or your students are not completely satisfied with our planners, call one of our customer service representatives and we will refund your purchase. To learn more about our planners, contact our team at 844-263-0872 today!

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10 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in Middle School

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Parental support plays an important part in helping students succeed in middle school. But as they grow more independent, it can be hard for parents to know when to get involved and when a more behind-the-scenes approach is the way to go.

Here are 10 ways to keep your child on track for academic success in middle school.

1. Go to Back-to-School Night and Parent-Teacher Conferences

Preteens and teens do better in school when parents are involved in their academic lives. Attending back-to-school night at the start of the school year is a great way to get to know your child's teachers and their expectations. School administrators may discuss school-wide programs and policies too.

Going to  parent-teacher conferences is another way to stay informed. These may be held once or twice a year to discuss your child’s progress. Some middle schools, though, only set up parent–teacher conferences if there's a need to address issues like behavior problems or dropping grades, or if a student might benefit from advanced class work.

For kids with special learning needs, other meetings with teachers and school staff can help parents set up or revise  individualized education plans (IEPs) ,  504 education plans , or  gifted education plans .

Keep in mind that parents or guardians can request meetings with teachers, principals, school counselors, or other school staff any time during the school year.

2. Visit the School and Its Website

Knowing the physical layout of the school building and grounds can help you connect with your child when you talk about their school day. It's good to know the location of the main office, school nurse, cafeteria, gym, athletic fields, auditorium, and special classes.

Most school websites have information about:

  • the school calendar
  • contacting school staff
  • special events like dances and class trips
  • testing dates
  • sign-up information and schedules for sports, clubs, and other extracurricular activities
  • grades and homework assignments

Many teachers maintain their own websites that provide access to textbooks and other resources, and detail homework assignments, and test and quiz dates. Other resources for parents and students are usually available on the district, school, or teacher websites.

3. Support Homework Expectations

During the middle school years, homework gets more intense and takes students longer to do than during the elementary years, usually a total of 1–2 hours each school night.

An important way to help is to make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit, distraction-free place to study that's stocked with school supplies. Distraction-free means no phone, TV, or websites other than homework-related resources. And be sure to check in from time to time to make sure that your child hasn't gotten distracted.

Talk with your child regularly about class loads and make sure they're balanced. It's also a good idea to set a specific start time for homework each night. Helping your child set a homework schedule and consistent homework routine sends a message that academics are a priority.

Encourage your child to ask for help when it's needed. Most teachers are available for extra help before or after school and might be able to recommend other resources.

4. Send Your Child to School Ready to Learn

A nutritious breakfast fuels up middle schoolers and gets them ready for the day. In general, preteens and teens who eat breakfast have more energy and do better in school.

Help boost your child's attention span, concentration, and memory with breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein, and low in added sugar. If your child is running late, send along fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt, or half a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Many schools provide nutritious breakfast options before the first bell.

Preteens and teens also need enough sleep to be alert and ready to learn all day. In general, preteens need about 9–12 hours of sleep each night and teens need about 8–10 hours.

Bedtime problems can come up at this age for a variety of reasons. Homework, sports, after-school activities, texting, TVs, computers, and video games, as well as hectic family schedules, can lead to students not getting enough sleep. Also try to prevent kids from napping after school to ensure they can fall asleep at an appropriate time each night.

Lack of sleep can make it hard for preteens and teens to pay attention in school. It's important to have a consistent bedtime routine, especially on school nights.

5. Teach Organization Skills

No one is born with great organizational skills — they have to be learned and practiced. Being organized is a key to success in middle school, as it's the first time that most students will have multiple teachers and classrooms, or do extracurricular or after-school activities. Students can benefit from parents helping with organizing assignments and time management.

Class information and assignments should be organized by subject in binders, notebooks, or folders. Teach your child how to use a calendar or personal planner to stay organized and schedule study times. Calendars or planners also should include your child's non-academic commitments to help with time management.

Your child should know how to make a daily to-do list to prioritize tasks and manage time. It can be as simple as:

  • swim practice
  • walk the dog
  • study for social studies test (30 minutes)
  • finish math worksheet
  • read over science class notes (15 minutes)
  • put clothes away

6. Teach Study Skills

Planning is a big part of helping your middle schooler study for tests now that they're juggling work from multiple teachers.

Be sure you both know when tests are scheduled, and plan enough study time before each. When there's a lot to study, help figure out roughly how much time it will take to study for each test, then make a study calendar so your child doesn't have to study for multiple tests all in one night.

Remind your child to take notes in class, organize them by subject, and review them at home each day.

Help your child review material and study with easy techniques like simple questioning, asking to provide the missing word, and creating practice tests. The more processes the brain uses to handle information — such as writing, reading, speaking, and listening — the more likely students will remember the information. Repeating words, re-reading passages aloud, re-writing notes, or visualizing or drawing information all help the brain retain data. Remind your child that it usually takes a few tries to remember something correctly.

In math or science, doing practice problems is a great way to review for tests. Your child can ask the teacher about online practice resources.

