I’ve suffered through homework trauma as a parent, so I’m wearing both hats here.
Here's my philosophy on elementary homework:
The homework you send home should be a reflection of what you've done in the classroom that day or prior days so that any student in your class can independently complete the assignment on their own without parental support.
Really, most parents don't want to get that involved in homework. Most kind of want to see what their kid is doing and they want to see that their kid is completing it. But if it's too difficult for the children and they're having to ask their parents for a lot of input, you need to rethink your approach.
After all, when these same kids start bringing home algebra and calculus, 99.9% of parents will be no help at all! So it’s not a good approach to rely on them just because you are in elementary. Homework is for kids, not parents.
This is all about students maintaining routines and responsibilities, not about spending hours at a desk. I think the number one thing kids should be doing when they get home is playing outside. Not in front of the TV, not with their nose in a book but playing outside.
Outdoor play is super important for every kid so we don’t want to fill up all that time with homework.
So how much homework?
I would generally give my students a math assignment for homework that was maybe ten to fifteen minutes. I expected them also to read for 20 to 30 minutes every night with their parents or on their own.
The reading was an honor system thing and I talked to parents about helping their kids meet that expectation.
As for parent homework assistance, they should know that if their child has a problem, then they should do their best and bring their questions to school the next day. Hey, helping kids with academics is my job, right?!
But parents can always help out with reading, including reading aloud to their kids (even those big, grown-up 6th graders will still like parental read-alouds).
Want more homework assignment and collection information, including my rant against homework packets? Read with an open mind!