U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans
True or False?
A Teacher's Guide to Homework Tips for Parents

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Text (slide 4):

True or False?

  1. If a child is having trouble with his or her homework, parents should reach out to the teacher or school for help.

    True. Knowing about homework assignments can involve parents in the schooling process in a positive way and accelerate a child's learning. It can give parents firsthand information about what students are learning and how well their child is doing in school. It can also give them an opportunity to express supportive attitudes about the value of success in school. Talking with teachers about homework can help parents understand what is expected of students and generally improve communication between the family and the school. Research shows that parent involvement can have either a positive or negative impact on the value of homework. Although parents should avoid interfering in the independent completion of assignments, if a child is having difficulty with homework, parents should become involved by discussing the issue with the teacher and asking how they might help.

  2. All homework will have a positive impact on students in the long run.

    False. Homework that is not properly assigned and monitored can also have negative effects on children. Educators and parents worry that students will grow bored if they are required to spend too much time on schoolwork. Homework can prevent children from taking part in leisure-time and community activities that also teach important life skills. Homework can lead to undesirable character traits if it promotes cheating, either through the copying of assignments or help with homework that goes beyond tutoring. The issue for educators and parents is not which list of effects, the positive or negative, is correct. To a degree, both are. It is the job of parents and educators to make the most of the benefits of homework and minimize the costs. Homework policies and practices should give teachers and parents the flexibility to take into account the unique needs and circumstances of their students. That way, they can maximize the positive effects of homework and minimize negative the ones.