Elementary Homework Is More Than Busywork

(By Julie Zhu -- Montgomery Blair High School)
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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dear Extra Credit:

Writers have expressed the opinion that homework in elementary school might be unnecessary ["Forced to Choose Between Loves," April 17]. I have a different opinion. My children are in grades four and six at Brookfield Elementary in Chantilly, and I have generally been very pleased with the homework they've had, for several reasons.

· Their homework has reinforced concepts they learned in class that day. Sometimes, my children have not fully ingrained the concepts taught in class; they've benefited from the reinforcement of working with the concepts at home.

· Their homework has given me an opportunity to see what they're learning. Asking them every night at the dinner table reveals only so much. Seeing the worksheet on types of clouds or calculating percentages gives me a prompt to get a conversation started.

· Their homework gives me opportunities to teach and reinforce learning strategies and study habits. We've worked on strategies to learn and recall material, and I see my children using them on their own. Examples include double-checking math problems and saying vocabulary definitions out loud to help with learning and recall.

Although there has been the occasional busywork, that has been the exception. My children's homework has been constructive and worthwhile, and they seem better for it.

Sandra Slappey


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