And remember that getting a good night's sleep is smarter than cramming. Studies show that students who skip sleep to study are more likely to struggle on tests the next day.

7. Know the Disciplinary and Bullying Policies

Schools usually list their disciplinary policies (sometimes called  the student code of conduct ) in student handbooks. The rules cover expectations — and consequences for not meeting them — for things like student behavior, dress codes, use of electronic devices, and acceptable language.

The policies may include details about attendance, vandalism, cheating, fighting, and weapons. Many schools also have policies about  bullying , such as the school's definition of bullying, consequences for bullies, support for victims, and how to report bullying.

Your child should be aware of what's expected at school and know that you'll support the consequences if expectations aren't met. It's easiest for students when school expectations match the ones at home. That way, kids see both settings as safe, caring places that work together as a team.

8. Get Involved

Volunteering at your child's middle school is a great way to show you're interested in their education.

Some middle school students like to see their parents at school or school events. But others may feel embarrassed by it. Follow your child's cues about what works for you both, and whether your volunteering should stay behind the scenes. Make it clear that you aren't there to spy — you're just trying to help the school community.

Parents can get involved by:

  • serving as a grade-level chairperson
  • organizing and/or working at fundraising activities and other special events, like bake sales, car washes, and book fairs
  • chaperoning field trips, dances, and proms
  • attending school board meetings
  • joining the school's parent–teacher group
  • working as a library assistant
  • mentoring or tutoring students
  • giving a talk for career day
  • attending school concerts, plays, and athletic events

Check the school or school district website to find volunteer opportunities that fit your schedule. Even giving a few hours during the school year can make an impression on your child.

9. Take Attendance Seriously

Middle schoolers should take a sick day if they have a fever, are nauseated, vomiting, or have diarrhea. Otherwise, it's important that they arrive at school on time every day, because having to catch up can be stressful and interfere with learning.

Middle schoolers may have many reasons for not wanting to go to school — bullies , tough assignments, low grades, social problems, or issues with classmates or teachers. Talk with your child — and then perhaps with an administrator or school counselor — to find out more about what's causing any anxiety.

Students also may be late for school due to changes in their body clocks. During adolescence, the body's circadian rhythm (an internal biological clock) is reset, telling a teen to fall asleep later at night and wake up later in the morning. Keeping your teen on a consistent daily sleep schedule can help avoid problems like tiredness and tardiness.

For students who have a chronic health issue , educators will work with the families and may limit workloads or assignments so students can stay on track. If your child has a chronic health issue, a 504 education plan can support learning at school. Talk to school administrators if you are interested in developing a 504 plan for your child.

10. Talk About School

Staying connected with preteens and teens as they grow more independent can be a challenge for parents, but it's more important than ever. While activities at school, new interests, and expanding social circles can play bigger roles in the lives of many middle school students, parents and guardians are still their anchors for providing love, guidance, and support.

Talk with your child every day, so they know that what goes on at school is important to you. When preteens and teens know their parents are interested in their academic lives, they'll take school seriously too.

The way you talk and listen to your child can influence how well they listen and respond. Listen carefully, make eye contact, and avoid multitasking while you talk. Be sure to ask questions that go beyond "yes" or "no" answers.

When preteens and teens know they can talk openly with their parents, the challenges of middle school can be a little easier to face.

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Culturegrams: kids edition.

A collection of country reports that teaches upper elementary-aged children more about the world around them. Each report is an indispensable resource of up-to-date, engaging cultural information, complete with images, historical timeline, fun facts, and sections on history, population, "life as a kid," and more.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Good Homework Policy

by Cheryl Mizerny · Published 10/24/2016 · Updated 11/20/2019

A MiddleWeb Blog

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At the time, I could not exactly relate to him because I was one of the kids who knew how to “do” school well and actually enjoyed it. I also did little homework at home because I was also one of those kids who broke the rules and generally did homework assignments during class while the teacher was instructing.

All that changed after the publication of “A Nation At Risk” – when our schools began to be seen as failing and the homework levels increased. Then I empathized with the boy in that candy bar commercial.

Homework has been the most hated part of school for decades, and that’s not going to change. However, public perception of the efficacy of homework is cyclical – with each cycle reshaping homework policies and practices in our classrooms. That’s something we can change.

Some of the history behind homework

In the 1940s, when the country was dealing with more important issues, homework was seen as a redundant waste of time. After Sputnik, it was the way we would beat the Russians to the moon. The resulting backlash (post-moon landing) led to my elementary school years in the blissful 1970s when more problem solving, hands-on learning was emphasized.

After the dire “A Nation At Risk” warnings, the emphasis was on drill and kill in the 80s and 90s. This prepared the way for the piling on of homework as supplemental test prep after the passage of No Child Left Behind in the early 2000s and its even greater emphasis on rote learning.

