Fourth Grade Teacher on The Case Against Homework

My co-author and I received a very thoughtful letter from a fourth grade teacher with more than twenty years’ experience from upstate New York. She writes:

There were a couple of times I found myself cringing with a tad of guilt as I read the book. Although I won’t do a cereal box or diorama book report, I usually do a few similar type book reports each year. I give the students quite a bit of time to complete the project at school (I help to supply the materials as well), but there are always some students that need some extra time. In that case, I have to let them work at home. I try to give the students a week to work on the project, along with many discussions about budgeting time. I feel these book reports allow some of my non-writers a chance to express themselves in a different style. It also allows the children an opportunity to learn about budgeting their time. I do think children need opportunities to learn, take risks, make mistakes and be successful. I feel very comfortable with these projects, but your points are well taken.

Read the entire letter.

And, you can go to the forums and discuss the many issues she raises, including, “Because of your book I am going to rethink my shaky policy about ‘no homework, no recess.’ Do you have suggestions as to alternatives?”

2 thoughts on “Fourth Grade Teacher on The Case Against Homework

  1. My situation is similar to the parent that wanted more homework for her student. My daughter is in the fourth grade. Her current teacher has a NO homework policy, unless the work does not get completed in class. The only reason I (as a parent) have a problem with this policy is what happens next year? My fourth grader is the youngest of three children…the two older ones are: 4th year college student and senior in high school. Having been in this school district for a number of years it has been my experience that each grade level requires just a little more homework than the last. My daughter had homework last year and I suspect she will have it again next year.What will this year without homework do to her as far as being established in doing homework in the evenings?
    Another issue that have have concerns about is final exams in high school. Our district has adopted a policy for promoting attendance. If the student misses one or less days of school for the semester, they are exempted from taking finals. This has actually worked out great for my student that is currently a senior. He struggles with school and because he does not want to take finals he makes sure to attend classes each day. However, my oldest child was a freshman when this plan was implemented and it was stated originally that if you chose to take the final even though you were exempt, and scored poorly, it would affect your grade. (This has since been removed) She was an A student, but was terrified that she might perform poorly on the exams so she chose not to take them. Her first two years of college was horrible. She had to “learn” how to study for finals. She has done well….(is on the dean’s list and will graduate a semester early) And is preparing for Grad. school but the original policy, excepting final exams, was a nightmare for her learning process and truly affected her abilities the first two years of college. Thankfully she adapted and has moved on quite well. I am not sure a student such as my “senior” in high school could have ever survived that experience!


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