Homework has been a raging topic of conversation in the educational community the past several years.  There are those who think it is a waste of time and those who think it really does help students.  To try and help parents and students understand why we think homework is necessary, we have compiled a rather large list of links to show our point of view.  They range from what the media is reporting about modern education to a description of what is life is like for students in China and Japan.  Please take the time to read through them.

Here are some important things to keep in mind about homework at Riverwood Middle School:

  • JCS states that teachers in middle school may give up to thirty minutes a night per subject.  Reading teachers may add another twenty minutes of reading assignments.
  • Homework in the sixth grade is given Monday through Thursday nights.  While homework is not generally given on the weekend, there may be some occasions where it cannot be avoided.
  • Please do not accept "I don't have any" or "I finished it at school" at face value.  Ask your child to see the completed assignments or the notes he/she was supposed to study. Ask questions about the content.  If the child cannot answer questions on the content, then adequete studying did not take place.
  • Help your child set up a study time and place.  Expect your child to study at least one hour a night.  One hour of active studying, not one hour of looking around the room wishing the homework was already done.
  • Have a study box near the designated study area.  Put materials in the box to help students keep from running around looking for a pencil.  Some good items to keep in the box would be paper, construction/computer paper, pencils, pens, white-out, colored pencils/markers, erasers, and a pencil sharpener.  A dictionary, thesaurus, and calculator would also be useful.
  • Homework can be written, such as math problems or essays, or studying.  If a student does not have any written work to complete, a good habit would be to study recent notes from all classes.
  • Studying nightly is better than cramming for a test/quiz.  You usually make better grades too.
  • Looking at a piece of paper, the wall, or air is not studying.  Studying needs to be an active process.  See "Study Strategies" page for more information on this subject.
  • If your child says he/she studies but his/her grades don't show it, watch how your child studies.  Is the tv on?  Is music playing?  Is the telephone glued to an ear?  Is he/she looking blankly at a piece of paper? If any of these are seen, be aware that these could be signs that studying is not really happening.  It takes action, such as rewriting notes, making flashcards, and other obvious signs of movement to really study.
  • Be aware that most sixth graders at some point say "I DO study" when they are really frittering time away.  We, as teachers, did it when we were younger, and we have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of parents did when they were younger as well.


The links below can help parents and students understand why homework is necessary.  Please take some time to review the information.


Article about Two Million Minutes - a video that compares American students to those in other countries - 2008

Poor Marks for US Education System - 2009

US Teens Trail Peers Around World on Math-Science Test - 2007


Homework: Myths, Realities, and Student Views

  Interesting article written by a college professor

What is Homework?

Necessary Homework


Homework Supply Kit



Education System in China


A Day in the Life of a Student in China


Basic Information on Education in Japan


A Day in the Life of a Student in Japan

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