We are now seeing the detrimental effects of this overtaxing of our children in the form of anxiety, attention issues, and increased family stress. The result is a lot of necessary conversation around the topic of the value of homework.

cm homework main

The homework domino effect

We recently had the homework discussion at my school, after listening to feedback from parents. One of the conclusions we reached: many of my colleagues would love to give less homework, but they feel that they would be doing a disservice to the students by not sufficiently preparing them for the next level of their education (HS), which gives significantly more homework.

Sidebar: This, in my opinion, is a major problem in education today—we don’t allow children to be the age they are and push them too far too fast with developmentally inappropriate practices.

The high school feels the pressure to give excessive homework to enable students to pass the Advanced Placement tests and to do well on college entrance exams. Universities see students who are “unprepared” to do the critical thinking necessary to be successful because, sadly, they were given too much rote work at the high school level and below. The effects of all these conflicting goals roll downhill to educators at the middle and elementary school levels.

Homework teaches compliance, not responsibility

Although I am thrilled with the recent trend in elementary schools (which tend to be the most progressive level of education) – eliminating homework in response to research – I don’t see this moving up through the grade levels any time soon.

Therefore, I am continuing to follow my gut on this issue and do what I think is right for my students. I’ve always been an educator who believes in family time and have never given homework on weekends or over holidays, but I am also very mindful of work I give on weeknights.

I was in a recent Twitter chat with other middle school educators about the topic of homework. There was a clear division among the teachers on the question of whether homework teaches time management and responsibility.

girl doing homework

Giving two or more hours of homework after they have already spent seven hours sitting and absorbing feels like making children clock in for a second shift. I worked two jobs during college and was miserable, exhausted, and didn’t enjoy my classes as much as I should have. I see the same in my students.

I also feel that if teaching time in school is used effectively, not much homework needs to be given. When I do give homework, I make every effort to make it engaging, meaningful, and brief.

Applying what I’ve learned about motivation

During my time as a special education teacher, I had no control over the assignments my students were given by other teachers. In those years, I witnessed a lot of ineffective teaching – and some that was sheer brilliance.

When I began teaching English in 2008, I wanted to be more like the excellent teachers I’d known. I never wanted my classes to feel like a “sit and get” experience that students must somehow survive.

I began my quest to make all of my classwork, and resulting homework, motivating and useful to my students. This included an intense study of motivation while obtaining my graduate degree in Education Psychology.

As luck would have it, much of what I learned in my graduate courses was summed up brilliantly in Daniel Pink’s groundbreaking book, Drive , which arrived on the scene during my first year teaching English (and was neatly summarized in an early example of the animated YouTube lecture).

pink 3factors

In Drive , Pink presents a three-part test for homework:

  • Am I offering my students autonomy over how and when to do this work?
  • Does this assignment promote mastery by offering a novel, engaging task (as opposed to rote reformulation of something already covered in class)?
  • Do my students understand the purpose of the assignment? That is, can they see how doing this additional activity at home contributes to the larger enterprise in which the class is engaged?

I have used these guiding principles for all work I give in class as well as for home. As Pink says, “With a little thought and effort, we can turn home work into home learning .”

One of my other touchstone middle school teaching texts is the classic Day One and Beyond by Rick Wormeli . In it, he says, “Homework given to keep students busy regardless of whether it clarifies, reinforces, or prepares students is irresponsible.” I wholeheartedly agree.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Positive Homework

Through all of my research, and from trial and error in my own class, I have determined my own set of “rules.” Following practices like these can assure we have a positive homework policy in place.

  • I do not use homework to introduce a new concept. If students are learning the concept on their own, then they are teaching themselves and what is my role? What’s more, muddling their way through unconnected information may frustrate more than enlighten.

boy doing homework

  • I make sure that the homework I assign is never too difficult for my students to do without assistance. Just because it’s homework does not mean that it is family work. I much prefer my students discuss what they learned in school with their parents rather than battle over something none of them may fully understand. Tears and arguments over homework are not the hallmarks of rigorous thought.
  • I don’t grade homework for correctness. Often I will give a few points for completing homework, but homework never counts for more than 10% of the final grade in my class (thank you, Rick Wormeli). If it is intended to be practice of what they are learning, then it is unethical to mark students down for errors.
  • I feel that “No Homework” passes send the wrong message that homework is unnecessary and can be skipped. I would much prefer accepting homework late than chastising a student who did not have their work finished on time.
  • I don’t assign homework as students are ready to walk out the door during the last few minutes of class. When there is going to be some homework, I want them to begin it in class so that I can help answer any questions or clarify directions.
  • Students are more likely to complete assignments if they have an audience. Much of the work done in my class is shared and/or displayed.
  • Our school uses a common calendar for each grade so that students don’t have more than two quizzes, tests, or projects due on any given day and also not after a large evening school event.
  • For anything more complex than just finishing a small amount of what they started in class, I give more than one day for assignments to be completed so students may parse their time as needed.

happy homework

  • My homework assignments are a deeper dive into the topic we study and always reach at least the application of the knowledge, not memorization. To the greatest extent possible, I allow students to choose how the work is completed and encourage creativity.
  • I reduce homework by using my class time as effectively as possible. If there is vocabulary they need to know, for example, we work with it often and in many different ways in order to cement the information in their brains. I don’t use the rote memorization of vocabulary as homework because then it is in and out of their brains quickly.
  • My homework is always developmentally appropriate. For middle school students, this means taking advantage of their desire to still have fun and see the absurd side of life, while simultaneously using their critical thinking skills. It is also work they are able to complete independently.
  • I do not assign homework that necessitates the gathering of numerous, expensive materials or the use of resources (especially electronic) that they may not have. I am mindful that the only level playing field is my classroom.

