Mrs. Zuniga's Class Page

Homework Policies

Second grade students can expect to have about 20 minutes of homework per night.

Weekly homework packets will be sent home in students B.E.E. (Bring-Everything-Everyday) folders on Monday and homework packets are due Friday.

Homework time guidelines:

~ 10 minutes on spelling/math packet

~ 10 minutes of reading each night (20 minutes on 20 days of the month is our goal!)

Below is an article that gives some great homework information and suggestions.

Adapted from the article:
Homework: A Guide for Parents By Peg Dawson, EdD, NCSP
Seacoast Mental Health Center, Portsmouth, NH

Many teachers believe that assigning homework offers other benefits besides contributing to school achievement. Homework teaches children how to take responsibility for tasks and how to work independently. That is, homework helps children develop habits of mind that will serve them well as they proceed through school and, indeed, through life. Specifically, homework helps children learn how to plan and organize tasks, manage time, make choices, and problem solve, all skills that contribute to effective functioning in the adult world of work and families.

Reasonable Homework Expectations: It is generally agreed that the younger the child, the less time the child should be expected to devote to homework. A general rule of thumb is that children do 10 minutes of homework for each grade level. Therefore, first graders should be expected to do about 10 minutes of homework, second graders 20 minutes, third graders 30 minutes, and so on. If your child is spending more than 10 minutes per grade level on work at night, then you may want to talk with your child's teacher about adjusting the workload.

Strategies to Make Homework Go More Smoothly: There are two key strategies parents can draw on to reduce homework hassles. The first is to establish clear routines around homework, including when and where homework gets done and setting up daily schedules for homework. The second is to build in rewards or incentives to use with children for whom "good grades" is not a sufficient reward for doing homework.

Homework Routines: Tasks are easiest to accomplish when tied to specific routines. By establishing daily routines for homework completion, you will not only make homework go more smoothly, but you will also be fostering a sense of order your child can apply to later life, including college and work.

Step 1. Find a location in the house where homework will be done. The right location will depend on your child and the culture of your family. Some children do best at a desk in their bedroom. Other children become too distracted by the things they keep in their bedroom and do better at a place removed from those distractions, like the dining room table. Some children need to work by themselves. Others need to have parents nearby to help keep them on task and to answer questions when problems arise. Both you and your child need to discuss pros and cons of different settings to arrive at a mutually agreed upon location.

Step 2. Set up a homework center. Once you and your child have identified a location, fix it up as a home office/homework center. Make sure there is a clear workspace large enough to set out all the materials necessary for completing assignments. If possible, the homework center should include a calendar, agenda, or bulletin board on which your child can keep track of long-term assignments.
Step 3. Establish a homework time. Your child should get in the habit of doing homework at the same time every day. The time may vary depending on the individual child. Some children need a break right after school to get some exercise and have a snack. Others need to start homework while they are still in a school mode. It is usually best to get homework done either before dinner or as early in the evening as the child can tolerate.

Step 4. Establish a daily homework schedule. In general, the homework session should begin with a review of all the assignments. Make sure your child understands them and has all the necessary materials. Ask your child to estimate how long it will take to complete each assignment. If your child needs help with any assignment, then this should be determined at the beginning so the parent will be available for assistance.

Incentive Systems: Many children are motivated by the high grade they hope to earn as a result of doing a quality job. For some children who are not motivated by grades, parents will need to look for other rewards to help them get through their nightly chores. Incentive systems fall into two categories: simple and elaborate.

Simple incentive systems. The simplest incentive system is reminding the child of a fun activity to do when homework is done. It may be a favorite television show, playing outside, riding a bike, spending time with a video/computer game, talking on the phone, texting a friend, or playing a game with a parent. Having something to look forward to can be a powerful incentive to get the hard work done.

Elaborate incentive systems. These involve more planning and more work on the part of parents but in some cases are necessary to address more significant homework problems. More complex incentives systems might include a structure for earning points that could be used to "purchase" privileges or rewards or a system that provides greater reward for accomplishing more difficult homework tasks. These systems work best when parents and children together develop them. Giving children input gives
them a sense of control and ownership, making the system more likely to succeed.

Building in breaks. These are good for the child who cannot quite make it to the end without a small reward en route. When creating the daily homework schedule, it may be useful with these children to identify when they will take their breaks. Some children prefer to take breaks at specific time intervals (every 15 minutes), while others do better when the breaks occur after they finish an activity.

Building in choice. This can be an effective strategy for parents to use with children who resist homework. Choice can be incorporated into both the order in which the child agrees to complete assignments and the schedule they will follow to get the work done. Building in choice not only helps motivate children but can also reduce power struggles between parents and children.

Write a homework contract. The contract should say exactly what the child agrees to do and exactly what the parents' roles and responsibilities will be. When the contract is in place, it should reduce some of the tension parents and kids often experience around homework. Parents should also be sure to acknowledge their children in a positive way for following the contract.

Adaptations and Further Support: Suggestions provided in this handout will need to be adapted to the particular age of your child. Greater supervision and involvement on the part of parents is the norm with children during the elementary school years, while, by high school, most parents find they can pull back and let their children take more control over homework schedules. Middle school is often the turning point, and parents will need to make decisions about how involved to be in homework based on the developmental level of their children. If problems arise that seem difficult at any age, consult your child's teacher or a school psychologist.

Canter, l. (1993). Homework without tears. New York: HarperPerennial. ISBN: 0062731327.
Dawson, P. (2001). Homework problems and solutions, UnpubLished manual. For information on obtaining a copy, contact Peg Dawson at her e-mail address (pLease be aware that e-mail addresses may change): pegdawsolI(iiJcoIIICflsl.llei
Dawson, P., & Guare, R. (2003). Executive skills in children and adolescents: A practical guide to assessment and interventions.
New York: Guilford. ISBN: 1572309288.
Romain, T., & Verdick, E. (1997). How to do homework without throwing up. MinneapoLis: Free Spirit Publishing. ISBN:1575420112.
Judy Silvester, Ed.S, NCSP
School Psychologist
Discovery Elementary, Frontier Elementary, Summerwind Elementary