Homework seems to be a hot topic among teachers, students, and especially parents! I had to struggle to decide how best to handle homework for my 3rd grade math students and I feel like I've landed on a pretty good solution. The teacher before me sent home math tasks for students to complete at home. I felt like that was putting a huge burden on parents and opted not to do that. Then I thought, "Hey, I've got these textbooks just sitting here that I don't do anything with ...," so I was sending home work out of the textbooks.
This seemed like a good idea but I found several problems that became deal breakers. If I'm sending homework, there must be accountability. So I took a grade only on whether or not students attempted every problem. This worked for me when I taught 5th grade six years ago and expected the same result. What I found was that the kids who were struggling the most academically were the kids who weren't doing their homework at all and where their grades should have been helped, they were tanking. On top of that, I was losing too much class time going over the 5-10 homework questions. What was I going to do?!?!?
I am in L-O-V-E with my homework system now! I simply have my kids practice their multiplication facts for 15 minutes each night. They record it on a homework log which gets turned in every Friday, and when students complete six weeks of homework they earn a "lunch date" in the classroom with me. Parents are happy because they always know what the math homework is and it's something they can help their child with; students are happy because many of them will work harder to spend special time with me than they will for a participation grade; I'm happy because students are still getting valuable practice on an important skill and the reward doesn't cost me anything!
I hope this is helpful for any of you out there who are struggling with homework!