In my ideal world, there would not be homework unless it was student chosen, developed, and executed. Until I live in that world, I do what I believe is right for my students. I don’t want to be the teacher that causes them to totally stress out and learn to dread school.

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Cheryl Mizerny

Cheryl Mizerny (@cherylteaches) is a veteran educator with 25 years experience – most at the middle school level. She began her career in special education, became a teacher consultant and adjunct professor of Educational Psychology, and currently teaches 6th grade English in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Cheryl writes about student motivation and engagement at  The Accidental English Teacher. Read more of her MiddleWeb articles here and  here.

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Please leave your thoughts about homework policies here in the Comments section!

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I agree with the homework dos and don’ts. Less is more and should make sense and be purposeful with the whys discussed before the assignment. Different due dates for things like journals based on when the students want it due (depending on their at-home and afterschool schedules) is also useful. This does teach them to take responsibility for their decisions.

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Our school has a no homework policy. It’s not really a policy per se, but if a parent complains that there is no homework provided, the principal will support the teacher in response to the parent and cite research that homework does not increase proficiency in a skill and the kids need/deserve down time or time to be outside. That being said, there is always research to contradict other research out there .

I do believe the homework should be available to students.

I like your idea about it being developmentally appropriate, fostering independence and creativity, etc. but what are the specifics? What structures, routines and procedures do you implement in you class that support a homework policy for reading and writing?

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Thank you for an informative article that speaks right to the heart of this Special Education Middle School teacher. I agree with you that the only level playing field is right here in our presence where we can create community and autonomy if we do so intentionally.

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The Pros and Cons of Homework

The-Pros-and-Cons-Should-Students-Have-Homework

Homework is a word that most students dread hearing. After hours upon hours of sitting in class , the last thing we want is more schoolwork over our precious weekends. While it’s known to be a staple of traditional schooling, homework has also become a rather divise topic. Some feel as though homework is a necessary part of school, while others believe that the time could be better invested. Should students have homework? Have a closer look into the arguments on both sides to decide for yourself.

A college student completely swamped with homework.

Photo by  energepic.com  from  Pexels

Why should students have homework, 1. homework encourages practice.

Many people believe that one of the positive effects of homework is that it encourages the discipline of practice. While it may be time consuming and boring compared to other activities, repetition is needed to get better at skills. Homework helps make concepts more clear, and gives students more opportunities when starting their career .

2. Homework Gets Parents Involved

Homework can be something that gets parents involved in their children’s lives if the environment is a healthy one. A parent helping their child with homework makes them take part in their academic success, and allows for the parent to keep up with what the child is doing in school. It can also be a chance to connect together.

3. Homework Teaches Time Management

Homework is much more than just completing the assigned tasks. Homework can develop time management skills , forcing students to plan their time and make sure that all of their homework assignments are done on time. By learning to manage their time, students also practice their problem-solving skills and independent thinking. One of the positive effects of homework is that it forces decision making and compromises to be made.

4. Homework Opens A Bridge Of Communication

Homework creates a connection between the student, the teacher, the school, and the parents. It allows everyone to get to know each other better, and parents can see where their children are struggling. In the same sense, parents can also see where their children are excelling. Homework in turn can allow for a better, more targeted educational plan for the student.

5. Homework Allows For More Learning Time

Homework allows for more time to complete the learning process. School hours are not always enough time for students to really understand core concepts, and homework can counter the effects of time shortages, benefiting students in the long run, even if they can’t see it in the moment.

6. Homework Reduces Screen Time

Many students in North America spend far too many hours watching TV. If they weren’t in school, these numbers would likely increase even more. Although homework is usually undesired, it encourages better study habits and discourages spending time in front of the TV. Homework can be seen as another extracurricular activity, and many families already invest a lot of time and money in different clubs and lessons to fill up their children’s extra time. Just like extracurricular activities, homework can be fit into one’s schedule.

A female student who doesn’t want to do homework.

The Other Side: Why Homework Is Bad

1. homework encourages a sedentary lifestyle.

Should students have homework? Well, that depends on where you stand. There are arguments both for the advantages and the disadvantages of homework.

While classroom time is important, playground time is just as important. If children are given too much homework, they won’t have enough playtime, which can impact their social development and learning. Studies have found that those who get more play get better grades in school , as it can help them pay closer attention in the classroom.

