This is a question that I have asked myself over and over. At different phases of my career I have given myself different answers ranging from they must have homework because that is what good teachers do, to homework is a vehicle that creates problems and turmoil for the families of my students and thus should not be a part of my program.
There is no answer that fits all classrooms or that fits all students. Like every other aspect of my program I have to differentiate according to the needs and circumstances of my students and their families. The following site pinpoints the top 5 reasons for assigning homework and top 5 reasons for not assigning homework ( http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/teaching/proandconhomework.html
I am going to share with you an event in my career where assigning homework created a very negative scenario and conflict for a student. This student was a very intelligent, friendly, polite young man who was a pleasure to work with in class. Over the first two months of school he excelled in class but habitually did not complete any home tasks. It got to the point where his lack of responsibility toward homework was seen as a behaviour concern. A few weeks later I became aware that his Mom was in a coma and that his family spent each night by her side in the hospital. My lack of awareness of my student and his home situation created undue and unneeded pressure on him and the family. As a result, homework was not a part of that student’s program.
On the other side of the coin, a student that I am working with this year spends time every night with his Mom reviewing the day’s work along with increased home reading. That has resulted in an accelerated growth in his area of academic deficits. In both cases, my decision to not assign homework to student A, and to assign extra homework to student B was the right thing to do. Homework for the sake of homework is not a productive component to any student’s learning. It must have a specific purpose that is helping meet the targeted academic outcomes of the classroom.