The Homework Debate – Our Experiences and My Thoughts

We’re halfway through the second week of school, and I’m starting to see two debates – homework and recess. I’ll have the recess debate for another day. 

With my daughter starting 5th grade, we have had all sorts of homework situations. Personally, I see both sides of the homework debate. When my daughter was in 2nd grade, I was thrilled when her teacher said he didn’t believe in homework. Then in 3rd grade, her teacher was a big believer in homework.

Homework Debate - Working on Homework

The Pros of No Homework

Kids are spending more time in school lately. The last few years, I’ve watched the school day get longer and more days added to the school calendar. That leaves less time for kids to be kids. Additionally, kids are busier than ever with sports, after school classes and clubs, and more.

The Pros of Homework

There were two things that I liked about homework. With homework, I was connected with what my daughter was doing at school. I could see what she was learning, what she was having trouble with, and what she understand.


Managing her weekly homework packet gave my daughter a lot of maturity and sense of responsibility. The first couple of weeks were a transition, but she rose to the occasion. She learned to do extra work on some nights to free up other nights. We also learned to bring homework with us for her to do at downtimes – for example while we were negotiating on a car purchase.

The Cons of No Homework

In past years when my daughter had no homework, I had less idea of what she was doing in class and how she was progressing. Completed school work rarely came home. Fortunately I helped in math once a week, so I had some idea of how she was doing – at least in math. While that helped me, not every parent is able to spend time in class weekly.

Whether in middle school, high school or college at some point kids will have out of school work. In some ways it’s easier to get them used to homework at a younger age.


The Cons of Homework

Kids are busy enough as it is. With decreasing recess time at school, they definitely need the down time when they get home. 

A lot of homework is just busy work that then causes burnout and turn kids off from school. Honestly, I can learn as much about my child’s skills from 5 math problems of a type as I can with 20. 

No homework over breaks. In 3rd grade, my child had a 20+ page packet over winter break. With family in town, hosting a baby shower, my daughter’s birthday, and her being sick, it was definitely hard to complete the packet. A lot of it was cursive handwriting practice and simple copying words – the definition of busy work. Since cursive was new, while it was mindless, it was slow work.

The Dreaded Project

Am I the only one that hates projects? I’ve heard of classes with no homework, but there will be a few at home projects over the year.

While I would regularly check her homework and make suggestions, I find that many projects require more parental involvement than homework. Personally, I’d much rather get a few homework sheets than have to help my child manage a project. From the time management (we’re both procrastinators) to the 

A Perfect Solution?

So far, I think my daughter has a good balance this year as a Fifth Grader. Of course, we haven’t had curriculum night and I’ve seen things change after that.

If work isn’t finished in class it is brought home to be finished. If the kids finish the work at school, they have no homework. After bringing work home the first couple of days, my daughter seems to be managing her workload better at school. 

Even more importantly, she is actually bringing graded work home (star, ok, check, and redo). This has not happened in past years. I would see school work brought home at the end of the year that had been crammed in her cubby all year. 

My Final Thoughts

While homework is a way for parents to stay connected to what their child is learning, sending completed school work home can accomplish the same goal.

When homework is assigned I much prefer a packet that is due at the end of the week rather than homework due the next day. This is much more accommodating of busy schedules.

Your Thoughts?

What are your thoughts on homework? Does your child have homework?



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Anna Mae

Anna Mae owns & operates Ann Arbor with Kids, a website dedicated to Family Activities in Ann Arbor. My husband and I moved to Ann Arbor in 2003 and our daughter joined the family in 2006.

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