Children are already sitting long hours in the classroom, and homework assignments only add to these hours. Sedentary lifestyles can be dangerous and can cause health problems such as obesity. Homework takes away from time that could be spent investing in physical activity.

2. Homework Isn’t Healthy In Every Home

While many people that think homes are a beneficial environment for children to learn, not all homes provide a healthy environment, and there may be very little investment from parents. Some parents do not provide any kind of support or homework help, and even if they would like to, due to personal barriers, they sometimes cannot. Homework can create friction between children and their parents, which is one of the reasons why homework is bad .

3. Homework Adds To An Already Full-Time Job

School is already a full-time job for students, as they generally spend over 6 hours each day in class. Students also often have extracurricular activities such as sports, music, or art that are just as important as their traditional courses. Adding on extra hours to all of these demands is a lot for children to manage, and prevents students from having extra time to themselves for a variety of creative endeavors. Homework prevents self discovery and having the time to learn new skills outside of the school system. This is one of the main disadvantages of homework.

4. Homework Has Not Been Proven To Provide Results

Endless surveys have found that homework creates a negative attitude towards school, and homework has not been found to be linked to a higher level of academic success.

The positive effects of homework have not been backed up enough. While homework may help some students improve in specific subjects, if they have outside help there is no real proof that homework makes for improvements.

It can be a challenge to really enforce the completion of homework, and students can still get decent grades without doing their homework. Extra school time does not necessarily mean better grades — quality must always come before quantity.

Accurate practice when it comes to homework simply isn’t reliable. Homework could even cause opposite effects if misunderstood, especially since the reliance is placed on the student and their parents — one of the major reasons as to why homework is bad. Many students would rather cheat in class to avoid doing their homework at home, and children often just copy off of each other or from what they read on the internet.

5. Homework Assignments Are Overdone

The general agreement is that students should not be given more than 10 minutes a day per grade level. What this means is that a first grader should be given a maximum of 10 minutes of homework, while a second grader receives 20 minutes, etc. Many students are given a lot more homework than the recommended amount, however.

On average, college students spend as much as 3 hours per night on homework . By giving too much homework, it can increase stress levels and lead to burn out. This in turn provides an opposite effect when it comes to academic success.

The pros and cons of homework are both valid, and it seems as though the question of ‘‘should students have homework?’ is not a simple, straightforward one. Parents and teachers often are found to be clashing heads, while the student is left in the middle without much say.

It’s important to understand all the advantages and disadvantages of homework, taking both perspectives into conversation to find a common ground. At the end of the day, everyone’s goal is the success of the student.

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How to Implement a Block Schedule for Middle School

Students and teachers can benefit from a routine that prioritizes instructional time and supports appropriate behaviors.

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What’s the most common thing you hear teachers say they need more of? Time. Time for instruction, planning, supporting struggling students, and building relationships. At Haynes Bridge Middle School in Alpharetta, Georgia, we implemented an A/B block schedule and found a way to maximize every minute teachers have with students each day.

The idea was born out of the experience that many schools had in March 2020 in response to the pandemic—there were fewer classes, with more minutes each day. Throughout that crisis, our teachers saw success with their students’ academic growth and the realization that more time and fewer classes might provide opportunities otherwise unknown.

In our district, all middle schools have students for 430 minutes each school day. With our block schedule, that time is divided into five periods . Four periods (1, 2, 4, and 5) are instructional classes that are 80 minutes and meet every other day. Third period is “Reset Block”—a time for students and staff to reset for the day. It meets every day for 90 minutes and is a rotation of lunch, recess, and independent reading time (IRT).

3 Ways The Schedule Supports Appropriate Behavior  

1. Recess: Students have outdoor recess (weather permitting) every day. This provides a structured time for students to play and socialize every day. They’re able to walk the track, play sports, sit and talk with friends, or sit alone in the middle of each day for 25 minutes. Knowing that they’ll have this time reduces disruptions of students trying to play during instructional time. 

2. Students Success Skills (SSS): SSS is a class that meets for 80 minutes every other day. This time is used for teachers to facilitate social and emotional learning lessons (provided by the school district). During SSS, students practice skills; teachers facilitate grade-level content review; and all nonacademic assemblies, lessons, and tasks take place, such as grade-level assemblies, administering district and school surveys, providing lessons for outside speakers on life skills, and anything that isn’t part of the core curriculum.

3. Reset Block detention: When there’s a behavior in which a consequence of removal is issued, instead of assigning in-school suspension during class time, students are able to serve detention during Reset Block. Reset Block detention is structured as a restorative consequence with a formal plan for students to reflect and restore relationships with peers or staff who’ve been impacted by the situation.

4 Ways The Block Schedule Capitalizes on Time 

1. Fewer transitions: Students change classes only four times during the day, which minimizes transition time. This also reduces the time that students are in unstructured settings that may lead to poor behavioral choices. 

