If homework is defined as independent work assigned to students to be done on their own and then checked at school or submitted for “points or checks” then homework – at all levels – can seem a bit silly – especially while in elementary school.
There are huge costs to sequestering students at home to do more “work” … mainly limited play and exploration (in their various forms). We must consider these costs when we assign work that we mean to be completed at home. And parents need to scrutinize homework. It’s not okay to view homework primarily as a communication tool, that is, to see your son or daughter doing work at the table and think that they must be learning and that all is okay at school. Only interaction and sincere conversation can communicate these ideas.
Anything we give as “homework” needs to have clear purpose – as teachers let’s ask “Why?” at least two or three times to see if the assignment and its purpose hold up. Doing this can only help students and families prioritize how they spend their time and energy outside of school.