Homework Overview and Guidelines

  • Homework is an integral part of the HCSD school program, serving the following purposes:

    • Practicing a learned skill;
    • Providing a valuable extension of student learning time; and
    • Assisting students in achieving the Essential Outcomes, including good study habits, responsibility, self-discipline, and independence.

    The time to be spent on assigned homework is determined by the following factors:

    • The student’s ability
    • The student’s maturity
    • Effective use of study time
    • Nature of subject matter.

    Parents are encouraged to:

    • Provide positive support and encouragement to their child.
    • Help their child establish a regular time, place, and quiet atmosphere for study.
    • Provide necessary equipment (e.g., notebooks, dictionary, ruler).
    • Allow and encourage children to do their own work. Assist when asked specific questions.
    • Notify the teacher if their child is unable to complete assignments within a reasonable length of time.
    • Ask their child to share some of the completed assignments.
    • Read regularly to or with their child and listen to their child read.
    • Recognize that children need to become more independent in completing homework as they mature.


    Guidelines for Homework:

    Recognizing that there may be some variation across teachers, the following grade level guidelines have been established:

    Kindergarten through 3rd Grade

    1. Reading: The most important component of homework is reading. Reading experiences will include students being read to by adults or peers, students reading with adults or peers, students reading books out loud to adults or peers, and, for advanced readers, silent reading. Even when students begin to read with fluency and understanding, reading experiences will still include the aforementioned requirements.
    2. Mathematics: Occasional assignments may be given to practice or apply a learned skill. Teachers are encouraged to suggest, but will not require, family games, activities, and discussions to support mathematics learning.
    3. Individual Long-Term Projects: Teachers may assign individual long-term projects to be completed at home up to three times a year. These projects will focus on critical concepts, will be broken down into manageable parts to aid students in time management, and will delineate clearly the role parents/adults will take (if any) in the completion of the project. Having completed the project, students will be given feedback that will guide their future learning.
    4. Time Spent for Kindergarten and 1st Grade: While all students are different, as a general guideline, students should read about twenty minutes per night. Each long-term project should take approximately one hour to complete.
    5. Time Spent for 2nd and 3rd Grade: As a general guideline, students should read about thirty minutes per night, although the time may vary across students. Each long-term project should take approximately two hours to complete.

    4th and 5th Grades

    1. Reading: Reading continues to be a focus for homework, and students will continue to interact with books in a variety of ways. Content reading may be assigned in these grades.
    2. Mathematics: Teachers may assign mathematics homework at a student’s level when practice or enrichment is needed. Once a skill is mastered, a student should not be required to continue to practice the skill, other than to occasionally review this learned skill.
    3. Individual Long-Term Projects: Teachers may assign individual long-term projects to be completed at home up to four times a year. These projects will focus on critical concepts and clearly delineate the role parents/guardians will take (if any) in the completion of the project. Teachers will support students in determining how to break down the project into manageable parts. Although students will not be required to independently break down a project, the teacher will ensure that students take on increasing levels of ownership of this task. Once a project is completed, students will be given feedback that will guide their future learning. Teachers will ensure that if the student follows a sensible plan for completion, students will be able to complete projects, reading, and all other assignments within the general time guidelines listed below.
    4. Study Skills: Teachers will begin teaching specific study skills during class time. Once taught and practiced in class, students will occasionally be assigned to study for a test using one or more of the mastered techniques.
    5. World Language: Teachers will assign homework to aid in the development of world language skills. Assignments will focus on skills which require practice and repetition in order to achieve mastery. Homework should be designed to be completed independently by students. 
    6. Other Subjects: Except as defined above, homework will be assigned only in the areas of reading/language arts and mathematics.
    7. Time Spent: While all students are different, as a general guideline, students should spend about forty minutes per night on all assignments, including reading, mathematics, world language, and long-term projects.


    Requests for Homework During Student Absences

    If your child is ill or away from school for any reason, it is expected that the missed work will be made up. When a student is absent for more than two days, a parent may then request the homework assignment by phoning the office.  The secretary will inform the teacher of the request. Please allow up to 24 hours to prepare the assignment.