2. Recovery for missing work happens during the school day: During Reset Block, the 60 minutes that each grade has for recess and IRT is used as an opportunity for students to work with the content area teacher to make up missing work. Each day of the week is dedicated to a different content area. Although students may miss recess and IRT on some days, they’ll rarely miss all of them. This is received not as a punishment but rather as an opportunity for support. 

3. SSS time is used for social and emotional support and noninstructional tasks: In the past, these activities interrupted instructional time. Thankfully, that’s no longer necessary with the implementation of the SSS block. 

4. Time is focused on direct instruction and small group support: When the lesson is held every other day instead of every day, the time for attendance taking, openers, and closers is reduced by half. With a typical 45-minute lesson, approximately 15 minutes are dedicated to the beginning and end of the lesson, with only 30 minutes left to teach a lesson and hold small group instruction. In most classes, with that amount of time, small group instruction is rare.

With an 80-minute lesson, if 15 minutes are used for the beginning and end of the lesson, that leaves the teacher with 65 minutes to deliver instruction and support small groups. Although the teacher only sees the students every other day, they can be more intentional and thorough during their time with students. 

Get Community Buy-In 

If you’re considering a transition to this type of schedule, you must be thoughtful, plan well, and give yourself time. This isn’t a change to make overnight—multiple stakeholders are impacted, and there will be varied opinions on what type of school schedule is best.

Be sure to check the school board policy and software capability. Before embarking on this journey, make sure that there are no board policies or district software constraints that would make it impossible.

Create a plan to share with your key players. Make sure that your boss is aware of your idea and believes in your ability to execute it. Once you have their support, share the plan with your leadership team. They need to see the plan and understand why you want to change something that, in their eyes, may not be broken. As soon as your leadership team is on board, inform the rest of your staff.

Pilot your block schedule. Do not move forward without trying it out first. Give yourself a year for planning and piloting before moving to a block schedule.

Tracking data is a must. For the first two years (at least), not only should you track student success data, but also you should administer perception surveys to staff, students, and parents to keep track of the reception from the community.

Use Feedback as a Guide

For the first two years of implementation, we administered surveys to students, parents, and staff for feedback on the implementation of the schedule. Through that feedback, we heard how students appreciated focusing on fewer classes per day, had more time in each class, and enjoyed having Reset Block. Students and parents shared reduced stress and increased happiness in the middle school setting.

The staff’s feedback was mixed. Some loved the longer periods for the same reasons the students expressed. The staff who didn’t appreciate the schedule shared concerns about not seeing students every day and about keeping students engaged for an 80-minute lesson, or they just liked the old schedule better.

With any change, there will be people in support and those who are not. With school changes, we must ask ourselves, is the change having a positive impact on student learning, and in this case the answer is yes. If I could go back four years and give myself advice, I would tell myself, “Go for it—this is the best decision you will ever make for your students.”

WJLA – Washington D.C.

WJLA – Washington D.C.

President and first lady to mark back-to-school season with visit to DC middle school

President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited students at Eliot-Hine Middle School in Washington D.C. on Monday to mark the start of the school year. 

Eliot-Hine Middle School, located at 1830 Consitution Avenue NE, is an international baccalaureate school that serves upwards of 300 students in the District. 

The 6th, 7th and 8th graders knew a "special guest" was coming to the middle school, but they didn't know who, until some walking to the cafeteria around noon, saw President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden standing shaking hands at the bottom of the stairway.

In an 8th-grade math class, students started screaming as they realized who was walking in.

"He was like, 'Yes I'm Joe Biden, what's your name?' and he shook my hand. Then grabbed me, hugged me and took me to the front of the class," said 13-year-old Zoey Brown.

"It was like the best first day of school I ever had I just met the president of the United States!" said Antonia Campbell, a student.

Biden told the students it's hard coming back after months of no homework and having to catch up.

"What's your hardest subject," President Biden asked.

"Math!" came the response in a chorus.

Another 8th grader, Dakari Pass who saw the president, couldn't believe it.

"It's the President! Nobody really thinks that a low-life middle school would see the whole President. In person! And the First Lady, and not only that, you get to see the mayor. That was nice," said Pass.

The mayor seemed to take the visit as an endorsement of sorts.

"He knows what we know that teaching and learning is happening here our kids are improving and our middle schools are on the right track," said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

DCPS has several issues. The president of the teacher's union said she's concerned about more students assaulting other students and teachers. A teacher’s union contract just negotiated last year is about to expire.

But at Eliot-Hine, a presidential visit has left an indelible first day of school memory for a number of students.

"I'll remember at 13 years old, I got to shake the President's hand," said Dakari Pass, "No other 13-year-old can say that."

"They know that all of us in the community and the government are vigilant about safety and they are vigilant about making sure that kids achieve," said Bowser.

Watch the event below:

The school is one of 11 in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) that participates in the District’s Connected Schools initiative, which promotes a focus on supporting a student’s academic development as well as a family’s overall well-being, including food insecurity, housing or basic needs, grief and loss and mental health and wellness.

SEE ALSO | DC education officials address bus driver, attendant concerns, pledge to make changes

The visit kicked off a number of back-to-school activities for the first lady, who will travel later in the week to Indianapolis, Indiana, and Madison, Wisconsin to elevate mental health support for students and to celebrate educators as they return to school. 

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will also kick off a back-to-school bus tour, which is set to visit 12 schools across five states on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

President and first lady to mark back-to-school season with visit to DC middle school

CNN values your feedback

Middle school in china under fire for telling girls not to ‘behave flirtatiously’ to avoid sexual harassment.

Jessie Yeung

A controversial lesson on sexual harassment at a middle school in southern China has stirred online debate about victim-blaming, with many criticizing both the school and what they say is an inadequate response from officials.

The school, located in Zhaoqing city in Guangdong province, had held a “mental health education” class – the equivalent of a sex education class in China – last year, according to Chinese state media People’s Daily.

But photos of the teaching material only began circulating this month, showing papers that said victims of sexual harassment “suffer because they dress flamboyantly and behave flirtatiously.” It added: “Girls shouldn’t wear transparent or skimpy clothes and should avoid frivolous behavior.”

The photos prompted anger and disbelief on social media, with many blaming conservative attitudes they said reflected deep-rooted gender inequality in a patriarchal society.

“The teacher of that class is problematic,” read one top comment on the Chinese social platform Weibo, with 19,000 likes. Others pointed out the dangers of victim-blaming, and the ways women are often targeted regardless of what they wear.

The outrage prompted local education authorities to release a statement last week, confirming that the photos online showed a lecture held at the school last April.

“The lecture contained some inappropriate expressions, which caused misunderstanding among (online users),” the statement said.

It added that the county’s education bureau had “criticized and educated relevant personnel,” and had ordered the school to review its lectures and improve teacher training.

01 china ad from purcotton

Controversial ad for make-up wipe pulled in China after backlash over alleged victim-blaming

But for some, the official statement also sparked backlash. Many took issue with the statement’s wording of “misunderstanding,” arguing the teaching materials had not been an innocent error but a reflection of real, pervasive beliefs across the country.

“People online didn’t ‘misunderstand,’” one comment read. “The punishment is too mild.”

The school has not yet posted any public statements on its website or social media. CNN has reached out to the school for comment.

A number of incidents over the years have provoked similar controversies, especially in light of China’s #MeToo movement, which has stayed resilient despite frequent setbacks due to censorship and an ongoing crackdown on feminist activism.

For instance, last November a young woman was attacked by a man at a public toilet in Zhejiang, according to state media The Paper. After online critics accused the woman of being “skimpily dressed,” her mother told The Paper: “What does clothing have to do with being beaten? Is that a reason for a crime?”

And in 2021 a controversial ad for makeup removal wipes – which showed a woman being followed down the street at night by a would-be attacker, who runs away in horror after she removes her makeup – was pulled from the internet after strong backlash.

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  1. How elementary teachers describe middle school #relatable #shorts #viral #fyp #memories

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COMMENTS

  1. Middle School Homework: Creating a Foundation for Learning

    In the middle school years, students begin to experience the benefits of homework, though it is difficult to determine how much good it does, particularly at a given age. And there is some debate on how much homework students need to receive that benefit.

  2. Homework Strategies for Struggling Students

    Strategies and tips How you can help: Some kids rush because they don't like doing repetitive work. For these kids, you may want to try mixing things up. Teacher tip: Switch the order of homework. Try having kids approach the material in a different way. If vocabulary words are a challenge, try using them in everyday conversation.

  3. What's the Right Amount of Homework?

    There are risks to assigning too much, however: A 2015 study found that when middle school students were assigned more than 90 to 100 minutes of daily homework, their math and science test scores began to decline (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez, & Muñiz, 2015 ). Crossing that upper limit can drain student motivation and focus.

  4. How Parents Can Help with Middle School Homework Challenges

    Middle school homework solution #1: Develop a tracking system Speak with your student about how homework changes in middle school, such as more frequent long-term projects and a heavier homework load overall. Together, brainstorm ways to keep track of homework assignments.

  5. Middle School Homework Guidelines

    Middle School Homework Guidelines Translate: Schools Homework is an important part of education. The conscientious completion of homework has a positive impact on a student's success in school. Teachers, students, and parents have the responsibility to work as a team in order to realize the maximum benefit of homework.

  6. Help Middle Schoolers Manage Their Homework

    Middle school students have a lot of homework assignments to keep track of. Here's how to help your child stay on top of that work without a fight. by June Allan Corrigan Make school supply list shopping easy! Find your child's exact list and in one-click purchase every item and have it delivered right to your front door.

  7. Effective homework in the middle school

    EFFECTIVE HOMEWORK IN THE MIDDLE SCHOOL CHAPTER 1 Introduction Homework is an instructional technique that is universally known to teachers, parents, and students (Gill & Schlossman, 2000). By the time students are young adolescents and reach the middle grades, homework has become a staple in their lives ("Middle School Students Seek Homework ...

  8. Key Lessons: What Research Says About the Value of Homework

    Too much homework may diminish its effectiveness. While research on the optimum amount of time students should spend on homework is limited, there are indications that for high school students, 1½ to 2½ hours per night is optimum. Middle school students appear to benefit from smaller amounts (less than 1 hour per night).

  9. How to Prepare for Middle School

    ADHD , can make the adjustment more difficult. Follow these steps to help prepare your child for the new routines that come with starting middle school. Explore topics selected by our experts Strategies and tips School struggles Talk about the upcoming changes.

  10. Should Students Have Homework?

    But when middle school students were assigned more than an hour and a half of homework, their math and science test scores went down. Researchers at Indiana University discovered that math and science homework may improve standardized test grades, but they found no difference in course grades between students who did homework and those who didn't.

  11. Should Kids Get Homework?

    March 11, 2022, at 9:34 a.m. | Should Kids Get Homework? More Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful. (Getty Images) How much...

  12. PDF Homework: A Guide for Parents

    Homework is an important part of school. Expect children to complete homework and hand it in when it is due. Holding children accountable for homework builds responsibility and time management skills. Parental support will be provided as needed.

  13. Research Trends: Why Homework Should Be Balanced

    A recent study found that when middle school students were assigned more than 90-100 minutes of homework per day, their math and science scores began to decline (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez, & Muñiz, 2015). Giving students too much homework can lead to fatigue, stress, and a loss of interest in academics—something that we all want to avoid.

  14. View All Middle School Planners

    One of the best ways for learners of any age to stay organized is with a homework planner. At Success by Design, we understand the unique needs of middle school students and offer comprehensive planner options to help students stay on top of their personal and academic responsibilities. Features of Our School Planners for Middle School

  15. 10 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in Middle School

    During the middle school years, homework gets more intense and takes students longer to do than during the elementary years, usually a total of 1-2 hours each school night. An important way to help is to make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit, distraction-free place to study that's stocked with school supplies.

  16. Homework Help

    Designed for middle and high school students and adults who have a basic foundation in English grammar and reading but need adapted reading material for a variety of subjects. It offers resources to help build background knowledge, conduct research and improve study skills. This database is provided by the Michigan eLibrary (MeL).

  17. Homework Pros and Cons

    Memorization exercises as homework continued through the Middle Ages and Enlightenment by monks and other scholars. [ 45] In the 19th century, German students of the Volksschulen or "People's Schools" were given assignments to complete outside of the school day.

  18. The Do's and Don'ts of Good Homework Policy

    The homework domino effect. We recently had the homework discussion at my school, after listening to feedback from parents. One of the conclusions we reached: many of my colleagues would love to give less homework, but they feel that they would be doing a disservice to the students by not sufficiently preparing them for the next level of their education (HS), which gives significantly more ...

  19. The Pros and Cons: Should Students Have Homework?

    1. Homework Encourages Practice Many people believe that one of the positive effects of homework is that it encourages the discipline of practice. While it may be time consuming and boring compared to other activities, repetition is needed to get better at skills.

  20. PDF Middle School Teachersâ•Ž Perceptions Regarding the Motivation and

    Middle School Teachers' Perceptions Regarding the Motivation and Effectiveness of Homework Donald Snead and Kathleen G. Burris Middle Tennessee State University Acknowledgement to Tara Bowkey Graduate Assistant, Middle Tennessee State University The purpose of this study was to understand middle school teachers' perspectives on the role of

  21. Middle School Homework Procedure

    Middle School Homework Procedures DEFINITIONS Homework - homework includes learning tasks assigned to students that are meant to be completed outside of class hours most often at home. Students may also complete homework during non-classroom school time.

  22. PDF INCREASING HOMEWORK COMPLETION OF MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS BY USING ...

    The school district, which includes four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school, employs a total of 189 full-time equivalent teachers, 26.5% (n=50) are male and 73.5% (n=139) are female. Of the 189 full-time equivalent teachers in the district, 65.5% (n=124) have bachelors degrees and 34.5% (n=65) have masters degrees or above.

  23. Homework Help for Middle and High School

    Middle school homework help: How can we help you? Our main purpose is to give a help to children and their parents in the problem of school homework. Nowadays internet plays a significant role in all fields of our lives including education. In response to parents' and children's requirements our homework company has appeared.

  24. Middle School Block Schedules

    In our district, all middle schools have students for 430 minutes each school day. With our block schedule, that time is divided into five periods. Four periods (1, 2, 4, and 5) are instructional classes that are 80 minutes and meet every other day. Third period is "Reset Block"—a time for students and staff to reset for the day.

  25. President and first lady to mark back-to-school season with visit ...

    P resident Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited students at Eliot-Hine Middle School in Washington D.C. on Monday to mark the start of the school year. Eliot-Hine Middle School, located ...

  26. Middle school in China under fire for telling girls not to 'behave

    A controversial lesson on sexual harassment at a middle school in southern China has stirred online debate about victim-blaming, with many criticizing both the school and what they say is an ...